Why Waking Up At 3:30 am Everyday Will CHANGE YOUR LIFE (Try This For 7 Days!) | Tom Bilyeu | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Why Waking Up At 3:30 am Everyday Will CHANGE YOUR LIFE (Try This For 7 Days!) | Tom Bilyeu".
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your life will change forever the moment that you decide to get up early and really attack your day. Go to bed at the same time every day. Don't use an alarm. Sleep as much as you need, but the second you wake up, you're gonna get yourself going. Let me tell you all about what my life looked like before I started getting out of bed and really getting after it. One, I was sliding towards depression because my life felt like it was completely out of control. Two, I was wasting four to five hours a day every day. Three, I spent my time tired all the time because I wasn't going to bed with intention, which means that my body clock was all over the place. I would go to bed two to three hours differently every night, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. I had nothing specific to anchor to, to what time that I was going to go to bed, which means that if I just let my body sleep, then I was going to wake up whenever I was going to wake up. And if I set an alarm, even worse, I was going to wake up but feel terrible. Now, most of the time, I had an alarm. So I would just wake up feeling terrible and I would snooze the alarm and snooze the alarm and I would constantly, one, I would still sleep like another hour, but I would do it in nine minute fits and starts. So you end up starting your day absolutely terribly. You feel like you're on the back foot from the moment you get up because by the time you finally get yourself out of bed, depending on if you're talking about a period when I had a job or when I didn't, which even I can't believe that that's actually true in my lives, but there was life. There was extended periods of time where I didn't have a job and then times where I did.
Planning And Efficiency
Getting on With It (01:32)
So when I didn't, I would just lay in bed and when I did, I was on the back foot. And that was when I really could not get momentum going in my life and I couldn't understand why. Now, from a biological standpoint, I really did not feel good. I was low energy all the time. When you're low energy, you lack motivation. When you lack motivation, then you don't make the changes that you need to make partly because you're not going out and learning the things that you need to learn in order to create a framework in your mind that's going to tell you things like what I'm telling you now. Now, when I started implementing rules in my life, then one, I was going to bed on time, nine p.m. every day, like it's a religion. I would wake up when I would wake up without an alarm. So I would actually feel refreshed and then I gave myself only 10 minutes to get out of bed. So imagine going from snoozing for an hour when I had a job or laying in bed for to five hours. If I didn't have a job to getting all the sleep that I needed, getting up within 10 minutes and having my day structured such that if I was awake Monday through Friday, I was either working or working out. Imagine the amount of momentum that you can create in your life when you act like that. And so everything changed dramatically once I started putting those rules in life. Now, when I did this, I actually didn't have a job at the time that I put this rule set into place, but I started going to bed at the same time. I started whatever time I woke up. I gave myself 10 minutes to get out of bed and then I would get right to it. Now, at the time, I had a big goal of writing a screenplay, which I ended up accomplishing. I can't remember how long it took me four to six months, something like that. And I was like holding this thing. I was like, "Oh my God, like I actually managed to accomplish this. Why? Because I was getting up early."
Working It Out (03:21)
Now, what ends up happening if you're going to bed early, you're going to sleep somewhere between probably seven to nine hours, depending on your age, or if you're really going hard after something that's really exciting for you or quite frankly, really stressful, might be closer to six, six and a half, which is about where I live. Six and a half to seven hours of sleep measured as an average over the course of a year. And so, like last night, I went to bed at nine. I woke up at 3.30 AM. Now, if you have my rule set, you get up at 3.30 AM. By 3.31, you're either working or working out. Now, you can imagine that you get a lot done. As I'm recording this now, I think it's like 3.34 PM in the afternoon. I've already worked a 12-hour day by the time that I'm recording this. And I'm filling all of my intermittent moments where I'm transitioning from one thing to another, reading, researching, so I am constantly maximizing my time. Now, by the time most people woke up, I'd already been working. If they wake up at what? Six o'clock? I'd already been working for two and a half hours. If they wake up at seven o'clock, I've already been working for, what, three and a half hours. So, I'm able to get a half-days working because at my pace, it's really getting a lot done before most people get to their first meeting. So, it's really incredible how much you can do in a day when you begin maximizing it. But it really does begin with going to bed on time, not setting an alarm. This is not me telling people to get six hours of sleep or five hours. It doesn't mean telling you to get as much sleep as you can get so that you can be cognitively optimized so that you've got the biological energy that you need and so that you really can pursue the only thing that matters which is skill acquisition. Once you have the right skills, you can apply that to accomplishing the things you want. But look, we live in a hyper-competitive world. I always tell people there's three things that you've got at your disposal. You can work hard, you can work smart, and you can work long hours. Now, people always say, "If I'm working hard and smart, why do I have to work long hours?" Why, Tom, do I need to get up early? Because eventually you will encounter somebody like me and I'm doing all three. So, if you're trying to accomplish something big in your life, I'm telling you, you just have to maximize all of the things that are at your disposal. And one of those things is just the number of hours in your day. Now, remember, I love what I do. So, for me to go hard after the things that I'm trying to do, create, and build, it's the right of a lifetime. I don't want you to do something that's miserable. I don't want you grinding it out to try to make a bunch of money. I want you to pursue your passions with everything that you have to leave it all out on the field like your life depends on it because how you feel about your life actually does depend on it. So many people have a constant feeling that they're not doing anything with their lives. And the reason that they feel like they're not doing anything with their lives is because they're not. And that's the hard reality that you have to face. We all have 24 hours in our day. We have 365 days a year plus leap year when it comes around. And most people just aren't making the most of it. Most people don't have rules in place. Most people don't know what they're trying to accomplish. Most people don't drag their asset of bed and get to work. But if what you love to do is the thing that you do when you get up, it really is pretty extraordinary. Here's the thing that we're all up against. You've got all this potential. You can turn it into skill set.
Stack That Time (06:57)
But the thing that's required is time and energy. So you need to get sleep to have the energy and you need to get out of bed to get the time. Now, there's something about getting up when it's dark, when the world just feels slow, people aren't texting you, they're not emailing you. It's just you and the things you're trying to accomplish. When you take advantage of that time, and by the way, you're going to be sharp. You're going to be fresh. Maybe not in the first 30 minutes when you wake up. But man, once you get that engine turning, which is why I recommend that you work out first thing in the morning, once you get that engine going and you're up to speed, those are going to be the most high performative hours of the day. And so you want to make sure that you're taking advantage of that time so that you can really get things moving. So get up, get going, take advantage of that, set goals, know what skills you have to acquire, use that additional time that you get from getting up and getting right to it to stack those skills and accomplish the things that you want. And once you understand that stacking skills is how you do something great, but stacking skills takes time, then you'll start putting the right rules in place in your life to make sure that you do the things that you need to do to be energized, get out of bed and get after it. So stop making excuses, structure your life in a way that is set up to give you the space that you need to get this all done. Don't make excuses, just get after it. If you want to make the most out of your time, you really have to be very thoughtful about the things you do the first couple of hours after waking up.
