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Use Your Mornings Well Pt 2

Lesson 4 from: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Laura Vanderkam

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Lesson Info

4. Use Your Mornings Well Pt 2

Lesson Info

Use Your Mornings Well Pt 2

And finally realized that we have a tendency to believe our own excuses, particularly if they're good ones. So, you know, maybe I'm thinking I can't exercise in the morning because I'm often the only adult there, and I can't exactly leave my three small children to go for a run, but you know, before you give up before you give up, try a little experiment pretend you had all the money in the world and think about all the different ways that you could solve this problem, and you'll soon start to see that there are lots of ways involving various levels of expense and degree of difficulty. So let's, think about mine. I'm the only person there. I'm the only adult there I've got three smoke is I want to exercise between starting about six. Thirty what could I do? Anyone got any ideas for me? If the microphone pass that around? So what? What was what was your idea for how I could still exercise in the morning exercise at home on a treadmill? I could do that. I could get a treadmill in my base...

ment. I could go downstairs and work out there. Anything else I could do baby sitter or or daycare nannies any again we have all the money in the world right? I could have a slew of living nannies in the scenario as well have a chef personal chef personal shoppers making breakfast for me too so that's a that's a nice vision of my morning reality uh yeah, that could work there's there's you know you'll start think of all kinds of different things and at first let go of like the idea that this is crazy and stupid and sounds nuts right? Like I could get a stroller that fits to kids and have the six year old run with me and put the four year old and two year old and that sounds like it be a bit maddening but I could do it right that would be an option I couldn't go to a gym that has childcare right? I could get up and go to a gym that house child care early in the morning that's something I could do so you'll start to see that there are lots of different ways that you could solve this problem and some may be more doable than others some may be cheaper than others more feasible but look broadly think about all the solutions and then see if one would maybe work for you so we have a plan here we have our plan for the morning and then step for is to build the habit well this is kind of tough right there is a lot of new writing out there on habits now and how we develop them and how they're really tough to change. People have read charles, do x book the power of habit know that there's a certain structure of things that creates a habit so you have a trigger, then you do the habit, and then you have a reward. And so the classic morning habit is brushing your teeth. Most of us don't really sit there and argue with ourselves in front of the sink every morning about whether we wish to brush or don't wish to brush. We simply do it. It's a morning habit you have the trigger is that your teeth feel kind of yucky, you brush and then they feel minty and clean afterwards, that is your reward. So whatever your morning plan is, you need a trigger to make yourself do it, to do the habit, and then you need a reward. So let's, think about what some triggers would be for some of the habits we were talking about. So you want to get up and walk with your dogs? What would be a trigger that would remind yourself when you wake up in the morning that like, oh, yeah, I need to get up and go walk with my dogs, what would remind you to do that? Well, I think for me, I would have had have my clothes out and ready to jump into, like my shoes, where I could find both of them at the same time, you know, instead of so I can't find my shoes, you know? So I'm not gonna go. Yeah, yeah. So having just literally ready to jump into and go before I start. Anything else? Okay. So having your clothes put out in front of you ready to go to start that habit, that would be a good trigger, or anyone wants to exercise in the morning, right? Put your exercise clothes out there, got long hair right down to the ponytail holder. All right, don't be flummoxed and your attempts to get out the door by the fact that you can't find your ponytail holder and have it right there. So that's a trigger. Or maybe we have maybe we have a different sort of morning habits, not not exercise. If you wanted to write in the morning, for instance, you wanted to get up and work on your novel. What could be a trigger? What could be a trigger that would get you to do that? Yeah, I mean, just having your paper and pen right by your bed or whatever it is that you wanted do you have it ready? Have it ready and have it right there, and maybe we could even get it beyond just having a pen and paper right there. We even have, like, a writing prompt, right? That we've chosen one the night before. We have a book of writing props and there's one for this day, you know that this day has this prompt, and so you're right there. It's the trigger it's ready to go. So these are some good ways to to have the triggers, and then then we need our rewards. Who rewards? Because here's the thing, eventually, the reward of your new habit will hopefully be intrinsic to the habit itself. I exercise makes you feel better, makes you have more energy. Maybe your clothes start fitting better all sorts of great things or if you're writing a novel like, eventually start really liking your characters and getting in there and you want to spend more time with them, you want to get up and do it. