Aug 082012
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Building a Mentally Ku body, starts first thing in the morning. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you check out my last post, Join My New Project; Build a Ku Body.

I’ve probably have read more books in the past 2 years than I did in my whole life.  I was told I have an obsession for knowledge.  True and the great thing is that I get to share it with all of you. One of the books I cam across was by read Laura Vanderkam’s ebook, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.

This simple ebook, I purchased for only $3, solidified why I love mornings and why I think everyone should enjoy them. I see the morning sunrise as a natural high.  I’m that guy who starts singing when I wake up. I thought about the successful people I know and they too are also morning people.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

My dad has achieved a lot in his life.  He’s up by 5:30am; watering the plants, raking up leaves, taking the dogs for a walk, letting our chickens out of the coop, and grabbing eggs if any.  Then he enjoys a nice breakfast with my mom, takes a shower, and heads to work. My mom is very similar too, these days she picks the hundreds of pakalana flowers that bloom on her trellis and makes leis to give people to give them a brighter day.  Yea, my mom is cool.

What Can I do in the Morning?

Vanderkam gives 5 suggestions on how you too can take advantage of your mornings and start a habit towards accomplish your goals and a productive day:

1.  Track Your Time

How are you spending your time? Do you find yourself spending  a lot of time in front of the tv? What do you do during your nights?

I know a lot of people who hate mornings because they feel so rushed to get ready for work, eat something, and then head out the door because they are running late. And most of the times they forgot something which makes their morning even more frustrating.

I have the answer for you.  Go to sleep earlier.

Do you really need to stay up to watch the “Everybody Loves Raymond Marathon” on TBS? I’m pretty sure that show will be on re-run forever.  Yes, I’m a fan of that show.

2. Picture the Perfect Morning

Seriously.  What is your perfect morning?

Like my dad, I have a morning routine that I’ve added and taken away from off and on.  Before I take my dog, Kona, outside to do his business and walk around the apartment complex once, I put on 2 cups of coffee.  Then I feed him and my two cats, Milo and Oli, who have also taught me a few things about life itself too. You can see what some are in my earlier post. While they are enjoying their breakfast, I start up my breakfast of an omelette, oatmeal, and two cups of coffee.  Breakfast of champions. And, I’ll either listen to an audiobook or podcast, or read a book while cooking and eating.  Lately my favorite podcasts are about inspiration and leadership.  Podcasts, have become my new obsession.  Maybe down the line, I’ll start my own.

I love breakfast

Vanderkam gives other ideas:

For personal growth:

  • Read through a religious text: Sacred texts can teach us about human nature and history, even if they’re not from a religion you subscribe to. If they are, pray or meditate and get to know your beliefs in a deeper way.
  • Train for something big: Aiming to complete a half-marathon, a triathlon, or a long bike ride will keep you inspired as you take your fitness to the next level.
  • Do art projects with your kids:. Mornings don’t have to be a death march out the door. Enjoy your time with your little ones at a time of day when you all have more patience.

For professional growth:

  • Strategize: In an age of constant connectivity, people complain of having no time to think. Use your mornings to picture what you want your career and organization to look like in the future.
  • Read articles in professional journals: Benefit from other people’s research and strategic thinking, and gain new insights into your field.
  • Take an online class: If a job or career change is in your future, a self-paced class can keep your skills sharp.

3.  Think Through the Logistics

Don't be that guy

Everyone has the afternoon slump right around 3PM when you can’t wait to head home. By the time you are finally home, you don’t feel like doing anything.  You are drained and just want to be left alone. The things that you want to do are put to the side and saved for another day and then soon forgotten.

Now that you have thought about what sort of things you could do in the mornings it’s time to set a plan.  Figure out how much time you need in the morning to do what you want and what time you should go to bed to get enough sleep.

Want to make it easier? Here are few examples;

-Put your shoes next to your bed if you choose to start running in the morning.
-Place your “opportunity” clock, not alarm clock, across the room with a happier soothing sound rather than a disturbing and irritating beep. I prefer a angelic harp playing.  Yes, “opportunity” clock.  Intrigued? I’ll talk about Mr. Zig Ziglar another time.
- Set your scrapbooking or knitting equipment next to the bed.
-Find a partner that will meet you at the gym in the morning before work so you can hold each other accountable.

