Refresher: Getting Started With Damn Early Days


The goal of 21 Damn Early Days isn't to solve your life in a single month – it's to build the foundation and habits that will help bring you closer to the life you want.

Think of it as a crash course in creating intention, focus, and control in your life.

With that in mind, it's important to understand what you want, both in the bigger picture and out of 21 Damn Early Days. Once you know that, we'll break down how your time with DED can help you get there.

The Right Intention

Before you dive into how you're going to spend your time, take a step back and think about how DED fits into the bigger picture of your life. What do you want to use this time for that can help build the bigger picture of your life? Understanding that will help you build a strong foundation beyond the month.

We've got a quick example below that will help you through the thought process:

There are two big areas I want to focus on that are foundational to the rest of my life, yet I just don't find the time to get to as consistently as I want. The first is writing and the second is keeping my body and mind healthy.

Looking at my intentions for the year, I want to consistently get my thoughts on paper and publishing them to the world, as well as continue to keep my body and mind in a healthy place. Both of those cannot be completely accomplished in 21 days, but I can build a structure that will allow me to build a routine and habits to continue accomplishing these throughout the year.

During 21 Damn Early Days, I will create a structure, goals, and habits for doing both consistently.

The Right Goals

For 21, we're going to focus on a single primary goal (with a secondary goal if your primary goal is something short and can be done quickly – i.e. meditate for 20 minutes each morning). Anything more becomes too much to bite off and can lead you to be unfocused.

It's up to you to determine how much time you have and how long your primary goal takes. From there, you can figure out if you need a secondary.

The goals you set during this should be measurable, so you can look back at the end of it and see your progress. They can be a part of something bigger or stand alone on their own.

Looking at my intention above, based on writing and training, I am going to set two simple, but trackable goals:

  • Writing – Write 5 separate blog posts, each at least 500 words, ready to be published to the world.
  • Training – Complete 21 – 30+ minute yoga/movement classes (in studio or at home), which is one for every day.

These goals work because, at the end of the 21 days, it will be easy to hold me accountable to both
And please, go ahead and do so.


The Right Habits

This is where it gets real. Once you've figured out what your intentions and goals are, you'll figure out how to get them done, bit by bit.

You'll want to break your goals down to simple, executable chunks that you can do each day. This takes some thought. For each one make sure they are things that you can do within the window you've created by getting up at 4:30AM.

If you're stuck, shoot us a message and we'll help you sort it.

Following on the above, my goals are to write 5 blog posts and do 21 – 30 minute yoga/movement sessions each morning. With that defined as success, I'll break the goals down into simple habits:

Writing – Spend 1 hour writing each morning for the 21 days. My goal is to write at least 500 words within this hour (should take approximately 40 minutes) and spend the additional 20 minutes editing. To do this, I will use an app like Evernote or to track my writing.

Yoga/Movement – 21 sessions in 21 mornings is pretty simple – one per day. Each morning I'll schedule a 30 minute yoga/movement session.

Setting The Morning Up

Once you know what you want to do and how you're going to do it, the next thing is to lay out your morning to make sure you get it done. We'll touch more on this in the next section, but here's a high-level overview.

I'm opting to write before I do yoga/movement for two reasons: 1) I do my most creative work first thing in the morning when I'm in a dreamy haze and 2) writing is more difficult for me to get to than yoga/movement, so I want to get the hard stuff out of the way first.

To keep me on track, I'll create a morning routine that looks something like this:

4:30 – Wake up, turn phone off airplane mode, and check-in. Once checked in, turn phone back on airplane mode (removes distractions).
4:35 – Brush my teeth, grab some water, and have a quick snack that I set up the night before.
4:40 – Read over my intentions, why I'm doing this, and what I want from it. This puts me in the right headspace.
4:45 – Sit down at my computer to write for the next hour / at least 500 words.
5:45 – Finish up writing and switch over to yoga/movement in my apartment [no studios have 6AM classes around me].
6:15 – Finish up yoga.
6:30 – Shower, make a proper breakfast, and get on with my day having already done two things that matter.

Julian DeSchutter