How to Plan the Perfect Day Step by Step (08:33)
I have a very strict routine that I've been adhering to in one form or another. It does vary slightly depending on what I'm doing in my life. But I have a very narrow range of things that I do immediately after waking up. So this is what my life looks like. I don't use an alarm, so I wake up when I wake up. It's usually six and a half to seven hours after I go to bed. So I'm up very early, three thirty to four thirty AM is my typical wake up time. I have my gym clothes sitting right next to my bed. I get my feet on the floor within ten minutes of waking up. I immediately get dressed in my gym clothes. I happen to then grab my dog. Take her downstairs. I feed her breakfast and then I and by the way, the second I finished putting on my clothes. I put headphones on and I've got something prearranged that I'm going to be researching. So I'm researching pick up the dog go downstairs, get her fed that whole time I'm researching something. I immediately then go to the gym the whole time I'm researching something while I'm working out in the gym. I work out typically between thirty and forty five minutes. Weightlifting, I don't do cardio, not saying you shouldn't just saying that I don't. I then finish working out in the gym. I go and right now I am immediately meditating. Sometimes I will research for ten or fifteen minutes to let my breathing and my heart rate come down. But right now I'm not I'm using the meditation time to actually see how rapidly I can slow my breathing down and get back into a calm and creative state. But meditating is very important. Now the reason that I'm doing all of these things and I'll finish with my routine in a minute. But the reason I do all of these things is to cognitively optimize. The whole point of life from my perspective is to turn your potential into usable skill set, use that skill set in pursuit of honorable goals, meaning they elevate you and other people and they're exciting to you. It's something you care about not because people told you that you should care about because you actually do care about them. Do not let the world try to trick you into thinking you have to care about what is quote-unquote "right" to care about. Care about the things you're into as long as they elevate other people as well as yourself. I'm all for it whether you want to play the guitar or clean up the oceans. I don't give a shit. Just do something you actually care about. So you have this honorable goal. You're going after it with everything you have. You're transforming your potential into skill set. That's what it's all about. But you have to be cognitively optimized energetically optimized, meaning that you're actually getting sleep. You're working out and you're eating right. That brings us to the next thing that you will notice in my morning routine is I haven't mentioned eating. I'm usually up for four to five hours before I eat. So if I wake up at 3.30 in the morning, I'm not going to have my first meal roughly until 8.30. Sometimes I can push it to 9.9.30 depending on my schedule. But I intermittent fast for on average, I've measured this over an 18 month period and the average is about 17 to 17 and a half. I now forget the exact amount, but roughly 17, 17 and a half hours over again, 18 months. That includes weekends, holidays, all of it where I'll have a slightly shorter window. But during the week that window can push to 18, 19 hours sometimes. So I'm going to do intermittent fasting. Once I finish working out, meditating, I immediately begin official work. So that typically is going to be somewhere around an hour to an hour and a half after I wake up. I'm in full work mode. So if I wake up at 3.30 by 5 a.m., I'm like full blown, not even research mode, which I'm again doing from the second I wake up, not even in research mode. I'm sitting down and I'm tackling my important things list, which I keep a list of the most important things that I could be doing that are moving my goals forward. This does not all have to be work. It's whatever you're trying to do with your life. Just so happens that for me work and what I want to accomplish in my life are one and the same. By the way, I highly encourage for all of you, but I know that sometimes reality gets in the way and that's not always going to be the case. So whatever matters most of you should be attacking early, early, early, early, early. So I get to it. I don't do my important things list in the morning. I do my important things list. Technically, I'm constantly updating it, but I try to have it done before I go to bed so that when I wake up, I know exactly what I'm going to be doing. I know what I should be researching and I know what I'm going to be hitting right when I sit down. And then I do that thing. Now, because I don't take meetings before 8.30, used to be a little bit later, I've started letting some things. Actually, I will frame it this way. Some things I've gotten so good at identifying what is critically important, that I'll actually let it come earlier in my day. Whereas before, I tried to push it back because I felt like my time was being inappropriately consumed by other people. I kept pushing my meetings back. Now, I've started taking meetings three days a week at 8.30 AM, because I've gotten so good at making sure that those meetings really matter and that I absolutely need to be in them. So I take my first meeting at 8.30. Now, if I've woken up at 3.30, that means that I have five hours of productivity before I take my first meeting. Now, I'm going to work until I go to bed, which is at 9.00 PM. So if I wake up at 3.30 and I work until 9.00 PM, I'm not going to do math, but it's somewhere around what? 17, 18 hours-ish. I know it's a half, but it's a lot. And so I'm able, because I'm doing that lead domino strategy of important things in a particular order, I'm able to get a lot done. Now, that time is highly curated, very cultivated. I'm not checking my phone. I'm not looking at my text messages. Unless that happened to be on my important things list. If I have a big partnership or something that I'm trying to move forward and I know people are going to be texting me, then I might, but that would be highly, highly, highly intentional. Be very thoughtful to structure your day, to make sure that it meets the goals of the things you're trying to accomplish. That is what I do with the first couple hours of my day. And I highly encourage you guys to do the same. When you wake up, there are very specific things that you're going to want to avoid. Number one, hitting the snooze button. Don't do it, not even once. That is how you end up on the back foot trying to make something happen in your day, but you feel tired.
