June 29: If You're Reading This...

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June 29: If You're Reading This...

THEY SAY "HOW YOU DO ANYTHING IS HOW YOU DO EVERYTHING"...

So if you're reading this damn early on the morning of June 29th, that says a lot.

Take a moment and think about the last month – everything you've gone through, learned about yourself, struggled with, and accomplished. Even the small wins. Even the hard mornings. 

Think about all the things you've undertaken and come through on.

Think about the fact that through all the struggle, you are still here, showing up.

That simple fact says more about you than any of your accomplishments over the past month.

--

For the last month you committed to something that most are unwilling to and because of that, have been able to put the things that matter most front and centre. It maybe wasn't perfect, but you came back and kept at it. 

Take a moment and think about how that feels.

Sure, some days might have been harder than others, and hell, some days might have not even happened at all, but what matters is it's the end of the month, and you're still here.

That deserves a damn big round of applause.

See, while the rest of the world is caught up in the notion that success is determined solely by how smart someone is, the fact is that we know that's not the case.

It's not raw talent, good looks, social intelligence, physical health or smarts that determines someone's success.

Nope. The single trait most highly correlated with success is grit.

And if you're here today, reading this, then it's safe to say that you have it in spades.

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Grit is the perseverance you have for your long-term goals.

It is your stamina. Your willingness to keep fighting.

It's sticking with your future that you one day will have, day in and day out – not just for a few days or a week, but for as long as it takes to get there.

It's the willingness to work as hard as you need to in order to make your future a reality.

It's living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint. 

And that's exactly what you've shown you've got.

If you're here today, reading this, then you have the most valuable asset you need to achieve what you want.

Think about that. That's powerful.

--

Knowing that we only have one single request from you this morning:

Take some time to focus on how this last month has impacted you, the good and the not so good, and to celebrate the fact that you're still here, persevering and getting after it.

You'll gain more from properly decompressing this today, than you will from any amount of extra work you do. So make a hot cup, sit, and reflect this morning. 

We want you to really dive in and understand how your month was. Dive into the emotions you felt, the progress you made, the places you stumbled, what you hoped for, didn't expect, and how you feel now.

How does it feel to still be here?

Explore the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between, because while this is the end of another month Damn Early Days, it's far from the end of it all.

 

LOOKING FORWARD

Damn Early Days isn't just about 21 days – it's about life. It's about being able to consistently focus on the things that matter. So naturally, as we came to the end of our first 21 experiment, a huge part of us didn't want it to end.

But thankfully, there's no awkward break up here.

Starting July 3rd, we'll be back, bringing you 21 Damn Early Days: RADical Self-Care Edition

There are no shortage of things we want to do in our lives, especially now that summer is here. The key is, taking care of our own damn selves so that we can show up and live fully in the world. Putting on our own oxygen mask before helping others. 

Somehow we’ve defined “taking care of ourselves” as something fluffy. We’ve defined it as mimosas, bubble baths, and an escape from busy life when we feel stressed.

But behind every person who is in control of and fully living their life is someone who has in fact taken the time to understand, be in control of, and take care of themselves. Self-care isn’t pampering or indulgence—it’s essential. It's so much more than baths.

But how many of us leave it at the bottom of our to-do list every day?

Watch for new Daily Dose content every day--daily prompts, challenges, and perspectives on redefining self-care, including a few rad guest contributors.  

You can choose a later summer check-in time between 430-630am--because its not about getting up at 430 in the dark this time of year, it's about carving out time through the summer for what matters to you every day.

There is no shortage of 'busy'--what we need is space. We'll give you the time and space to shut out the noise, explore and build your foundation each morning. Only with a solid foundation can we fully show up for ourselves, our lives, and all that truly matters to us. 

We sent out an email on Wednesday with details on how to sign up for July, or click here to sign up.

Know on our end, we're committed to keeping this alive and growing it with you.

Now it's just up to you.

