We all have days when we want to throw the alarm clock across the room and sleep in. Or we’re up, but our mindset is focused negatively—how we hate our job. The drive to work in crappy traffic. The fact we got hit with another bill.
But how you start your day—the mindset you have from the moment you open your eyes and your feet hit the floor—is what creates the foundation for the day. So if you’ve started your day focused only on the sh*tty stuff, that’s how the rest of your day will go.
Maybe you do have a crap job and your commute is long and slow. But if you can find a way to get focused on how you can turn those “negatives” into something positive (or at least neutral—neither positive nor negative), your day will go a lot better.
Check out these tips from Jocko Willink on how he gets his mindset in gear every day.
1. Get a Jump on the Day
For Jocko, this means 4:30 am every day. This gives you the opportunity to get things done that you want to do for yourself—exercise, read, study. Whatever you need to do for yourself. Meaning, it’s okay to be selfish and get yourself prepared for the day.
Giving yourself time to just yourself every day is how you can recharge your batteries. If you’re always focused on everyone else except you, then you’re going to burn out fast. Burnout is what leaves the door open for constant negative thoughts.
There’s a difference between selfishness that’s oriented towards supporting yourself and arrogance.
2. If 4:30 am Isn’t Possible, Choose a Time That’s Feasible
The earlier the better, but if you’re missing out on morning activities like seeing your kids off for school and you’re you’re always running late for work because you’re trying to fit everything in by waking up at 6 or 7—shoot for a time that’s earlier.
You can also create time for yourself in the evening if the morning doesn’t work. You may be met with resistance from your family, but if you talk to them and tell them why you need the time and how it will also benefit them, they’ll understand.
If you’re telling yourself you can’t make the time, that there is no time, those are excuses—lies—you’re using to stay negative. If you switch your mindset to focusing on how you can create the time and that you will, time will suddenly appear out of “nowhere”.
Start with a timeframe you can stick to—30 minutes in the beginning, then increase it to an hour later. Choose a time you can stick to (be disciplined about).
3. Finding it Hard to Wake Up Early/Earlier? Go to Bed Earlier
Get your sleep.
This is the number one thing you can do (along with good nutrition) to keep yourself in a more positive “can-do” mindset. If you’re tired, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and burned out.
Most of us are missing this important aspect. If you’re staying up until 11pm or midnight on social media or channel surfing, then that makes it incredibly hard to get up earlier and create more—and better—time for yourself.
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It could be that going to bed at a time that will ensure you get enough sleep is how you can create time for yourself. The more rested you are, the more energy you have. The more energy you have, the easier it is to get things done.
The easier it is to get things done, the more positive you feel about yourself, the day and other projects, including a long commute.
4. Shorten Your Workout
Many people are still locked into thinking that quantity equals quality when it comes to exercise—the more you do, the longer your session the better and healthier you are.
Jocko’s suggestion: If your workouts are taking over your mornings (or evenings)—shorten them.
Trying to fit in too much in the morning (like a marathon workout you’re starting at 6 or 7 am) is going to make you feel rushed and overwhelmed. That leads to negative thinking. You want to make more time for yourself, but doing so at the cost of your mental outlook on the day works in reverse
5. Be Disciplined
Without discipline, you have absolutely no freedom. Without it, you can’t create successful steps towards your goals, whatever they may be. You may even wind up at the mercy of other people.
Jocko will tell you point blank that a lack of discipline is why you’re not reaching your goals. You’re making excuses (lying to yourself). Excuses are the way you can guarantee a lack of discipline and a lack of success.
A lack of discipline is also another way we remain in a negative mindset. If you’re always undisciplined, you’ll always be in a mode of making excuses. If you’re in a mode of making excuses, you’re going to find ways to stay negative, frustrated—even angry.
Discipline is what breeds a positive mindset because you’re focused on what you can do and how you can do it.
Having that mindset will keep you driven. Always waiting for motivation to kick in is how you create an undisciplined mindset, which guarantees you won’t reach your goals.
QUESTION: I have a new job coming up soon after being unemployed. I’ve gotten kind of lazy. Got some help on how I can get back into the game?
ANSWER: Check out this article—How to Build Discipline in the Shortest Amount of Time.
QUESTION: Can you give me some info on how to pass the physical test for BUD/S?
ANSWER: Yes—check out this article, Navy SEAL BUD/S PST Tips.
Navy SEAL Jocko Willink on What Discipline Really Means
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