How you begin your day can be compared to the opening sequence of Mission Impossible.
I mean, after Ethan Hunt beats the crap out of bad guys.
The camera pans away from the action as you hear the subtle buildup of strings beckoning with anticipation of what’s to come…
Then suddenly a fuse ignites and the spark races along the wire, twisting and turning in sync to the symphony until the determined flame reaches its destination.
That lonely spark represents a key component of success.
Unfortunately, most people slam the snooze button on the alarm and keep their flame momentarily snuffed out before stepping out of bed and launching into the day, albeit without a coherent plan or strategy.
I want to help you create momentum with a purpose so you have a clear battle-plan while operating as your most bad-ass self and owning your day with total satisfaction when all is said and done.
Plan and Prepare
Momentum is forged the night before in the last remaining hours and moments before your head crashes into the pillow.
This is the time when you MUST clearly define in laser-like detail what the top priorities for your life and business will be for the next day.
I can’t overstate this enough, you must be super-specific.
The brain needs a clear strategy so it can toss around ideas and organize them into a logical plan subconsciously throughout the night to help you perform your best when it comes time to sit down and execute.
“Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”
Don’t leave your days and life up to circumstance in a reactive state, allowing the world to mold your intentions for you.
You should know what every hour of your day entails.
Script it out piece by piece, hour by hour on paper, then transcribe that data into a digital format with Google Calendar or something similar.
Let your calendar be your boss and unlike the corporate nazi dictating most people’s lives you will come to respect, appreciate and thank your calendar for holding you accountable to what YOU deem as important.
Have your morning routine on paper then in the calendar followed by an evening routine which could comprise a 20-minute nap, a round of intense exercise, or perhaps some meditation to re-align your focus back onto the tasks still left to be completed.
Follow that up with a nightly practice of winding down.
It’s important for your mental well being and productivity that you are out of “work mode” at this time.
Do some stretches, drink some warm tea and take a bath so your brain and nervous system can de-stress.
Just throwing some ideas out there, but find what works for you to be on your game and renewed for the next day.
Now you have a play-by-play of how your day should roll out.
But I challenge you to optimize this further
An hour before bed do these things:
- Sleep in your workout clothes or hang them up
- Place your sneakers by the door
- Roll out your yoga mat and set up exercise equipment
- Premix shake
- Determine what workout you will take on.
- Write the primary 3 core tasks that will help you get ahead in your business/life
You can use my Plan & Conquer sheet to jot down those tasks and instill a bit of gratitude into the following day, which will elevate your mood and help you appreciate what you have as you work towards what you desire.
By the way, the most optimistic people tend to be the most productive people!
I’m curious, have you ever heard of decision fatigue?
It’s the reason why Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs always wore the same hoodie and black turtleneck with jeans.
Basically the more choices you have to make in the day the faster your supply of willpower dwindles down until you are burned out and can’t make the right decisions rationally.
This is called cognitive overload.
Find ways you can limit decision fatigue and overloading your brain with too many choices especially in the precious morning hours.
It’s alright to have a closet full of black shirts and wear a few pairs of jeans.
Rotate your chosen style every now and then so life doesn’t feel stale.
Always switching up your tunes when working on something?
Instead create a Spotify playlist with a consistent style of music.
Your brain will become familiar with the tracks and this will help you get and stay in the zone.
Carpe Diem Early
Carpe diem means seize the day.
Isn’t latin a kickass language?
Take a second and imagine it’s 5:00 am, and you hear your alarm going off in the other room. You know you are prepared because of setting yourself up for success last night.
By taking on the day early, you have a leg up over the timid souls who would rather stay trapped in the confines of their comfort zone, deep in a catatonic state under the comfy sheets.
I bet just visualizing that scenario increased your anticipation to power through the day as soon as your feet touch the floor in the morning, right?
The more clarity you have with seeing the day’s events unfold, the more your brain trusts that this can be your reality.
This may seem obvious or a total epiphany:
It’s the ones who own their day the earliest that seem to accomplish the most.
That’s why I advise you to wake up earlier than you currently are.
Start with setting your alarm 15 minutes before. Then next week lower it gradually again by 15 minutes until you find your perfect wake time.