 

 

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June 28: Turns Out You're Kind of Like A Cat

June 28: Turns Out You're Kind of Like A Cat

Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes

Okay, I admit the title was a little bit click-baity, but it's way past my bedtime writing this, and I needed something to get your attention this early in the morning. Oh, and when you're done reading this morning's post, you'll realize it's actually kind of true.

No, I'm don't mean it in a way where you get to sleep 18 hours a day [HA!], I mean it in a way where if you do it right, you get way more lives than just one.

We often just don't choose to see it that way.

Take a read and you'll understand why.

PS. I still have no idea how I came across this gem, but it was a long time ago and all the credit goes to Zach from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. It's been one of those I hold close, refer to often and has given me the confidence to cut out all my other wants and pursue a single crazy idea.

The premise here is really simple, so let's not overcomplicate it.

In a world where we are constantly exposed to millions of different things we could be, many of us run around feeling like we need to be all of them – at the same time.

You know your blog writing, iron pumping, photographer friend who freelance graphic designs, trains puppies on weekends, and curates 100 different Pinterest boards as part of their aspiring interior design career? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

It sounds crazy when you put it like that, but with the pressure we put on ourselves after being exposed to all the things again and again, coupled with the constant feeling of not quite being enough, we set out to simultaneously build multiple, often conflicting lives – all at the same time.

The end result: we end up sucking at all of them, having never given a single one the time, dedication and focus it deserves.

Many of us get paralyzed by the thought of giving up the many in pursuit of a single thing. We believe that if we don't do them all right now, we may never end up getting to do them at all.

And while it may be true that we might not get to do ALL of them, it's almost a certainty that we won't get to do any of them well if we straddle, half-in and half-out of many different things.

My advice: take some time to figure out how you want to spend the next good chunk of your life – say 5 to 7 years – and go all in on it with the kind of fanatical insanity that will leave all of your talent and soul on the table. It's the only way you'll ever know what you are actually capable of – and that's something worth spending your life pursuing.

Find comfort in the fact that done right, life is long and you'll get many chances to own many different areas. Done right, you have multiple lifetimes.

Oh, and if you aren't sure what you'd want to spend a part of your life dedicated to then spend the next big chunk of your life dedicated to figuring out what it could be.

That's a worthwhile pursuit in it's own right.

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June 27: Life In Perspective

June 27: Life In Perspective

If you're like most of us, people have been asking you “why the hell would you want to wake up at 4:30AM?" (or 5 or 530, whatever your damn early checkin time is)

On the surface it seems like a valid question – we'll admit, 4:30AM does sound a little crazy.

And it can be hard to understand the value of a single single day, week, or even a month within the larger context of your life.

But thankfully, courtesy of our friend Tim Urban at Wait But Why, we got a little help.

You may have seen this during pasts cycles of Damn Early Days because, in all honesty, it is still one the of the most powerful reminders we have seen.

No lie, we look at it ourselves at least once a month and it still feels like a wake up call, every damn time. As such, we like to use it as a monthly reminder for all of us in DED as well.

So here's a wake up call for you this morning. Here is your entire life in months, assuming you live until 90.

Yep, that's all you get.

And considering for most of us at least 25% is already behind us, you can knock off the first 7 or 8 rows. The rest is what you have to spend as you please.

Looking at it that way, it's simple (and powerful) to understand why how you spend your time matters so much. It puts into perspective what is and isn't important.

Think about it:

  • If you drink a good cup of coffee each morning, that's just 20,000 "first cups" left. Enjoy.
  • If you get 4 good hugs a week, that's just 12,500 good hugs left in your life.
  • If you see your parents once every three months and they live for another 40 years, that’s just 120 more times you'll see them.
  • If you go on two good vacations each year, that means you have no more than 120 vacations left in your life.
  • If you see an old friend once a year, that's just ~60 more times you will see them in your life.
  • If you go on a rad road trip once every 3 years, that's just ~20 left in life. 

You get the point...

How you spend your time in the days and weeks matters, because they add up to months, months add up to years, and those years are all you get.

