Over the last few years, I have interviewed more than a hundred people to learn first-hand what the difference is between stuck people and people who are kicking ass in life.

I was curious.

What were the behavioural differences in people who are struggling with depression and people who are highly successful and happy?

In my pursuit of finding the missing puzzle pieces to this riddle, I started my own little investigation.

I went to psychiatric facilities to find out which habits may ultimately contribute to unhappiness and isolation, only to then cross-compare it with the habits, routines, and tactics that high achievers and happy people use.

The goal was to come up with a list of habits and commonalities that you and I can use to hack our way to happiness, and habits and patterns to stay away from because they make us weak and unhappy.

I firmly believe that habits can either make or break us and that the culmination of our routines, habits, and behaviours shape who we are as a person.

But where do you start investigating?

Inspired by Tim Ferris’ investigation of morning rituals of global Icons, I thought that I should start at the start of the day: the morning.

So, I started by asking people: What do the first 60 minutes of your day look like?

Exercise: I want you to take second off your phone, and grab a piece of paper and write for 2 mins what your morning routine actually looks like.

What I observed was that there seems to be a strong correlation between mornings routines and performance, or to be more precise, the lack of a morning routine seems to highly contribute to depression and ineffectiveness and sucking ass in life.

At the beginning of my investigation, I was clearly on the left side of the kicking ass spectrum.  The only thing I was world-class at was to fail spectacularly.  It was bad.  I felt like King Midas’ retarded brother who could turn everything to shit with a touch of his finger.

My morning routine was basically accidental or even non-existent.  I got up at a random hour, had some coffee, ate some pizza leftovers, and scrolled a little bit on Facebook, and then creeped out of my bed towards my university where I continued to sleep during my lectures.  A bit like the movie Limitless before Bradley Cooper discovered his wonder drug NZT.

A Custom Made Morning — Translate Needs Into Habits

Through my investigation of high achievers and their morning habits, I spotted glaring behavioural differences to my own morning behaviour.

Along the way, I found habits that I was able to incorporate into my own morning, and I adjusted my start of the day according to my own true needs.

I created a routine.  My own routine.  Finely adjusted towards my personal needs.  I highly recommend that you do this also.

No matter how much of a free spirit you are, routines are a necessity.

Before I show you my favourite 7 Morning Habits For Highly Effective People, I want to emphasise one more point.

What is an outcome that you desire at the moment?  What is missing in your life?

I want you to introspect yourself and translate your personal needs and goals into behaviours.  Into habits.

Maybe you want to be healthier.  Then one of your new morning habits could be that you eat an apple instead of a croissant in the morning.

Maybe you desire the outcome of having a sexy beach body, then you could start implementing a morning workout routine.

Maybe you desire the outcome of being less anxious throughout the day, then you could meditate in the morning to be more relaxed.

I think you catch my drift.

The goal of this article is to bring you one step closer to discovering behaviour psychology as your own superpower, which will enable you to add or delete behaviours at will.

Undesired Outcomes Are An Indicator Of The Existence Of Bad Habits

I firmly believe that the way we are right now, and the way we feel right now is also a product of our periodical behaviour.  Our daily habits.

So, if we are experiencing undesired outcomes and emotions, we can reverse engineer our psychology, behaviour, and our environment by deducting our outcomes and translating them back into habits.

Exercise: Write down on a piece of paper what 20% of your habits are that are responsible for 80% of your undesired outcomes?

So, if you are sucking ass at something that is great news!

It is an indicator that you have bad habits somewhere that sabotage your success.

Evaluate your own pattern of habits and isolate the habits that are giving you these results.

Exercise: Imagine you are meeting a behaviour wizard, and he has a magic psychology wand that can delete any undesired behaviours and habits that you have, which one would you choose?

It is not enough to plant new habits; you must also know which of your recurring behaviour is responsible for your undesired results.

Do not only treat your symptoms, pull out the roots.

If you are fat, isolate the habits that, in your opinion, are most responsible for your beer belly.

This can be, for example, that you cannot stop yourself from snacking ice-cream in the middle of the night when nobody is watching.

Another example would be that you have the undesired outcome of underperforming at your job, university, or sport.

By reverse translating this back into habits, this undesired outcome could mean that you have the bad habit of meaningless procrastination, and that is undermining your chances of kicking ass.

Habit formation is an observing process, as well.

