Unfortunately, you already know how the story ends
You wake up with huge hopes. “Another beautiful day!” you tell yourself. You brush your teeth, grab your morning coffee and start the day with the best of intentions.
But somewhere along the way your energy and focus fizzles. You glance at the clock and are shocked. It’s nearing 4 o’clock and you’re feeling like “WTF just happened?!?!”
You scramble to do what you can, but it’s frantic and doesn’t amount to much.
Another day, lost. The battle of distraction and the agenda of others has won, yet again.
Or maybe this has gone on for so long that you wake up already feeling like “what’s the point?”
You no longer trust yourself and your ability to control the direction of your day. You’d rather not even try, because that just leads to disappointment and even more shame.
The cynicism has sunk in too deep. You’ve accepted that this is just the way it is.
But I know you better than that. You’re reading this because you believe that there is another way. That if you could just figure out the right strategy, or the right way to change your behavior, you could win the battle for your day.
I’m here to tell you that you can start waking up and rock your day. But here’s the deal:
Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion. We must set ourselves on fire. —Arnold Glasow
Waking up and getting shit done does not happen by accident
It’s the result of determination, commitment and sticking to a routine that gets you fired up and ready to create the best day ever.
So, what’s the secret?
It all comes down to your morning routine.
Yep, you’ve probably heard successful people talk about the importance of a morning routine before. Maybe you’ve tried to create one for yourself in the past.
Whether you’ve succeeded or failed miserably, I’m going to share with you a failproof plan for a morning routine that allows you to wake up on fire and create the best day ever. Every day.
Follow these steps below and you’ll be well on your way to controlling your day, and your destiny.
1. The most important thing you must do immediately
This one thing pretty much ensures that you don’t have to rely on willpower to avoid distractions. What you want to do is make it impossible for you to be distracted for the first part of your day.
For myself, I set this distraction obliterator until noon. My mornings are sacred and I don’t want to leave anything to chance.
Here’s what to do now:
At the end of the day, set it to block your biggest distractions and time-wasting sites until noon the following day. I put a reminder on my phone to do this each day.
Go, set a reminder on your phone right now to turn on the distraction blocker.
And if you’re reading this in the morning, just set it for however many hours are left until noon right now.
I recommend blocking Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, G+, and email at the bare minimum, plus whatever sites you visit to waste time. For myself, I have a tendency to waste time reading mixed martial arts news sites.
If you only do ONE thing, do this now. Seriously, stop reading this and go do it.
2. Give your vehicle the right fuel
The second most important thing is your fuel for the day. I recommend starting the day with a full glass of lemon water, some green tea and some kind of greens to alkalize and energize the body.
My favorite green supplement is Vitamineral Green. In fact, I use this as my daily multivitamin.
A green smoothie is a great way to start your day off with some greens, to get energized and make a commitment to your best self.
Here’s a simple recipe you can use:
- 1 banana
- Handful of spinach or kale
- 1/2 cup of berries of your choice
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp green powder
You wouldn’t expect your car to run well if you filled the gas tank with sugar. Your body is your vehicle for doing your great work. Treat it with the respect it deserves and you’ll be well on your way to waking up on fire.
3. Stick to the rule of three
Most people make the mistake of regularly biting off more than they can chew, setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.
They begin their day up trying to accomplish way more than they actually believe is possible. Or they just have no idea how to estimate what they’re capable of in a day and put way too many things on their To Do list.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb: don’t allow any more than three things on your daily To Do list.
Does that seem totally, insanely impossible for you? Good. Sounds like you need some of this medicine (I know I do!).
Here’s the deal, you can put the three most important things at the top of your list, then on the back of the list (or further down in your text document) you can write “Next” and put the other things you’d hope to do today if you have enough time.
If you finish your top three, move on to the “Next” section. Otherwise, whatever is in that category gets rolled over to tomorrow.
This one thing can absolutely change how you feel about yourself and your days.
So, don’t set yourself up for failure by being totally unrealistic about what is possible in a day. It’s not a good way to motivate yourself and it won’t make you inspired to tackle your goals.
You’ll just end up thinking “What’s the point? I’m never going to get all this done anyway, I might as well see what’s on Facebook. This is too hard.”
Discipline yourself to three things, max. Trust me, as you complete your top three each day you’ll start feeling like a king.
4. Don’t leave your excitement to chance
Most people think that passion is something completely passive. That if they just choose the right work, the passion will show up. Or worse, they expect it to fall out of the sky.
Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Passion, excitement, enthusiasm, whatever you want to call it, does not show up out of the blue. Like everything else you want in your life, it must be deliberately cultivated.
Here’s what to do now to train your excitement:
- Select one of your most important projects or goals.
- Ask yourself “Why do I care about this? How does this relate to and further my ultimate vision for my life”
- Then ask “What is the best possible outcome as a result of completing this?”
- Finally rehearse in your mind the way you’ll feel as a result doing your best, showing up fully alive, and giving everything you have to this project.
Even if this is something you “don’t want to do” there’s a reason it’s on your list, right? If you truly don’t need to do it, then don’t do it. But if it must be done, there is some positive outcome you can expect from doing it.
Start each day remembering why you do what you do, and why you’re passionate about your work.
Stoke and fuel the flames of your passion. Imagine and embody your why until it’s burning a hole within you.
5. Get momentum, immediately
Excitement must be translated into momentum, otherwise it means nothing.
Passion, after all, is nothing more than potential energy. If you don’t channel it into action, it is wasted.
