“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
There’s one life changing daily ritual I wish someone would have told me about a decade ago.
It’s something that only takes as little as ten minutes a day.
It’s something you can do anywhere on the planet – if you’re in New York City, or you’re waking up in the slums of India.
And best of all, it’s something anyone can do anywhere, and it’s free.
It all comes down to this: a morning routine where you think about what you want, and you see yourself getting it.
What’s The Big Secret?
A few years back, my life was pretty much in the shit hole.
If you objectively looked at every aspect of my life, you could tell each one was in shambles.
Relationship – Didn’t exist, even though I wanted one.
Finances – Usually went negative $200-$300 each month, so I had to freelance to cover those costs and not go into debt.
Health – Sleep problems, GI problems, back and neck problems.
Happiness – Just a miserable bastard.
Purpose/Meaning – Nonexistent.
If you looked at me a few years ago, you would’ve felt bad for the sorry bastard you saw.
These days, that former me doesn’t even exist. It’s like a figment of my imagination.
But one of the things I didn’t tell many people is this: one of the things that helped me most get out of this funk was a morning routine. In fact, it was possibly the thing that got me out of the morning funk.
So what did I do?
That’s what I’m going to share with you today.
The Million Dollar Morning Routine
Let me be perfectly up front: I think you should do this in the morning, and not during the afternoon or evening.
The reason is simple: what you do in the morning sets the tone for the day. And since your mind is generally a blank slate (or maybe you’re depressed in the morning like me), it makes sure you start the day in a good, inspired, ready-to-kick-ass mood.
There are only four things you need here:
- Know what you want
- Know why you want it
- Visualize what you want
- Affirm what you want
And there’s something else important: you have to write this down on paper. It must be physical. It must be on paper, and you must look at it each day.
One other thing: In my opinion, never just put down one category of goals.
For example, for me, the primary goal for years has been financial independence. However, a lot of successful people only put down the business vision for their life, and as a result, they pursue success at the expense of their health, happiness, relationships, etc. Don’t be that person.
Always put down those five categories – and go through all of them.
Step 1: Know What You Want
The first step is something I talk a lot about here: think about what you want, and your definition of success.
If you have no idea what you want, how do you expect to achieve it?
For example, since it’s the new year, we can say we want to become “healthier” – but what does that even mean? How do you know when you’ve arrived at the place called “healthier” ?
Do you want more weight loss?
More weight gain?
No more pain?
Think about what you want.
If your primary category you want to improve is finances – What do you want?
Don’t just say you want to be financially “free” ?
Do you want a business or do you want to just make a lot at a job you enjoy?
Do you want to just have the time and money to be able to travel the world?
Do you want to start a side project you really care about, or just have a bunch of money in savings?
Get specific, otherwise it’s impossible to envision. And if you can’t picture it in your head, it’s that much harder to make a reality in daily life.
I’ll give you examples from my own routine.
Health – Here I know the target weight I want, what I want to look like, and what I want to feel like. I write all those down on paper (and in step 3, I use pictures to reinforce it).
Finances – I write down exactly how much I want to be earning, and how much I want to be saving. It doesn’t matter right now if this is a realistic number – it just matters that you write down the exact amount on paper here.
Purpose – I write down the exact feeling I want to have each day: I want to feel like I’m exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing.
Repeat this with whatever categories you are working on.
Step 2: Know Why You Want It
What’s even more important than knowing what you want, is knowing why you want it.
For years, I struggled with purpose and meaning and feeling like my life is meaningless – something you’ve heard me talk a lot about here non stop.
One of the big reasons this morning ritual has saved my life is that I wrote down on a piece of paper why I’m getting my ass out of bed.
For YEARS I would wake up and wonder “why do I even get up?” I don’t think I was depressed, I just legitimately didn’t know why I got up in the morning.
I wasn’t waking up to a job I cared about, and even if they paid me $500,000 it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Fun was great and all, but it wasn’t this big overarching purpose for being. You can have fun smoking weed and tipping cows, and you’ll have a laugh for a night, but is that what really makes a great life? Not to me.
So I came up with this purpose, something I still use to this day:
“The purpose of my life is to inspire other 20 somethings by showing them that any dream is possible if you know what you want, and you are willing to work on it every day. Life is too short to be yet another lifeless zombie wandering the planet – Life is flat out too short to live a life you hate. Through my own story of struggle then success I’ll show others it’s possible.”
If you have no clue why you want those things, just create a temporary purpose.
Just set a timer for 20 minutes, grab some tea or coffee, and then write.
You’re just going to write down “Why do I get up in the morning?”