How to Fall Asleep Fast (14:56)
You should be getting as much sleep as you can. Unless you are a parent with a newborn, I don't think there's any excuse for not getting enough sleep. Go to bed early. You may have to go to bed ridiculously early. If you have to go to bed at 7 p.m. to get on your kid's schedule, I'm completely fine with that. What I don't advise is getting so little sleep that you're constantly hitting this news alarm. First of all, this news alarm is going to give you terrible sleep. It's going to wake you up in what nine-minute increments, which is absolutely atrocious, far better, to just admit that you're only going to have 15 minutes to get out of bed, or to get ready and get out of the house, and just get the sleep. Set your alarm for the last possible second. That is far better than hitting this news alarm. This news alarm says that you've not got control of your evenings. Get control of your evenings. Go to bed. If you're telling yourself the absolute catastrophic lie that you need time to unwind, you are creating a torture cycle for yourself. You don't need time to unwind. You need a method for shutting your brain off. So I use fiction books, or that's what I did in the beginning. Now I use nonfiction books, but you need something to get your brain out of problem solving mode. If you put a book on, I fall asleep to a book. What I find, I haven't read the research on this, but I'm going to guarantee that if it doesn't already exist, if somebody did the study of whether or not laying down triggers things regarding sleep, I promise you it does. If you need to wake yourself up, sit upright. If you want to fall asleep, and when you don't feel tired, get in bed and lay down. Now, if you're not completely expending yourself during the day, you might have trouble falling asleep. If you're overly stressed, you might have trouble falling asleep. If you're drinking caffeine, you might have trouble falling asleep. If you're working out late, you might have trouble falling asleep. There are a lot of dumb things you might be doing that are keeping you from falling asleep. But if you're not laying down and doing something to shut your brain off, then you're not going to fall asleep. And if you're watching TV with blue light pounding into your eyes, then don't be surprised when you have a hard time falling asleep. So, optimize so that you can fall asleep. Get yourself in a position that you're actually going to be able to get out of problem solving mode, into relaxation mode, feeling sleepy, dark light, no blue light, no staring at your computer, no checking Twitter to see how many people have commented on some stupid thing that you said. So, you don't want to spike your stress, you don't want to be checking email. And as a guy that works right up until I go to bed, there are ways you can section off the things that you're working on. So, you're working on less and less stressful things as you get closer to bedtime.
Lose in Bed Time (17:48)
So, doing all of that will allow you to not violate principle number one, which is don't hit this news alarm. The next thing that you're going to want to avoid is laying in bed. So, even if you're not hitting this news alarm, I give myself 10 minutes to be out of bed up and out of them. There's no laying in bed and playing on your phone, that's a surest way to watch a whole bunch of time go by without you actually getting up and getting after it. So, everything in your life once you wake up should be dictated by a routine that you follow religiously that is optimized to help you achieve your goals. Now, remember, you should set goals that are honorable and exciting. So, it's something you're legitimately interested in doing. Again, don't let other people set goals for you based on what you should want. Don't chase money, don't chase goals that are good for the planet unless you're excited about it. Now, if you are, that's amazing. But if you're not, don't get tricked into doing things just because other people think you ought to. This is where you really want to jump out of bed. You want to spring in your step. You want to be moving towards something and not just away from something.
What is it that you're trying to make come true in your life that you're really amped up about? Go do that thing. So, we're not going to lay in bed. We're not going to play on our phones. We're not going to take something in before we start creating outward. We're going to figure out what the important things are in our lives. So, don't check email. Don't go on social media. Go straight to the gym. You want to be doing things that are going to optimize your body and mind. No one is more bored by me than having to deal with the body. I wish that I could just exist in the realm of the mind. But the reality is that your mind and your body are completely interconnected. They are organs in the same ecosystem. And if you don't take care of your body, you will tear apart your mind. So, be very, very thoughtful. If you're suffering from depression or anxiety and you're not working out like a fiend, that is step number one. All right. Another thing that you should avoid in the first couple of hours after waking up, do not eat.
The Two C's (19:54)
You want to give yourself a nice long window where you are not taxing your digestive tract. So, your enteric nervous system has as many neurons, literal brain neurons, as a cat brain. So, from having a distinct personality to being very important in terms of responding to the things you eat, you want to be very thoughtful about leaving that gap. So, I have my first meal about four to five hours after I wake up. And I won't have eaten since about two p.m. the day before. So, I go from two p.m. to roughly eight thirty a.m. without eating every day. That's going to allow you to have a whole lot of improvements in terms of how you regulate your glucose, how you're able to produce ketones, which will change your relationship to hunger. There's a whole lot of benefits to fasting that are beyond this. But I definitely would not eat when you first wake up. I also do not allow myself caffeine for, I have my first bit of caffeine. Once the sun has come up, that's rule number one. And then number two, it has to be at least seven a.m. So, those two conditions have to be met before I have any caffeine. And then I also water my caffeine down dramatically to the point where, to be honest, I'm really just having coffee for the flavor. And I could probably do decaf and I wouldn't notice on days where I don't drink any caffeine. I don't notice any difference. So, I have no addiction to caffeine. I don't do it because it gives me energy. Really I do it because it gives me some taste other than water. The reason that I do that is I don't want to be beholden to any exogenous substance to get me up and going. So, I have found that going and working out is far more impactful to elevating my energy levels to getting me going, to getting my blood pumping and my brain working than any amount of caffeine. So, I highly encourage you guys to do that.
Also, I'm just super suspect of exogenous substances. This is why I don't supplement. I don't take any supplements regularly. I'm open. If I could find one that extended life, for instance, I would take it like crazy. I'm just inherently skeptical about taking exogenous substances. I know there's a lot of people that do take supplements and I hold them in very high esteem. So, it's not something that I have a hard and fast rule. It's just something that I am wary of. So, do the research, make a decision on your own. The truth is hitting your career goals is not easy. You have to be willing to go the extra mile to stand out and do hard things better than anybody else. But there are 10 steps I want to take you through that will 100 X your efficiency so you can crush your goals and get back more time into your day. You'll not only get control of your time, you'll learn how to use that momentum to take on your next big goal. To help you do this, I've created a list of the 10 most impactful things that any high achiever needs to dominate. And you can download it for free by clicking the link in today's description. All right, my friend, back to today's episode. Okay, that is the bundle of things that I really try to avoid for myself in the morning.
Put Time and Energy (23:15)
All of it is designed to cognitively optimize myself, to get me moving, to not be reliant on anything outside of myself, to get up, get moving. I'm not allowing distractions into my life. I'm just getting to work on those things that matter to me. And that is how you take control of your morning and really get effective. If you struggle getting up and getting your day started early, even though you want to know that you should be doing it, this comes down to two things. One, it's all mechanism all the time. What are you doing with your night routine to make sure that you're getting to bed on time? Because the reality is, if you're tired, you're not going to want to get up. The reason so many people lack motivation is because of, as Vincent Barty said, fatigue makes cowards of us all. If you're tired, you just don't have what you need to face the day. Life is hard. Being a human is difficult. Life is going to kick you in the face. The second law of thermodynamics makes abundantly clear that life moves inextricably towards one thing, chaos. And the only way to tame the chaos and create order in your life is by pouring energy into the system. To pour that energy into the system, you need energy at two levels, at the cellular level and psychological energy.
