Is it a buzzer telling you that you are out of time?
Is it an annoyance?
A wet blanket? (gross)
Is it a buzzkill? (Or maybe just a Zzzzzkill?)
Is it a shot to the heart? And you’re to blame?
A necessary evil, heavy on the evil?
Is it like the lights flicking on at bar time telling you that you’re getting kicked out? (And revealing that the person in front of you is fugly with the lights on?)
Is it a call to tumble outta bed? And stumble to the kitchen. To pour yourself a cup of ambition. And yawn and stretch. And try to come to life.
Or is your morning alarm an invitation?
Is it the signal of the start of something great?
Is it like the lifeguard’s whistle, inviting you back into the water?
Is it like the opening bell at the stock exchange inviting you to make money and magic?
It is like a train whistle reminding you it’s time to move Engine Engine Number 9 down the New York Transit line?
It is like the national anthem, telling you to stand up straight and proud, reminding you of all you have to be thankful for, flooding you with the feels, and inspiring you to go write the next chapter of your story?
Your perspective is everything. Remember that every day is a new opportunity to grow, create, enjoy and improve. Make sure to fill your life with work, play, people, and places that are worth looking forward to each morning. And happily accept that invitation when it comes.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
We’ve all seen pre-game introductions before sporting events to get the teams and the fans excited for competition. They typically involve some combination of lights, video, music, smoke machines, pyrotechnics, pom-poms, well-caffeinated announcers, and a deer. (Actually, the deer may only be a Milwaukee Bucks thing.)
However, hype routines should not be limited to sporting events. Because each day of your life is a game. Every day is a challenge to see how much you can accomplish. The more you can do to hit the day prepared to perform the more you are likely to achieve. #LetsDoThisThang
If there is one thing I am good at it is hyping myself up. In the morning as I drive to work I inspire myself with either an audiobook related to success or self-improvement, a podcast on the same topic, or music that gets me ready to perform. Sometimes it’s a cocktail of 2 or 3 of those elements. I would also be willing to bet there is more singing and clapping in my car than in the average Honda.
Once I get to the office, (or bust into my home office like I own the place) I launch my computer and crank up more hype music as I create my success list for the day. At the header of my list, I include a collection of my personal goals and personal success mantras. By the time my list is complete, I have worked up the needed attitude, energy, and inspiration to make the most of my day. I am like my own Michael Buffer. And I am now ready to rumblllle. #DingDingDing
Hype routines are not just for NBA players, boxers, and concertgoers. Pump up your own jam every morning with a routine that gets you excited and inspired to perform at your best. Remember, every day of your life is a game. Prepare your mind to make the most of it.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
I am a morning person. I love a new day, a new start, a new opportunity to get better. Basically, I love everything new. Like Huey Lewis. In fact, I am a self-proclaimed Newdist. And I’m thinking of starting my own colony.
My Morning Routine
I don’t drink coffee. But I do 5 things every morning that help me get the party started right. When I do these 5 simple things before breakfast, I feel like a winner, ready for chicken dinner.
5 Things In 5 Minutes
1. I wake up before my alarm.
Waking up before my alarm is one of my favorite things. It makes me feel like I am fully-cooked and ready to rock. It is a sign that I have had a healthy dose of sleep, and that my body and brain are prepared for the day. It is way better than having an alarm clock kicking you in the eardrum.
However, in order to wake up before your alarm you need good sleep. I set my alarm for 6am. But I usually wake up between 5:30am and 5:45am. I think of the early awakening as a lag measure, indicating that I went to bed early enough (usually around 11pm). Which sets me up for success the rest of the day.
2. I smile.
The first thing I do after I awake, while still lying in bed, is smile. I smile a big, broad, toothy smile. And It helps me feel good, right out of the gate. It’s like taking a happy pill. Only there is no pill. I wrote about this habit in the post: Kickstart your day with this powerful and simple habit.
