How to have the PERFECT Start To The Day

In 2006 I stopped being a full-time personal trainer. That meant I no longer “had” to wake up at 4:30 AM in order to be in the gym by 6:00 AM. So I started sleeping in. Within a few weeks a sense of guilt and anxiety swept over me. It felt like I was always running behind. I knew that I was a morning people but the temptation, and typical approach in life, is to see how late you can sleep every day.

It was at that point in my life that Mark Ford kept repeating the same life-changing advice over and over again in Early to Rise. “Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.” I ignored it once, twice, three times, even four times. But the fifth time I read it, in about 2009, I decided to take the advice. I was in bed at 10:00 PM and up at 6:00 AM every day.

When I did this I began to experience all-day energy (without caffeine) and eliminated 2:00 PM energy slumps. I was as fresh on

Monday mornings as I was on Wednesday, Friday, or the weekends.

As I started to travel more, early morning flights became more common, and yet I still wanted to get through my morning routine.

That led me to getting up at 5:30 AM, then 5:00 AM, and today I’ve settled on 4:00 AM. I still get 7 hours of sleep a night, even 8.

Do the math. Yes, that means going to bed at 8:00 PM. This is possible when you shift your personal schedule. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. How you use them, and how you manage your energy, is what separates you from success.

The bottom line is that no matter what time you get up each morning, the key to having all-day energy is to stick to a CORE sleep time. The best approach is to literally go to bed and get up at the same time every day. When you do this, you’ll be amazed at how you feel all-day, every day.

There is something spiritual about 4:00 AM. That is when I experience my Magic Time, the point in the day when I get three times the work done that I could ever accomplish at any other point in the day. I am alone. No one is bothering me. The dog sleeps. The world rolls over and sees there is still two or three hours before the alarm goes off. Without distraction, and while in my zone, the work flows. Essays of two thousand words or more pour out. Read more about finding your Magic Time here –

Each morning I wake up between 3:30 and 4:00 AM. My goal is to have 90 minutes of writing time before I meditate with the sunrise. Before I roll out of bed, I grab my phone and send a pre-written motivational message to over forty of my top 7-figure coaching clients. Then I head downstairs to greet the dog. He’s 9 years old now, and sleeps deeper, so some mornings he’s not at the bottom of the stairs wagging his tail. I still go over to his mat to pet him, though.

Next, I pour myself two glasses of ice-cold water. I add vitamin C to one and sit them both down next to my laptop. I fire it up and open the most important document on my desktop. I start writing. No distractions. I’ve eliminated all temptations and excuses that could set me off track on this pathway to success. I prepared the night before to make this bed-to-work Magic Time transition as smooth as possible. The Perfect Day requires the Perfect Start. To achieve yours, you must plan ahead, get up 15 minutes earlier, and carve out a smooth path to success.

If you want to have the perfect day, you have to have the perfect start. Getting up 15 minutes earlier than you do now is essential. So is preparing the night before for the next day ahead. You must know your priorities, you must have your plan, you must have eliminated the obstacles and temptations, and you must make a smooth path for you to get to work on your number one priority.

These little things matter. Ignore them and you will pay the price.

It’s all about those first 15 minutes, that’s how you win your morning. If you win your morning, you control your day because as the day goes on, more and more distractions come up. If you try and leave an important project for 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, you’re dead because people are going to bring you their emergencies that they think are the most important thing in their life and they will insist it has to be the most important thing in your life. You’re never going to get those magic 15 minutes that you’re going to get first thing in the morning no matter when first thing in the morning is for you.

Understand it’s not about getting up at 4:00 AM. It’s about getting up 15 minutes earlier than whatever time you’re getting up right now. If you give yourself 15 minutes alone in the morning, I believe you can solve any problem in your life. If you’re in debt, you have 15 minutes to sit there and think and look at your bank statements and go where am I making these mistakes? How can I get out of debt? Where can I make more money?

Even if the rest of the day goes downhill, and it almost always will, you have that victory in the morning. You can go to sleep that night and say at least I did this and made a big step forward. It gives you that all-important sense of progress in your life and the momentum you’ll need to get up and do it again tomorrow.

Give me – and yourself – fifteen minutes a day in the morning, seven days a week, and you’re going to make incredible progress on your priorities.

Start it up,
Craig Ballantyne

PS – Your life, your choice, make the right decisions. You have no one to blame but yourself. It’s your personal responsibility for where you are in life.

“The choice to exert integrated effort or to default to camouflaged laziness is the key choice that determines your character, competence and future. That critical choice must be made continually – throughout life. The most meaningful thing to live for is reaching your full potential.” – Kekich Credo #27