Building Desire (24:25)
Now it's easy enough to get yourself pumped up psychologically, but to get yourself pumped up at a cellular level, you have to make sure that you are getting to bed on time, getting plenty of sleep, eating right and getting exercise and meditating. If you're not doing those things and you're not going to be primed at a cellular level, now to get the psychological energy, we get to the second thing. You just don't want it badly enough. Most people don't want the thing that they're pursuing in their life. For two reasons. Reason number one, you don't realize that desire is a process. You build desire for things. You're not born with some intense and sensational desire. You do have imperatives that evolution has given us, but you don't have these intense desires other than like hunger, thirst, sexual drive, but you certainly don't have a drive to go to the gym. You don't have a drive to be more successful at work. That's actually only minorly true, certainly for guys. You probably do have a pretty strong imperative to gain access to resources, but it will not direct you towards the thing that you're specifically going to pursue. So you'll have a vague sense of, I want to do more. I want to be more. I want to be admired. I want to be at the top, but the top of what? That's where people get themselves into trouble because they lack that clarity. They lack that clarity because they don't realize that you just have to pick something that you already respond positively to naturally. You encountered it, it gave you more energy than it took. You're naturally drawn to that thing you want to do it. Okay, but it's not going to be like, "Oh my God, I need to dedicate the rest of my life to this. I spring out of bed in the morning because I'm so excited about this thing." That is not how it works. You'll just be like, "Oh, that's cool. I dig that thing." Now if you go put time and energy into building desire, which is basically the process of explaining to yourself why that thing matters to you. And as you repeat that in an embodied way, meaning you embody the enthusiasm for that thing that you want to feel and you loop around it and you actually go and get better at that and do it in the world. And people are like, "Oh man, that's so cool. I'd love that you can do that thing." And you get that positive feedback and it was already energizing to you. And you loop around why it matters. Why am I investing in this so much? And you do that over and over in an embodied way. Now all of a sudden, six months later or a year later, it really is this raging inferno at the center of your soul, something that you care about and want incredibly deeply. But you have to go down that process of gaining mastery, of really pushing yourself around why you're going to love this thing so much. And then it actually becomes real. You become what you repeat. So if you're repeating that you're an idiot, that you don't love yourself, that will become true. Now self-worth is a very complicated topic that is beyond the scope of this conversation. But just know that you do become what you repeat, so be very thoughtful. Right, those really are the two reasons that people are going to struggle. So you have to focus on making sure that you're getting yourself energized for this thing that you're pursuing. And then you have to make sure that mechanistically you're doing the things that you need to do so you're not tired all the time. But most people fail to get enough sleep.
The Deal with Diet (27:50)
They go to bed with such wild swings that it's like having jet lag. Like everybody goes, "Oh yeah, if I traveled to the east coast from the west coast and I had three hours of jet lag, of course I'm going to be tired." Well what do you think happens when your bedtime swings by an hour, two hours, three hours? You're going to experience that same kind of disruption in your sleep cycle. Also people do a lot of things to have poor sleep hygiene from breathing through their mouth taking in blue light, going to bed at different times, watching TV right before they go to bed, checking their text messages, reading emails, working on stressful things. All of this stuff are things that are going to disrupt your sleep. And the biggest one, which we haven't even talked about, how close to your bedtime do you eat food? I have roughly seven hours between my last meal and my bedtime. And it's amazing. And I have found that if I even eat within three hours of going to bed, I can feel the difference. Now three hours is, I would say good. If you got three hours of distance between the last moment you were chewing, so now when you start the meal, the last moment you were chewing and when you go to bed, you're in pretty good shape. I think you will find that you sleep better the longer that you stretch that period out. There's of course also a lot of individual variability. I've heard some very interesting information around carbohydrates. And if you have your last meal has a fair amount of carbohydrates that you will sleep better. Now I find for me that that actually is true. If I have carbohydrates, but they're not high sugar, wear glucose monitors, very enlightening. But if I have something that doesn't spike my glucose massively, so think about doing a lot of greens, things like that, leafy greens, that I actually will sleep better.
Self Accountability And Night Routines
Diet and Sleep (29:44)
But I need to have a pretty big distance still between my last meal and when I go to bed. You'd have to experiment with the stuff. When it comes to diet, there's so much individual variability. It's absolutely terrifying. So try it. Run that. But I find that most people eat within an hour, maybe 90 minutes before they go to bed. That's going to disrupt your sleep massively. So be very thoughtful about trying that and experimenting. Once you get all of that down and you hold yourself accountable to doing all of this stuff, then I think you're going to find getting up is very easy. But if you don't address how badly you want the thing you're getting out of bed for and your physiology, it's going to be a struggle forever. And last but not least, I'll throw in a little bonus here. And that is you have to have standards. I'm angry with myself if I don't get out of bed in 10 minutes or less. I'm angry at myself if I don't go to bed on time because I really want the things that I'm pursuing. So be really thoughtful about that. Don't do it because you ought to find a way to get excited about it. Then build rules in your life around that. And so you're doing it because it's what you want for yourself. And so the reason that you're upset with yourself when you don't do it isn't because you're worried about disappointing other people. It's because you really want it and you're not acting in accordance with that. That's it. Good after it. If you have a goal to get up early and you find that you don't and you're feeling badly about yourself, you have to be very thoughtful about how you react in that moment.
