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Morning Routine For High Performers

By July 10, 2018 No Comments
morning routine for high performers

One of the biggest things I attribute my success and positive mindset to is the way I start every day (aka my Morning Routine.) The way you start your day sets the tone for how the rest of it will go.

When I started Bacon Sports 5.5 years ago I knew I couldn’t have any excuses for why I didn’t succeed. I didn’t want to look back 20 years later and say, “Damn, if I had only had more time then…” Because of that I adopted a mindset of learning as much as I could from as many successful people as possible. If it works for them then it can work for me.

One thing that continually came up was how these high performers started their day. I started to compile and implement many of these tactics into the morning routine that you see today.

I wanted to share my morning routine so it could be a positive inspiration to anyone who wants to have more control over their mornings, and add more positive vibes and high performance to their life. I’ll give you the summary of my morning routine and then a more detailed description for those that want it.

5:22 am – Wake Up, Say to myself “Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day”, Brush Teeth, Bathroom

5:26 am – Make Coffee, Read a book on the Kindle until the coffee is done

6:05 am – Write out my life goals & targets for the day

6:10 am – Write out things I am grateful for that happened yesterday plus read 16 things I am grateful for in my life

6:15 am – Write out Morning Pages (aka journaling)

6:30 am – Meditate for 7 minutes

6:37 am – Set my emotional intention for the day by reading the 10 scrolls

6:38 am – Re-read book notes from one book I previously read

6:48 am – Check my fantasy basketball/baseball team, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, email.

7:03 am – Go to the gym, make 10+ free throws in a row, lift

7:45 am – Shower at home (including 7 seconds of cold water where I yell “COURAGE”)

8:00 am – Get dressed, eat breakfast

8:40 am – Start working on accomplishing my goals for the day

Let’s break this down for how and why I do these things and you can too.

today is gonna be a great day morning routine

5:22 am – Wake Up, Say to myself “Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day”, Brush Teeth, Bathroom

Success doesn’t care if you are a morning person or not. If you want to accomplish more in your life then you have the self discipline and self accountability to find a way to make it happen. That starts by waking up earlier. That removes the “I don’t have enough time excuse.”

I didn’t always wake up this early but I life hacked my way to get to this point. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: I would wake up 2 or 3 minutes earlier every week (you don’t notice missing 3 minutes of sleep like you would if you tried cutting out 2 hours of sleep.) After a few years of chopping a few minutes off that became 5:22 am.

Why 5:22 exactly? Because I used to wake up at 5:23 am (I don’t like setting things on 0’s or 5’s, plus 23 pays homage to Michael Jordan) and then I created The Do One More Challenge. Because of this I decided to wake up 1 minute earlier, which aggregated over the course of the year would give me an extra six hours of productivity. Also, waking up at 5:22 am is closer to waking up in the 4’s than it is the 6’s. I like having that mental edge.

Getting up at 5:22 am is not easy for me. To help combat this I consciously think to myself right away “Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day” to help get a positive mindset going. I share more about this in a LinkedIn video I created.

5:26 am – Make Coffee, Read a book on the Kindle until the coffee is done

As I was auditing what other successful people were doing a common thread kept appearing. The average CEO reads 60 books a year. Knowing this I had to find a way to implement reading into my morning routine.

If something is important enough then you’ll always find time to do it so I decided that I would start reading first thing in the morning. That way there was never an excuse for why I couldn’t do it. (If you want to create a reading routine here’s my breakdown of how to do it.)

Also, one of my goals every day is to make today better than yesterday. As long as I read from a book every day then I got smarter. No matter what else happens today, I know that I am better today than yesterday.

In terms of the books I read, I choose something that I want to learn and is interesting. Because of this I am looking forward to reading, which has allowed me to read over 200 books. You can check out my best books of 2017 HERE and 2018 HERE.

Since I just woke up and I’m still a bit groggy drinking a coffee while reading is a low impact way for me to gradually wake up while also stimulating my mind at the same time.

Speaking of the coffee, one thing I do to make the morning easier is the night before I set out my coffee mug, fill up the water, and put in the K-Cup (I use a Keurig.) That way all I have to do is push the button to get my coffee.

