Do it right from the start – My morning habit

Your effectiveness – in your business and personal life – is sooooo much better when you optimize the beginning of whatever you’re doing.

When you start your day, what daily habits can you implement to ensure that no matter what happens, your day ends in success?

For me, since the beginning of the year I’ve followed this ritual:

  1. Wake up at 4a-5a in the morning. This is the best time for me to have quiet and focus. I do not check my phone for any messages.
  2. Prayer. It usually goes like this: “God – please help me hear what you want to tell me. And please give me the strengthen to follow your will. And if I don’t do anything else, I want to love you more and get to know you better. And You are sovereign, in control, and always provide – I have nothing to worry about. And please help me put You first and throughout everything.”
  3. Walk/Feed the dogs. I have 3 chihuahuas (my wife is a dog fanatic, and the only reason why we have 3 is because in Irvine it’s illegal to have 4 or more lol) that I take out to the park across the street. While this isn’t my favorite thing to do at first, I get to move my muscles before I sit down to work; the cold morning air is invigoriating; and the sunrise is beautiful. Doing this and feeding them feels like making my bed (and I can’t do that while wifey is sleeping, so this is the alternate), and that’s another win I can add to the tally.
  4. Read the daily Bible devotional from Marketplace Leaders. Once a day, I get an email from this site that takes a Bible passage and dissects/explains it as it relates to our everyday struggles as a Christian businessperson, marketer, salesperson, and overall worker. It’s helped me remember that doing God’s work doesn’t happen only on Sundays, as a pastor, at a soup kitchen, on the mission field, and off work hours. Jesus did more miracles and called more people to Him in the workplace – where we spend most/all of our time; and that whatever we do for work, it’s a form of worship if we do it with the right mindset.
  5. Journal. Yep, I write there AND I write here. I use DayOne to share my confidential thoughts/challenges/wins, jot down unrefined ideas, clarify my thoughts, and document memories. This is where I brain dump, and clear the space my head for good/positive/helpful thoughts to pour in.
  6. Drink water & brew green tea. It’s universally accepted that drinking a cup of cold water will jump-start your body and prime yourself for burning calories; and green tea is my preferred method of caffeination.
  7. Meditate. Over the years I’ve failed at meditating for long periods of time; I’d give up after a few days and a few minutes. During those times, I didn’t use the relevant method for me; I didn’t have the right mindset; I didn’t have sustainable expectations; I wasn’t mature enough; I didn’t have enough BS in my life to benefit from it; and I guess I didn’t hear it nagging at me enough times until now.  I have the Headspace app downloaded on my phone and do the “Take 10” guided sessions, and they have been incredible for me. I’m now on my 3rd go-round and have increased my meditation time to 15 minutes a day. I hear from Tim Ferriss and others that 20 minutes is where the real benefits kick in, and I’m excited to get there after this rotation.
  8. Read. I feel the most fulfilled when I am reading, learning, and growing. It’s the body version of the personal finance principle “investing in yourself first.” I’m currently reading Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” (the main inspiration for this post); John Eldreadge’s “Moving Mountains” (a gift from a great friend and amazing online businessperson Dean Soto); Tony Robbins’ “Money Master the Game;” Bob Fifer’s “Double Your Profits: In Six Months” (recommended by Fransmart CEO Dan Rowe); and Brendan Moynihan’s “What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars.”
  9. Blog (if inspired).

I don’t succeed every day (I miss 1-2 of these items about once or twice a week) and I don’t follow these habits on the weekend (I sleep in; I do love being lazy, too). But whenever I get this checklist done, I feel primed and have better control over my decisions. I get the most important things done first and don’t get seduced by social media, text messages, and emails that will eat me alive…and somehow get done anyway =)

I envision my day as a big empty bucket on a beach full of sand and rocks. When you sand – the small, trivial things – to the top of the bucket, you make no room for rocks – the most important things. But if you decide to fill the bucket with rocks first, you will still be able to pour sand after, through the openings that rocks leave.

It’s interesting – When I started this post, I didn’t expect to write this much; and I didn’t think that I’d want to write another “Do It Right From The Start” post. It might even become a series.

Goes to show that you don’t need to know all the details sometimes. Just take action.

I’m interested in learning how others set themselves up for a successful day. Please share!

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The thankfulness habit – 01.16.17

Starting 2017 I decided to think of three things that I am thankful for, on a daily basis. They can be as detailed and specific as I’d like them to be, or as simple as the fresh air I’m breathing in.

I want to prime my brain – and therefore my actions and focus – on the positive and help me be more thankful for what I have and can enjoy.

These are just a few of today’s blessings…

I am thankful that my son Deion has been able to save up enough money to buy his very own laptop – the largest purchase he’s ever made. I love that we’ve been able to teach him to give God what’s His and put away a large portion of his money in savings first…and that when done, and learning to live below his means, he can still treat himself. I hope he carries that with him throughout life.

I am thankful to have fun conversations with my kids at bedtime. Reading them stories puts me in a position to capture their attention and hear what’s going through their head. I pray that I always realize how important this is, and that I’m never too busy to spend this time with them. I don’t have much of it left – as tomorrow is never guaranteed and they’re growing so fast out of childhood.

I am thankful for another day to wipe the slate clean through God’s grace, and tackle the day doing the most important things – His work that He set me out to do – and to help as many people as possible. People just aren’t in such a fortunate position – they don’t know Him, they don’t know what’s possible, they are under oppression.