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily happen on day one, right? So at the beginning, we need some sort of maybe extrinsic award rewards, not the intrinsic one. So let's, talk bribery. That is actually what I said teoh minister, another minister who kept a time log for me and he was doing good with getting his sermon. Writing done. He wanted to work on lots of writing projects. He was very good about getting a sermon written because it had to happen. By sunday morning, he had to have something to get up there in the pulpit with on sunday morning, but he didn't have that same urgency for other things. So he said, well, you're gonna get up in the morning and do it. What would drive yourself out of bed? And it turned out for him it was having the smell of freshly brew good coffee. I had a lot of us. We like that we like that reward so he would actually set up a coffee maker in his bedroom program it for the time that he wants to get up. So it's right there that is bribery or silly as it may sound, to reward yourself for a morning workout with a doughnut. Like if that's what it takes to get you to do the work out. Maybe you should take that as the reward you can always. Develop a different habit later of a healthier breakfast. But maybe it's worth the doughnut in the beginning. So let's, talk some bribes here. What are some bribes we could dio yes, carrie willard. She says I block every morning, but my brain is sleepy, so I have to have that outline ready rewards trader joe's chris are traded jews. Christiane's nice, nice. That is a wonderful reward. Any others we can think of any others people use eso I am going to admit something that was going to be a slightly embarrassing um, I will sometimes go several days without showering. All right, what happens to those of us who are self employed? I know, I know. So I'm thinking if I do my you in the morning and then I have to shower because I've actually done some exercise getting special body wash, then I haven't bought for a while because I've not houston I needed and, like, get myself back into actually do wonderful. That is a great bribes, a special body wash that would be great. So these air good, and as we're talking about habits here, I do want to talk just a little bit about a bad habit that many of us have in the morning, and that is the snooze button habit the snooze button habit fess up how many people in here press news in the last week? Anyone? Anyone alright, it happens. I really think if we can conquer the snooze button habit, our lives will improve in many ways, so for starters, you'll act really be more rested don't set your alarm for the time that you intend you were going to get up, but you're not really gonna get up said it for the time you're actually going to get up and enjoy every minute of your sleep until then, sleep is great and the quality of sleep you'll get in the nine minute increments instead of just sleeping straight through is ridiculously low. Megan sleep cycles probably at least ninety minutes and there's a quote for have here from a sleep doctor who was I thought yet it's probably bad idea, but I went and asked a sleep doctor just to be sure, he said, hitting the snooze button is in fact bad for sleep and can leave you groggy here and more tired than initially getting out of bed after the first alarm. Instead of achieving an additional nine minutes of rest ful deep sleep, our body's endured nine minutes of light sleep, so we're enduring it instead of enjoying it yeah, a little more miserable than sleeping in nine minute increments, so but beyond a sleep problem beyond the fact that our sleeps going to crappy during that time the snooze button represents a battle you're fighting with yourself each morning so remember that we talked about willpower and how we haven't extremely limited supply right if it's we use it on one task it is less available for other tasks so using it toe argue with yourself over what time you're going to wake up amounts toe wasting your discipline and focus on something that does not matter the question of whether to hits news or not is not nearly as important as well should I invest in this new line of business it is not nearly as important as how can I help my teenager deal with a bully at school right? You want your energy and focus and willpower on those important things you don't want to use it up before you have even gotten out of bed fighting with yourself so how do we conquer the snooze button how do we conquer it? Well first you get enough sleep nothing I have talked about here today should encourage anyone to skimp on sleep go to bed earlier if you are up late make the decision the night before toh wake up later rather than in the morning go ahead and make that decision the night before say it's not reasonable for me to get up at this time I'm going to go ahead and set my alarm later to make that decision the night before so you don't have to battle with yourself in the morning second play offense in session one we talked about playing offense with our lives blocking in the important and meaningful stuff first and I really discovered that, you know, honestly humans do not do well long term with suffering like long term, you are not going to get out of bed for something you don't want to d'oh, right? We're not going to get out of bed regularly for anything that we don't want to do. You might get out of bed for a few days for it, but long term it