Exercise: Grab a piece of paper and write down 60 habits that you have.  Start with the first thing you remember doing in the morning. 

I want you to become a behaviour expert for yourself.  The problem with bad habits is that they are often invisible and, therefore, are hard to spot or eradicate.

Self-awareness is the key to behaviour design.

So, before I present to you my 7 Favourite Mornings Habits for Highly Effective People, I want to explain to you shortly, how behaviour is really formed and how you can create any routine you want.

I recently read Stephen Coveys “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” for my book club, and I loved it, BUT, I think most books about habits do a shitty job of actually explaining how habit formation works.

After reading about the great habits of great people, I was fascinated, but my life did not change.

What I needed was a system that I could apply easily to create any habit I want, at any given time.  Imagine your brain like an iPhone and habits are apps.

The goal of this article is so that you learn how to install new habit software on your brain at will, and with it, be in charge of what kind of person you want to become.

Behaviour psychology is a superpower, it will give you the ability to decide for yourself who you want to be.

And more importantly, who you do not want to be.

Habit Formation Crash Course

Earlier in this article, I told you about my journey of finding high achievers and investigating their habits, rituals, and routines.

I had a big list of behaviours I knew I “should” be doing, but I had no idea of how to incorporate those success habits into my daily routine.

To hack this problem, I reached out to the world-leading expert in habit formation: Professor Bj Fogg from Stanford University, and offered him to work for free to learn more about behavioural psychology and habits.

This, to me, was basically the equivalent of learning psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud.

B= MaT Model —The Formula Of Habit Formation

The behaviour models that Professor Fogg uses shows us three elements.

It is super easy guys.

According to Professor Bj Fogg, a behaviour can only happen when three elements come together at the same time.

Motivation, ability, and trigger.

Motivation

Motivation is the reason for your behaviour.  All behaviours give you some form of pleasure or rewarding emotion.

Think of your behaviour as an investment in a stock.

Your brain only gives you the command to act if you somewhere believe that you will receive an emotional return from that behaviour that will outweigh the cost of it.

Emotions create habits.

Habit formation is like puppy training.  Everything that is rewarded is repeated.

If we attach a positive emotion to neutral behaviour, our brain wants to do this behaviour again.

If we attach negative emotion to neutral behaviour, our brain wants to avoid this behaviour in the future.

This is how humans learn.

Ability – Simplicity Changes Behaviour

Ability factors describe the cost of behaviour.

Nothing in life is free, not even habits.

Simple behaviours need little motivation (a small reward), big behaviours need a lot of motivation.

Remember; the motivation behind your behaviour is what you hope you get in return for performing the habit.

This can be, for example, that you brush your teeth because you know you will increase your chances of getting white teeth, and white teeth mean happiness and social acceptance to your brain {also you push away the probability of being punished with aching teeth}.

Ability describes the cost of the habit, in our example, this would be the physical effort that surrounds the habit of brushing your teeth.

If you want to install a new behaviour in your life, you actually need the ability to do so.{2}

Imagine, you want to create the new behaviour of working out regularly.

To do so, you need to have the ability to do so, meaning the time {an hour in your busy schedule}, money {gym membership, for example}, and so on.

The picture below shows you six factors that can increase or decrease the cost of a behaviour.

If you want to make a behaviour more likely to occur, make it easier.  If you want to weaken an undesired behaviour, make it harder.

A classic example of this would be the Amazon one-click buy option.  Buying on the internet has never been easier.  The simplicity for the behaviour “buy” on Amazon is so low, that you need little to no motivation to buy something from Jeff Bezos and his gang.

Six factors determine your ability {A} to perform a behaviour…

The Six Factors That Determine Ability (A)

All six factors below are intertwined.  Like links in a chain.  If one simplicity factor is exorbitantly expensive, the behaviour will not happen.

Here are the six factors that determine the cost of behaviour.

Time

Time is the most important and obvious resource we all have.

In general, less time-intensive behaviour wins.  If you want to make a behaviour from you or your customers more likely to occur, try to reduce the time variable.

Ask yourself: How long does it take on your website to buy a product?  Can you speed up the process?  Can you simplify it?

Scale down on personal behaviours to make them a habit.  If you want to make the behaviour of working out routine, start by working out for 5 minutes instead of 2 hours.

Our brain is constantly making a cost/return equation.