It's quick, it's simple, and it's one of the most important things you can understand.

This mornings post will help you do that. Take a dive in, it's one of the best we've ever read.

And of course, your morning jam...

June 26: Master The Art of Negative Visualization

June 26: Master The Art of Negative Visualization

 
In [a premortem], we look to envision what could go wrong... before we start.

Far too many ambitious undertakings fail for preventable reasons.
— Ryan Holiday
 

I have a scenario for you to think about this morning.

To get the most out of it though, you will want to grab a pen and paper.

 

Got it? Let's go.

 

Imagine this: you are 95 years old, right now, sitting quietly, alone, reflecting in a chair in your living room, and you suddenly realize that your life has been a spectacular failure. 

 

What went wrong?

Really think about it--where did your life go wrong? 

 

Practice answering that question for a few minutes and write down what comes to mind.

You should come away with three things:

 

 

1 – A visceral and clear image of what you will want to have accomplished in your life by that point, and who you'll want to have become.

2 – A bunch of flashes of the obstacles that might derail you in your life if you let them, or aren't prepared for them.  A list of regrets your 95-year-old self has, looking back.

2.5 – A solid and growing list of "F*** Thats!" i.e. Get locked into a dysfunctional relationship? F*** That! Letting my fitness slide and being unable to travel later in life? F*** That!

3 – A mental framework on how you want to handle points 2 & 2.5 to ensure you pull off all of your to-do's in point 1.

 
 

Let this be your roadmap

This list can help you get clear on the steps you want to take this week, this month, or this year to take your life where you want it to go. When you imagine life from this future point, it's a powerful way to cut through alot of our inner BS and prioritize what matters most. 

 

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June 25: Who are you?

June 25: Who are you?

The trouble is, you think you have time. — Jack Kornfield

    As we come into Week 4, the excitement of this may be starting starts to fade and we settle into the routine. We start to get a sense of what commitment to ourselves can bring, but also start to get caught up in the weeds.

    Some of us have already accomplished big feats, some of us have missed more check-ins than we made, but all of us stood up for something incredibly important – ourselves.

    And that means something.

    For all of us, at some point this month, we put what matters to us first.

    For all of us, we know we want to be something.

    We feel the capability to choose that burning somewhere inside of ourselves. And just like with anything, getting it right the first time is the rarest case.

    So don't stop. Win or lose, good, bad or ugly, make this only the beginning.

    Keep asking two questions: who are you and who do you want to be?

    Stoke the fire inside you and make moves to become the person you deeply want to become.

    That's what the world needs from you. That's what you need from you.

    Anything else is leaving something on the table.

    It doesn't have to happen all tomorrow, it doesn't have to happen all next week, but please do not give up.

    Keep asking.

    Keep chasing it.

    Keep answering.

    Let's make this last week of June count. 

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    June 20:  Forget Good vs Bad

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    June 20: Forget Good vs Bad

    Midway through the week, and I have a question for you:

    Do you feel there are 'good things' and 'bad things' you spend your time on?

    Whether it's during your DED morning time, or at other times throughout the day, do you feel good about some choices and guilty about others?

    Guilt can be a debilitating feeling, that swells and grows and ultimately holds us back from where we want to go, and it's something alot of us struggle with.

    Enter health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, and her book The Willpower Instinct.

    (You may remember her from the Ted Talk on stress that we shared with you earlier this month in the Daily Dose) 

    In it, she offers a few simple and powerful ways to rethink our approaches to goal setting, and the good vs bad values we project onto our choices. 

    According to her research, when we beat ourselves up inside for 'bad' choices like procrastinating, we are going about it all wrong. Firstly, she says, berating yourself for being “bad,” is only more likely to keep you from acting in the way you actually want to act. Guilt is a stressor, firstly, and stress weakens your willpower.

    Secondly, by labeling our behaviours as “good” or “bad,” we end up moralizing our choices.

    “When you do something good, you feel good about yourself,” writes McGonigal. “This means you’re more likely to trust your impulses—which often means giving yourself permission to do something bad.”