just is it going to happen so plan a morning routine that makes you excited to get out of bed that makes you want to get up and get out of bed. One woman told me that she has she likes to read in the morning, right? We were talking about cheryl that this was somebody else's on my block was telling me that she likes to get up in the morning and read, and so she has a book that she really wants to read and she can only read it in the mornings so she can get up and read for a few minutes and if for no other reason than to find out what happens next, she is getting up in the morning and reading that book and third, the third approach, of course, is to play defense so we can play offense and planning a great morning retain we can also play defense, you can put your alarm clock across the room s so you have to get up to go turn it off and by the time you're off, yeah, I may as well stay up right participants smart zone that says he does that very thing yeah alarm clock in the kitchen and they can't get up and walk to the case against walked to the kitchen and I don't know if he's living by himself e everyone else, the house wake up ahead as that would be probably I have seen alarm sounds like it buzzes under your pillow or something, so you don't necessarily wake up anyone who is in bed with you if you have different times that you're getting up or even better. Another person told me that she got a two dollar alarm clock and I keep that doesn't even have a snooze button. I guess that doesn't work right, you know? So if she's going to get up, she has to get up s o you know, if you want to be successful, don't make failing an easy option that's that's a good thing to think about in life, so finally, step five is to tune up as needed so life changes and morning routines need to change, too. So maybe your kid starts a different school. You know, you have to shift up your morning routine now because of that. Maybe it's too dark and cold to run outside that's not going to be part of your morning routine. Maybe your spouse has a job requiring lots of travel. That's a new job. And so he or she can't cover for you anymore in the morning. Maybe you get a new job with different hours, right? That could be a reason that you have to shift up your morning routine. There are lots of reasons you might need to change your morning routine and that's. Okay, so just check in every few months, see what's working with your life. See what's not working with your life and see what you can do. But I do know that these morning hours are available to all of us if we choose to use them. And you know, I am not a morning person. And I really cringe about thinking about getting up at five. Thirty or even six. That shows you how much of a wimp I am. But you know, if I think about it, I am rarely doing much of consequence after about ten thirty at night. I could go to bed if I wanted to, I just don't, I could go to bed and I could get up at five thirty or six in the morning and do whatever I think I'm not spending enough time on now. Those are ours is that are available to all of us if we choose to use them. The early morning hours are really hopeful hours, right? They set the tone for the rest of the day during that time, we can bring our best selves to bear on whatever problems we're trying to solve, and I really think that that is what the most successful people know, so I'd love to spend the last few minutes we have here talking through people's morning logistical challenges and any questions people might have. Do you have a few questions or into the chat rooms? Sesay three says any suggestions for someone who has a full time job that starts at five a m? So it's a huge challenge to even get to work on time with out that extra puttering time. I'm a little late on this question, he says, but he really wants, you know, yeah s so that is obviously going to be an issue if you have a job that's that's requiring you to be up at five o'clock in the morning, I think you would need to be so they're very careful about how you're spending that first bit of time at work, so I'm not sure that what he needs to do at five a m when he gets to his work if it's prescribed for him or if there's things that he can choose to focus on within that first hour of work but whatever it is to make sure he's doing something that he finds energizing that he finds meaningful and important in that first hour of his work on dh then to make sure that he is able to go to bed at a reasonable time at night and it's hard because you know, if you're waking up at five a m you're going to have to go to bed at like ten o'clock at night and just to get enough sleep and so you might have to make choices based on that, you might say, well, what is it that I would be up late doing that I want to do? And can I find other spots for that in my life? Maybe it's that you need downtime? Tio watch tv you really have a couple of favorite shows you want to watch? Well, you say could I tivo those and hopefully if he's getting to work at five a m he's home by maybe three p m or so and so he could maybe spend an hour decompressing by doing that right, writing that watching those shows that he would normally be tempted to watch late at night do that in the afternoon, so he has a the compression times we can still get to bed on time, igor said wants to know if you have advice for those of us who have spouses who are night owls and don't allow us to get the time or sleep we need well, is that person forcing you to stay awake? I guess that would be my first question if your night owl spouses is forcing you to stay