3. I get out of bed before my alarm would have gone off.
Waking up before your alarm in great. When I proactively turn off my alarm it makes me feel like I have defused a bomb. #TheHurtLocker But the very best thing is getting up and started ahead of schedule. It sets your entire day up for success.
4. I weigh myself.
I weigh myself right away each morning. I do this for a couple of reasons.
I am lightest in the morning, before I put my contacts in.
I have a healthy target weight that I measure myself against. I like to stay at or below 215 pounds, which is how much I weighed when I graduated from high school. So my weigh-in helps me chickity check myself, before I wrickity wreck myself.
This morning I weighed 213 pounds. When I am at or below my target weight, I feel like I am starting my day in a great place. It is proof that my exercise and eating habits are working. And I feel as if I have won a personal challenge within the first few minutes of the day.
However, even when I am over 215 pounds, I take it as a reminder of what I need to do today to be where I want to be tomorrow. The feedback is great for me either way.
5. I drink a glass of water.
I make a point of drinking a tall glass of water right after I weigh myself. It is easy to do. But the impact is significant. It helps me rehydrate. I can tell right away that this sharpens my brain and makes me feel more alert and ready for the day. No caffeine, sugar, taurine or alcohol needed. In fact, I often wonder if the active ingredient in coffee, tea and energy drinks is actually the water itself. #DrEvilPinkyToMouthPose
The best way to have a great day is to have a great start. Turn your morning routine into a game of positive actions. By taking these 5 simple steps you will start your day feeling proactive, positive, productive and prepared. All within the first 5 minutes.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this morning idea, please share it with them.
Your first act of the day sets the tone for how your entire day will go. Some people cuddle with a cup of coffee. Some read. Others exercise. While still others begin their morning by repeatedly jabbing at the snooze button on their alarm clock as if they were picking a fight with the Pillsbury Doughboy.
My First Habit
My first act of the day is simple, and more impactful than any of the above. The very first thing I do each morning when I wake up, is smile. I smile and instantly the day is good. It makes me feel as if the day is a game that I am ready to play. I feel funny and playful. Because smiling to yourself in the dark for no reason is a funny thing to do. But it puts me in the right frame of mind for the 18-hour adventure ahead.
Life Comes At You Fast.
Like everyone else, I face challenges every day. I have 3 semi-domesticated children (12G, 10B and 7B). I have a home that regularly throws me surprises. I have a commute that I don’t control. I own an advertising and idea agency called The Weaponry, which comes with employees, contractors, clients, finances, insurance and a landlord. And they all have the potential to hip-check my plans each day.
But that first smile in the morning makes me feel as if I won the day before the sun even gets out of the starting blocks. It sets the tone for everything else. It reminds me that funny things are going to happen that day, and it is up to me to see those events as humourous, and not tragic, vengeful or a clear sign of how much the universe hates me.
Put a smile to work for you.
Try it yourself. It is the easiest positive thing you’ll do all day. Yet it has the power to propel and protect you until you crawl back into bed at night. And if you have not yet smiled today, do it now.
If you find that a morning smile helps set a positive tone for your day let me know. If you have a great way to start your day that might help me, please share. I’ll take all the help I can get.
*To learn more about how I approach life and business you could shadow me 24-7. Or you could subscribe to this blog. It’s really up to you.
Your brain is the most powerful muscle in your body. Ok, your brain isn’t really a muscle. But it is so powerful it KNOWS that it’s not a muscle! Your most powerful muscles are actually your glutes or your quadriceps, depending on who you ask. And depending on whether or not you are keeping up with Kim Kardashian. You can strengthen these leg muscles doing squats, leg presses, lunges, deadlifts and by delivering refrigerators.
However, you should never perform these leg exercises without warming up first. For two reasons.
You could shred your muscles like pulled pork.
You will not perform at your best.
You should warm up your muscles to recruit as many fibers and synapses as possible for the mission. It also loosens the muscles, gets blood flowing through the area and prepares them for action.
Your brain works the same way. When your alarm clock detonates in the morning your brain is cold. That’s why so many people try to stoke some brainial heat with coffee or tea. But it takes actual mental activity to get your brain primed and ready for work.