I then head over to my couch where I grab a blanket, turn SportsCenter on TV on mute, and read for as long as it takes me to drink one cup of coffee (typically 30-40 minutes.)

6:05 am – Write out my life goals & targets for the day

I’m a big fan of Grant Cardone and the success principles he shares. One of them that has stuck with me is writing out my life goals twice a day (once in the morning, once before I go to bed.) To help make that part of my routine I purchased his 10X Planner. Each day I write out my goals as a constant reminder for what I’m working towards.

10x planner

I then write out my quote of the day. I always choose something inspirational or motivational to set me on the right mindset. The way I do this is doing a Google image search for “Inspirational Quotes” or “Motivational Quotes” and then I sort through them until I find one that resonates with me that day.

The last part of my 10X Planner is writing out my targets for the day. I write down five things that I want to accomplish for the day. If I get all five done then my day is a success. This comes from something I learned from Andy Frisella’s MFCEO Podcast (you can read more detail about it HERE.)

I’m a big believer in what you put in your brain you’ll get out. Because of that I am constantly working on having positive inputs to set me on the right path.

6:10 am – Write out things I am grateful for that happened yesterday plus read 16 things I am grateful for in my life

In Evernote I create a new file under my 2018 Freedom Journal folder (which is just the digital version of John Lee Dumas Freedom Journal, which I used to use as my daily planner.) In this file I write:

*Something I am grateful for

*My #1 focus today

*To get closer to my goal I will _____

*By the end of the day today I will have accomplished _____

*Thoughts: Be so good they can’t ignore you (this is the same every day as I want to have it as a constant reminder)

*Good things that happened yesterday __________

*I’ve got a lot to be excited about right now (it lists 16 things which I read every day)

This Freedom Journal allows me to work on my gratitude, focus, and goal setting. I am a huge believer in the power of gratitude. We all need to be more thankful for the things we have in life and this is my daily reminder.

6:15 am – Write out Morning Pages (aka journaling)

In Evernote I create a new file under my 2018 Morning Pages folder. Morning Pages is similar to journaling and comes from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way. With Morning Pages my goal is to write out a stream of consciousness and get anything that is in my head out of my head. There is no goal or agenda, but I do find that as I’ve become more self aware and in tune with my emotions, I’ll write about what I’m feeling at the moment.

When I’ve got good vibes flowing then I let them out and enjoy being in flow. It sets me up for a wonderful day. In an instance in which I have a cloud of something negative hanging over me I’ll write it out, acknowledge the emotion, and then say that I will not allow it to stay with me today. Instead I’m going to make it a positive day. This gets me back on track and allows me to release an emotion that will not serve me no good.

6:30 am – Meditate for 7 minutes (I set my iPhone timer)

Meditation is one thing that continually came up in the routines of highly successful people. After years of hearing about it over and over again I finally thought to myself, “If 50 CEO’s say that meditation is instrumental in their success then I’m an idiot if I don’t listen to the advice.”

The biggest challenge is how do you go from being someone who thinks that meditation is for Tibetan Monks and new age people to adopting the practice as a “normal person?” Thankfully for me I met Connie McLaughlin, who helped me understand mindfulness and the power of it in a non-new agey way.

I’m happy to say that meditation has been part of my life for years now and it is instrumental in my success. The simplest way I can put it is with all the noise that is going on in life it’s good to have some peace and quiet, even if just for 7 minutes. The more peaceful my mind is the better I can be to the world.

mindfulness quote

If you want another amazing resource on how you can use mindfulness to live an intentional and purpose driven life then I highly recommend you listen to the podcast I recorded with Ashley Boyd. It is incredible.

6:37 am – Set my emotional intention for the day by reading the 10 scrolls

The 10 scrolls comes from OG Mandino’s book The Greatest Saleman In The World. This helps sets my emotions for the day:

1. Today I Begin A New Life

2. I will greet this day with love in my heart

3. I will persist until I succeed

4. I am nature’s greatest miracle

5. I will live this day as if it is my last

6. Today I will be the master of my emotions

7. I will laugh at the world

8. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold

9. I will act now

10. I will pray for guidance from God

6:38 am – Re-read book notes from one book I previously read

This part of my routine comes on recommendation from Emerson Spartz. We recorded a podcast where he talked about one of the highest ROI things you can do is re-read book notes. It’s a pretty simple concept. Just like getting trained to do a job where you repeat a process over and over, re-reading your book notes is the same. Sure it’s good to read something once, but the more you refresh your memory on it the more of an impact it’ll have on your life.