How to Hold Yourself Accountable (31:18)
I'm a big fan of rewarding and punishing yourself, but you have to be very good at how you go about that. So when you do what you're supposed to do, of course you want to pat yourself on the back, you want to give yourself that emotional uplift of recognizing a job well done. And when you don't, you definitely want to face square on. You said you were going to do it and you didn't do it. And that is a black mark on your day. Now the problem is that when you continue to beat yourself up, now you're going to begin to diminish your sense of self. I advise that you never do anything that diminishes your sense of self. You want to hold yourself accountable. You want to have a standard. You want to live up to it. I think that's incredibly important. And I think so many people fail to get where they want to go in life because they fail to hold themselves accountable. So you want to set a standard. You want to hold yourself accountable to that standard, but you also want to make sure that you only do and believe that which moves you towards your goals. I have a rule in my life that I only do that. I'm not trying to live in a post truth world. This isn't me just deciding that I'm going to believe in whatever I want to believe in. In fact, I define truth as the thing that most efficiently moves you towards your goal. I think that you're most closely aligned to what is true when you're able to predict the outcome of your behaviors. And when you're able to predict the outcome of your behaviors, I think you're on to what is true. So we're not going to sit there and belittle ourselves and tear ourselves apart. We're going to acknowledge that what we did, it breaks our rule that we had that rule in the first place because it is the set of behaviors that most effectively moves us towards our goal. We want to get back on track because we actually care about our goal and we want to do the thing that's moving us towards our goal. We're not going to get back on track because we think we're a bad person or we're worried what the world is going to think. This all needs to be intrinsic motivation. You need to care. You need to have some reason why you want this thing so badly that you've put all these rules around yourself in the first place. All the rules that I have, the amount of work that I do, how hardcore I am, the standard that I hold myself to, rewarding myself, punishing myself. It's all in service of what I want. So make sure that you want something that is legitimately exciting to you. Make sure that you've spent the time to build that desire in yourself and then make sure that you recognize that the most important thing that you can do to bounce back is to bounce back right away, to not beat yourself up anymore than is useful to bouncing back, to getting back on track. And then when you get back on track and you say, "Okay, cool. This happens to me all the time. I have a rule. I get out of bed in 10 minutes or less." And sometimes, "Oh, my feel hit the floor right as it clicks over into the 11th minute." Now, I never miss it by much, but when I do, one, I confess, I tell my wife, "I'll go on camera. I'll tell people, "Ah, I didn't make it today. I like to hold myself accountable." And I feel good when I hold myself accountable because I'm willing to stare nakedly at my inadequacies. I didn't do it today. I said I was going to and I didn't. I got my willingness to own that, to admit it, to not lie to myself, to not lie to other people, to say, "Hey, I didn't do it today." That act makes me feel good because I know how effective it is. I know how much I've gotten out of my life by being honest when I don't do the things that I wanted to do, by reminding myself why I want to do them, by reminding myself why I have these rules in place and then living in accordance with that. And I don't, to give myself that reminder that, "Hey, you said you were going to do it and you didn't, not making excuses, owning everything completely and reminding myself that my life is an exact reflection of my choices and that I made my day a little bit worse by not doing what I said I was going to do. But at the same time, if I just sat there and beat myself up, "But what a loser I am, that I'm not going to get done the things that I need to get done in order to make meaningful progress towards my goals." So I do it just enough to kick myself in the ass and then I stop, I get back on track, I reward myself for getting back on track and boom, it's all systems go. The most important thing that you can do to wake up early is to get your night routine on point. My night routine really begins at 2 p.m.
My Night Routine (35:36)
This is all true. So what I found was the number one thing that disrupted my sleep was I would wake up in the middle of the night to pee and then my mind would start whirring around all the problems that I have to solve and I would be up for two, two and a half hours in the middle of the night every single night. And so I was like, "Okay, what would I need to do in order to make sure that I never wake up to pee?" And at first I thought, "Well, if I just stop drinking water in the late afternoons or the evening, I should be fine. That didn't work." And then I realized, "Ah, this is a food problem. If I stop eating food earlier, then I can kill two birds with one stone. One, I can elongate my intermittent fasting window, which is already incredibly powerful. At two, I'm also not going to have a bunch of water being extracted from the food as I lead up to bedtime." So what I do is I have my last meal. I start eating at about 1.15. I'm usually done chewing by about 2 o'clock. Then by the time I go to bed at 9 p.m. I've had seven hours without eating. And I also, I don't drink, I have one sort of final sip right before I go to bed at call it 8.58.55. But from two to then I don't have any water. So I'm able to sleep through the night perfectly well. I'm able to drink as much water as I need during, because I wake up at say 3.30 to 4.30 somewhere in there. So I'm able to get a ton of water on my system before 2 p.m. And so everything works perfectly. So that's the first thing that I start doing. The next thing I do is going to the food thing. I want to make sure that I have a minimum of three hours of not eating before I go to bed for reasons of digestion. So even if I didn't have the water problem, not eating, not having food in my digestion is hugely important. Now the reason that I know that this actually makes a difference is if on the weekend I'm having a cheap meal, I can actually drink water. I don't have to stop drinking water because the carbohydrate intake will cause me to retain water so I'm not going to have that problem even if I eat close to bedtime and keep drinking throughout the day. It's wonderful. I love it. I can pound water right before I go to bed. Something about water at night tastes so good. I don't have to worry about that if I've had a high carbohydrate meal. So what I found though is that even by eating let's say three hours before I go to bed, I can still tell the difference in my sleep. But three hours is sort of that maximum where it's not truly disruptive. So no matter what, whether you have trouble with peeing at night or not, you want to make sure that starting three hours before you go to bed. You're finished all of your food intake. That's really important. Also three hours before I go to bed, I will avoid blue light. So I wear blue blocking glasses and I make sure that my computer shifts over into night mode so that it actually turns the screen warmer colors. I dim the lights.
Relaxing Routine (38:31)
I try not to get bright lights in my eyes. All of this stuff makes a really big difference. So I don't do any stressful work at least an hour before I go to bed. So even though I'll keep working up until I go to bed at nine, as I get later into the evening, I do things that are far more predictable and less stressful. So for instance, I have an episode to prepare for today. And so tonight as I start getting ready for bed, that will be one of the last things that I do literally right up until I go to bed because it's something that isn't about problem solving. It's not stressful. I'm not going to be surprised by some problem that exists in the business. Right as I'm about to go to bed, I realize a huge spike of adrenaline and cortisol because oh my God, I just realized we have some problem that needs to be solved. So it's something that's based around learning. It's usually exciting. It puts my brain in a different mode. And so that is really useful to helping me begin to move my brain out of problem solving mode and get into a mode that's going to allow me to fall asleep. Also I tend to 30 to 40 minutes before I fall asleep, I'll get into bed. Now I know a lot of people say don't take work to bed with you. I have not found that to be problematic at all as long as it's a certain type of work like doing research as my go to for being in bed so I can really begin to relax and calm down. I will also, if I've had a particularly stressful day in that last hour, I might do some meditation to really make sure that I'm calming myself down. And then right as I'm about to lay in bed, and this is the one thing that I'm conflicted about recommending to people is I put headphones in and I begin reading a book right as I go to bed. So as I lay down to fall asleep, I put headphones in and I put a book on. I've used fiction in the past. I'm using nonfiction currently, but it's a certain type of book. One, it's a very long book. So often biographies about a moment in time or a given person, I guess technically a biography is about a person or a moment in time. And the books often are like 20 hours, 30 hours. So you know that you're not going to get woken up in the middle of the night by the book ending, which has happened to me, unfortunately with shorter books. And so I will listen to those books. They're not where I'm trying to learn something. So it's just something that's interesting. And that puts my brain into a certain zone and I tend to fall asleep very quickly. I'm talking like five minutes quickly or less. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and I'll rewind the book back to a part that makes sense. But because it's such a big topic, it tends to be something where, ah, whether I get exactly to where I was or not, I can still get the gist. It's not like a story where, man, if you miss anything, you're going to be completely lost. What happened? It's disorienting. So that has been really, really useful. And then the last thing that I do is I tape my mouth closed because if you breathe through your nose, it can actually dry out your throat, disrupt your sleep. There's a whole book on this called Breathe by James Nestor, if I'm remembering correctly.
