You set the alarm as you get into bed, intending to wake up and successfully knock off items on your to-do list. You go to bed committed to the goal of becoming the most productive version of yourself through the optimization of your habits.
The morning time comes calling, and the alarm goes off. In your mind, the tone is so blaring and annoying that it makes you want to throw your phone and curl the covers up over your face.
In reality, you get up, reach over, and face an important decision. You will turn off the alarm as you intended. Or, you’ll hit the snooze button, choosing to catch a few more “minutes” of sleep. The data suggests that 57 percent of Americans will hit the snooze button. Your personal data might confirm something similar.
Success Starts Early
You have no doubt read an article, listened to a podcast, or watched a video about creating high-performance morning routines. Successful leaders work hard to optimize their morning. There are books written about the topic, and it’s a frequent fan favorite of YouTubers.
Creating successful habits happens when you make intentional decisions. The very first decision — and one that affects the rest of your day — lies in those first few moments of a new day.
The first opportunity to create success is choosing to get up and conquer the day or settle for a few more minutes of not that great sleep. After you decide, it’s time to think about how you’ll spend the first 20 minutes after you wake up.
Success starts early, but not necessarily in the time you wake up — it’s the early decision to use those first 20 minutes to set the tone for what action you’ll take all day.
Research has shown that when you wake up, your brain operates at 10.5 wave cycles per second. After you wake up, the first 20 minutes is called the Alpha Stage. Science tells us it’s the gateway to your subconscious mind. It’s the moments when your subconscious mind is most impressionable and responsive to ideas.
Whatever you absorb in the first 20 minutes will not only have a tremendous effect on your mind but will also set the tone of your day one way or another. Here are two strategies high-performing leaders can use to win the first 20 minutes and create successful days.
- Immerse your mind in what you want to accomplish.
The commonly spouted advice about successful mornings is around thoughts such as, “don’t check social media and email when you wake up,” “keep your phone away from your bed,” “don’t start the day business tasks,” etc. Those things can help but the importance of that first 20 minutes, and by consequence, creating success each day has to be more than Instagram picture quotes. It has to involve more strategy than what you’ve always done. That first 20 minutes of your day is a time when your mind is most impressionable, which means it’s an opportunity to immerse your mind in the thoughts and habits that create success. Those 20 minutes could be a powerful time that leaders use for self-care and self-love. You could:– Read chapters in a book that teaches you a specific success habit that you’d like to improve.
– Listen to motivational content from greats such as Tony Robbins, Oprah, Les Brown, Sara Blakely, Jim Rohn, and others.
– Watch a video that puts your mind in a state that’s ready to work.
– Mediate, and create a mind-body connection that allows you to be centered and focused.
– Visualize your end goals and what life will look like once you get there. Immersing your mind in success and high-performance will set the tone for the rest of your day. You can use that time when your subconscious mind is most responsive to fill it with the thoughts and energy that help you create the best environment working for your daily goals.
- Move your body and change your state.
After the alarm goes off, lying in bed will probably lead to sleeping in or picking up your phone and checking social media or email. One of the best things you can do is move your body. Mel Robbins is famous for creating and implementing a “five-second rule” in her life. Others have used it in their personal development. The main idea is that you don’t give your brain time to let yourself overthink a decision — you take action right away (within five seconds). The number may not be five seconds for you, but the first successful decision you can make every day is moving your body shortly after the alarm goes off. This decision will put you in the best position to use those first 20 minutes effectively. Moving your body gets you out of bed, but it can also change your state. We (humans) are the ones that tell our minds what to do and can dictate how we feel. Standing up puts our minds in a different state than lying down. Once up, it’s time to immerse your mind in the habits and content that motivates and educates you. The movement and immersion will change your state. It gives your impressionable mind better options that have a lasting effect. Some things you can do when the alarm clock goes off are:
– Sit up.
– Stand up.
– Stand in a position that feels powerful to you.
– Stand while doing your power pose — a pose that makes you feel stronger. The secret to winning each day starts with how you decide to create it. You don’t want your first moments in a new day to be the same as other days that weren’t your best. You’ll want to start each day creating high-performance habits in the moments when your mind can register and recycle that win.
High-achievers do the work that puts them in the best position to create healthy habits that lead to change. Use those first twenty minutes in a way that helps you learn, grow, connect, and proceed powerfully. Your days will never be the same.