And remember, you aren’t looking for one. You’re creating one.
You’re coming up with a statement that really resonates with you emotionally. It could be as simple as, “Because I’m tired of living a life I hate, waking up to do shit I hate, dealing with people I hate. I want to wake up every day to a life that inspires me.”
That’s totally legit. Go for it.
Or it could be complex: “I want to be successful and happy so that I can help out my parents. They sacrificed everything to become immigrants and provide a better future for me -and being successful (and happy) will let me pay them back and provide a good retirement.”
That’s also incredibly powerful.
But the point here is just to write something that resonates emotionally with you.
You might write, “I wake up every day to kick ass.” That’s cool. That’s great. But chances are, it’s not deeply emotional. It doesn’t connect with you on a core level the way love, or hatred, or being fed up does. You want something to connect with you deep down. That’s the kind of stuff that gets you up in the morning.
So, you’ve got a rough statement.
Now put it down on the paper.
Step #3: Visualize what you want
The third step is to go through each of the things you listed, and visualize them as if they are your current life.
I used to believe this stuff was a huge sack of BS, until I started trying it and things eerily began lining up in my life.
This is straight out of Think & Grow Rich I later realized, but Tony Robbins, Michael Phelps, Jim Rohn and many of the world’s most successful people follow a variation on this.
The important thing is to see exactly what it is you want – in the present.
So let’s go back to a few of those categories –
Health – I see myself looking in the mirror at my target weight, and feel extremely satisfied as I think, “Damn I look good!” If you are wanting to lose weight, you could see yourself doing the same, then stepping on the scale and seeing your new, lower weight. I also see myself going through the day without any GI problems, without any back or neck pain while sitting each day, etc.
Finances – I see my bank statement at the end of the month. Since I have 4 bank accounts, some that automatically save my money, and some that automatically calculate things, I see my savings dramatically increasing each month. I see my income “bar” in the green – meaning I’m earning a lot more than I’m spending. I see myself never having financial stress, worrying about how I’m going to pay rent, etc.
Purpose – I see myself waking up, and feeling, “Wow, this is the exact life I want, I’m extremely grateful. My life is fucking awesome.” That’s a hard feeling to beat. I see myself walking around each day going through my routine doing things I really enjoy. If you want to see yourself self employed, see yourself doing that and loving it.
Step #4: Affirm what you want
I definitely had a love hate relationship when I heard that lots of successful people do affirmations each day.
“You mean I have to tell myself corny stuff like, ‘I’m happy, healthy and wise’ every day? C’mon…”
So like all things, I decided to do a test.
I picked a lifelong problem of mine: making friends.
The underlying story for me was, “I have a hard time making friends, because many of my hobbies and interests are solitary.” As a result, most of my life I haven’t had as big of a social life as I wanted.
It was time to test this thing out.
So for a month, every day I repeated this out loud, “I effortlessly, easily make friends without going out of my way.”
I just repeated it a few times each morning, and did it every single day.
Here’s what happened:
Over the coming months, not only did I serendipitously run into people all over the place, but I randomly seemed to start connecting with strangers.
One person I met in a coffee shop had a similar passion as I do: Chinese medicine.
Another guy I met at a business meetup I decided to go to is also an entrepreneur.
And by pure luck, a woman I met through a friend is also in the health industry like I am.
All these strange connections started showing up, and I oddly began making friends out of nowhere.
So did it work? You be the judge.
I’m inclined to think that whatever beliefs you have in your head holding you back (“Money is dirty” or “I’ll never find a girlfriend” or “Making money from my passion is impossible”), affirmations are the way to re-write them.
So here’s what I’d suggest.
Pick a few affirmations surrounding your biggest goal for the year. If the goal is financial, repeat to yourself that you are easily, effortlessly pulling in $50k this year in your business. Or you’re easily earning $500/month on the side. Or you finally have enough money for that trip.
If your primary goal is health, repeat something similar. Tell yourself out loud that you love your new weight, that you look awesome in the mirror, and people are commenting on how great you look now.
Whatever it is, after you’ve gone through seeing your epic future, repeat it outloud. A big thing here is to tackle whatever things have been holding you back in the past – just by saying these things out loud, you’ll begin to change the narrative in your head.
This morning ritual is easily worth a million dollars.
The only question is whether or not we decide to do it.
So here’s my challenge to you.
If you pick one thing to do differently this year, make it this four part morning routine.
I guarantee in 365 days, you will be further in your life than the past five or ten years combined.
Try it, let me know what you think.
Thoughts/Questions? Leave them below.