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Emotional pain, living in reaction, not having enough time for myself, always feeling hurried, getting little done, feeling depressed.

Dear Past (Pain-Full) Self,

I was living my life in reaction.

Everyday I would wake up 10 mins before I HAD to be out the door. I would brush my teeth while making some coffee, pour it fast as I could into a to go mug and then speed on my way to work. I would end up at work trying to sneak in moments to stretch, read an ebook on my phone and write down my thoughts, because I just didn’t have time before work (or at least I didn’t make time). This was a consistent thing for me for YEARS AND YEARS. I remember being like this before school and before appointments too. I was always in a frantic hurry and always wondering why I never had enough time in the day.

Things just weren’t looking very promising for me.

I was miserable and slowly becoming more and more bitter and resentful at life. I was working at a job I didn’t love with people I didn’t like. How come I don’t have a life like Tony Robbins who gets to drive helicopters and speak in front of thousands at a time? How come Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were able to innovate and create such empires that has and will impact the world for the next centuries. How come Oprah has the chance to gift people cars at one of her Nationally Broadcasted shows?

What is it they have in common????

It was aggravating to me to even think about it. I thought it was some special gift or talent that the universe gave them that I just didn’t have… I kept comparing myself to these greats and it would dwindle the tiny sense of accomplishment or satisfaction I even had. I knew that “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt), but I couldn’t help in realizing day after day that my life was nowhere near as extraordinary as these greats. They were all just so different and were great at different things, so I couldn’t put my finger on it. It just had to be because God loves them more. Yeah, that’s it…well, I’m fucked….

But, the more I studied them the more I realized something.

Time and again I noticed that many interviewers were asking them about their morning routines. Why would anyone care about what they did in the mornings? It was an odd concept. I saw my mornings as a dread because it meant I had to get up and go do what others wanted me to do. And there it was! That’s when I realized that the greats out there like (example of olympic gold medalists, CEO’s, etc) would wake up early enough to fit into their schedules things that they wanted to do like exercise, read, journal, sit in silence, spend time with family, and anything else that brings joy or serenity to one’s day (and ultimately to one’s life).

I hated my life. And that needed to change.

The simple fact was that I wasn’t happy and I felt like I wasn’t in control of my life. I needed to change or else I was going to end things. Seriously, this is what I thought, because I just couldn’t continue living a life where I’m not doing things that make me happy. But, there are so many things I had to change, I didn’t know where to start.

I figured if I do what other successful people do I’ll be successful.

I knew that successful people didn’t rush out of bed and out the door. They woke up and took care of their bodies and minds and did things that were enjoyable to them before they tended to solving the problems of the world. But, holy crap, a morning routine? Where the hell do I even start? I felt overwhelmed and decided that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, so I focused on the  most important part of a morning routine, and that’s waking up early ebough to even have a routine.

Waking up earlier was the only way I was going to start taking control of my life.

I knew that I would not have time to work out, read or eat a good breakfast if I didn’t wake up early enough before work to actually get those things done? At this point I was never used to waking up early consistently, so I knew that it would take a lot of will power, discipline and dedication. This was about as much as I could handle for now.

I decided to wake up at 6am (since I worked at 9am).

This gave me 3 hours to take care of my body (by lifting weights, walking in sunlight and eating) and taking care of my mind (by reading for at least 30 minutes). I knew that if I woke up early enough to at least do those things that I would be ok for the rest of the day. What I failed to realize was that…

Waking up earlier than normal was not going to be easy.

I failed again and again and again. That snooze button was my best friend and worst enemy. I had to learn better ways then what I was doing. So, I decided to do some research (as usual) and learned a few things I’m going to share with you, and they are:

  1. I put my alarm clock (my phone) in another room.
  2. I got an app that wouldn’t shut off until I moved it or did math equations to turn it off (check out motion alarm, math alarm, or Google alarm apps that help get your ass up).
  3. I set up everything I needed to start my day the night before (for me this meant putting water in a cup and the coffee beans near the coffee maker).
  4. Do one thing in the morning right away that will make you look forward to getting up (for me it was hot coffee with coconut milk or an organic blueberry, lemon and avocado smoothie). I had a rule: if I went back to sleep for even a second then I wouldn’t get my coffee.
  5. Turn on all the lights as soon as you rise up to turn off your alarm, or open the curtains for some sunshine. The yellow and blue light makes it hard to go back to sleep.
  6. Decide the night before that you will get up NO MATTER WHAT. This is important. Decide and commit. No going back. Do you want success or not? This comes from Jennifer Grace (Hayhouse author and South Florida’s number 1 life coach)
  7. Punish yourself for failing and reward yourself for succeeding (for me it was that coffee, for you it can be anything) but make sure to not get down on yourself because you are human, failure is how we learn.
  8. Get up and move immediately. Train yourself to jump out of bed. Conditioning is important. This part comes from Tony Robbins.
  9. Keep track of the days you have succeeded (use Habit Bull) because it takes 66 days to make a new habit.
  10. Get excited for the fact that you are doing what the greats do: they wake up early!

List of people who wake up early (found from Huffington Post)

Whether they are artists, athletes, authors, entrepreneurs, or inventors, presidents, they all get up early. Of course there are exceptions (like Tim Ferriss whose routine is up at 11am and bed at 4am). It’s the only way to fit in all the things you want to do throughout a 24 hour period.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. What are you going to do with yours?

Wake up early and make your dreams come true using my 10 ways I listed above!

Your Future (Pain-Free) self