Your body’s internal clock aka the circadian cycle needs to adapt to the change in schedule.
This is so your energy levels and all the physiological processes like digestion, cortisol production, and melatonin secretion occur at the right time every day like clockwork.
It’s optimal to strive for 5 or 6 am because that gives you plenty of time to run through the habits (like working out/meditating, etc.) to show up as your optimal self for the rest of the day.
I understand this could be a stretch and you cannot fathom waking up that early.
In that case, I totally get it, but you just aren’t used to this.
All habits are built over time, and you have to train yourself to install a new pattern of operating.
You can set up a daily bedtime in your phone’s clock app and keep your wake-time consistent.
Have your phone in another room, so you don’t just hit the snooze button, say “screw it” and fall back asleep, thereby killing any semblance of momentum you could be building.
The Warrior Ignition Protocol
When that alarm chimes… it’s GO TIME!
I developed a simple but incredibly effective morning process designed to prepare you for your day and show up as healthier, energized, and ready for whatever life throws at you.
It’s called The Warrior Ignition Protocol.
Watch the video below to learn how to set up this morning sequence for yourself and of course change it up to your preference and present lifestyle.
This app gives you the ability to create several types of routines.
You’ll learn how to input my morning, evening, and nightly protocols so you are unstoppable all the time!
NO email checking in these early hours.
Time for responding to messages and your inbox should be relegated to a predetermined time in your calendar.
As top high-performance coach Brendon Burchard says:
“ The email inbox is nothing more than a convenient filing system for OTHER people’s agendas”
– Brendon Burchard
Relentlessly checking email can become a detrimental habit that can cause a release of stress hormones like cortisol.
This is great for waking you up but not for causing anxiety and mental fatigue that scrolling through your emails will give you.
Disable all notifications in your phone except for calendar, routinery and apps relating to productivity like the apps mentioned further down the page.
You want nothing disrupting your focus and impeding your progress in these early hours.
I’m going to break this whole protocol down a bit more so you can harness its benefits to the fullest!
Remember this is meant to IGNITE your day and fire up your mind and body so you are more alert and purposeful with everything else you do.
WIP Part 1: First Victory
I don’t know about you but if I’m leaving my bed in disarray looking like a dog bolted into my room jumped on the sheets, and tore the place up I know in the back of my mind that I started the day in a messy disorganized fashion which is not cool.
So I get a quick win and infuse a bit of excellence into my morning along with a sense of pride with my bed made and the sheets in order.
WIP Part 2: Center the Mind & Quench The Warrior
Now transition from making your bed to getting your brain ready for the day’s events to come.
We often think meditation is a hindrance that takes up time or just isn’t necessary, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Set aside just 5 minutes (you can bump this up later if you like) to calm your anxious racing mind. Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly, and just concentrate on the breath flowing in and out of your nose.
Count the breaths. Inhale for 5 then exhale for 7. A longer exhalation keeps the body in a relaxed state.
Draw your attention to the coolness of the air as it enters your nostrils and the warm release of air as it leaves your nose.
Thoughts will pop out of nowhere and guess what?
You can’t get rid of them. It’s impossible to still your mind entirely.
Just notice these thoughts regardless of how weird, dark, funny, mischievous, and random they are and simply refocus back on your breath going in and out.
It’s important to drink water beforehand or directly after you meditate.
Your body is in a massively dehydrated state as you rest at night, expelling over 70% of your body’s H20 supply.
This becomes even more crucial when you realize that your cells, organs, and brain need hydration to function at optimal levels, especially for the next part of this habit stack.
WIP Part 3: Awaken The Warrior & Ignite The Warrior
Understand that testosterone production and your ability to grow muscle peaks in the late afternoon around 5-7 pm so the morning should be reserved for only 20-30 minutes of intense movement as you save that longer even more hardcore workout for much later.
The key is to get the body alert and loose which is why I like to start with 5-10 minutes of light yoga to open up the hips, stretch out sore muscles, loosen the hamstrings, and turn on the core as you increase blood flow to warm the whole body.
Now sometimes I switch this up and skip the next part I’m going to mention and just do a straight hour of yoga, but again the key is for it not to be so taxing and strenuous that it burns you out.