up with him or her, because normally that person isn't I mean, sometimes if you've got a night I will spell is they actually kind of want to do their own thing late at night, right? They have their own projects that they want to work on, which means that they don't necessarily care if you go to bed at an earlier time. Now, obviously, there maybe couple activities that people go to bed at the same time for in order to take care of, but that doesn't only have to happen at night. There are often other times that people can do so even if you are not going to bed at the same time as your spouse or partner. Think about other times that that might work for you guys to have those things happen, so you don't have to go to bed at the same time a cz the person you're sharing a bed with, trying to set a sort of quiet alarm c to wake the person up. They also chimed in with a great question. She says that she wakes up at four thirty a m every day and starts work at six a m but she needs an hour just to get to work and she's always failing tired she's not able to drink coffee so she's looking for an alternative to help her wake up because she's just very, very groggy. Well, so there's been some interesting research on this in terms of what gives us energy and caffeine? Yes gives us a lot of energy, right? That's? Why? Most of us drink it in the morning, but there are other things that are also energizing that we can do physical activity is a big one and she doesn't want oh, wake up that earlier, and she certainly doesn't want to get up earlier, but if she just does five minutes of jumping jacks skipping rope, brisk walking something like that, just find the ten minutes can boost your energy for hours. And that's, not just me saying that there's there's, interesting research charting people's energy levels through the day and a short micro burst of activity like that can boost your energy for an hour. Another thing that can boost your energy is cut connecting with the loved one so potentially no one else wants to be up with her for thirty in the morning. But if there's something that would be energizing in that sense that she would she would want to do like if it's listen, tio uh, audio clip of a loved one, you know, saying something to her like good morning, I hope you're having a wonderful day get someone she loves to record that for her, that could be a way to wake up to have more energy in the morning. Great, great thank you way have any other questions? But our morning routines and what we're doing with our time? Yes, we got there for me so it's eating breakfast, which is, like really difficult for me, so I've brought some protein drinks and I also have bought this nutella spread, so I've been doing that so it's it's working so far for about a month, but that's the habit I'm trying tio, you know, I don't ski but every morning, but I don't really like breakfast yet so it's kind of really is difficult well, there really is no rule that you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast so if there's how this any sort of food that you can tolerate in the morning it doesn't have to be bacon and eggs right? It doesn't have to be serial like some people can eat more savory thing in the morning they can't eat sweet things right? So that's something that they could they could do I mean you could have a sandwich in the morning right in butter and jelly sandwich it doesn't have to be breakfast food it's more important about just having some sort of you know glucose to fuel the brain and in the morning when you when you wake up but yeah whatever you want there's there's no rule about what it has to be in orderto but that's great that what what's your trigger I'm curious you doing trigger and reward tio build your new habit that then the tele spread is pretty good so that's true it is its own reward I'm trying to transition away from that but I kind of have to build one thing at a time so and I'm also trying to exercise the morning so I usually just do tuesdays and thursdays from six to eight wonderful and so I if I could move that to the mornings I feel like I have you know, more energy but yeah kind of in two hours on tuesdays and well that I mean, if you could exercise for hours a week, that will be better. They're about ninety nine percent of other people's I do friday's too, so I guess well, then we're good. We're perfect. Yes, I listen to during photo week, eric really creative lives a soup rice. I had this workshop and she said, this one thing that really hit with me, it was if you I want to do something, you have to have a, you know, value to it, and so I don't really value working out, even though I know it's a good thing for me to do and that's why? And it like just kind of staying in my you know, that hill is the rest of the day, but actually getting to the gym, and I downloaded my creative life videos on to my ipad and saying I could put my headphones on and watch that I really value lifelong learning it so I make myself sit on the bike. We'll I'm watching the video so I can kind of two things the at the same time instead of that's a wonderful way to figure out you figured out how to bribe yourself, right, and in order to get your new habit built and but I like what you're saying that you need the value for why you're doing something in order to make it a long term sustainable habit I mean we'll do anything for a couple of days because someone told her what but to make it a long term thing we really have to buy into it and you know there's there's different ways tio think about that sometimes you know we just haven't found