I have a trick I use to get my brain ready to perform in the morning. It’s not a drink, a dish or a pill. It doesn’t make you sweaty, stinky or even raise your heart rate.
A great way to warm up you brain.
I am a professional creative thinker. I own an advertising and idea agency, called The Weaponry, where we try to stretch our thinking as far as possible every day. To prepare for creative thinking, I use several different techniques to get my brain warmed up. One of my favorite techniques is to spend a few minutes working on brain games.
I like a challenge that forces me to think through questions from multiple angles, spot interesting connections, or evaluate at a level that goes beyond the obvious. I do this in a variety of ways. Here are 5 options that you can try tomorrow morning before work.
5 Warm up techniques that recruit your brain cells.
Brain Challenges: My go-to morning stimuli are my Mensa Mind Challenge books. (I’m not a member of Mensa. I just play one at the bookstore.) They contain a range of
puzzles, math problems and brain teasers. Discovering the answers opens my mind and helps me view the problem, and thus the world, through a different lens.
Soduko Puzzles: These number sequencing puzzles are moronically simple, yet complex at the same time (like me). I really like the fact that I can keep switching my focus to get to the ultimate solve. I’ll hone in on a single number for a while. Then I might focus on a small box. Then a line. I like the fact that I never guess at Soduko. I focus on one small point until I know the answer with certainty before a I declare an answer. This works differently than the Mensa challenges because there is one simple, clear answer for each box, hiding in plain sight. I simply have to force it into focus.
Mazes: These were my childhood favorites. I love the fact that you can think you know where you are going and suddenly you come to a dead-end and have to look in another direction. Many of our life challenges are like this. We think we are on the right path until we know we are not. Then we have no choice but to reevaluate our choices and perspectives. Someone should write a book about this phenomenon. Oh wait they did. (Who moved my cheese?)
Crosswords: These classics are great because they force you to dig into your broad knowledge base. But they also enable you to employ strategy and technique to help you fill in your knowledge gaps, using what you know to offer clues about the things you don’t know. Here you can guess the answers without inducing catastrophic failure (see Soduko). I appreciate that they let you develop increasing levels of certainty on your hypothesis as you progress. They also reward you for knowing Tom Jones songs. So there’s that.
Memory Games: I have become increasingly interested in memory challenges. I come from long-lived people (I currently have 198 years worth of grandmothers). So maintaining my memory is going to be an important life skill. The power of the mind to develop visual codes to remember number sequences is fascinating to me. Over the coming years I expect memory games to become a larger part of my routine as I work to fight off dementia (I was born with as much dementia as I will ever need).
The benefit of a warm brain.
Puzzles in the morning get your brain firing. You will feel like you have recruited more brain cells. You will feel alert and ready to think better, faster, stronger, and probably for longer. It’s like Viagra for the brain. Kinda.
Even though I am a naturally creative thinker, these puzzles, games and challenges help me stimulate my brain in a way that reduces creative blind spots. It is easy to fall into a mental rut and use the same type of creative processes, tools and paths over and over again. The morning puzzles can be like opening a mental tool box of problem solving devices. When you see the tools you could use, the tools themselves reveal the paths to various solutions.
I like the way the puzzles stretch your thinking. They help you see different angles and perspectives. This pays off as you try to solve other business (or life) challenges the rest of the day. The puzzles and mind challenges ensure that your mind is alert, stretched, primed and fully powered to find new possibilities.
These puzzles are also fun. Starting your morning with a bit of fun and play makes your morning more enjoyable. That mood state alone contributes to more creative thinking.
If you are more math oriented consider this: if you could expand the power of your problem solving or creative thinking by just 10% by readying your mind, you will significantly expand the circle of solutions you can uncover.
Try warming up with some puzzles this week. Let me know how you feel afterwards. If you have a type of puzzle, quiz or test you use to keep yourself sharp please share it here. I could use all the help I can get. Especially in the morning, when I am delivering refrigerators.