It helps to have a go-to fitness app (or a few) that provides a workout for you to follow along with so you aren’t racking your brain for ten minutes wondering what the hell you should do.
In Down Dog is you can tweak the instructor’s voice, and the type of yoga flow (as in slow-paced with longer holds or a quick yoga flow without many breaks in between each pose).
You can even save classes and the app will remember the length of the class, so all you have to do is open the app, hit play, and step on your mat.
For NTC here’s my favorite yoga flows, most of which are with Nike master trainer Alex Silver Fagan who has the flexibility of a flamingo.
- Energizing Yoga Flow
- Quick Heat Yoga Flow
- Core Strength Yoga
In addition to being an app Black Swan Yoga is a Yoga studio based in Austin texas.
I love the unregimented “real time” style of the workouts which makes it feel like your actually in the room (or sometimes at the park) with the instructors.
There’s no countdown bar or pose list. It’s just a straight yoga flow and trust me your going to feel it!
BSY doubles as a meditation app as well which you could integrate into your morning protocol or save for an evening mental decompression.
And it’s only $8.99/month!
Here’s a few of my favorite Black Swan flows:
- Good Morning Sunshine
- Treat Yo’self
- Twisted Flow
- Fists Of Fire
- 10 minute sweat
- The Take Off
- Front Line Strong (1 hr class but amazing!)
Now that your body is limber, energized, and primed for action the next step is to elevate your heart rate higher and pump out some endorphins with 20-30 minutes of high-intensity exercise involving squats, jumps, running on the spot, burpees, etc.
By high intensity, I mean high-intensity interval training or something just as beneficial.
Just so you know Nike Training Club has a plethora of various types of workouts besides Yoga and any exercise with master trainer Kirsty Godso is killer!
She’s known as the Hot Sauce Burpee Queen for a reason!!
To further mix things up I’m going to suggest you try out this next app that is the brainchild of Chris Hemsworth.
Yep, Thor has a workout app!
In the Centr app, you have access to Chris’s team of elite trainers. These are the same warriors that mold Chris into movie ready physique.
For instance, in a few taps, you can turn on a dumbbell burner and ab chiseling exercise from Luke Zocchi, a fitness expert to many stars.
His biceps are the size of a small child.
Or bring the Fuego with Ashley Joi, who is a ball of energy that dishes out explosive cardio sequences guaranteed to get your heart rate skyrocketed.
Develop functional movement patterns with Da Rulk, a beast of a man who trains elite special forces like Navy Seals and hometown heroes like firefighters to be at the top of their mental and physical game.
Examples of functional movement patterns are bear crawls, pulses, hostages (whew those burn your legs), and side-to-side gorillas. You may know these as animal flows.
What about training with Chris’s personal stuntman?
Learn plyometrics and improve your mobility with Bobby Holland.
His moves are certainly difficult if you aren’t used to mountain climbers and lateral movements. But this man can do a thousand backflips. Ok, not literally, but check out Bobby’s Insta for some jaw-dropping superhuman gymnastic feats.
In Centr, you have an easy-to-follow daily planner that serves you the workouts, post-and pre-workout meals, meditations, and additional fitness tips to get the most out of the app.
Just like the workouts the meals can be customized to your preferences whether your gluten-free, vegan, or pescatarian.
Many of the culinary creations are whipped up by expert chef and fitness dynamo Dan Churchill who owns the restaurant Charley’s Street in NY and Australia.
He’s such a positive mate with loads of energy and passion!
You should listen to his podcast called The Epic Table
On his show Dan interviews athletes, entrepreneurs, and health professionals to understand how to extend your longevity and ramp up performance in all aspects of life.
Again, feel free to constantly switch up the apps to keep things interesting. This protocol is a template, not a doctrine, so modify it to fit your life.
One day throw on some NTC, the next day dive into your preset Centr schedule.
If you find another workout app that suits your needs then go for that.
Or go app free entirely and get it in the best way you see fit.
What if you can’t fit in a longer workout?
Everyone has a different schedule and you may have meetings in the morning or really need to shorten this for whatever reason.
As its name suggests, in less than 8 minutes you will work your core, open your hips, boost your heart rate and tone your booty with movements like wall sits, mountain climbers, lunges, and side planks.
