Each morning I wake up at 6 AM.
I take an ice cold shower, drink two glasses of water, turn my phone off, and sit down to blog for two hours.
This routine has been life-changing for me. It has helped me publish 200 blog posts in the past year, grow an online audience, land my articles on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and helped me earn over $1,000 in blogging income in the past 60 days alone.
But more importantly, this morning routine has helped me cultivate a mindset of discipline.
Some days I wake up before my alarm even goes off, excited to get started on a new post. Other days, the alarm screeches and my motivation is nowhere to be found.
But here’s the magic of discipline: by practicing the same morning routine for several months in a row, I have trained my body to get up and start moving when the alarm goes off, despite how I’m feeling.
Whether or not the motivation is present, I get up anyway. I hop in the shower (which immediately jolts me awake), drink water, turn my phone off, and sit down to blog.
Once I sit down my brain knows it’s time to focus. Oh, I just went through my morning routine, so now it must be time to blog.
Here’s where more magic happens: whether or not I actually have an idea for a blog post, I just start typing. Sometimes (this isn’t a joke) I’ll literally start typing about random things just to get in the rhythm of typing. Here’s a bit I typed earlier this week before I got started on one of my blog posts:
Okay here were are sitting at my desk, just getting my fingers warmed up. I don’t know what to blog about so I’m just typing about nothing. There’s a water bottle on my desk, a world map slightly above my head, and a book I got at the library sitting in the corner.
I continue to write sentences like this literally about nothing just to overcome writer’s block and let my subconscious know that I have shown up at this desk to write. As I keep typing, I start to focus more and ideas begin to come to my head. It’s almost unexplainable.
Once I get going on a blog post, momentum picks up. More ideas come, words start flowing, and the content almost creates itself. I’m just a guy with a metaphorical pen who transcribes ideas that come to me.
Training the Subconscious
I think archery is a nice metaphor for blogging. My end goal is the target (a finished blog post), but first I have to pull back the string (go through my morning routine) before I can shoot the arrow (start writing something meaningful).
The whole process of turning off my phone, taking a cold shower, drinking water, sitting down, and typing about random things is all just a fancy process for pulling back the string. The real work I want to do is write, but first I have to go through my morning routine so my subconscious knows it’s time to write.
This routine also makes it very difficult for me to do anything other than write once I’m sitting at my desk. I’m wide awake, I can’t go back to sleep now. It’s still dark outside, there’s nothing else to do. I have physically put myself in a position where the only thing that makes sense is to write. So that’s what I do.
Show Up Every Day & Try
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes:
“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
I don’t always produce a complete blog post each day. I’m not always proud of the content I create either. But that’s fine. I care more about sticking to my routine and showing up each day at my desk. All I care about is trying my best.
I have already seem some early success with this blog in only a year and I expect more successes to pile up in my second year. But any success I have or will have in the future is because of my morning routine, which forces me to sit and work, whether I feel like it or not.
My morning routine keeps me disciplined. And discipline holds the potential to be life-changing.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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