If you want to make a behaviour a habit, you can actually fool your brain by making the behaviour tiny at the beginning, and then letting it grow later.

My mantra for working out, for example, is that the habit is 10x more important than the routine.  Sometimes, I hit the gym and work out only for 10 minutes just to strengthen the habit, even though I will probably gain almost no muscles from that tiny session.

Money

The cheaper behaviour wins guys.  It is just as easy as that.  Money is one of the scarcest resources on earth.  If you want to increase the probability of a behaviour, make it cheaper.

Want to lose weight?  Focus on the money you save by not buying sweets anymore.  With it, you increase the behavioural cluster of eating healthy, and weaken the behaviour of unhealthy eating, because you now associate discomfort with your undesired behaviour because you are more aware of how expensive it is to live unhealthily.

Physical Effort

Humans are lazy creatures.  Most of us actually do not enjoy working out until exhausted.  The less physically taxing a behaviour is, the more likely is it to occur.  Some time ago, I had the bittersweet habit of snacking kinder penguin {German chocolate bars} in the middle of the night.  To weaken the habit, I made it a household policy to have no stuff with sugar in my fridge.  Therefore, every time I had a sugar craving, I needed to go outside to a 7/11 to buy them.  More often than not, the physical effort of going out in the middle of the night outweighed my anticipated return of snacking some chocolate in the middle of the night.

The less taxing behaviour wins guys.

Brain Cycles

Humans do not like to think too hard.  Thinking deeply or in new ways can be taxing.  Making experiences as simple as possible is a sure way to win over an audience.  Good teachers always make the matter appear logical and minimise complexity.

Always ask yourself: Can I simplify the desired behaviour?

Social Deviance

If a behaviour requires you to differ from the habits of your peer group or your social norms, it requires motivation.

A classic example here is to go out with your friends, and you are the only one who is not drinking.  You are disobeying the rules of the group, and you are acting abnormally concerning the laws of your social setting.  The behaviour of staying sober becomes more expensive, and you need a whole lot of motivation to follow through.

This is why it so hard to say no.

Exercise:

Write down three people who bring out the best in you.

Now, do the same and write down three people who bring out your absolute worst sometimes.

Non-Routine

Humans are creatures of habit.  We like familiar behaviours.  Trying new things is a challenge and for a good reason.  Everything that we have learned up to this point has contributed to us not dying.

Or at least, this is how our brain would argue.  Going against the grain requires a lot of motivation and empties your willpower battery.  This is why it is so hard to work out in the beginning when the habit of exercise is not yet fully grown.

Once a behaviour has become a habit, you need less and less motivation to perform it.

There Are 3 Ways To Reduce The Cost Of Behaviour:

  1. Train people {Teach people more skills, giving them more ability to do the target behaviour}.
  2. Give people more resources that make the behaviour easier to do {Give people a cookbook, so cooking at home becomes easier than eating junk food outside the entire time}.
  3. Scale the target behaviour back, so it is easier to do. { This is the most effective and easiest method to form habits fast, in my opinion}.

Key Insight{2}

Simplicity is a function of your scarcest resource at that moment.  Think about time as a resource, If you don’t have 10 minutes to spend, and the target behaviour requires 10 minutes, then it’s not simple.  Money is another resource.  If you don’t have $1, and the behaviour requires $1, then it’s not simple.  The video explains more – Bj Fogg.

Trigger

The third and last component of behaviour is the trigger.  Your brain is like a computer, without a signal you cannot act.

This signal or go sign can be external like your alarm clock.  It can also be internal: walking by your fridge, and suddenly you have been triggered to open the fridge to look for ice-cream.

For example, you are taking a dump after having your morning coffee, this might as well also be the trigger for you to wash your hands immediately after.

(Unless you are disgusting, but hey who am I to judge).

If you are reading this article, I must have triggered you in some way along the way on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Triggered Captain Kirk GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We are bombarded daily with triggers because everybody wants you to perform one behaviour and one behaviour only: buy.

If a behaviour is not occurring, it can only mean three things:

  1. You were not motivated enough to perform the behaviour.
  2. The behaviour was too hard/you did not have enough ability.
  3. There was no trigger.

If you want to get rid of an undesired behaviour, and you can identify and remove the trigger, you have solved the riddle.

This can be, for example, that you have a problematic behaviour of procrastinating with your phone while working.  You can, for example, leave your phone at home to get rid of this habit.