If you have an android phone than search the App Store for 7 minute workout.
Exercise is a VERY potent drug, as anyone can attest that has pushed past their perceived mental and physical limitations with a tough workout.
Through the endorphin and dopamine release, it can elevate your mood silencing depression and managing stress, purge excess toxins from the body through sweating, strengthen the immune system and even assist with preventing memory loss.
One little-known mind-blowing benefit that exercise bestows is the growth and development of brain cells through the release of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF for short).
Scientists have literally dubbed this “miracle grow for the brain”
This is why it’s so easy to learn and recall information when you’re listening to an audiobook sweating up a storm lifting weights or running on the treadmill.
All that information will also move into longer-term memory storage as the BDNF is produced.
BDNF may also play a role in impairing the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (source)
WIP Part 4: Fuel The Warrior/Level Up The Warrior
The next logical step after a workout session is to replenish the minerals and glucose that were burned in the muscles and brain. And obviously rehydrate.
I suggest Himalayan pink salt added to water along with some lemon juice.
You could skip the rest of this section entirely some days going without eating for several hours.
Doing so puts your body into a fasted ketogenic state using your own fat stores for fuel.
The liver will produce its own supply of glucose if you wait long enough and push through the sensation of hunger.
Most people think of fasting as only something they would attempt if they desired to lose weight, but there’s a slew of benefits outside of slimming those extra pounds.
When you switch from a glucocentric (sugar dependent metabolic state) to an adiptocentric (fat adapted metabolic state)
This is so your body isn’t constantly wrestling with the effects of elevated blood sugar and your energy levels will stay regulated throughout the day.
You probably knew that last point, but what isn’t always mentioned is the increase in growth hormone (HGH) that comes about after a period of letting your body repair itself during a fasted state.
HGH diminishes as you age and assists with muscle growth, clearer skin, and slows down the aging process.
In addition, being in a fasted state with very little sugar intake can invoke autophagy, which is when your system cleans out old worn-out cells and cellular debris and grows new cells to take their place.
It’s also far less demanding and energy expending if your digestive system isn’t being forced to work double-time to break down the complex carbs from a full-course meal.
Try out different windows for fasting.
A common method is to eat what you want in an eight-hour time frame then fast for 16 hours.
This is a 8-16 window.
So, for example, you would stop eating your last meal at 7 and start your feeding window around noon the next day.
This may seem insane if you aren’t used to this, but you already are fasting for 8 hours,
It’s called sleep lol.
Just hold off for another 8.
Side note: your last main meal should be eaten two to three hours before bed so your brain isn’t diverting energy to your digestion.
Fasting doesn’t mean avoiding all food, but only eating the food that is extremely low in sugar and easily absorbed and converted into a working fuel source.
Coffee is ok. You want to brew up black coffee normally because it has almost no calories or sugar added.
You can still add healthy fats to your coffee (like coconut oil/ghee/mct oil) to turbo-charge your body’s ability to enter a ketogenic fat-adapted state. Although it will break your fast because of the added calories.
This is popularly called Bulletproof Coffee, a concept brought to the mainstream by Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey.
Dave came up with the idea after witnessing Sherpas in Nepal putting butter in their coffee.
The fats will actually slow the release of caffeine into the system, so you can ride the wave all day.
Please heed this advice :
Don’t drink coffee after 1 pm
Caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours. In other words it will stay in your system 6 hours after ingested.
It goes without saying but crappy sleep from too much caffeine means you can’t crush tomorrow at your best!
It’s worth mentioning that whether you purchase your coffee from Bulletproof or somewhere else just do your due-diligence to make sure it’s not blended and it’s single sourced which decreases the likelihood of mold toxins being present in the beans.
Mold toxins (mycotoxins) like any form of mold can cause brain fog, irritability, depression, and other undesirable ailments.
If you choose to still eat “breakfast”, opt for a healthy meal with quality fats, low sugar, moderate protein and a good amount of fiber and veggies.
As I pointed out above, eating this way is necessary so you can maintain your creative energy for the rest of your workday without crashing hard from the glycemic overload typical of the standard morning meal.
Ditch the pancakes and cereals which can give you that quick hit dopamine spiking sugar high.