And it's really been transformative to my sleep because I used to wake up with a dry throat and it would pull me out of sleep and you know, your lips, macking, you need like something to drink. It's terrible. So by taping my mouth, I'm able to sleep through the night much better. Really was a game changer. I highly recommend that you guys try not only that, but all of the things that I just talked about, I think that they will radically improve your sleep hygiene, which will allow you to sleep much better. You will be far more rested and able to get to the Holy Grail, which is not setting an alarm. So you wake up naturally right at the perfect part of your sleep cycle, having gotten as much sleep as your body needs. If you find that despite having really good sleep hygiene, that you're still getting tired later in the day, a lot of people wonder if they can take a nap or if they should avoid it. And to be honest, I think that it's completely up to the person. There are some times where I'm so tired that if I don't allow myself to at least completely let go, meaning I lay down, I close my eyes and I give myself permission to sleep, I just, I can't focus, I can't concentrate. And I have found that sometimes even just letting myself go like that, even though I don't fall asleep for 10 or 15 minutes can be extremely rejuvenating. Other times I find that falling asleep for 10 or 15 minutes is completely rejuvenating. And other times I have no idea why I feel super groggy and even sleeping for an hour may make me feel worse than just staying awake. That's always super bizarre where you lay down, you don't set an alarm, you just give yourself permission to sleep as long as you need. You wake up, one would think that you got a full sleep cycle, but for whatever reason man, when I wake up I'm like, God, I just feel awful. I feel sluggish, I have a little bit of a headache, just the whole rest of the day I feel off. So to be honest, it's pretty rare that I take a nap. Even times where, because if I get five hours of sleep, that, I hate that.
Moral Judgment (43:47)
I can get by if it's one day, but I really, really, really don't like doing it. I would much rather get six hours, six hours is magical, seven is unbeatable. So if I've gotten five, I will give myself the chance to lay down and take a nap. But I often find that it's like, man, the whole rest of the day just never feels like I quite get back on. And if I've gotten five hours of sleep, the only time I will give myself a chance to take a nap is before seven a.m. So that I'm still getting that sleep early. The sun typically for most of the year is still down. And so I'm able to sleep while it's still dark. Because remember, if I only got five hours of sleep, chances are I woke up around 230 ish. So I can, by that point, I have gone, worked out, I've started working for a few hours, and then I find that just wave of fatigue really hitting me, then I will lay down. But if the sun is up and my day is going, the odds of me taking a nap are virtually zero. Again, there's a lot of self-experimentation that you should do, figure out what works for you, learning those rhythms, figuring out what are the times, like, can you notice a pattern when you end up getting sleepy and are unable to bounce back? For me, it's like if the day is really going and the sun is up and if I've had caffeine or anything like that, the odds of me feeling better after I take a nap are very, very low. But this really is something that you should experiment with because there are going to be times where you may have gotten so little sleep that the only way to function is to get that rest is to allow yourself to lay down and take a nap. So I certainly don't have any moral judgments on taking a nap. I think some people do. I don't. Like, for one, if I'm flying, there's something about flying. If I'm flying and I'm just like, I cannot keep my eyes open. I'm like, I'll take a nap. I've heard people like, oh my God, I've never taken a nap. That's crazy to me. You want to cognitively optimize. You want to make sure that you are performing at your best. And if taking a nap is going to be the thing that lets you perform at your best, then take the nap. You're far better too. If you let's say you're going to work for three hours, you're far better or you have three hours to work, I should say. You're far better, napping for an hour and a half and being really sharp that last hour and a half, then you are just like struggling through not being at your best and trying to get something done. Now everything is on balance. I work so hard. I leave everything out on the field. I just don't think twice about taking a nap if that's what I need. Because I know that I'm not doing it out of laziness. And I think that's where a lot of people get conflicted is they know that taking the nap is something that they do as a way to avoid doing the work and that they do that kind of thing a lot and that they probably were feeling tired because they stayed up too late, watching something on Netflix or playing video games or hanging out, whatever, or they had a few too many drinks. They've done something dumb that is counter to the goals. If those things are your goals, by all means do them. I don't pass any moral judgment on watching Netflix, playing video games, get as drunk as you want if that's your goal. But if it's not your goal and you did those things, something tells me that now you're beating yourself up over being lazy and part of the reason that you don't want to take the nap is because you feel guilty. If you play all out all the time and you know that you've earned that respect with yourself, then taking a nap is a no-brainer if that's going to be the thing that cognitively optimizes you. If you find your PSA, enjoy your life and if taking a nap is going to let you enjoy it, do it. If it doesn't and it's going to mess up your rhythm, then don't. Just grind it out. If you let me control your life for the next seven days, here is exactly what I would have you do. I'm actually thinking about turning this into a challenge because I think that this would be amazingly impactful for people and it goes like this. Our goal is to get up early and really attack the day so that we can get a lot of momentum going so that we can outperform other people. Remember, I am super competitive when it comes to doing the things that I most want in life. Now I do that from a place of joy and abundance. Think everybody can have what they want, but it's actually fun to go hard to compete against other people and really see how far you can push your life. All right, it goes like this. This is the ultimate life routine. Number one, we're going to go to bed at 9 p.m. like it's a religion. We know if ends are butts and we're going to, as you see, as we go through the day when we wake up, we're going to do a lot of things to make sure that we are ready for bed at 9 p.m. But we go to bed at 9 p.m. like it's a religion. We do not set an alarm clock. You can have an emergency alarm clock if you've got a meeting or a flight to catch or something like that so that you just don't have it on your mind because I know some people are so paranoid they're going to oversleep. It actually interrupts their sleep. By all means set an emergency alarm. But the goal would be to have at least nine hours before our emergency alarm would have to go off. Most people are not going to sleep for nine hours unless they've been chronically sleep deprived. So, no alarm. Go to bed at 9 or 8 if you have kids or 7 if you have kids, whatever. But we're going to go to bed early enough that we don't need to set an alarm. For me, that's 9. You're going to go to bed at that time. You're going to wake up when you wake up.
