My life has taken two big plot twists recently.
First, I finally settled back down in Toronto, moving into an apartment on the 27th floor of a high-rise with sweeping views of the city.
I’m happy to say that this inspiring new environment has been an amazing addition to my personal and professional life.
Hopefully you’ve watched some of my new teaching videos that I’ve been filming from my office or on my balcony with the CN Tower in the background. If not, make sure to follow me on Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook for more killer content.
Second, and more important, I finally found my new dog to replace ol’ Bally who passed away back in August. My new pup’s name is Daisy. And she’s trouble.
Somehow, throughout the process of adopting her, I forgot that I now I live on the 27th floor in the middle of a concrete jungle…
…And the nearest patch of grass is almost three blocks away (roughly 3 miles in puppy distance).
Fortunately we weathered the puppy storm of her first two weeks with me, and now she has the strength and endurance to get to the park, where she wrestles every morning with another puppy named Ruby. Sometimes she’s so tired I have to carry her home (but it’s worth it).
Getting a puppy also forced me to make some serious changes to my habits and routines.
Specifically, the way I start my day.
Surprisingly, my new Daisy-approved morning routine has actually helped me become even more productive and allowed me to make massive progress towards my goal of helping 1,000 entrepreneurs double their business in 2019 while working 10 fewer hours each week.
And today, I wanted to share my new routine to help you optimize your mornings and achieve the success, income, and lifestyle you desire.
Let’s get to it.
1. I Show Up Early
One of the most important decisions you can make on your path to success is the hour and minute at which you are committed to waking up every single.
Most people begin their days without any urgency or drive because they are lackadaisical with their morning alarm.
They set an alarm for 7:30 a.m. which really means they plan on waking up “around” 7:30.
When they hear their phone go off at 7:30, they hit the snooze button and allow themselves to stay snugly tucked inside their warm comfortable sheets for another 10-20 minutes before they actually get out of bed.
If 2019 is going to be your year: the year where you achieve massive results in your business and personal life, you must make the commitment to show up early and leap out of bed at a hyper-specific time each morning.
For me, that time is 3:57 a.m.
Not 3:58 or 3:59 or 4:00 a.m.
My feet hit the floor and I’m out of bed, ready to dominate my day and pursue my #1 mission by 3:57 every single morning–no exceptions.
This means I’m about 12 minutes behind Mark Wahlberg, who wakes up at 3:45 a.m. to play golf.
It also means I’m three minutes ahead of The Rock who wakes up at 4 a.m. like some sort of slacker–haha 😉
By setting such a specific time for yourself, you will train yourself to become more disciplined. To build the identity of an operator, and to show up before you need to every single time.
You’ll achieve early morning momentum that will allow you to go out and conquer the rest of your day with ease.
2. I Take Daisy Out and Begin a ‘Farm Boy Morning’
After hitting the floor at precisely 03:57:01, my morning routine is incredibly simple.
For those of you who don’t know, I recently added a new member to the Ballantyne family–Daisy the dog.
As such, the very first thing I do every morning is take my fast-growing yellow lab out for a quick walk and bathroom break, and then I…
- Spend 35 minutes meditating to open my “third eye”
- Chant affirmations in the mirror to remind myself how great I am.
- Journal extensively for at least 45 minutes to sort through my emotions and make sure I’m ready for the day.
- Play a motivational soundtrack on YouTube while I visualize myself conquering the day.
As soon as I walk back into my apartment after walking Daisy (and give her something to distract her from chewing on my socks), I sit down and immediately get to work.
Just like my father did when he took care of the Ballantyne Family Farm, and just like I did on the days I helped him.
No preamble of the perverse procrastination listed above that so many people do.
I simply sit down and get to work.
While some people believe you need an extensive morning routine spanning the first three hours of your day, I’ve found that I’m my most productive when I’ve sat down to work no more than 20-minutes after waking up.
This “Farm Boy Morning Routine” is the reason I am where I am today. It’s what allowed me to go from a broke personal trainer to running a 6-figure online business in 18 months. It’s what allowed me to write more than five book (with another well on the way). And it’s what continues to give me the momentum and focus I need to impact lives and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
You see, most people use their morning routines to procrastinate on actually doing the things they need to do.
Instead of writing their book, they write about writing their books.
Instead of making sales calls, they visualize making sales calls.
Instead of getting in motion and achieving momentum, they meditate about how they can achieve momentum.
This ‘stupid human trick’ convinces us that we’re making progress when we’re actually wasting time.
Don’t get me wrong. I meditate (as you’re about to see), journal, and occasionally visualize important events (like my keynotes for my Perfect Life Retreats…you have blocked out the dates of November 8-9 for the big event in San Diego, right?)
But there is a time and place for everything.
And the first 15 minutes of your morning are neither the time nor the place for these activities. They are a time only for your most sacred deep work to move you ahead in life in an area where you have been stuck or stalled for what seems like forever.
Alright, listen, I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t start work till I get to the office because of _insert reason why_.”
That’s okay. I get it.