The only caveat to this would be eating the Paleo or Keto pancake mixes from the awesome company Birch Benders that has cassava flour and monk fruit.
For actually healthy and uber delicious cereal go for anything by Magic Spoon which is keto-friendly and tastes just like your favorite childhood cereal like apple jacks or fruit loops but the loops are colored by beet juice and other natural dies, unlike the chemical paint that coats most commercial cereals on the market.
I want to mention that the healthy fats should come from high-quality animal sources like free-range eggs, pastured bacon, or grass-fed beef but if you’re vegan get it in with avocado (which also has over 6 grams of fiber) or some other means.
There should also be some antioxidants like blueberries, goji or cacao nibs (chocolate) and other fruits to energize your body and keep your brain young.
Choose turmeric added to your eggs and cinnamon added to your oatmeal, cottage cheese (because probiotics), tea or coffee which balances blood sugar.
Apples and some grains like quinoa, black rice (epic in an overnight porridge with fruit and coconut milk), which are high in fiber, also curb blood sugar.
And fiber is your guts favorite food.
If your gut is healthy your brain is healthy and your digestive system is moving right along as can be experienced from the subsequent trips to the potty.
Other high fiber sources are broccoli, beans, oats, and almonds.
On the side of your meal you could have a shake with some pea protein (again high in fiber to keep you satiated) or grass-fed whey which has a high CLA content compared to regular whey protein.
CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a fatty acid found in grass fed milk that can assist with weight management.
Grass fed whey also has a better nutrient profile overall compared to cows that eat feedlot shit all day.
Who knows what’s in that goop?
So to reiterate :
- low sugar
- moderate to high fiber
- probiotics (give you more good gut bacteria)
- Prebiotics (Feed your good gut bacteria)
- grass fed protein/milk
- quality fats (also oils such as olive oil in a dark jar)
Aside from the nutritional aspects of a delicious morning meal I strongly suggest you supplement with vitamins and minerals to assure that everything is running smoothly.
For energy support get some Vitamin B12. I currently supplement with 4 capsules of grass fed beef liver from Vital Proteins.
Yeah that sounds gross and believe me I would probably NEVER eat it by itself but organ meats like liver have the highest nutritional profile compared to pretty much anything else on earth!
It’s what your ancestors ate!
Liver has the most abundant amount of Vitamin K12 for joint, bone and skin health.
And of course Vitamin D for circadian regulation and immune support. Another fantastic mineral to support your immune system is zinc.
You can increase the absorption capability of Vitamin D by taking magnesium with it. Magnesium also helps muscle and nerve function and is one of the foundational building blocks of DNA.
There’s a multitude of tests available to determine if you’re deficient in a specific mineral. Just search google.
WIP Part 5: Calming Cleanse|Embrace The Chill
After feeding the ravenous beast within head to your bathroom and take a freezing cold shower.
Wait, what!? Sounds crazy, right? Well, hear me out…
As I talk about in this post, there’s a bunch of reasons why you should do this if you want to dominate your day.
It only takes 2 minutes,.
If your new to this start with a minute, or heck just 30 seconds.
Of course, don’t skimp on your regular process of lathering with soap and cleaning your body in warm water, but after a few minutes embrace the full on initial shock of the cold and stay there under the freezing cold water.
Here’s a few benefits of cold exposure.
Read the post for an in-depth explanation.
- Become more resilient to the challenges life throws at you
- Lose weight
- Regulate blood sugar
- Improve cardiovascular health
Ok, by now you should understand exactly what I mean when I say cold showers are better than a cup of coffee.
Bottom line, you will feel indomitable and more alert than ever before.
But please for the love of all things sacred put on some clothes because no one wants to see you naked except your lover.
After this it’s time to get out in the sunlight for at least 20 minutes or supplement with 7,000 IU of Vitamin D on the low end of the spectrum.
If you have a darker complexion and therefore higher levels of melanin, a pigment in the skin that makes it dark, you will need to take in even more vitamin D to reap the benefits.
Direct sunlight exposure should be the primary way you receive Vitamin D unless it’s the dead of winter where the sun wants to hide behind the clouds. Sneaky bastard.
