My morning ritual goes as follows:
The first step is…
For many years I thought that I could begin to accomplish my life goals while still being the same person I was back in college. All of the character traits, life expectations, philosophies towards life and productivity, all the same except in an older body with more life experiences. I just figured I needed to work hard at whatever task I had in front of me, but I never gave the thought of turning into a complete different person a chance. Deep inside I didn’t even want to consider the idea of growing up. My life was drawn out for me, I had a schedule, I would work hard for school then come home and play, ever since I was little all the way to college. My parents were my guides to life always and I just kept on pushing forward with this mentality until my early 20s.
Work hard then come home to relax. I figured that change would come on its own once I started living new experiences such as my first job, my first girlfriend, my first big leap, but I never actually considered that I would have to change who I am to the core.
I know some people may disagree and say that they are the same person that they were 10-20 years ago, the same joyful person who still wants to get the most out of life and play video games and watch reality TV shows, but I believe that even without us noticing we might change into a completely different person with some similar traits to what we had before. If that is the case for you, think of it this way: you are like the Iron Man or Super Woman version of who you used to be as a kid. You are the person from before but in an improved, upgraded, premium, ready-for-life version. If this is you, then the only way to succeed in life is to continue being you, BUT with a massively expanded comfort zone.
Other people change completely, they go from being a joker in school to being a serious, no joking around business manager which is a 360 degree turn. Whatever you do that is up to you, I am not saying what character traits you should have, I am just saying to be open and embrace the possibility of growing up, detaching from your current self and turning into someone you never thought possible. Sometimes it is not even up to you. In my case, I am neither a completely different person, nor I am an improved version of my self (I am, but not to the level I wanted to be by now). I do have similar traits than before, I still think work hard then play, but I am looking to change both definitions so that work hard means to do something that is truly meaningful to myself and society, and play means adventures that make life a wonderful ride for me to experience with friends.
HOW TO BECOME OUR IDEAL SELFS
Not so long ago I read a quote saying that in order for us to become the person we want to be, we must begin acting like that person, doing what that person does and thinking like that person thinks, even if it is to a scaled down version. This is to sort of trick yourself that you are already there and then in time everything would align. Similar to the law of attraction instead you are not just thinking about it, you are acting upon it and based on it. In my case my ideal self is productive most of the time, and he fits fun times whenever possible, not the other way around.
Basically you must ask yourself, would the person I want to become be doing what I am doing right now (i.e eating doritos and watching some Family Guy on TV)? You can say yes, maybe you do like to eat doritos while watching Family Guy and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are looking at it from context, if you are doing an unproductive task all day long then you have a problem. Keep asking yourself about your ideal self: What would that person be thinking, what body language would that person be implementing, and so on. A guy I met back in college wore a suit to work and to class, even though neither one required it. He told me that is how he pictured himself 5 years from then, and I believed him.
Earlier this morning I was hitting some tennis balls against the wall (practicing my tennis strokes), and at one point I asked myself if my ideal self would be doing that. I was about ready to drop the racquet and come back to work on something, but to my surprise the answer was yes. Maybe my ideal self wouldn’t even have time to practice shots against the walls because he would either be operating his own business, or traveling around the world, but he would certainly have some time off whatever he is doing to relax (idle time), as LONG as he is being productive overall. In my case, I am not ready to travel around the world now, nor do I have my own business, so taking a break from being productive (i.e writing this post) is aligned with what my ideal self would do.
The idea here is to begin not just doing things differently, but also turning into a complete different person with different thoughts, expectations, knowledge, resistance levels (both physical and mental) etc. We cannot do this by just having a to-do list and trying to do productive work on a daily basis. We could but we wouldn’t grow as much. Think like your ideal future self, fake it until you make it.
Lets look at it from another perspective: your goals are not to workout everyday, or to read and write everyday, or to work on improving your career skills everyday or your social life. Your main goal is to become the person who would do and enjoy doing all of these habits, the best version of yourself who you desperately want to become. The moment you start looking at it like that, you do not get stressed over one bad day, since you know that the person you pictured in your mind is not perfect and does make mistakes. The important part is getting back on track. What would my ideal self do next?
If you just focus on your daily to-do list and not in why you are doing it in the first place, you might be missing out on the motivational force that your WHY power provides. Waking up to a meaningless to-do list does not get me out of bed anymore, it is when I look at the bigger picture that I feel a rush and awakening, and I feel capable of having a good productive day.