But I truly believe that if you got up 15 minutes earlier and went down to your kitchen table and worked on your number one priority in life – whether writing a book or figuring out how to get out of debt – that you would achieve this goal faster than trying to “find time” for it later in the day.
It’s not fun. But neither was farming (at least not all of the time, and especially not in February when it was 15 below). However, if you’re struckling (stuck and struggling), this new approach to your morning is the missing link to your success.
3. I Practice Morning Meditation (And Belly Rubs for Daisy)
After completing a block of deep work–typically about ninety minutes –I’ve won the day, made progress on a big project, and am ready for a break.
And so, it now becomes both the time and place to take part in a short guided meditation.
While I don’t personally start my mornings with meditation, the practice has been an important part of my life for years and is one of the few things to which I can consistently turn to help calm myself down and physically relax.
To supercharge the efficiency of my meditation, I pop down right next to Daisy and rub her belly to help her fall back asleep.
Despite what YouTube has led to you believe, raising a puppy is not the easiest task (especially when you’re running multiple businesses and travelling regularly), and keeping Daisy sequestered while I build my Empire requires a careful combination of trickery, distraction, and an ever watchful eye.
It’s also given me a newfound respect for the single mother’s in my audience who not only have to contend with all of the usual challenges of entrepreneurship but must also face the additional challenges of raising and nurturing another human (which is exponentially more difficult that dealing with a furball that can always be tricked with peanut butter).
Luckily, belly rubs also seem to do the trick, putting Daisy back to sleep for another hour so that I can focus, once again on…
4. My Money-Making Work
My mentor Mark Ford has a simple rule for anyone who has yet to break through the 7-figure mark with their business:
80% of your time must be spent on sales.
And even though my business is well past its first 7-figures, I still follow this rule each and every day.
The second my meditation track ends and Daisy is fast asleep (likely dreaming about all of the squirrels she’s going to catch) I get back to work–specifically I work on sales.
I spend time making sure that all of my follow-ups are prepared, reviewing numbers from my sales and marketing team, and preparing for calls and meetings with my 5% clients (individuals who pay me $25,000/day or more).
With the rest of the world now waking up, I dive into my sales work like a salivating shark (because sharks definitely salivate).
And if you want to max out your life and business and achieve your biggest goals in 2019, you should too.
If you’ve ever seen The Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll remember how the traders eagerly waited for the market to open, sitting at their desk with anticipation and watching the clock count down.
While these slightly unsavory individuals engaged in plenty of unethical activities (both professionally and personally) their attitude towards the work day is worth emulating.
They didn’t start dialing for dollars an hour after the market opened hoping to make a sale.
They had a finger on their phone and their eyes on the clock, ready to take action the second opportunity presented itself.
What would happen in your life and business if you showed up every morning with that same anticipation and hunger? How many more deals could you close? How much more freedom could you create for your family? How much more effective would you be?
You know the answer.
So get up, get ready, and start selling.
5. I Follow My ‘Over-40 Nutrition Plan for Limitless Energy’
As I enter into my fourth decade on this planet, I’ve noticed now, more than ever before, that my energy and productivity is directly tied to the way I fuel my body.
If I eat processed junk food, I feel like crap and my performance plummets–no matter what I do to try and get refocused.
To guarantee this doesn’t happen, I’ve created a simple nutrition plan that allows me to maintain high energy levels throughout the day and fuel my workouts without spending four hours in the kitchen (which is a good thing–because it would probably take me less than one hour to burn my apartment down). And it goes like this:
After my first few hours of work, I’ll typically have a few eggs with spinach, a bowl of pineapple, a handful of walnuts and a small dose of caffeine–typically in the form of green tea.
I’ve found that small moderate doses of caffeine are far more effective for maintaining focus and energy than a 200mg shot of “the world’s most popular drug” first thing in the morning.
For lunch, I’ll typically have a green smoothie, a protein bar (because I love eating like a kid and justify my chocolate bar cravings with chocolate protein bars), and more walnuts — seriously, you probably wouldn’t believe how many walnuts I eat in a given day.
And for dinner, I reluctantly eat like a grown-up. It’s either meat, potatoes, and vegetables, out for sushi, or my favorite local Thai food restaurant, Pai.
As you can see, I don’t follow any fancy diet. I don’t practice intermittent fasting, “eat Keto”, or worry whether or not my food is ‘Bulletproof’ (although I do like the Bulletproof bars!).
It’s not that I’m opposed to any of those nutrition modalities, simply that I’ve found what works for me and so I stick to it.
If you’re currently struggling to maintain the energy and focus you need throughout the day, I encourage you to take a look at your nutrition and analyze how the foods you’re consuming could be related to the performance problems you’re experiencing.
I can tell you from personal experience, once you find a diet that’s right for you, everything in your life becomes easier.
6. I’ve Implemented my ‘Morning Sanity Savers’
Although I don’t technically do any of these five things as a part of my morning routine, they’ve had a profound impact on my life and liberated my mornings so I have more time to focus on what matters most.