Discipline And Life Rules
You get out of bed in 10 minutes or less. Your feet are on the floor. Next to your bed is your gym clothes. You're going to put your gym clothes on immediately. You don't have to go to the gym. You can work out at home. I don't care. We can do all body weight workouts or we can go to the gym and go ham. Whatever works for you, but we are going to work out. We are going to get our blood pumping. No one, and I mean no one hates going to the gym more than me. I don't, whatever the endorphin rush is that other people get, I don't get. But it does allow me to cognitively optimize. If you haven't read the book, spark, read it. Studies show that if you have a hard problem to solve, you want to tackle that hard problem immediately after working out. They did all these crazy studies where they had kids go in and do like these incredibly hard workouts where your grade was based on your heart rate. So it was like, you didn't have to run a mile in under six minutes, but you had to get your heart rate up to whatever, 141.50 and maintain that for. I forget how long, let's call it 15, 20 minutes. And then if they had their hardest class immediately following that. So for me, it would have been like calculus. If I had had that immediately following gym class where I got my heart rate up into that ideal zone, I would perform better there because you're cognitively optimizing. So I'm going to work out. I'm going to get my heart rate up. That is key. I'm also going to be intermittent fasting. So we're going to get to when I clock that change, but I'm not going to eat before I workout. So I'm going to work out fast. Then I'm going to go and I'm going to meditate. By the way, I work out for about 30 to 45 minutes. By all means, workout longer. I wouldn't work out a lot shorter. When I sit down, I'm going to meditate. I'm going to meditate for about 20 minutes. I'm trying to get myself into a place where I'm completely relaxed. No stress, no anxiety. It is very possible. No matter what is going on in your life, to get to the point where you have no stress, no anxiety. Now, if you're really going through something and you, the thought of trying to sit down and meditate is just unbelievably torturous.
Give yourself seven minutes of doom-scrolling cats. It will put your brain in a certain place. It's very interesting. It is the art of distraction. There is a reason from an evolutionary standpoint that distraction exists. Go for it. Seven minutes only. At the end of the seven minutes, then we're going to go into meditation. You're going to meditate if you did seven minutes of doom-scrolling cats and you just don't have extra time. Find 13 minutes of meditation, so be it. I think you're better off making it 27 minutes, seven minutes of doom-scrolling cats, and then 20 minutes of meditation. The goal of meditation is to just breathe. You're not trying to have any grand epiphanies. You're just trying to breathe. Your mind is going to wander like crazy and it's going to happen a lot. To the point where it's going to distress you and you're going to think you're doing something wrong. You are not. The whole point is to just come back to the breath. Come back to the breath. Back to the breath. Back to the breath. Getting yourself in that calm, creative state. No stress, no anxiety. Lengthening the period of time where you can focus on the breath. Incredibly powerful. Now, if you haven't done this for an extended period of time yet, the next thing I want you to do is take a cold shower. We're doing all of this to accomplish two goals. Toughen up, buttercup, and cognitively optimize. So working out as much as it's good for the brain, it's also to show you that you can do hard things because in your life you need to be doing hard things. The other hard thing that you're going to do that's also good for your brain and good for a whole host of other things including anti-inflammatory, getting all the effects of longevity that come from cold exposure. You're going to get in the cold shower. Now, the amount of time you need to stay in the cold shower is going to depend on the time of year and where you live because let me tell you, Minnesota in February is very different than LA in August. The cold temperature in LA in August, not that cold. So, and compared to, and I've actually done this, was it in Minnesota? No, it was Chicago. I did Chicago in the winter. I can't remember exactly what month. And the water hitting my forehead gave me a headache. I was like, "Damn, this is a whole other level of cold." So doing that versus in LA was a world of difference. But in LA, I would keep myself in the shower. I think my record was like, "Oh God, it was somewhere between 12 and 17 minutes." I can't remember. But for, what was it, 13 months? I did this every single shower, weekend, no weekend. Actually, that might be a lie. Every shower Monday through Friday, that's correct. I think on the weekends, I allowed myself a warm shower to hold me to that. I can't remember. But for 13 months, I took so many cold showers, it was horrifying. In fact, I stopped. I promised myself I'd do it for 30 days. I did it for 13 months. I began to resent my shower. But it is extremely powerful for doing things that are difficult. So we're going to do the cold challenge. Expose yourself for the cold as long as you can possibly bear. Extend that period of time. You should be shivering before you get out of the shower. Like uncontrollably shivering. That is a good way of knowing if you've been in long enough. Now again, Minnesota, in February, it's going to happen a lot faster than a warm climate later in the year. But get cold exposure. After that, we're going to go to our important things list. We're going to work our way down the most important things that we can be doing in order to make meaningful progress towards our goals. Once we finish all of that, I know you're going to have to do a lot of work to pay bills and all that good stuff fair enough. Go do your job, crush it. Then we're going to get into the intermittent fasting zone. So there are two ways to handle this. Way number one is that you can stop eating really early and then you're going to eat breakfast. Before, you can stop eating a little bit later. Call it five, six o'clock at night. But then you can't have your first meal until much later in the next, much later the next day. The rule of thumb is 16 hours of fasting is about right.
I try to push that to on average about 17, 17 and a half hours when averaged over a full week. In the week that tends to mean that I'm not having a meal for about 18 to 19 hours and then on the weekend it's closer to 15, 16 hours. So I tracked that over a year and a half and that's what it came out to be on average. If you do all of those things, your life will be unrecognizable. And I hope that if you do that for seven days that you're not going to want to quit because it really will transform your entire life. All right.