And by direct that means no contacts or glasses so the UVB rays can go into your retina and jump start your body’s internal chronological cycle.
Don’t stare dead on at the sun either unless you want to burn your eyes until you look like scorpion from Mortal Kombat.
That’s the Warrior Ignition protocol in a nutshell. Change it up to suit your needs, but understand that the order of habits outlined link into each other in a way to grow momentum and get the ball rolling.
Some other habits you can tack on include:
- Reading 5-10 pages of a book
After this process, it’s a great idea to use the energy from your food and the shower to dive right into your major task of the day. Or set up an alternate version of the WIP like I show in the video above where you work on your #1 task right after meditating.
Which brings me to the next point.
Slice Up Your Tasks
Let’s rewind back to planning & preparing.
Once you have your most important cognitively demanding task written (what I call your core focus priority) then you should break it down even further into smaller sub-components that serve the main task.
And do the same thing with any other tasks.
It’s crucial these steps are well defined and specific otherwise you will work tirelessly for hours on end on a bunch of random components of the main task and you’ll look back with disdain knowing you could have whittled away at things that actually mattered.
An analogy I like to use is making a ham & cheese sandwich.
You wouldn’t go for the large thick tavern ham devoured during a giant holiday feast because that would be too much to wrap your mouth around when you have all the layers in place.
Nope, you would want the ham to be as thin as possible so you could squish the sandwich down while leaving plenty of room for anything else to complete your sandwich creation such as chips or pickles.
On that tasty note, I want to point out that events and things will happen in your day that are totally unexpected and out of your control.
Leaving extra wiggle room by knowing exactly what’s required to efficiently slay a task in a reasonable time frame.
This gives you the choice and ability to build a consistent schedule that you can return to every week with extra activities such as learning a new language, enjoying a movie-night with your spouse, attending toastmasters, developing your judo skills,etc.
In other words: finish what matters so you can enjoy what also fires you up!
It’s all about getting quick wins under your belt because your brain thrives on progress, and it is majorly motivated to repeat an action if it receives positive feedback from doing something.
So if what was initially difficult can in fact be conquered, then you essentially let your brain know that it’s doable for the future when you go through the same process again.
That means less resistance and more confidence.
You’ll feel superaccomplished when the sun sets knowing you are making huge strides towards your goals.
But narrowing down your tasks is only one piece of the productivity puzzle.
You must instill a sense of urgency and have a time frame and deadline to complete each subtask.
That’s where the incredible technique of Pomodoro comes into play.
Invented by Italian economist Francisco Parillo, The Pomodoro technique aka “tomato technique” consists of 25 minutes of a laser-focused attack on a task.
This is followed by 10-15 minutes of recovery time which may involve stretching, taking a walk outside, or whatever you need to be mentally renewed for the next set of tasks.
My preference is a process made popular by Cal Newport in his exceptional book Deep Work.
Cal recommends periods of 90 minutes of uninterrupted devout concentration on a single task.
This is “deep work” whereas less brain energy sucking tasks are known as “shallow work”.
That may seem like an awfully long time to be at your computer.
But it actually works with your brain’s timing of how long it can sustain focus before its starts seriously wandering and the demands are cognitively too much to handle and thus you give into distraction, and before you know it, the day is over with and you have nothing to show for it because you lost focus.
After the 90-minute session you could then wait another hour and a half to knock out less mentally stimulating tasks like cleaning your house or making dinner.
That way you don’t have that gnawing anxiety build up from the guilt of not tending to your own personal priorities, and you can just get back to what you care about.
As always, try this on for size and experiment with a timeframe that fits your schedule and mental energy.
Here are a few of the best Pomodoro applications available:
In this app the time counts down as a virtual tree is slowly planted. As more virtual trees are planted overtime, it will reward you with coins that can fund the planting of REAL trees in regions across Africa. Forest also functions as a website blocker so you stay focused on the task at hand.
Tragically your little tree will die if you access blocked sites during a planting session or use your phone.
Forest is also available as a chrome extension and is cross device compatible so no matter what you’re using you can plant your trees and get to work.
This is a unique app that has a multitude of HQ soundscapes to help you focus. Some of these sounds are weird, like a cat’s purring, soup stewing, a woodpecker pecking, the sounds of people playing tennis or coffee beans being ground.
