Your QnA and a Challenge

Each Friday I’m going to answer at least one reader question in addition to bringing you more great content. Today, a reader has a question on my habits, and I have an article for you on your legacy.

Let me know what you think of the QnA – good or bad – in the comments below.

Question: I liked your 12 Rules, but do you seriously stick to that schedule all the time? – Lisa M.


Answer: No, absolutely not. Sometimes I sleep in until 5:30am. 🙂

The biggest problem I have is one that almost everyone has – going to bed early. Like most people, I’ll often stay up too late watching a movie or engrossed in a good book. While that happens from time to time, it doesn’t bother me too much, as long as I don’t sleep in. Being early to rise is one of the most important components of my day.

How often I stick to my rules also depends where I am. I split my time between Toronto and my family farm (I actually get more writing done at the farm). I’m also on the road a lot – usually twice per month for seminars or Mastermind meetings, like this weekend, and I don’t expect to get to bed before 11pm while down in Austin.

The final 3 weeks of August will have me taking my annual trip to Europe, starting in Lithuania (where I’ll be speaking at a seminar for college-aged entrepreneurs), followed by holidays in Austria and Denmark.

I certainly don’t expect to be in bed before 9pm on many of those nights, but I will do my very best to remain an early riser, as I have a lot of writing to finish. And yes, there will be at least a few days without any work at all in Europe, as we have plenty of hiking and climbing planned in Austria.

Overall, I’m similar to ETR reader Rebekah, who commented on my article and said she sticks to her rules 80% of the time. Personally, I prefer to push myself a little bit harder and stick to my rules 90% of the time.

This is something I’ve learned from my clients in my fitness business. Those who have a 90% compliance in their diet and exercise program get the greatest results – significantly greater results than those who only stick to their plan 80% of the time or less.

So here’s my challenge to you: Spend the next 21 days aiming for 90% compliance with the habits you need to follow to achieve your goals. I promise that you’ll make dramatic breakthroughs, no matter if your goal is weight loss, an increase in sales, or improved relationships with your loved ones.

  • I like the New ETR format. The articles seem to be more applicable to me, an engineer, struggling to find a balance between work and life.

  • I like the New ETR format. The articles seem to be more applicable to me, an engineer, struggling to find a balance between work and life. I used to be a ETR Premium subscriber but I dropped out when I felt I was getting much from the articles.

    But your 12 rules has struck a chord in me. My dicipline has waned over the years. Maybe because I thought no one else wakes up at 5am (because I have never heard anyone speak of it), so its okay for me to sleep a little bit more. But now I see that successful people do what the lazy ones dont.

    I really appreciate the knock on my head. This is my wake up call.


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Kenneth, I appreciate it. Keep on pushing.


  • Matt

    First of all, I’d like to say that with Michael Masterson’s retirement I was a bit apprehensive about the new articles. So far I am extremely pleased at the transition and the new content.

    Second, I have one small complaint. One of the things Mr. Masterson always had in his issues was the vocabulary word. I rather enjoyed that. I was wondering if that was something you would consider putting into the issues again?

    Keep up the good work,

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Matt, I appreciate the feedback and suggestion.

      We’ll put that on the consideration list.

      However, right now we’re pretty strained for time as it is.

      Stay tuned and as we build efficiency in the operation and we’ll see what we can do.


  • Hey Craig,
    your definition of lagacy is so superb… love it… I heard this before in different ways but this is the only one that REALLY struck a cord in me…


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Nick, appreciated your seminar story too.

  • I recommended it on stumbleupon. The only thing that it’s missing is a bit of new design.

  • Jamila

    One of my favorite quotes is, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” by Benjamin Franklin.

    I experienced the most productive times in my life when I woke up…CORRECTION: GOT UP (no matter how tired I was, if I only had 2 hours of sleep, if it was raining or snowing, etc.,) …at 4:00 am in the morning at least 6 days a week. I had a NO EXCUSES mentality and would drive to the gym and exercise for over an hour, arrive back home by 6am, shower and dress, and then arrive at work by 8am. I was in my early 20’s and accomplished far more in a year or two than most people accomplish in decades!

    Fast forward several years. I have a burning desire to achieve my goals and SUCCEED again, but (yeah, I know…it’s an excuse) have struggled to get up before 6 (really 7:00) am. I often read out loud my Affirmations, Goals, and Vision to encourage myself. Also, try to have the will power…I wake up at 5:00 am (just to turn off the alarm), but go right back to sleep.

    How do I RISE EARLY again and on a consistent basis? Nike says, “Just DO it!”, but I haven’t done it YET… Any suggestions? (other than hypnosis or asking someone to throw cold water on me to get me up and going before 5 am)?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      This is a great question, and fortunately the answer is simple.

      Step #1 – Set your alarm clock to go off 10 minutes earlier for the rest of the week. Don’t try and set it an hour early, that’s too much.

      Step #2 – The week after, set it to go off 10 minutes earlier again.

      Step #3 – Repeat until you are waking up at the desired time.

      Step #4 – Each week you do this, make sure you are going to bed 10 minutes earlier at night.

      Step #5 – To accomplish this, look at your day and make sure you are not wasting any time. Perhaps you have an hour for lunch…use every minute wisely. Finish tasks at lunch time that you might otherwise do at night.

      Step #6 – Identify all of the obstacles in the way for you getting to bed early. Identify TWO solutions for each obstacle. Do you get a lot of phone calls at night that interrupt your relaxation time? If so, turn off your phone and have only text messaging available for emergencies. Does TV keep you up at night? If so, make a pact to avoid turning it on.

      Step #7 – Have a clear, positive conversation with your spouse, kids, friends, etc. and everyone else who factors in your final bedtime, and let them know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Focus on the positives that this will bring them and you.

      Going to bed and getting up earlier need not be looked upon negatively. Instead, it can be reframed as a positive step forward in your life that benefits everyone.

      “Take time to recharge your battery. You won’t get the Golden Egg without first taking care of the Goose.” – Frank McKinney

  • Hank

    The new format is great! Your 12 rules struck a chord with me as well.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Hank, greatly appreciated.


  • Iain Thompson

    Keep up the fantastic work. I am new to ETR and so far have only experienced what you have written. From the new generation of readers your doing great.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you, Iain, greatly appreciated.