Another example could be that on your way home, you always stop at that one delicious pizzeria and in consequence, you have the undesired outcome of gaining some weight.

To remove the trigger, you could consider taking a different route home…

So How Do I Create A New Morning Habit?

You might have asked yourself when I will finally shut up and tell you how to create a new morning routine.

The answer is NOW!

So, you have learned about the different components of every habit and behaviour, now I want to tell you shortly how to use this information and create a new habit for yourself in record time.

You have just learned why 99% of people fail to follow through on their New Year’s resolution, by the way.

They are either missing motivation, ability, or a trigger.

The general opinion is that people do not follow through on their desired new habits or behaviours is because they lack motivation.

Motivation is not the actual problem, the problem behind behaviour formation is the automatization.

We are all capable of going to the gym one or two times.  Where we suck at is in going regularly.

Sadly, this is where all the rewards are.  It is the little things done regularly that eventually shape us into a completely different person and live life on our terms.

Hacking the automatisation is the way to go to perform new habits, and this is what you are going to learn now…

Three Steps To Form New Habits Fast!  – The Tiny Habits Method

Step 1 Make It Tiny – The Power Of Scaling Down!

Think of a behaviour or habit that you would love to have in your routine.

Let us say it is flossing your teeth.  You learned that behaviour is more likely to occur if you simplify it.  So, this is what we are going to do!

Instead of flossing all of your teeth, we only focus on flossing one tooth!

This might sound ridiculous to you, but remember the problem is not your ability to floss your entire mouth one time, the problem is the automatisation.

And, by radically scaling the behaviour back, we eliminate all excuses to not perform the desired behaviour.

We all have 10 seconds to floss one tooth, and not even the laziest brain will talk us out of this.

Here Are 3 Examples For Making A Behaviour Tiny : 

  1. Running Habit: Slip into your running shoes
  2. Exercise Habit: Do 2 push-ups
  3. Reading Habit: Open the book

Step 2 Find A Trigger — After The Most Important Word In Behaviour Psychology

The first step was to hack the simplicity of the behaviour, the next step deals with the second component of all behaviours: Triggers.

In the tiny habit method, you already use existing routines as triggers.  Meaning, you stack a new tiny habit on top of an already existing strong habit.

Now, let us find a routine we already have, for the fucks of it, let us use the routine of sitting your behind on the toilet.

This is our anchor moment, which will become our trigger for our new desired habit.

Now we create a new tiny habit and stack it on top of that behaviour.

The magic word here is after.

Let us say the desired habit is learning Spanish.

After my butt touches the toilet seat, I will open Duolingo and learn for 30 seconds.

That is it.

Do not make it bigger than that.  After little to no days, you will associate the toilet, not only with relieve and taking a dump, but also with learning Spanish!

Muy Bien!  The toilet seat has become your trigger (reminder) for learning Spanish.

Here Are 3 Examples Of Stacking Habits On Top Of Habits:

  1. After I pee, I will do two push-ups
  2. After I brush my teeth, I will floss one tooth
  3. After I open my MacBook, I will take 3 deep breaths

As you can see, you first think of a tiny behaviour, and then you find a spot in your day for it.

There is only one aspect missing to forming habits …

Step 3 Celebrate!  — Make The Behaviour Stick!

So, you have learned how to make a behaviour tiny, and how to find a spot for it by stacking it on top of an already existing routine that you have.  There is one part missing: Motivation!

Only when motivation, ability, and trigger come together can a behaviour be performed.

Habits are formed through emotion.  We only act because we expect to feel something positive after we do the behaviour.

Classical reinforcement.

As I said earlier, habit formation is pretty much like puppy training.

To teach a dog to sit after your command, you give him a little snack after he sat down.  This way, he learns that sitting will bring him some pleasure.

After you did a behaviour that you want to habitualise, you need to reward yourself with some positive emotion immediately after.

You can hack this reinforcement process by celebrating on purpose.

You take control of habit formation by hacking your brain on purpose, by attaching conscious positive emotion to the desired behaviour.

Next time you are doing a new behaviour that you want habitualise, give yourself a round of applause or throw a fist into the air and say that you are awesome!

Yes, it feels stupid at the beginning, but this is how your brain learns – with positive emotion.

Think of professional athletes.