     “If you tell yourself that you’re ‘good’ when you exercise and ‘bad’ when you don’t, then you’re more likely to skip the gym tomorrow if you work out today. Tell yourself you’re ‘good’ for working on an important project and ‘bad’ for procrastinating, and you’re more likely to slack off in the afternoon if you made progress in the morning.

    Simply put: Whenever we have conflicting desires, being good gives us permission to be a little bit bad.”

     

    What should we do instead?

     

    Try this: forget good vs bad.

    Any time you catch your inner voice judging a habit or behavior as 'bad', you actually increase the likelihood that you will repeat that behavious again.

    Focus on how committed you are to your goal. Remember your why behind it.

    Ask this: Will _________ get me further, or closer to what I want?

    This simple shift in mindset cuts right through the BS.

    Suddenly the short term enjoyment of that Netflix binge--while still fun--loses a bit of it's sparkle. The temptations are still there, but they are a little less appealing. We feel a certain shift in attitude away from the enjoyment of breaking the rules, and fully realize that no one is being fooled except ourselves. 

    This shift has taken the joy out of being bad and replaces it with a centered knowledge that we are taking care of what is important to us, and are shaping our own futures. It's not about good or bad anymore, but it's about coming back to choices that align with our priorities.

    And at the end of the day, choosing from a place of alignment and fulfillment is so much more satisfying and empowering than a temptation we feel guilt about later.

    Keep this question with you today, and try it when you bump up against choices you usually feel are good/bad or would cause you guilt. See what kind of impact it has on your day.

     

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    June 19: Time to Do You

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    June 19: Time to Do You

    What would feel really good this morning?

    Whether it's challenging yourself a little more, or taking a small step. Just think about right now. What would be a really great way to start your day, today?

    While Damn Early Days often focuses on goals, making the changes you want in life, steps towards the things that matter to you, sometimes it's just as crucial that we remember that what also matters in life is doing things because they make us feel happy. No bigger reason than that. Some things just matter because they feel good.

    So this morning, if you want to keep after it with your Summit goals and morning plans, do it. If that feels good for you today, go all in on that.

    If you feel like shaking it up, today can be a no-guilt Treat-Yo-Self day to put your Summit on pause and do things differently.

    Shaking things up now and then, making time for play, is pretty damn important in our books for a life well-lived.

    If you agree, here's your chance. 

    Feel like Netflix binging an entire movie before work today? Do it.

    Feel like playing video games, having a long candle-lit bath, or making weekend brunch on a Tuesday all before 9 am? Do. It.

    If you have a DED friend in the city where you live, text them and meet up for coffee and sunrise.

    Do only what feels good this morning. Nothing less.

    So. What do you want? Name it.

    Today it's not about planning the rest of your life, it's about how you want to live this one morning. Right here, in the now. After all, life is a string of mornings and days like this.

    Press play on Nina Simone, think about what would make this morning feel amazing. then get up and go.

     

      

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    June 18 - What Does Your Dream Look Like?

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    June 18 - What Does Your Dream Look Like?

    We are in the second half of the program, and it's awesome to see how this is one of the most consistent groups going through DED in awhile. That doesn't mean we are all crushing it every morning, and for some of us there are days that didn't happen at all, but it's not about perfection. Overall we see the momentum this group is building individually and as a whole, and it is super cool to see.

    But whether or not we are crushing it every morning or struggling, we all have reasons why we signed up. At this halfway point, it's time to refocus.

    Whether the first half of the program was easy for you or a real struggle, there's so much that still lies ahead.

    So first, I want you to pull out a piece of paper and a pen.

    ---

    Go on, I'll wait.

    ---

    Got it? Now, write out the Summit you planned for yourself when you started this month.

    ---

    Next, what is the bigger dream that this summit is leading to?

    If you don't know for sure, just try. Try to put into words the bigger desire you want that inspired your Summit.

    -----

    Once that is written out, read it over. Does it feel true? Anything you want to change?

    Now, with all this in mind, hit play on this short video featuring American author and motivational speaker Eric Thomas. He's loud, he's tough, but his words are a no BS reminder about getting serious about your life and what you want. It's worth it. 

    Rise and Grind. 

    Let's Do This.

     

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    June 15: Let's Reflect

    June 15: 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, and maybe it's scary to pause and go under the layers for a bit. 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.

    We're serious. 

    It's simple, but powerful. Whether this is your first DED or your 6th, this makes a difference.

    It will not only make a big difference in the rest of your Damn Early Days experience this month, 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... look up from the screen and think about each one, write them down, it's up to you.

    Here we go.

    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 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 this month. 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 Damn Early Days to focus on it?

    And of course...

    June 14: You Get To Choose Who You Want To Be

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    June 14: You Get To Choose Who You Want To Be

    Here's a crazy think to think about –

    You get to choose, fully and completely, who you want to be five years from now.

    ----

    Let that sink in.

    ---

    That choice is yours and yours alone.

    It's both liberating and terrifying. Completely believable and completely far fetched.

    In today's world, five years is enough time to change almost every aspect of your life.

    Your career, your love life, your priorities, your schedule, your time constraints, your debt, your income streams, you name it.

    All of those can be signficantly changed.

    Knowing that, you have one simple question to ask yourself:

    Who do I want to be in five years?

    If you dedicate yourself to accomplishing one goal, I promise you that you can reach it.

    This isn’t profound.

    It’s not sexy either.

    It’s really kind of boring, and it’s been said a zillion different times.

    Yet here I am, saying it.

    I used to think this idea was bullshit:

    “There’s no substitute for hard work.”

    I was convinced that, if I worked “smarter, not harder,” I’d be able to achieve success without breaking a sweat.

    I thought people who worked long hours worked on the wrong things. I thought people who worked really hard were wasting their effort.

    I was wrong. Very wrong. There really is no substitute for hard work.

    (Do I sound old yet?)

    Here’s what I mean:

    The guy who has a “million-dollar idea” won’t succeed.

    Everybody has a “million-dollar idea.” I’ll bet $20 you’ve got an uncle that looks at (insert product here) and says:

    “You know, I had that same idea!”

    Cool.

    Success isn’t predicated on good ideas. It’s predicated on hard work.

    For example:

    Airbnb is a terrible idea on paper.

    “Oh, absolutely! I would looooove to have strangers from the internet stay the night in my house!”

    said no one, ever.

    Now, Airbnb is worth over $30 billion.

    I bet it took A LOT of hard work to convince people they should let strangers sleep in their houses.

    Success is earned by the people who work late. People who work hard on the right things. People who wake up early and get after it, not because they’re “morning people,” but because they have a mission.

    These people don’t have any tricks. It’s not that they know some secret life hack you don’t. It’s that they actually do the work.

    See, I get caught up on how a lot.

    “How did you write that article? Tell me your process!”

    “Woah! How did you learn to do a backflip!?”

    “How do you get up at 5AM every day!?”

    But how doesn’t matter.

    Do you want to know the real difference between you and the people who are achieving your dreams?

    They do the work.

    Again. And again. And again.

    The first thing they wrote wasn’t an awesome article. It was probably a dumb squiggly crayon line on their bedroom wall.

    They didn’t land a backflip the first time they tried. They probably flailed around like an idiot and almost broke their neck.

    They don’t have a special trick that makes them SUPER ALERT when their alarm goes off at 5AM. They’re probably just as tired as you when you wake up.

    But they don’t waste time worrying about how.

    They just do it.

    (I apologize for the blatant use of the Nike slogan, but you gotta admit: it fits nicely, doesn’t it?)

    If you want to achieve your goals, you don’t need to work smarter. You don’t need a new strategy, a new hack, or a new how.

    You just need to get out there and work. Everything else will come after that.

    Missed a Daily Dose? Find them here

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    And your morning jam, as you envision the future...

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    June 13: The One Routine That Guarantees The Rest

    June 13: The One Routine That Guarantees The Rest

    Estimate Reading Time: 6 minutes

    "Most people know what to do, they just don't have the willpower and structure to get to it consistently."

    Routine – it's become dreaded word in our culture, a word we closely correlate with monotony. But for this, I want you to break that notion.

    When directed towards things that matter, routine is what allows us to stay on track, reduce the willpower we have to expend, and move further, faster.

    It is what will help you break your current habits and build new ones.

    By definition, a routine is simply a sequence of actions you follow regularly. In this case, we'll be talking about the routines you set up for DED--these routines are what will ensure you are able to create the space you need.

    Without them, it's just empty time you could have spent sleeping.

    If you take the time to set routines up properly and, most importantly stick to them, you'll walk away from this month further than you thought possible.

    There is one routine that will help you "win" at your own DED game. If you can nail this one, nothing can stop you.

     

    Let's TALK Bedtime 

    For most of the DED community, bedtime continues to be voted, over and over, and one of the biggest hurdles for those in the program. Why is it so hard to get to bed? 

    Getting up at damn early doesn’t start when your alarm clock goes off, it starts the afternoon before. Yep – a full 12 hours before you wake up you should be thinking about it because the decisions you make then will effect how easy it is for you.

    We are a week and a half in to this DED round, and we hear that many of you love the morning time, but it's bedtime that kills you. 

    We feel you on that. Especially as the days get longer (up here in the northern hemisphere. For DED members down in Australia, it may be easier for ya!), getting to sleep earlier is no easy feat.

    We've got some things to think about and do below:

    1. Your Bedtime

    This is one of the biggest things you'll need to understand – how many hours of sleep do you need?

    For most men, it’s between 7 and 9 hours and for most women it’s 8 to 9 hours. Of course, this is a uniquely individual thing that you have to figure out for yourself. Maybe you need more or less this time of year.

    Spend time figuring this out and then count back from 4:30AM (or the checkin time you chose) – that’s your bed time. If you need 7.5 hours of sleep, then you need to be asleep by 9PM. Given that it takes roughly 15 – 30 minutes to fall asleep, you should be in bed with the lights out by between 8:30PM and 8:45PM.

    This might sound early right now, but once you get the hang of early mornings and realize how much you can accomplish early on in the day, it won't be seem so bad. Trust us.

    HOMEWORK
    figure out how much sleep you need.
    determine what your bed time is.

     

    2. Building a Night Time Routine

    The easiest way to consistently get to bed at an hour you aren't used to is to have a routine around it. The body is way smarter than most of us give it credit for and creating a night time routine serves as a cue that it should start getting ready for sleep.

    During it you can prep yourself for bed, sip herbal tea, read a book, prepare for the next morning (setting up coffee, getting out gym clothes, etc.), set your alarm, mediate to something that calms you, and/or mentally go through the process of getting up in the morning. Listen to a playlist that feels zen AF.

    Keep things simple and you will thank yourself.

    Note: Preparing for the next day, the night before, is one of those little things that’s going to help you succeed. You are much more likely to get out of bed and hit the gym in the morning if your bag is already packed and all you have to do it throw on your shoes and head out the door.

    Three simple rules to your routine:

    1. Your routine should take at least 15 minutes.
    2. Be similar each night.
    3. Be done at the same time each night.

    To do:

    • Spend some time developing a night time routine. Think about how you want to wind down. We put some suggestions and an example below.
    • Write it down, print it out, and leave it somewhere you can go back to each night
    • Set your alarm clock for 30 minutes and then 10 minutes before this starts. This will be your reminder that you need to start thinking about closing it down for the night.

    You can find an example of a nighttime routine here:

    I need a solid 7.5 hours each night and generally fall asleep quickly, so I need to be in bed by 8:45PM and asleep by 9:00PM. I like to do a little more with my night time routine as I use it to decompress from the day, remind myself where I'm at, and get prepped for the next so I budget 30 minutes.