I call them my ‘Morning Sanity Savers’ and they go like this:
1. Delegate: I used to spend the first 30-minutes of my morning creating and uploading stories to Instagram. Not only is this not a valuable use of my time, but it sucked me into a social media sinkhole that caused massive distraction. By delegating this task, along with managing my calendar, making sales calls, and uploading content to this site, I was able to save more than six hours each week and make time in my mornings for my most important tasks.
2. Super Fast WiFi: Between travelling all over the globe and visiting family back on the farm in Canada, I’ve suffered through atrociously slow WiFi (I’m talking 20-minutes to upload a video to Facebook). As such, one of the first things I did upon moving into my new apartment was to invest in the fastest internet possible. This simple trick has saved me hours each month and saved my type-A brain from the insanity inducing effects of waiting on slow WiFi.
3. Overcome the Urge to Do Too Much: In years gone by, I would try and fill my calendar to the brim with appointments, calls, meetings, and tasks. The result–as I talk about in my new book Unstoppable–was massive anxiety and crippling inefficiency. Today, I focus on only two to three priorities per day. I say “No” to most things and focus only on the most important. As a result I’m more relaxed, less anxious, and more productive–accomplishing more in a week than I used to in a month.
4. Commitment to Hard Deadlines: One of the most important things I’ve ever done was to implement hard deadlines into my life and business. When you run your own business, projects move forward only as fast or slow as you let them. By setting hard deadlines (that are achievable but still challenging), I’m able to stay focused on what matters and make massive progress towards my biggest goals.
5. Daisy the Dog: Listen. You can make all of the money you want. You can have access to the world’s greatest pleasures on tap. You can have all of the toys and ‘things’ people claim to desire and still wake up with a sinking feeling in your gut. Because you’re ‘happy’ but not fulfilled. Having a new puppy, as silly as it may sound, has given me a new level of joy and fulfillment because my life is no longer just about me. I spend more time outside, give more belly rubs, and have another life for which I am responsible. She’s given me a sense of calm and peace (and stress and anxiety too, lol) that you simply can’t achieve from adding another ‘0’ to your bank account. For those of you who aren’t yet ready to have children (or simply don’t want to), get a dog. It’ll be one of the greatest challenges and joys you ever experience.
7. I’ve Already Won the Morning the Night Before
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You ready?
A successful morning routine does not start in the morning. It starts the night before.
If you wake up without a clear plan of attack, without your priorities clearly identified, without knowing the most important task you have to accomplish that day–you’ve already lost. You’re beginning your day from a handicap and will waste your most valuable hours wondering, “What should I do now?”
To address this problem, I’ve followed a simple three-step planning process (as outlined in The Perfect Day Formula) for years and it’s led to some pretty spectacular results.
1. Complete a “Brain Dump”
Before you go to bed, pull out a pen and sheet of paper and write down the 20-30 things you need to get done, personal or professional. It doesn’t matter whether it’s something as important as closing down a $10,000 client or as simple as ordering paper towels on Instacart. Get it out of your head and onto paper.
2. Create Your Priority To Do List
With your brain dump completed, you’re now going to write down your two to three most important priorities for the following day and write down exactly when you plan to accomplish them. All those other things get categorized as errands and “nice to do” or simply get deleted from your mental files (as many things should).
3. Process Planning
Now that you’ve identified the tasks you’re going to accomplish the next day and the most important “Big Rocks” personally, take a few minutes to streamline these activities by taking small action on them tonight. For example, if you know you have to write an article first thing in the morning, spend 15 minutes outlining that article and pulling up any pertinent content or research to support it.
If you want to wake up and go to the gym, set out your gym clothes and blend a pre-workout shake the night before to make this habit easier and more automatic. The more you can decrease the friction required to do the things you need to do, the easier your good habits will be, and the more likely success becomes.
And this brings us to the final part of my morning routine, and one of the most important habits in my entire life…
8. I Ruthlessly Control My Time and Destroy Distractions
Distraction is the #1 killer of hopes and dreams.
It’s responsible for more failed businesses, failed marriages, and failed lives than almost anything else on the planet and, when left unchecked, it will wreak havoc on every area of your life.
Every morning, I set out to ruthlessly eliminate distractions so I can control my time and concentrate on what counts.
I have a list of habits and activities–like checking email, taking phone calls, and using social media–in which I will not engage each morning.
When my alarm rings, I turn my phone off and leave it sitting in a drawer in another room to neuter its ability to steal my attention and focus.
The notifications on my computer are disabled and I’m up so early that the rest of the world isn’t even awake to distract me.
I ruthlessly control my time and eliminate distractions whenever they arise (except for Daisy… and man does she really likes to play tug-of-war).
No matter what you hope to accomplish, the most important thing you can do is to eliminate the distractions attempting to sabotage those goals.
Turn your phone off. Refuse to check email until you are ready. Wake up before the rest of your family so you have uninterrupted time to engage in deep work. Say “no” to 90% of the offers and opportunities that come your way.
Ruthlessly eradicate anything that is distracting you from your #1 priority and success will happen that much quicker.
Use this millionaire-vetted Morning Routine to earn more, work less, and live your perfect life TODAY!
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