Athletes are pros at behaviour psychology in a weird way.  A soccer player has the desired behaviour of scoring a goal.  To make the behaviour stick, they use positive reinforcement, which is a celebration.  Otherwise, why bother to go through the struggle and score a goal, a basket, or a touchdown.

We go through the struggle because we are craving the positive emotion that comes at the end.  We are all pleasure hunters in a way.


via GIPHY

Exercise: Throw a paper ball into your trashcan.  What do you do when you hit?  How do you celebrate?  Use this as your first celebration to form a tiny habit of your choice!

The Habit Formula

So, you have learned all of the ingredients that are necessary in order to create a morning routine:

  1. Create a tiny habit.
  2. Stick it on top of an already existing routine.

The habit formula for you to form new habits is:

After I _________{already existing routine} I will ____________{Tiny Habit} + ________ Celebration

Exercise : So, let us practice!  Create 3 Tiny Habit recipes:

After I ___________ I will _________ + ___________ Celebration

After I ___________ I will _________ + ___________ Celebration

After I ___________ I will _________ + ___________ Celebration

Let me congratulate you on reading this passage, you have just learned something very powerful.  Understanding behavioural change is the same as understanding yourself.

Well done!

So, here are My 7 Favourite Morning Habits For Highly Effective People

Make Your Bed

The first thing that I start in the morning with is to make my bed.

This habit is not about getting your room clean, but about task completion and starting the day with a win.

This habit has transformed my life much more than it should have.  In my past, I had days where I felt stuck, and where I felt that I had no wins in my life.

I watched a video back then by a Navy Admiral who preaches the importance of this habit.

I cannot emphasise enough how important the little things are.

When you start the day off by making your bed, you not only learn how habits are formed, but you also start the day with a task completed.  Even if nothing positive happens for me in a day, I still crushed this task, it gives me the feeling that I am winning and that I am in control.

Tiny Habit Recipe For Making Your Bed:

After my feet touch the floor in the morning, I will turn around and make my bed.  This, I will celebrate with “Yeah, I am awesome”!

Meditation

The vast majority of the high achievers that I have interviewed on my podcast meditate or have some form of mindfulness practice in their morning.  So, I thought, well, if it is not too weird for them, I might as well try it.

In the following video, Viszhen Lakhiani, founder of Midvalley, shows you one of my favourite guided meditations: try it, and write in the comments if you liked it!

I have been meditating daily for 2 years now.  Meditation and mindfulness are the antidotes to depression and anxiety.  It puts me in a power place where I can see things from a different perspective.  My preferred time for meditating is around 20 minutes.

Tiny Habit Recipe For The Meditation Habit:

After I have my morning tea,  I will sit on my meditation spot for 30 seconds and touch my heart.  This I will celebrate with a big self-hug.

Journaling

Many people wake up in the morning happy and relaxed and start the day in a good mood.  That is totally not me.

I normally start my day with the feeling as if someone just shat on my face.  My brain has this annoying habit of reminding me every morning of what could go wrong today, and slightly suggests that the only safe strategy is not to leave my bed at all.  So, it is fair to say that I am not a natural morning person.

So instead of dwelling into the memories of all my past mistakes, first thing in the morning, I grab my journal and write in it for 5-10 minutes.

It gives me structure, boosts my efficiency, and helps me to start the day on my terms.  I created my own journal, which is similar to the Five Minute Journal.  This way, I can focus my head on organising my thoughts, and getting all my dysfunctional disempowering beliefs out of my brain and putting them on paper.

Journaling is a great morning habit to practice introspection and see what is actually bothering you.

Tiny Habit Recipe For The Journaling Morning Habit:

After I slide into my slippers, I will grab my journal and open it.  This I will celebrate with a self-high five.

Extra Credit Reading – Key Insight On Journaling

Create A Custom-Made Journal

You already have learned that to change your life, you can take problems or desired outcomes and goals, and translate them into habits.

You can use questions in a similar way.

Questions give us the power to laser our focus of thought.  If we do not take control of our mind, it will cause all sorts of problems.  Ever encountered your brain reminding you shortly before you go to bed of everything you ever did wrong in your life?  Sorry to break it to you, but your brain is an asshole more often than not.

You can counter your monkey brain and your own inborn negativity by taking control of your questions.

This is one of the morning habits that transformed me by a margin, and is highly responsible for my happiness, and is keeping my depression in remission.

Ask yourself: What new outcome or state of mind do you desire?

