The Fastest Way to Improve Your Life

Recently I suggested to members of my Facebook page to get up 15 minutes earlier each day to take advantage of the magic time. This is a point in the day where your mind’s creativity and lack of external disruptions combine to allow you to get more done than you could at any other time of the day.

Many people supported it, a few offered excuses, and others were befuddled by how they could accomplish this based on their difficulty of getting out of bed as it was already.

Telling people to set their alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier and go to bed fifteen minutes earlier is not going to work. But neither are there any secrets for getting up fifteen minutes earlier each day. What I needed was a better answer, one that almost everyone could apply to help this habit, and the solution came to me during another my workout (which is also another magic time of day for creativity).

While I was lifting weights and thinking about the difficulty many readers had in getting up early, my between-set attention turned to a girl on the treadmill. She had only been in the gym for what seemed to be 10 minutes, but she was already giving up on her workout, stepping off the treadmill and getting ready to leave.

That’s when it hit me.

In my fitness business, I had often been asked the question, “What do I do if I don’t feel like exercising today?” The best answer, and one that really does work, was to tell the client to simply go in and promise me that they’ll at least do their warm-up. And if they could do that, then at least do 10 minutes of their workout. And when they got to that point, try to at least do ONE minute more.

Give me just one more minute.

Of course, that one minute would turn into two, then five, and eventually they’d be in ‘workout mode’ and would complete a full workout. Often they’d say, “That was one of my best workouts ever. I’m really glad I committed to doing just one minute more.”

The answer to getting up earlier is to do it one minute at a time. If you set your alarm clock for 7:00am each morning, then tomorrow you must set it for 6:59am. And each day for the next fifteen days you’ll set it one minute earlier. Soon you you’ll be acclimatized to getting up fifteen minutes earlier and you’ll discover the power of this magic time.

Not only is this the simplest solution for teaching your body to rise and shine earlier each day, but it’s the fastest way to improve your life in many ways.

One minute at a time.

Think of all the ways you can apply this to your life to make it better. The possibilities are almost endless. I challenge you to…

Spend one minute longer in conversation with your spouse and one minute less reading the paper or watching television.

Invest one minute longer in helping your kids with their homework each night.

Spend one minute longer in positive conversation and one minute less in negative gossip with colleagues at work or friends in your social settings.

Get to work one minute earlier each day for the next fifteen days because that will make a huge difference in your productivity.

Give one more minute to quiet meditation each day and one less minute reading your favorite negative news website.

Invest one minute longer in creating healthy meals for your family rather than spending your time on the Internet, watching television, or following a political campaign over which you have no control. Do this for fifteen to twenty days in a row and your family will be eating healthier, spending more time together, having more energy, and perhaps losing more weight.

Spend one more minute on your exercise program and one less minute sitting in a coffee shop. If you’re joints and muscles are stiff and sore, spend an extra minute in warm-up activities for the next fifteen days and one less minute chatting to other gym-goers and you’ll notice a dramatic reduction in soreness and increases in mobility.

If you struggle with a vice, such as smoking or drinking, commit to one less minute spent on each of those, starting today, for the next thirty days. Think of the life-changing progress you could make.

Invest an extra focused minute to real work and eliminate one of the wasted minutes spent repeatedly checking email, especially first thing in the morning during your potential magic time.

Spend an extra minute each day to reading a classic piece of fiction or inspirational biography and spent one less minute watching television or surfing the Internet. Do this for the next month and you’ll be able to finally get through that pile of books you’ve ordered from Amazon in the last three years. (I’m speaking to myself on this one.)

And above all, invest one minute more in action and one minute less in procrastination every day for the next fifteen to thirty days and you’ll see a dramatic increase in the quality of your life.

The next time you faced with a task that would otherwise cause procrastination, force yourself to just start it for at least a minute. And the next time you’re struggling to work through a mundane, yet essential task, such as your taxes, tell yourself to give it just one more minute. Chances are each of these situations will lead to getting a lot of progress completed on each chore.

While we live one day at a time, our opportunity to improve our lives truly comes down to how we spend each minute.

Make your life better faster than ever by committing to making every minute count, starting today.

[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with a web–based business that you can operate from anywhere in the world – including a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or anywhere around the world where there is Internet access. Discover how you can achieve the American Dream and your financial independence here. You’ve never seen anything like this before.]
  • Mohan

    I like this. Reminds me of the ‘leave 1 chip a day off the plate’ to lose weight without your body noticing it. Change is hard and with my own life and my clients, I’m challenged with making change feel as close to normal living as possible. Otherwise it doesn’t happen. In your piece I like the messages of changing a little bit and letting momentum push you along. I’d add something else – write it down! Small changes we forget but we mustn’t because they accumulate into something big. So keep an ‘I did it’ list and look back with a sense of achievement. Best, Mohan.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thanks Mohan, appreciate the feedback. Good luck working with your clients.

      Craig