the right thing yet right so it may be that we hate running but we take a zumba class and like my life has been changed right? You don't like one kind of exercise but you love something else and so then do that something else it doesn't have to be running it doesn't have to be if if you take a do a pallotti's dvd and you hate it don't do that choose something else like the point is just to get moving and you know it is the rare person who could not find some form of physical activity that would make them happier than other forms of physical activity so I tell people try different things you ask people what do you like you know you seem a lot like me what do you like to do in the morning and you might come up with interesting ideas um well we can give you a couple more questions like we're getting what we do one or two more short short um let's see here well in motion says if you stay up late you should wake up late according to what we talked about earlier he says I haven't eternal alarm clock that always waking up seven, seven thirty do you have any advice for that so that he can get his proper sleep since he is a night out? So yeah hey, I mean, keep track of your time one of the reason to keep track of your time if you want to see how much sleep you do in fact need and I always say, well, I need my eight hours of sleep and having kept track of my time for a week, I know that's not actually true I need about seven and a half hours, right? And so the nights that I am in fact, trying to get eight hours I'm lying there awake, especially if I'm not sleep deprived from the rest of the week and I now realize that I'm like, oh, well, you know, here I feeling all good about myself that I've gotten myself into bed at ten thirty and yet I'm lying here awake until eleven thirty it's like well, because it's actually I don't need that much sleep I don't need this much sleep as I thought I did so keep track of your time and figure out what that number is for you and see if you can get within, you know, ten to fifteen minutes of that amount of time most days, so if you can build an evening routine that gets you into bed at that certain time often the problem for night owls is that we're doing things in the evening that arm or energizing instead of doing things that are winding us down so certainly limiting the caffeine after after work, I try not to drink coffee after ten a m I I even if I have a glass in the afternoon, if something caffeinated, I could be a plate um trying to turn off the screens at least half an hour before you go to bed so you have time to wind down instead of having that bright blue light waking you up and interfering with your sleep patterns. Many people find that reading for the last few minutes before bed is also something that can help you relax. So come up with things that give you the sense that it's time to start winding down and try and build those into an evening routine. But then don't overestimate how much sleep you need either I want to say that I am a convert I you have crossed over to lark, so decide now I think that idea of really using your willpower in the best possible way is going to cure me of micronics news but pressing which yeah, it's bad, it's bad, so can you talk to us a little bit about what's going to happen when we get back from break I can, so our next session is going to cover how we spend our weekends, so we're going to talk about time management and weekends and hopefully we will use our time together to create some really awesome and restorative weekends that will help us hit monday ready to go, I want to show you some quotes from the internet, people are loving the content, jr fence said. Seizing the mornings is the best advice so far when I would go when I would go out for a run at five a m I got it done if I roll out of bed at seven thirty didn't happen, onda mira is saying awesome webinar today. It's, so easy to lose focus. So remember, nurture your career, nurture your relationships, nurture yourself, that's. Exactly. If you keep those phrases in mind, you will not go wrong. Absolutely. Well, we are seeing a lot of gratitude for laura in the chat rooms, and I know we're all feeling it here in the studio. If you would like to express your gratitude as well, we do have a thank you card up for her on our facebook page. If you just go to our facebook page and look for laura's picture, you can go ahead and let her know exactly what this course has meant to you. And I mean, I think the biggest thing we're all pulling from this is while these air, very simple, almost like, wow, why didn't I think of that myself? But laura didn't think of it for us, which is terrific bit. So we've talked about this morning madness and how to really recreate our mornings to make the rest of our day flow and the way that will really help us to turn our life's in a direction that we want them to go.

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Ratings and Reviews


Listening to the free on-air version. She's got a good presentation style - nice to get someone who doesn't have the "ums" and "uhs" every other sentence. She's engaging but also delivers good content. It's not the same old time management stuff: she's got realistic ideas and innovative suggestions. I like the way she refers to published research, too.

vol leo

This class was amazing! A must for anyone that's at a stand still in life! Awesome!


This is a really useful class. It's pretty involved but you walk away with a useful plan for how to more effectively start your day.

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