Below are examples of how I design for happiness and productivity in my life with the help of good questions.  Feel free to answer those questions for yourself!

Happiness Journaling

  • What are three things that I am grateful for? (1 thing about yourself, 1 thing about your life, 1 thing outside from your world (happy that a friend of yours is doing good, for example).
  • What am I proud about in my life now?
  • What am I committed to in my life right now?
  • Who do I love? Who loves me?
  • Fear setting: Write down for 2 minutes how you feel, what you are afraid of right now, what you are running away from, what are you excited about?
  • What can I give today? What are three good deeds that I can give to the world today, so I feel good about myself?
  • Write down 1 crazy thing that you can do today to shake things up a bit!
  • Write down 3 things that you need to forgive, can be actions from others, yourself, or things that you want to be healed.
  • What resources do I have? Write down 3!

Efficiency Journaling

  • What are the five things that I can do today/this week/this month that will 10 x my life?
  • If I can only do one thing of those 5, what would I do?
  • What can I delegate?
  • What can I organise?
  • What can I systematise?
  • What can I ignore?

Behaviour Design Journaling

Monday = Habit day

Create 3 new tiny habits just for the fucks of it.  Habit formation is a skill that needs practice like everything else.

Example: After my feet touch the ground in the morning, I will say “it’s going to be a beautiful day“.  This I celebrate with an H5 to myself.

  1. After I _________ I will _____________________ Celebration
  2. After I _________ I will _____________________ Celebration
  3. After I _________ I will _____________________ Celebration

Motivational Wave Exercise: Write down 3 things that you are not yet brave enough to take on that would radically improve and change your life.  So, when your motivation hits you, you know what to do.  The goal is to have a list handy with 1-time behaviours that will 10 x your life.

1

2

3

 

This can be applying for an apprenticeship, ask Mark Manson for a podcast, ask your dream girl out, sign up to a gym, order protein, you name it.  You do not have to do this right now, but I want you to think about it.

Behaviour Design — What one-time behaviour policy would radically reshape my environment in the future for success and happiness?

Example: Make it a household policy to not have ice-cream in the fridge.
What is 1 tiny thing if done regularly that can I do that will impact my life positively?

What is 1 bad habit that I have that is costing me long-term too much in relation to what it is giving me?

30G Protein In The First 30 Mins Of The Day

I think that if you look good, you more often than not feel good as well.  Consuming 30g protein in the first 30 mins of the day is one of my favourite habits that I got from Tim Ferris book “The 4-Hour Chef“:

via GIPHY

For me, getting enough protein is not only a way to gain muscles, but also to start my day with a habit that shows me that I care about myself and that I am in the process of growing and getting stronger both physically and mentally.

After I have a protein shake, my motivation is high, and I am less likely to have some junk food in the next hours because I do not want to break the healthy purity of my morning.

Tiny Habit Recipe The Journaling Morning Habit:

After I get out of bed, I will grab my protein shaker, put water in it, and drink it.  This I will celebrate by jumping into the air.

Key Insight – Keystone Habits

Some habits are more important than others, according to Charles Duhigg author of “The Habit Loop“.

Some habits have the power to transform your life for worse or for better because they do not come alone, but they bring their entire habit family with them.  If you implant, for example, the habit of working out, this will often go hand in hand with better eating habits because you do not want to sabotage the fruits of your labour. 

Exercise: Identify 3 Keystone Habits that you have in your life.

Do 1 Thing You Hate In The First Hour Of The Day

I got this morning’s habit from Marissa Peers, you probably already know about her if you have read my article “The Disease Of I Am Not Enough“.

Marissa Peers is a British therapist.  She was named Britain’s best therapist by Tatler magazine.  She spent nearly three decades treating clients that include international superstars, CEOs, Royalty, and Olympic athletes.  I think it is fair to assume that she knows a thing or two about the morning routines of people who are kicking ass in life.

Her observation was that high achievers seem to do one thing in the morning that they hate.  I tried this for quite some time, and it stuck with me.

The morning habit of doing one thing that you hate in the first hour of the day is a keystone habit that aims at changing your mentality, and humans tend to shy away from uncomfortable tasks.  We love short-cuts and the easy way.  We are hard-wired to do simple things, that give us immediate pleasure and stay away from everything that causes some form of immediate discomfort or pain, even if it is worth it long term.