    Here's an example of what it'll look like:

    7:45PM - First alarm goes off telling me I have 30 minutes until I have to start winding down.
    8:05PM - Second alarm goes off, telling me I have 10 minutes. I begin shutting down what I'm doing.
    8:15PM - Brush my teeth, make tea, shut off my phone, and set my alarm for tomorrow.
    8:15PM - Turn on some chill music. I use the same song each night, which tells my mind and body it's time to go to bed. Spend the next 15 minutes decompressing from the day, writing down thoughts, going over what happened that day, understanding what went well and what didn't, and looking at my agenda for tomorrow. This takes about 15 minutes.
    8:30PM - Read a book for 15 minutes.

    8:45PM - Crawl into bed.
    9:00PM - Good night.

    HOMEWORK
    spend some time and figure out how you'll wind down your nights
     

    3. Some (Tried and tested) Afternoon & Night Time Rules

    Trust us when we say we've messed this up just about every single way you can. Whether it's been 21 Damn Early Days or the chases we've done, more than once we've found ourselves sitting there at midnight, wired and not able to fall asleep.

    To save you the struggles, we've put down some of the best rules for making your nights easy:

    1. Ditch The Phone

    As powerful as they are, your phone is likely the biggest distraction in your life. We recommend leaving your phone charging outside of the bedroom and investing in a $20 on an alarm clock to get you up each morning. This does two things: 1. it stops you from being on your phone in bed and 2. it forces you to get up to check-in each morning.

    2. Technology Cut-Off

    Speaking of technology, we recommend cutting it out at least an hour before bed. The blue light from your phone/computer screen will tell your brain to stay awake and stop the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Unplugging at least an hour before will tell you body it's allowed to fall asleep. The science is here .

    3. Food Cut-Off – Try not to eat 2 hours before bed. It makes a different in how you well you sleep.

    4. Caffeine Cut-Off –  Cut out caffeine six (yes, 6) hours before bed. That means if bedtime is 9PM, then 3PM is your last call for lattes.

    5. Gym Cut-Off – If fitness is a part of your routine, get your work outs in by the early afternoon at the latest. Exercising late in the day can signal to your body that it shouldn't be ready to sleep yet.

    6. Have A Plan and Stay The Course
    You are saying yes to an unbelievable morning, so stick to your plan and feel good about saying no to things that come up last minute – no to a late meal, no to going out (even for just one drink), no to (insert pseudo FOMO or shiny object here).

    And last but not least, have some damn confidence in yourself. You got this.

    The end.

     

    Oh, and of course, your (slightly sleepy) morning jam: 

    June 12: Yes or No

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    June 12: Yes or No

    For the past thirty-three years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
    — Steve Jobs

    Sometimes the simplest questions can be the most powerful.

    ---

    So. What's your answer?

    Is it a clear and easy yes?

    Or did your stomach sink a bit and a 'yes' didn't come so fast...maybe you felt no instead?

    ---

    No matter what your response was--sit with it, explore it, and let it sink in.

    Of course we don't love every moment of our days, but at it's core, how do you feel about how you are spending your day? Maybe this answer may confirm what you know, or lead to other questions as you make choices about where you want your life to go in small ways or bigger ways. See where it takes you.

    Add this question to your tool box, and pull it out now and then to checkin. The kinds of questions we ask ourselves, and those around us, are powerful, and can have big impacts on where we decide to go. 

    Question for ya: do you have key questions, or a resource that has been impactful for you in your life? We want to hear about it.

    Since we first began building the Damn Early Days program we knew we didn't have all of the answers on our own. We have been learning and growing right along with you. This community is a living, growing body of knowledge and experiences, connected to the many other voices, thinkers, experts and researchers exploring ideas that help people get where they want to go in their lives. We continue to collect and share these with you every day, and we are willing to bet some of you alot to share, too. 

    Do you have a link, a killer song for a morning jam, or an idea or concept you think the DED community would like? Drop it into the Daily Dose link below, anytime.