Here’s the mistake most people make: They look at their To Do list and try to tackle the whole thing at once. Or, if they do focus on one thing, they try to finish it outright.
This is a major mistake. Because unless you have rock-solid willpower and discipline, you’ll probably get distracted or want to avoid it to do something else (ahem, this is why we set up the distraction blocking app, you did do that, right?!).
I’ll make a confession: writing this post was somewhat difficult for me. I opened another tab in my browser at least five times to try to check email or Facebook. Because I had the distraction blocker on I didn’t have to rely on my willpower to stay focused.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, momentum.
I didn’t start writing this post trying to finish the whole thing. I simply made a goal to write two sentences. That’s it. Think about writing the whole thing felt difficult and not very exciting, because I knew it would take a lot of energy.
So, instead of resolving myself to finish it at all costs, I gave myself permission to do something else after those two sentences.
If your project doesn’t work well with breaking it down into small parts, you can simply set a timer for two minutes of working on it. The key here is to get momentum immediately at the start of your day and build from there.
If remembering your excitement created the spark, building momentum is what keeps the fire burning strong throughout the day.
Putting the Wake Up On Fire Routine on autopilot
By now you’ve probably realized I’m not a big fan of leaving things to chance. So, I’d rather help you put this routine on autopilot then have you read this and forget about it right now.
So, here’s what I want you to do:
- Commit to doing this routine for at least 21 days to ingrain the habit.
- Subscribe below and get the free Daily Fire Checklist
- Leave a comment and tell me what you’re committed to Waking Up On Fire for the next 21 days.
Doing these three things won’t make your success inevitable, but they will greatly increase the odds of you spontaneously combusting. In the best way possible, of course. :)
Now, let’s start waking up on fire.
I challenge you to share with me:
Why are you committed to creating a powerful morning routine? What will it allow you to become or achieve?
Leave a comment and let’s inspire each other to start waking up on fire.
Nick Darlington says
Great post, I am committed to waking up on fire because I have this burning urge inside me to create my own business, with a focus on combining all my passions. I want to do this firstly to prove to myself that I can and secondly because I want to make a difference in the world through helping people through what I write about (my idea is to create a Renaissance Business).
I’m committed to making a powerful routine so I can get unstuck and make some progress at my goals. Specifically my reading goal (100 books by my 20th birthday) and business.
Dubem Menakaya says
I was just creating my plan for the morning and this post was – ahem – FIRE! Loved the cold turkey app and the advice of doing the 3 Most Important Things, and then the WHY – always asking yourself. Those are some awesome takeaways for me. Thanks for the work (I’m certainly very happy youdidn’t surrender to procrastination on this one!)
Dubem Menakaya says
Ah I missed the last part!
I am committed to creating a powerful morning routine because the organisation will allow me to create the content for my new website so I can spread the message of personal transformation. I have been in a pervasive cycle of self sabotage and as I overcome I want to share my story and those of others to help young people who are going through the same thing.
So the morning is the key to opening up the rest of the day. Start as you mean to end.
And keeping the promise to yourself opens the door to miracles :)
I’m committed to make a powerfull morning routine because I just want to feel good about my days. I know this will happen when I’m in ‘action’ mode, but I need the sparks to get my engine running.
I just want to wake up & not feel so bad about going to my dead end job I’m looking for some time to get inspired to change my working life.
Alia Arlys says
Jonathan, thank you so much for these straight-forward reminders.
Jouvan Johnson says
Loved that article… As I was reading I was trying to figure out what 3 tasks each day I should do. It seems like such a low number that I feel the urge to have at least 6 tasks on my to do list.
However I know you are completely right because I have wasted full days because my to do list was too daunting and I hid from the work in Facebook, YouTube and books.
I am committed to creating a powerful morning routine because it will help me achieve the business and personal goals I am after :)
Well this was certainly a nice boost of motivation in the morning! Great list of tips – especially the morning routine, which has been nagged to death for a reason!
Interesting reflections about how you create your own passion too – I never thought about it that way before!
I am commiting to creating and sticking to a morning Wake Up On Fire routine. I will make serious progress on finally actually making concrete steps towards my goal of building a business and becoming self employed.
Holden Seguso says
Thanks for the reminder to place serious value on morning routines. Each day i’m trying to wake up earlier and define my most productive activities to get done so I can gain momentum into the rest of the day. I believe I just have to keep experimenting on the things that work best for me. Anyway, love the blog and will be back for more. Keep it up and thanks!
I want to start waking up on fire because I lose too much of my time already to an 80-hour work week at two full time jobs and I hate to waste my time off and feel like I haven’t gotten anything done. I have plushies to make, clothes to sew, art to draw and paint. I need to start waking up on fire so that I have that fire to put toward the things I truly love to be doing with my time!
David Throop says
Thanks Jonathan for sharing these points.
Productivity isn’t innate but something learned. And it takes time to learn them.
The rule of three is a great, GREAT suggestion and I look forward to implementing that. I would add that our energy and will power are finite resources, so limiting ourselves to the rule of three helps conserve our energy reserves.
I would also add that we need to allow ourselves to fall short from time to time. Like you mentioned with the effort it took to write this post,sometimes getting a task done is difficult and we look for diversions such as opening a tab, checking Facebook, etc. In the end it’s ok to fall short of perfection, however we perceive it.
Bee a Mom says
This is a fantastic article. It’ll be a balancing act with my demanding one year old but, I’m in!