By starting the day with doing a thing you hate, you feel that you are in control and that you can act no matter what the circumstances are.  After all, only through discomfort and hussle, we grow.

Angry Hate GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

via GIPHY

As a person who struggles with depression from time to time, this morning habit was a biggie.  Our brain is more often than not our worst enemy who tells us that we should always go the easy route.  That we should not go out and run in the rain, that it is ok to snooze 10 more minutes and be late in consequence, that we can skip this one class today, or that we can have this one more drink.

By starting your day with something that you do not want to do, you strengthen your willpower, and it will help you to do what is necessary for the future.

Our ability to stay in aversive states and be proactive is, in my opinion, one of the biggest differences between stuck people and people who are crushing it in life.  Do not wait until a problem is in front of your face.  The best way to solve problems is to proactively solve them.

Tiny Habit Recipe For The Morning Habit Of Doing 1 Thing You Hate In The First Hour Of The Day:

After I journal in the morning, I will pick up one piece from the floor of my messy room.  This I will celebrate by doing a tiny moonwalk.

Exercise: Write down 5 nasty habits of yours, and identify the motivation behind that particular bad behaviour.

Key Insight – The Psychology Behind Procrastination

You have already learned how behaviour works.  You need a trigger, the ability to do the behaviour, and you need to be motivated enough to act.

One thing that I was really world-class at was procrastination.  If I had to write an essay and the deadline was 00.00, I would send it in at the last second.  Stressing the fuck out basically all the time.

At a certain point, I asked myself what the mental fallacy was behind that stupid strategy.  After all, there is no obvious motivation?  What do we gain by a simple 5-minute delay?

Well, you know that we do things either because of anticipated pleasure, and we do not do things because of anticipated discomfort or pain.

When we procrastinate, the driving force of the habit of procrastination is that we subconsciously link pain to the task at hand.  Therefore, a delay of that punishment is a reward.  And, remember it is rewarding emotion at the end of a behaviour that motivates us to learn new habits.

Deep Breathing Cold Shower Habit

Cold therapy is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful habits against lethargy.

Psychologist s have known about cold therapy for almost a hundred years.  I discovered it by studying one of my favourite nut cases: Wim Hof.

You might have heard about Wim Hof and his cold shower habit.

Wim Hof did all sorts of crazy records, all of them related to extreme cold exposure.  From being in contact with ice for hours, or climbing Mount Everest in Bermuda shorts, Wim Hof is the real deal.

Wim combines cold showers and cold exposure with breathwork.  Watch the video below if you want to learn how to do Wim Hof Meditation.

 

I start every morning with stepping into the shower, take 10-30 power breaths, and then cold shower for about 30sec -10 minutes.

No matter how bad I slept, and in what kind of mental state I wake up in, cold showers and breathwork are my own reset button for my brain.  It allows me to glide out of my monkey brain and just be present in my own body for a couple of minutes.

The combination of cold and holding your breath will stop any annoying brain cycles because your mind is instantly catapulted into survival modus.  True freedom.

Key Takeaway: Cold exposure has been shown to increase the rate of recovery and feel-good hormones.

In combination with the right breathing method, it can lead to ‘control over the inflammatory response of the sympathetic nervous system’, while at the same time, increasing fat metabolism.

What does this mean?

You recover faster after training, burn some extra fat, are more protected against disease, and might “feel” less depressed.

Exercise: 6 Steps Of The Wim Hof Shower

  • Step 1 Step into the shower.
  • Step 2 Turn on the Cold Water and stand under it.
  • Step 3 Take 15-30 Power breaths {5 secs in – 5 secs out, get as much oxygen in as possible}.
  • Step 4 Take one last deep breath and hold it for 5-10 seconds.
  • Step 5 Exhale and do not Inhale for another minute or so.
  • Step 6 Enjoy the high!

Tiny Habit Recipe The Cold Shower Morning Habit:

After I step into the shower, I will turn on the cold water and stand under it for 30 seconds.  This I will celebrate by roaring like a lion!

As always, thank you for reading!

If you are having problems with forming new habits, shoot me an email, and I will coach you via mail for a week for free.

As always, thank you for reading and go kick ass in life.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.behaviormodel.org/ability.html
  2. http://habit5.co.uk/2016/01/how-to-successfully-change-customer-behaviour/
  3. http://sourcesofinsight.com/7-questions-to-start-your-day/
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