You woke up late… again.
Last night, you swore that you’d wake up on time in the morning, that you’d finally conquer the day from start to finish.
That the day wouldn’t measure up to just another dud.
But that didn’t stop you from turning the alarm off three times (“I’ve come this far…”) and waking up two hours later than you meant to.
You’re discouraged, frustrated, and angry at yourself.
“Will I EVER make the most of my life?”
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter that you woke up late.
Let me repeat that: How your day starts doesn’t have to determine how your day ends. And here’s how you can ensure that a bad start doesn’t mean a bad middle or end (in just five minutes)…
Step #1: Do NOT Leave the Bedroom Right After you Wake Up
You finally roll out of bed.
Fuzzy and disoriented, you leave the bedroom and head toward the shower.
No big deal, right?
Before you do anything else (leaving the bedroom included), you need a win. Something to conquer. Some small act that will tell your brain,
“I’m a badass. I do the things I say I’m going to do. I’m trustworthy and disciplined.”
It might be making your bed, it might be putting away clothes, or it might be doing some stretches.
Whatever it is, do it.
Do it every morning. Do it without thinking. Do it regardless of when you wake up or how hungover you are.
This small act will set the tone for the rest of your day. It will inspire you to do more. To be more. To finish your to-do list.
It might seem like a silly idea: that one small act can set the tone for your entire day.
But it’s the same advice that Navy Seal Admiral William H. McCraven gave to the University of Texas in 2014 when he talked about the power of making your bed every day.
And it’s the reason that Michael Phelps won a gold medal during a race where his goggles leaked, leaving him completely blind.
Here’s the story from Charles Duhigg:
“But, Phelps knew something was wrong as soon as he hit the water. There was moisture inside his goggles. By the second turn, everything was getting blurry and as he approached the third turn, the cups of his goggles were completely filled and he couldn’t see how many strokes were left!
For most swimmers, losing your sight in the middle of an Olympic final would be cause for panic. Phelps was calm. Everything else that day had gone according to plan. The leaking goggles were a minor deviation, but one for which he was prepared. Bowman [his coach] had once made Phelps swim in a Michigan pool in the dark and some of the videotapes in Phelps’s mind had featured problems like this.
Most important, Phelps’s keystone habits had established a certainty within his mind: he could succeed, no matter the obstacles. After all, he had always succeeded before. His self-image, all of his habits, were built around the certainty of overcoming any problem. It was one additional victory in a day full of small wins…
It was a triumph of keystone habits, just another step in a lifetime of success.”
The small things matter. And collecting wins before you even leave the bedroom will set the rest of your day up to win, too.
Step #2: Freeze to Within an Inch of Your Life
“When I’m done, I feel like I need to punch someone in the f*cking face.”
That’s how a friend of mine put it.
When you step into freezing cold water, panic, and want nothing more than to escape the numbing-needles of hell, you’re setting yourself up for a more productive day.
- A better immune system
- More fertile swimmers
- Higher testosterone
- Alertness (no shit)
- Better will power
- Decreased depression
- Wanting to punch someone in the f*cking face (according to my friend)
Right now, it sounds ridiculous.
But try it, and tell me you don’t feel like a million bucks once you step out of that torture cell.
Step #3: Pretend Like you’re the Buddha
You’re an action taker. I know.
You want to work faster, get more done in less time, and become a machine of productivity.
The last thing you want to do is sit on a chair with your eyes closed, legs crossed, finger tips touching, like some pretend guru.
But that’s exactly what you need to do if you’re going to be more productive.
Look, we live in a busy world. A world that demands our attention.
- Your family wants you to spend time with them.
- Work wants you to take on more projects.
- And your friends want to grab beers with you.
But when do you get time for yourself? To think? To recoup? To make sure you’re heading in the direction that you want to head in life?
(and cut the masculine “I’m tough, I don’t need time to recoup” facade. You and I both know better)
Well, it turns out that even 5 minutes of meditation can…
- Reduce stress
- Increase attention span
- Reduce memory loss
- Fight addiction
- Decrease blood pressure
What do all of those mean collectively?
Well, a more productive day and, let’s be honest, a happier life.
Step #4: Steal Tim Ferris’ Journal
You sneak in through the window.
Tim Ferris is sleeping on a bed to your right in red satin sheets (the worst). A puddle of spittle drips from the side of his mouth. He looks happy.
You glance across the room to his dresser. On top of it is exactly what you’ve come for.
Actually, it’s dead simple. Every morning, he writes down…
- 3 things he’s grateful for
- 3 things he’ll do to make today a great day
- 1 daily affirmation
Not only does the journal help him prioritize the day, but it reminds him of what he’s grateful for, improving his…
- Physical health
- Pyschological health
- Sleep quality
- Mental resolve
But if you’re not rich like Tim Ferris (the physical journal costs $23), you can get the app for $5 instead.
Can 5 Minutes Change the Trajectory of your Entire Day?
Let me answer that question with another question..
How many times has (or “have you let”) the simple act of waking up late make your entire day worse than it needs to be?
How many times have you let a fight with your wife set the tone for the next few hours?
Obviously, five minutes can change your entire day, for better or worse. And you can use the above four steps to make sure it’s for the better, not for the worse, even if you and the day started off on the wrong foot.
Mike is a writer for SUCCESS, AdWeek, and Addicted2Success. He’s been quoted on Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise in marketing and personal development. He’s also the owner of Get Your Gusto Back where he helps people reignite their inner fire.