Still, the rhythmic qualities of these sounds are enough to bring you into the zone of creative output.
Tide fM comes as a chrome extension with limited sounds available.
But the mobile app really shines because it has WAY more sounds and even meditation tracks to help you be more productive, relieve stress, and overcome addictions, among others.
Here’s a few of my favorite sounds.
- Bamboo (sounds of rain pattering down in a bamboo forest. Very calming but also focus inducing)
- Roof (also in the chrome extension)
- Forest (happy chirping of birds on a bright sunny day)
- Cafe (sometimes being auditorially in a high energy environment with chatter is stimulating)
I truly love the option in Tide’s focus mode that requires you to flip your phone screen down before the sounds and timer start. This prevents you from checking your phone during a focus session of deep work.
The 5 Second Rule
Nope, this isn’t the often debated idea that you have just five seconds to pick up your food from the ground before nasty germs chew away at it. Or was that the 10-second rule?
Anyway, I digress…
This rule has the ability to actually change your life.
Before her breakthrough success Mel was under immense financial duress.
This was after a failed media career along with the 7 chain pizza business of her husband Chris that started to quickly go under.
Bills began showing up in her mail and every time she picked up the phone it was bound to be a creditor.
She did what most would do in this dire situation : She disconnected her phone and ignored her responsibilities.
Every morning she layed in bed filled with dread and rejected starting her day and doing something about her derailed existence.
And she constantly smashed that evil snooze button, giving in to the temptation to wrap herself in comfort under the warm bliss of the sheets.
As a result, she missed out on taking her daughters to school and really being available for her family.
One day Mel decided that enough was enough.
Recalling the rocket launch she saw on TV the night before she yelled out 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 before literally BLASTING out of bed in a way that would make Elon Musk drop his jaw.
Miraculously, this simple concept of 5-4-3-2-1 worked!
Absolutely flabbergasted, Mel started researching WHY this simple phrase led her to take back control of her life and be the mother for her daughters when they needed her most.
And then kick-start a massively successful and purpose driven career as an inspiration for people all over the world from all walks of life.
It turns out that The 5 Second Rule is a form of meta-cognition, which is a technique to outsmart your brain.
It’s also a “starting ritual” that can be linked to any habit you want to break or develop, as long as you preface the action of acting on that habit with 5-4-3-2-1.
Note that counting FORWARD (1-2-3-4-5) doesn’t work.
Examples are when you are about to work on a challenging project, jump out of a plane (yikes), approach a wild animal, ask someone on a date, etc. Or take on that grueling HIIT workout.
As soon as you anticipate taking the plunge into the unknown, your limbic system, the most ancient and primal part of your brain freaks out.
This alerts the amygdala the brain’s fear response center that something is about to happen that it’s not ok with. Danger Will Robinson.
In these first few seconds the alarm bells ring and the negative voices in your mind whisper words of doubt and coerce you into staying safe and not to venture out into uncharted waters that can ultimately grow and develop you into a more capable human being.
That’s right, it only takes five seconds for your brain to stop you from taking action!
But here’s the thing, The 5 Second Rule completely negates this response and allows you to harness the time normally spent in fear and uncertainty and instead transform it into a moment of swift action taking.
As you count backward from 5 and land on 1 the limbic system actually shuts off for a brief second and afterward the prefrontal cortex (aka the conscious decision-making center of your brain) assumes control overriding your base instincts and the urges to withdraw and play it safe.
Here’s the definition of the rule in Mel’s own words…
“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and move or your brain will stop you.”
Or in the words of Nike: Just Do It!
Seriously, just do something that moves you towards your goals at that moment.
But don’t wait longer than 5 seconds or your limbic system will stop you.
- 5-4-3-2-1 jump back into a plank for those rounds of burpees
- 5-4-3-2-1 open your mouth and say something nice to that attractive person!
- 5-4-3-2-1 start typing on the keyboard right after you countdown for that book chapter that’s been mulling in your head.
This is just one tool in your mental arsenal you can use to take back your day and stay on course.
That’s it legend!
Let me know if anything I shared in this post helped you in the comments below! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts (;