Day 10: Let's Reflect

Day 10: Let's Reflect

As we roll into the end of the second week of the program, we want to take a moment and acknowledge what we all have collectively done these last two weeks.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of you have committed to winning at your own game and dove into something that most are unwilling to.

You put what matters to you before the world had a chance to take that space away.

More than that though, you played a part in building a community spanning over 10 countries and almost every time zone. That means at almost any time of the day, someone around the world is getting up to get after it.

That's powerful and we want to thank you for your willingness to embrace that side of life.

We think that's pretty damn cool.

 

Before We Look Ahead

Before looking at what's ahead, it’s worth taking time to sit back and reflect on what just happened.

Most of us have a fear of slowing down – unwilling to stop long enough to let what we’re doing catch up to us. Maybe this is because we don’t want to confront how we spend our time or maybe it’s because we feel like we’ll lose momentum, but if there’s anything history has taught us, it’s that slowing down to reflect only helps us move faster, further, and more purposefully.

With that, we have a single request from you this morning – take some time to reflect on what these last two weeks have been for you.

It will not only make a big difference in the rest of your 21 Damn Early Days experience but if you incorporate reflection into your life, it will have a huge impact on where you end up.

To get you started, we got some simple questions...

 

Questions Worth Thinking About

Keep in mind these are just a guideline to get you started. Your reflection is an exercise in asking the questions you care about.

About Damn Early Days:

Ask yourself:

  • What have you gained from waking up early?

  • What are your biggest struggles so far?

  • What positive stories have you been telling yourself throughout?

  • What self-defeating stories have you been telling yourself throughout?

  • Do you feel you're getting closer to what you want?

  • What differences do you notice in your life, routine, and mood before and during 21 Damn Early Days?

  • What emotions have you gone through? What caused them?

  • Were there mornings that were particularly tough? What contributed to them being that way?

  • Were there mornings that were particularly enjoyable? What made them more enjoyable?

Looking Forward:

Ask yourself:

  • Put yourself in your own shoes at the end of Damn Early Days. What do you want out of this? What defines “success”?

  • What do you want to feel at the end of this?

  • What do you need to do next week to move yourself closer to your own success?

  • What can you carry into next week that you learned this week? What can you drop?

  • What’s the top priority in your life right now?

  • How can you use 21 Damn Early Days to focus on it?

And of course...

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Day 9: The Power of Tiny Gains

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Day 9: The Power of Tiny Gains

 

Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day
failure is simply a few errors in judgment, practiced every day.

—Jim Rohn

 

Estimated Read Time: 6 minutes

As you go through Damn Early Days, you might be wondering if a single morning really matters?

I mean, in today's world it's the huge transformations and overnight success stories that get all the hype.

And why wouldn't they – they just sound so damn good.

“I lost 30 pounds in 30 days without lifting a weight”
“I made $60,000 in TWO months without leaving my couch”
"I found happiness and rode off into sunset with the love of my dreams all by taking a magic pill...”

Those words and words like them litter the pages of magazines, blogs, infomercials, and courses everywhere. And with that kind of ubiquity, you’d almost be foolish NOT to believe them.

But if you’ve ever talked to anyone that has done anything of accomplishment then you know how much merit they have – nil.

Despite the underlying knowledge that there is no shortcut, we still flock to these get {insert lofty, audacious goal} quick schemes like a moth to the flame, believing that we will be the lucky ones who part the sea and get to bask in the glory without putting in the work.

But look around and let me know how that's doing for most people.

 

Breaking Our Biology

There seems to be some sort of (faulty) wiring in humans that overwhelmingly underestimates what it takes to accomplish big goals and grossly overestimates what it takes to accomplish a series of small tasks.

We buy into the narrative of a heroic, defining moment where we achieve it all and completely negate the value of making numerous small but good decisions on a daily basis. We convince ourselves that the change is only meaningful if there is some crazy large visible outcome associated with it.

And we're all miserable because of it.

See, not only is it causing us to fail, it's causing most of us not to try at all. For the sake of sanity and your life, this morning, we’re going to break that notion and make your life a hell of a lot easier (because we kind of feel bad about the whole 4:30AM thing).

 

Welcome To The World of Tiny Gains

People don’t suck at creating habits. In fact, they are really good at it.

What they suck at is choosing the right habits to build.

Most of our habits are decided haphazardly, driven by short-term desires with no care or understanding of their long-term effects on us.

Almost every habit you have — good or bad — is the result of numerous small decisions, repeated over time. There was no point that you “got smart” or “became fit”. It was a gradual change that happened through thousands of tiny choices, again and again. At some point you looked back on it all and were smarter or fitter – hopefully both?

Yet, when it comes to setting new goals and ambitions, this knowledge is the first thing we throw out the window. We choose to forget how easy it can be to follow simple decisions everyday and instead choose to focus on the biggest, baddest, most ambitious thing we can – the outcome.
 

Looking at Tiny Gains

Tiny gains are small decisions made frequently that move you slowly and steadily forward. They start small and add up to something big.

The math is simple. If you focus on simply getting 1% better every day, in 365 days you will be almost 38 times better.

Yep – 38 times better.

On the flip side, if you're bad habit is making you 1% worse every day, you'll be left with virtually nothing at the end of year. This applies to running, money, learning and just about every other life goal that can be quantified. Yet at no point are you growing (or shrinking) more than 1%.

Want to write a book? Start by writing a paragraph the first day and gradually increase how much you write as it becomes easier.

Want to run a marathon but couldn't even chase down the ice cream truck last time it was around? Start by putting on your shoes and walking around your block. Then run for 10 seconds and walk for a minute. Increase from there.

Want to learn to meditate like a zen ninja, but can't sit still for 10 seconds? Start right now by stopping everything and taking just 3 breathes. Then step it up and go back for 4.

It sounds simple – and, well, it is.

In a world of huge transformations and instant gratification, consistency trumps big but short-lived spurts of energy, every single day of the week.

Find something worth sticking to, break it down into tiny components, and get after it – bit by bit, day by day.
 

So, Why Don’t We (The World) Embrace Tiny Gains?

If they are so easy and awesome, why don't we all embrace them?

Well, there's a simple reason: in the moment they feel insignificant, unsexy, and have no emotional charge.

Basically, they are boring.

If you don't believe me, tell the next person you see that you just did one push-up and tell me how they respond.

That's what I thought...

But the truth is, if you're previous best was zero push-ups then one push-up is infinitely better and closer to 100 push-ups than most people.

See, many of us would rather bask in the what-ifs of lofty goals than do the dirty (and sometimes boring) work that will help us get where we want to go. We'd rather talk about the potential of the success we could have than put in the time.

Don't be one of those people.

To make it worse, when people who are at the top talk about building the company, losing the pounds, or writing the book, they talk about it as a singular thing. They make it seem like success happened in moments, rather than being the accumulation of months, years or even decades of work adding up.

It's easy to let yourself fall prey to these stories and let them trick you into doing too much, too soon. When you get motivated and inspired to take it to the next level, it's easy to fixate only on the end result (ex: every single New Year's goal). It's natural to think that we need the result, the transformation, the overnight success. But know that it's not what you need. You need better habits.

Audacious life goals can be fantastic and we're proud you have them. But let’s be honest for a second, it’s probably those audacious goals that are the very thing stopping you from getting where you want to go.

There is power in small wins and slow gains. Break it down. Keep it simple.

Tiny gains will take care of the rest.

And because you made it this far, you deserve this.

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Day 7: How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over

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Day 7: How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over

Estimated watch time: 21 minutes

We all know what to do. We just don’t know how to convince ourselves to do it.
— Mel Robbins

If you really wanted to, you could walk into a bookstore right now and buy at least 10 books by authors in any area you wanted to pursue.

You could open up Google and find at least 100 step-by-step-by-step instruction guides on how to get it.

Hell, you can search anybody online that's "been there / done that" and be in touch with them in under an hour.

So why don't most of us have what we want?

Well according to Mel Robbins, one of the most badass experts on leadership and defeating doubt, it's because we have an instinctual habit of screwing ourselves over.

Watch as she drills through the mental clutter that stands between ourselves and what we want and gives us a straight-forward answer on how to get after what we want.

Sit back and enjoy it.

It's worth it.

In five seconds flat, self-doubt can take over and rob you of your power, and rob you of joy, and rob you of potential. Or in five seconds flat, you can use one stupid little trick, to take it all back.
— Mel Robbins

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Day 6: How Not To Suck At Building Habits

Day 6: How Not To Suck At Building Habits

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

As we dive into the depths of Week 2, let's have a little #RealTalk on what this is idea of change or growth is all about – habit building.

Why?

Because habits, as we mentioned in the piece on Evening Routines last week, when directed towards what matters, habits are what will allow us to stay on track, reduce the willpower we need, and move further, faster.

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Time and time again, it happens. People come out of the gate blazing, riding the high of starting something new, and as things get tough and the energy dwindles, so does their ability to stick with it.

A few weeks in the ambition and goal is all but a distant memory and they are back to the same old routine, stuck in their ways and not getting what they want.

We don't want that for you – or any of us.

So stick with us and take a read.

 

 

While most people focus on goals – the "where you want to go" – it's habits that will get you there and it's where most of your energy should be spent.

Once you dial in the right habits, life becomes so much simpler.
 

Why We So Frequently Fail

People don't suck at habits.

We are actually really good. What we suck at is building the right habits.

Most of us fail at doing that because the environment and structure around them sucks.

They don't want to drink, but their friends drink, so they end up having a few.

Or they know they'd be better off going to the gym than binge watching Netflix, but the remote is more accessible than their gym shoes, so they end up on the couch – 600 seasons deep in the latest Netflix Original.

What's worse, these bad habits created by bad environments create a self-reinforcing negative loop. They lead to the belief that we suck at creating good habits. Then things get difficult and we buy into that, losing our will to keep going. We stumble and fail and this reinforces our belief that we can't do it. The whole thing spirals back to where it began and we end up back on the couch binge watching Friends and spoon feeding ourselves ice cream, rather than getting to the gym.
 

So, How Do You Fix This?

(and bring a little faith back into yourself)

You fix this by creating the right environment for yourself to succeed. This isn't done by making big changes, but rather a bunch of small ones that keep build on each other and keep you coming back.
 

1. Start Super Small.

Yes, tiny actions are the key to success.

See, we have this ability to downplay what it takes to accomplish our big goals, yet overestimate the effort it takes to overcome a series of small goals.

It’s the consistency of chasing and accomplishing tiny goal after tiny goal that will get you where you want to go.

Starting small helps change the narrative.

Start small gives us small wins, which build into proof points that you can create good habits. Start showing (and telling) yourself you can accomplish this, past failures don't matter, and despite temporary setbacks, you're going to succeed.

Then make the habits so easy you can't possibly fail. This helps create a positive reinforcing narrative and builds momentum. It also builds trust with yourself.

If you want to form a habit of writing – form the habit of writing 5 sentences.
If you want to form a habit of running – form a habit of getting your shoes on and walk for a minute.
If you want to form a habit of meditation – form a habit of sitting in a chair silently for 30 seconds.

Set the bar for success as low as you can, make sure you nail it again and again, and go from there.
 

2. Progress Gradually.

Starting small might seem silly, but keep in mind that your doing to prove that you can do this. From there, you'll gradually add more. Move from five sentences to 10 – from one minute to two. Keep focused on building the routine and let the gradual increases become your new normal.
 

3. Go All In.

We have a simple rule at Chasing Sunrise and it goes like this: no f*cking maybes. It may sound harsh, but so many times we straddle, half in-half out, neither fulling embracing something or moving on to the next. That ain't no way to live.

If you have a habit that will get you to where you want to be in life, it's worth going all in on. And if you're not sure you have the confidence, just remind yourself that if you believed in Santa for 8 years, you can believe in yourself for at least 21 days.
 

4. Create Social Accountability.

You'll be seeing this one work throughout the program. The power of having people hold you accountable is something else--we suddenly find we can do so much more when we know others are holding us to our word. Tell people you’re going to do your new habit and ask them to hold you accountable. Hell, maybe even set up a consequence for not pulling through.

Having people you are accountable to not only holds you to it, but allows you to go through the fire with other people – in this case, hundreds of others.
 

5. Create Structure & (Unmissable) Reminders.

If you allow yourself to ask if you should do your habit each day, you're giving yourself the opportunity to skip out. Create a structure that doesn't give you the choice. Complete your habit at the same time each day (say 4:45AM), without question.

To remind yourself make your reminders absolutely unmissable.  Have it taped to your toothbrush or print out a life-sized version of yourself holding up a sign (ok maybe that one is a bit harder). Whatever you have to do, make sure it's there every day and absolutely unmissable.

Pro tip - own the fact that you want this. Feel free to put up reminders anywhere and everywhere they will serve a purpose. It might seem silly at first, but no one will be laughing then when you're smashing your dreams.
 

6. Keep Notes & Check-In.

Most people dive into creating habits and then rely on their memory to remember how it's going.

Guess what? It doesn't help us.

We end up with a cluttered mess of recall and aren't actually sure what worked. As you begin to incorporate good habits, take some time to keep notes throughout the date.

Write down what you notice, what's hard, what's easy, what helps and what doesn't.

Make this really simple so that it's almost brainless to do. Then, at least once a week, go through your notes and see how the habit has been going. Have you been sticking to it? Failing? What’s helping? What’s not?

Doing this frequently helps you understand the environment you’re in and how it effects you. It'll let you make small tweaks frequently and get better, faster.
 

7. Listen To Yourself.

You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you aren't paying attention to how it's working for you, it's useless.

Paying attention and mindfulness are two of the most powerful tools in building habits. Pay attention to when you have the urge to procrastinate or pick up your phone and distract yourself (it's totally normal and okay to have these distractions). Pay attention to how your mind tries to rationalize what it's doing (we're masters at this) and remind yourself why your habits are important and what sticking to them will give you.
 

8. Enjoy It.

This is something most people skip. They get so focused on the habit and the work behind it that it becomes a chore they need to do before they move on to the next thing.

Stop this.

Not only will your life continue to feel like a hamster wheel, but you'll eventually get burned out and give up.

Change your perspective to look at these habits as an opportunity to learn. It's some time to focus on yourself, do something that matters to you, and inch yourself closer to what you want in life.

Take a few minutes every time you're building a new habit and remind yourself why you're doing it, why it matters, and enjoy the fact that you're working on it.

 

Wrapping This Dose Up

All of this will do nothing if you don't actually implement it.

So with that in mind, I want you to create one simple habit you want to do each morning.

Make it stupidly simple, write it out on a piece of paper (see how important writing is becoming?) and for the next 15 days, I want you to do it.

Build it up until it's something that is so stupidly simple, you almost forget your doing it.

If you can do that, you've just unlocked one of the most powerful secrets to life.

Oh, and for getting all the way down here, here's some maximum fun morning vibes as a reward for ya. 

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Day 5: Your Life In Perspective

Day 5: Your Life In Perspective

Sharing today, one of the most powerful reminders we know, for getting real perspective on just how short this life truly is.

Day 4: Come Alive

Day 4: Come Alive

Stop playing small. Get outside your comfort zone. Remember what makes you come alive

Day 3: Motto of Real Champions: 'Just Don't.'

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Day 3: Motto of Real Champions: 'Just Don't.'

Alright – who here is more excited about early mornings than you have been in a while?

*raises hand*

And, by chance, who here also already cut into their sleep by letting a late bedtime creep up on them?

*sheepishly raises hand again*

It happens.

Breaking old habits is hard. There's just something so seductive about an intimate late night cellphone session in bed or that afternoon cup of coffee. It's just so good in that moment – until early mornings find you and you hate the fact that you ever committed to this.

While these last few days have been about dreaming, setting intentions, planning, and getting our goals and systems together, the real magic in this is learning how NOT to do things.

Sure "Just Do It" is great for when we need motivation and need to pull through, but what about all the other stuff we shouldn't do? What happens once the momentum isn't riding high and the old routines start to creep back in?

The real motto of champions is "Just Don't".

You're here, doing this hard thing, so you clearly give a damn about yourself and your goals. So what do you do when all the things you shouldn't be doing start to creep back in? What things are you giving a damn about, but really shouldn't be?

If you're are going to be successful (and rested) throughout this, you have to be able to say no frequently – to others and yourself.

Ask yourself: what things in your life are good in the moment but actually killing you in the long run?

To give you a few ideas and a little inspiration, take a read. Mark Manson has a hack for stopping all the things you really shouldn't be caring about – and he calls it The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. It's worth the read.

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Day 2: Create Your Hour of Power

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Day 2: Create Your Hour of Power

How about your bedtime? Relaxing, or falling into bed exhausted, perhaps after getting lost in our phones or Netflix a bit too long?

What if we rethink what mornings and bedtimes can mean. What if mornings aren't about getting up in order to show up for the outside world, but it's a time when we get up in order to show up for ourselves. Afterwards, then, and only then, do we shift and show up for others.

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Day 1: Understanding Why You Are Here

Day 1: Understanding Why You Are Here

You committed to this challenge because something inside you told you you wanted more. More from life, more from each day, and more from yourself.

This morning, we're focused on that why.