We wake up and we think about the PERSON that would do all of those good habits and excel at them. The reason behind this is because after a couple of days of doing this exercise, you should have a clear picture of that person in your head.
The moment you picture this some thoughts start to naturally emerge: that person looks fit, so he must workout! That person has a suit on, so he must be a professional who looks to improve every month! That person looks confident and at the same time friendly and approachable, he must have a good social life. He looks like that kind of man who finishes whatever he starts. Then the imagery inside your head shifts and this man is now writing on his MacBook, he is writing his book and also working on his financial plan. In my case this is the man I describe in my Ultimate Visions.
MY OWN EXAMPLE
In my case (before I had my morning ritual), I would wake up lost, hoping this would be a good day, better than the day before. I would immediately jump on my breakfast, a bowl of cereal and some orange juice to then proceed to go to my laptop and watch some youtube videos and then spend all day doing the same unless something interesting or more fun emerged.
Now I am way more productive and do not eat early in the morning. I ask myself what would that person I want to become and will become do? First of all he would wake up already knowing whats up. He would wake up knowing what are his goals for the day, what is going on in the world around me, what opportunities I will explode today and so on. That person would jump to his morning ritual and then he would move on to do something productive, maybe just one thing and spend all day doing that because he is inspired. At the same time he is enjoying life, he talks over the phone with his friends and is planning an upcoming trip. Basically he has everything covered and under control. That person is on autopilot everyday and has expanded his comfort zone so much that he wouldn’t be able to identify how he was like 10 years ago.
Whenever he is taunted by something the would take him outside of him comfort zone, he does not fear, he is triggered. He seeks for this opportunities, he enjoys expanding his comfort zone to new levels. Sometimes he does it just for the sport of it. He has no shame whatsoever, he is vulnerable but at the same time confident and strong. That person is a decision maker, he has cultivated in his mind a way of thinking that will allow him to fully analyze the outcomes and make sound decisions, whether on hard or trivial decisions. Throughout the day he is not thinking what will I do now to have fun, but instead he is thinking what can I do so that today is truly meaningful? What else can I do so that I can make the rest of the week easier for me? How can I continue to be great? How can I continue to grow so I can experience The Great Growth?
By visualizing this man in my head every morning, I am reminded of what I am doing, how I will be doing it and why. So my challenge for my readers is to find the ideal self, make it very clear what his or her traits, philosophies, behaviors etc. are like, and start mimicking so that vision begins to slowly become a reality.
Before finishing this post I want to stress out that one key thing here is to not freak out when you mess up, and you will mess up at times. If you blocked one hour to work on your blog, but you are very tired and you fall asleep and wake up 4 hours later, it is not a big deal. As long as it doesn’t happen every time and you make up for the lost time afterwards or the next day, you are good. My ideal self is not perfect, he messes up, he fails (less often than before), he takes naps sometimes, he devours an entire cake from time to time, as long as it does not affect his ENTIRE plan, or his WHOLE week, or life, as long as he gets back on track, he is good. Back in the day when I used to mess up often, I would mess up good. To your right you can see my 1st of 3 breakfasts I used to have on those days when I just gave up. I don´t think you can tell by the picture but there are about 5 pancakes there. Remember, the 1st of 3.
I still have daily to-do lists for myself, to guide me. I do have 100 day goals which is the main engine of this project, but I do not focus solely on the goals per se, but on the person I will become in accomplishing them, thats a picture that motivates me more. Whenever I am feeling lost or disconnected towards my goals, unmotivated, I will think of that person I want to become. The next time you find yourself having to take a hard decision, or maybe a trivial one such as ¨should I workout right now or eat a bowl of ice cream instead?¨, think about that person in your head, the person you want to become, your goal. What would that person do? What will you do?
Things to be excited about this year!
Trip to London, Scotland, Egypt and maybe Paris. Mid year.
Expanding my post-grad education, learning more and making connections!
Getting my 1st car, being more independent.
Books I am reading this next 100 days
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Change your habits change your life, by Tom Corley
Executive Toughness, by Dr. Jason Selk
The subtle art of not giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield.
Master the day, by Alexander Heyne
What to say when you talk to yourself, by Shad Helmstetter PhD
Dare, by Barry Mcdonagh
Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown.
Peak: Secrets from the new science of expertise, by Anders Ericsson
Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less, by Greg Mckeown
So good they can´t ignore you, by Cal Newport
The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal PhD
Models, by Mark Manson