I read each book on a Kindle and use the highlight feature to capture the best nuggets of wisdom from the book. When I’m done with each book I’ll then download my Kindle notes and put it into a Google doc. I then store all of my note on a Google drive so that I can have easy access no matter where I go. Since I’ve read 200+ books this part of my morning routine becomes invaluable as I’m constantly refreshing my mind with amazing lessons.

6:48 am – Check my fantasy basketball/baseball team, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, email.

I love playing fantasy sports so once I’m done priming my mind for the day I do a quick check of my teams to see how they performed the previous night, see if there’s anyone I need to add/drop, plus set my lineups. I then quickly browse LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and check my email. This is all super low impact and I’m mainly just a viewer (not responding to things.)

7:03 am – Go to the gym, make 10+ free throws in a row, lift

Another trait that I continually heard over and over again from high performers was the importance of fitness. Just like reading, if something is important enough then I want to make sure I get it done early.

rob cressy free throws

The way I life hacked myself to go to the gym four or five days a week is via my love of basketball. I created a thing called The Free Throw Challenge where I have to make at least 10 free throws every time I’m at the gym. Once I hit 10 then I keep going until I miss (I’m proud to report that last year I set a personal high of 131 free throws made in a row.) I will time myself shooting hoops for exactly 15 minutes. Once that is complete I’ll lift for 15 – 20 minutes (also timed.)

I’m a believer that I can get everything I need to get done at the gym in 30 minutes. I find that the mental side of working out and being committed to going to the gym is just as important as the activities I do while there. It helps build confidence. Plus, when I look good I feel good. When I feel good then my mind is right.

7:45 am – Shower at home (including 7 seconds of cold water where I yell “COURAGE”)

I love taking showers. The reason is because I’ve created a shower routine that get me looking forward to taking one. My routine goes like this:

naked pushups

*Do naked pushups while the shower is warming up.

*Put on music so I can dance in the shower. I always have a fun time dancing so what better way to start my day then getting down in the shower. “Ain’t nothing wrong…with a little bump & grind.”

*Once I get in the shower and it’s warm I immediately turn it to cold for seven seconds. The reason I do this is because I read something from Tony Robbins talking about how cold water helps your immune system. On top of that cold water is an opportunity to work on your courage. As I’m getting doused with cold water I yell COURAGE three times. This is a micro deposit in my courage bank which I access any time I need to be more courageous (Note: You will remember standing in cold water for seven seconds when you do it every day. And no, it never gets easier, which is exactly why I do it.)

*Brainstorm ideas. As the water is now warm and I’m having a good time dancing I let my mind wander with ideas. Typically they are business and goal related as those are things that excite me.

*I finish off my shower by stretching and trying to touch my toes for 30 seconds. I’m not flexible so this is a simple way for me to get in a quick stretch.

The key to a lot of things I do, including showering, is to be aware of the fact that you can make it a lot more fun and beneficial when you are conscious about your actions. To most people showers are just a way of getting clean. For me showers are a party that help get me excited for whatever awesomeness lies ahead.

8:00 am – Get dressed, make my bed, eat breakfast

Just like you I put my pants on one leg at a time.

After that I then make my bed. That way I am accomplishing another task early in my day, which keeps the positive momentum going. It also allows the room to look better when you come back later (which brings good vibes.)

Since I’ve worked from home for the last 11 years I never miss breakfast. Typically I make eggs (either scrambled or tacos) and some milk or OJ. This helps fuel my body and make me strong like bull.

8:40 am – Start working on accomplishing my goals for the day

My work day begins.

Parting Shots

The key to creating a morning routine starts with committing to do it. Not a roody-poo candy ass commitment, but one in which you are all in on making it happen. I started out with zero morning routine but committed to my personal development so I am proof that anyone can do it. Sure it took several years to implement each of these habits but the road to success is a long one. You have to be willing to take the first step and be excited to get better every day.

I send you many good vibes and encouragement on your morning routine journey.

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Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Sports loving free throw specialist and yinzer living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.