Bob and his friend Bret are 24 year old graduates from the same university and have just landed jobs with a large real estate investment firm. They come from similar backgrounds, have almost identical body composition and have identical schedules. The only difference between them is that Bob comes home from work and watches TV for the rest of the night while Bret dedicates 30 minutes in the morning to working out and another 30 minutes at night to read a good educational book. Will these habits have a substantial effect on both individuals over an extended period of time? Let’s find out:
I read about the concept of the compound effect and “book-ending” your days in the book “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy (this is a great book with a lot of awesome information. I have provided the book link at the end of the article). Darren believes that most people are generally very busy during the core hours of the day (8 to 5 pm). This means that finding time to dedicate to your self-improvement during these core hours is futile. Allotting time in the morning and the afternoon (book-ending) to dedicate to skill building/self-improvement, can have a drastic effect on your life.
The Compound effect is described as consistently making smart small choices over time. Not buying a $2 soda at lunch may not immediately affect you today but consistently passing on the soda over the course of 2 years will result in you losing 20 pounds and saving almost $1000. Let’s go through some great habits that I believe can have a positive impact on your life:
Waking up earlier
Among the most effective habits to get into is waking up earlier than you have to. The average person scrambles to get ready in the morning because they snooze their alarm 3 times before finally getting up. Setting your alarm back 30 minutes – 1 hour allows you to more seamlessly transition into your day and frees up time in the morning to dedicate to self-improvement. Earlier this year I committed myself to waking up 45 minutes earlier than I needed to (5:15 am). This change in my schedule has allowed me to adopt new beneficial morning habits, some of which I will discuss later in this article.
I know that some of you feel the last thing you want to do when you wake up drooling in the morning is exercise.Let’s talk about your morning strategy. If you wake up 45 minutes before you need to be up in the morning, you can dedicate the first 10 minutes or so to doing an activity that eases you into the day. I personally meditate for 5 minutes and read for about 20 minutes before I begin my 20 minute workout. This gives me about 25 minutes to fully wake up before I begin my work out. The benefits of exercising are well documented and among the benefits is increased focus throughout the day. Do you usually feel groggy and tired in the morning? Try exercising 20 minutes and see the difference it makes. I bet you will notice right away.
This habit is one that has had the most profound effect on my life thus far. As a result of me reading 20-30 minutes in the morning and before I go to sleep, I have been able to read just over 17 books in the last 8 months. This is coming from someone who previously didn’t make it through one book in an entire year. Making this a habit has changed my perspective on many other parts of my life. The information in these books has helped me develop new skills, broaden my knowledge on various subjects and even enabled me to start this blog. If you don’t really enjoy reading I suggest listening to audio-books. You get the same information in an audio form. What if you were able to read 20 books a year? You don’t think that would have a profound effect on your life?
Journaling is a new habit that I have incorporated into my daily routine. Writing on topics that you enjoy can be very therapeutic and a great way to share your ideas with the world. Studies have shown that journaling just a few minutes a day can help reduce stress levels throughout the day. Getting your thoughts and feelings on paper also enables you to share your experiences with others. Take this blog for instance. Many of the ideas I share on this blog I have written about in my personal journal. As new thoughts come to mind that I think will add value to people, I jot them down in my journal.
A great way to start with this habit is just to dedicate 3-5 minutes in the morning to write down 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you want to accomplish during the day. I suggest these because it will not take much of a time commitment and these topics will get you thinking proactively and positively for the rest of the day. Dedicate yourself to incorporating journaling into your daily routine.
It takes anywhere from 21 days to 250 days to develop a habit so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results in the first week. Continue to build on your previous successes and soon you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come. What other habits/techniques do you guys think would be beneficial to incorporate? I would love to hear your feedback.
As promised, I have provided the link to Darren Hardy’s the compound effect below. This a phenomenal book with information on how to develop great habits that will impact your life one small step at a time. (https://www.amazon.com/Compound-Effect-Darren-Hardy/dp/159315724X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1470014878&sr=8-3&keywords=darren+hardy)