    We want to keep sharing more, from you, from us, to all of us, and sharing is caring. So, send us your gems and we'll get them out to the community. 

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    June 11: Got A Rad Case of The Mondays

    June 11: Got A Rad Case of The Mondays

    The Difference Between Tension & Stress.

    I've got a favourite days of the week. And its not Friday anymore.

    Honestly? Its Monday. Especially during Damn Early Days.

    Like most of us here, there are things I want to accomplish and big things I want to dedicate myself to. Clearly seeing the gap between 'here' and 'there' brings on a natural tension.

    In spite of that gap, if we are clear on where we want to go, if we know our Why for wanting to go there, and if we've chopped the progression into manageable steps, that tension turns into excitement and an energy that might be nagging at us on Sunday night, but that also pulls us out of bed Monday morning. 

    We fundamentally believe that something inside all of us that is drawn to the person we could become, even if we can't see it clearly.

    So that means everyone feels the tension, too - but for so many, Monday brings a reminder (conscious or unconscious) that we aren't going where, somewhere inside, we know we want to go. We feel stuck, and that internal tension is stagnated. It becomes stress, and we either lash out with it, let it pour over in reactive sass, or turn it fully inwards on ourselves which over time can have tragic effects.

    This TED talk below on stress is definitely worth a watch (even as a reminder if you've seen it already) It shows how stress can actually be a neutral or potentially positive thing if we frame it right.

    We would agree and also argue that the tension behind stress can be one of the most positive forces we've got: energy intent on change.   

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    June 8: The Key To A Great Life

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    June 8: The Key To A Great Life

    The key to a great life is simply having a bunch of great days. So you can think about it one day at a time.
    — Mr. Money Moustache

    Pretty simple, isn't it?

    You made it to the end of Week 1. Moving into the weekend, and all that's to come this month, wanted to take this chance to bring your thoughts back down to the present for a minute.

    While we focus on larger goals, plans, steps towards the routines or projects we want, it's important to remember that this process is still, at its core, about the way we live each day.

    Right now.

    We don't live in the future or the past, although we plan for what's ahead and sometimes we dwell (a bit too much some days?) on what we left behind. We really only have this morning, here, right now.

    So, get up, and aim to fully experience every minute of this morning.

    Put down your phone and fully taste your tea or coffee without distraction

    Look up, not down, as you walk outside this morning. What do you notice?

    How you can show up a bit more fully today as you go out into the world?

    Got a challenge for ya

    Plan three small way you can reach out to someone else and make this single day a bit better for them, too

    • Text a friend and let them know why you appreciate them. Hell, text several friends and tell them. This will impact their day more than you know. Guaranteed.
    • Call your grandma, or your parents. Same as above.
    • Bring a treat or a coffee for your coworkers.

    Make this day count, along the longer road to where you are heading.

    This day is so young. Now, what do you want to do with it? 

    As you get started, we have a morning jam that just feels like it was made for early summer mornings like this one....

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    June 7: The Power of a Morning Routine

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    June 7: The Power of a Morning Routine

    Some things don't need a big introduction and this is one of them. Jim Kwik is a world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, and optimal brain performance, and he is passionate about teaching others to get more out of their brain, their body, and their day.

    This morning, take ten and watch it.

    You'll be better for it.

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    June 5: The Biggest Question

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    June 5: The Biggest Question

    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. Starting steps towards new goals and dreams isn't easy. 

    While these last few days have been about dreaming, setting intentions, planning, and getting our goals and systems together, all that planning isn't enough to get you there. 

     

    Yesterday we asked you to dig deep and get clear on your Why-- why are you doing this? 

    Odds are, its because there is something more you want in your life.

    But the biggest question to help you get clear on your why isn't what do you want or how much do you want it. 

    It's not about wanting the thing, but about wanting the struggle. 

     

    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 cutting through the BS to get to exactly what you really want. It's worth the read.

    And of course, your morning jam...

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    June 4: Understanding Why You Are Here

    June 4: 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.