Leave no room for excuses.  We come up with great excuses for ourselves:

-  I can run after work
-  I don’t have the right decorations for my scrapbook page
-  I’ll wake up early tomorrow
-  I had a long night and a few too many drinks.

That’s why you have a plan ready that is written down so you can refer to it often.  Do this, and you will be holding yourself accountable.

4.  Make it a Habit

This plan isn’t going to happen over night.  It’s a process.  Starting something new that is out of your normal routine will take time to turn it into a habit.  It’s exactly like when people get pumped up to lose weight for their New Year’s resolution and go to the gym everyday for 2 hours.  By the third week, they are tired and don’t see exactly what they want to see.  It takes work to achieve what you REALLY want.  It’s not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.

Vanderkam gives her 5 step approach to making a new habit:

1.  Start slowly: Go to bed and wake up fifteen minutes earlier for a few days until this new schedule seems do-able.
2.  Monitor your energy: Building a new habit takes effort, so take care of yourself while you’re trying. Eat right, eat enough, and surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you succeed.
3.  Choose one new habit at a time to introduce: If you want to run, pray,and write in a journal, choose one of these and make it a habit before adding another.
4.  Chart your progress:Habits take weeks to establish, so keep track of how you’re doing for at least thirty days. Once skipping a session feels like you forgot something–like forgetting to brush your teeth–you can take your ritual up a notch.
5.  Feel free to use bribery:Eventually habits produce their own motivation, but until then, external motivations like promising yourself concert tickets can keep you moving forward. And keep in mind that your morning rituals shouldn’t be of the self-flagellation variety. Choose things you enjoy: your before-breakfast ritual has the potential to become your favorite part of the day.

Simple right? Now there’s no excuse not knowing how to approach your new morning habit.

5.  Tune up as Necessary

Vanderkam mentions that you don’t need to stick to the same rituals forever.  If something isn’t working for you, change it up and put in something else you feel will help you.  Just make sure it’s something meaningful that you actually want to accomplish.

There is no reason for the excuse you didn’t have enough time, you can always wake up earlier.  You only have so much willpower and in the morning is when you have the most.  The Art of Manliness explains willpower like this:

…when we talked about how willpower is like a muscle, and that just like a muscle, you have to exhaust it in the short-term in order to build its strength in the long-term? When you work to change a habit, you deplete your willpower in the struggle, but over time, the strength of your willpower muscle increases from these exercises, making you better able to take on future tasks.

Your willpower is strengthened not only by tackling big goals, but also by doing anything that gets your brain out of its comfort zone

The key thing from this are BIG GOALS.  Don’t be afraid of making big goals because you think people look at you like you are crazy.  Write them down post and post them where you can see.  I give you 4 reasons why you should write them down, here.

If that’s what you want then you deserve it.

Closing Thoughts

I think about Laura Vanderkam’s ebook, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, every now and then especially when I need a reminder.

Presently this is my morning to do list – besides the obvious ones like brushing my teeth, although some may need to make it a new habit;

- Take my dog, Kona, on a walk around the apartment complex
- Feed him and my two cats
- Water my plants on my patio
- Listen to an inspirational podcast or audiobook.
- Cook a healthy breakfast and brew my coffee
- Work on strategies and ideas for improving my blog and making it better for you.  Any suggestions are welcomed and greatly appreciated.
-  Listen to Hawaiian music
-  *Foam Roll and work on my Mobility* – this is the newest habit and have been inconsistent but it is definitely something I need to do to build a physically Ku Body.

What do you plan on doing in the morning? Please share in the comments below, that would be awesome.  Also, feel free to subscribe to my blog in the right side bar to keep up to date with the journey.  Or you can easily follow me on my Facebook page.

Aloha, Mahalo, A hui hou!

Disclosure: Just to be honest, the link to Laura Vanderkam’s ebook, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, for $3 is an affiliate link that will earn a commission if you purchase it.   Of course I highly recommend you get your own copy so that you can have a more in depth look at what Vanderkam’s suggestions and research she has done on this top. If you do decide to purchase, I greatly appreciate it and believe this book will give you a better perspective on how to attack the mornings. Aloha

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