Commercial Break (56:01)
Get after it boys and girls. All of those things will help you get up, get going, attack the day, create momentum in your life and actually accomplish the things that at one point you wouldn't have believed were even possible. Now that I've explained the importance of waking up early, check out this next clip where I talk about how to get the most out of your day. What is up my friend Tom Bill you here and I have a big question to ask you. How would you rate your level of personal discipline on a scale of one to 10 if your answer is anything less than a 10. I've got something cool for you. Let me tell you right now, discipline by its very nature means compelling yourself to do difficult things that are stressful, boring, which is what kills most people or possibly scary or even painful. Now here is the thing, achieving huge goals and stretching to reach your potential requires you to do those challenging stressful things and to stick with them even when it gets boring and it will get boring building your levels of personal discipline is not easy. But let me tell you, it pays off. In fact, I will tell you, you're never going to achieve anything meaningful unless you develop discipline. All right, I've just released a class from impact theory university called how to build ironclad discipline that teaches you the process of building yourself up in this area so that you can push yourself to do the hard things that greatness is going to require of you. Right click the link on the screen register for this class right now and let's get to work. And this workshop from impact theory university until then my friends be legendary. Peace out. Hey everybody, welcome to a very special episode of impact theory.
Tom's Advice #1 (57:30)
Today we are going to be talking all about habits and routines and how to get the absolute most out of every moment of your time because I promise if you want to succeed, you've got to get deeply efficient and that's where habits and routines come in and I'm going to be taking your questions. So hopefully you guys have some really good ones and we can talk about exactly what you need to do to hit the goals you want to hit. All right, without further ado, it's your first question. Hi Tom, I'm Danielle. I'm from sunny Orlando, Florida and I'm a sales professional with a side hustle. My question for you is about side business personal working habits. My husband and I are growing a side business that we have apart from our professional careers and I've recently taken on a new role writing blogs about specific topics that the company is all about. My husband already has his personal working habits in place since he's been working on the business for years. I however am finding it hard to work this new role into my current daily habits and routine. Not because I don't enjoy working on the business, it's just hard for me to get started and stay productive. So what advice do you have for me when it comes to getting started and building personal working habits that will last and ultimately change my life? All right, so the thing that I love is that you're using the word build because that's exactly what we're going to be doing here. You're going to construct what you want your life to be. You're going to break it up into different hours and segments so you know when it's go time and then you're going to build rules into your life that mandate that you show up during those times. So I have a whole host of rules in my life.
How to Build Rules into Your Life That Mandate That You Show Up (58:57)
They can be small simple rules like I get out of bed in 10 minutes or less. They can be more profound and impactful goals or excuse me rules and I have a rule in my life where Monday through Friday if I'm awake, I'm either working or working out. So if I were doing something like you in this situation, I would say, okay, these two hours or five hours, however much time it is that you want to allocate to the business, you need to say, I am working on the business during these times. I'm going to tell myself, I'm going to tell other people that way there's accountability. Then I'm going to score myself at the end of that session. Did I show up? Did I start when I said I was going to start? Did I go hard the whole time? And I'm just going to give myself a rating every day depending on where I'm going, how I did that day was I distracted, did I have flow, was it a great day, a bad day? And by doing that, I'm going to hold myself accountable so I can see over time that I show up when I said I was going to show up. What was the score that I gave myself for staying focused, staying on task and getting things done? And then the third thing, to really make this stick, you've got to find a way to be excited about what you're doing. And oftentimes when people come and they say that they're having trouble making a new habit stick, the reality is they just don't want it badly enough. And when you realize that that's not an indictment on you as a person, that's a simple statement about the fact that desire is a process. So you don't, there's very few things in your life that you just sort of automatically are excited about. Most of the things, if you really want to kick ass at something, you've got to build a ton of energy into getting excited about that thing. Now that comes in a couple different forms. Number one is your why. Why are you doing this? So it might be, hey, my husband and I were really excited about this. This is going to be our path to freedom and building something with him. Like this means everything to me. And I couldn't be more excited, more honored to be working side by side with my husband to build something, to show each other what we're capable of, to take care of each other, to, you know, give ourselves what we need to build a family, whatever. You're going to make that why. You're going to say it. You're going to say it with enthusiasm. That's what I call embodying what you want to feel. So if you want to be excited when you're telling other people, when you're even talking to yourself and you're talking to your husband, you're actually going to let yourself get hyped up. There's a mechanism in the brain that says, whoa, hey, we're all hyped up about this. It must actually be worth being hyped up about. And it becomes a self-reinforcing loop. So we've got our why. And then we want to make sure that we're putting the identity into it that we want to get out. We want to be the kind of person that shows up and works hard, then we say, I'm the type of person that shows up and works hard. And you're going to lean into that and the why that you have with your husband. You guys are building something. You're excited about it. You're telling other people. You're embodying it. And now you've got the identity statement, if I'm the type of person that does this, I see this through. And you repeat that cocktail over and over, over and over and following it up with that score and all of a sudden, over time, and it will take time because it is a process, but over time, you're going to stick to it because it means something to you and your husband. You've got the rule about showing up. You're rating yourself on how you did that day. You're feeling good on the days that you killed it. And you're reminding yourself to dig a little deeper on the days where you don't. And I promise, if you just work that process over and over and over two weeks, a month into this, it's just going to be second nature. You're going to be showing up. You're going to be excited. You're going to see it through. And that's it. Just work the process. All right. Who's up next? Hi, Tom. I'm Nima. I'm a business strategist and a mindset coach. My question today is about cold showers. I know that you're a big fan of cold showers. I am as well. I want to understand the exact process that you do it. Do you start with a cold shower right away when you step into your shower? Do you do it in the middle or do you finish off with a cold shower? How many minutes do you usually go for? And do you think that you use purely willpower to do it on a daily basis? Or does it actually become a habit and in a sense easier to do so? I personally think that it doesn't really physically become easier to do it, but mentally one can gain the strength to do it on a daily basis, hence as a habit. I would like to really hear your thoughts on the topic. And thank you very much for your great show.
Adopting Beneficial Habits
The notion of doing hard things (01:03:25)
All right. So first of all, I just want to talk about the notion of doing hard things. So doing hard things is critically important in terms of earning self respect. Building those calluses on your mind as David Goggins calls them to have the ability to stick with something when it gets difficult. It is such an incredibly powerful skill set.
Cold showers never got easier... (01:03:48)
And the only way you're going to get it is if you do hard things. Now I want to be clear that I don't love cold showers. I hate cold showers. Cold showers never got easier. In fact, I would say over time it really began to chip away at my soul.
The process I was using during that time (01:04:03)
So I did cold showers every day for one year and three months. I'd promised myself I would do it for a month. So in ending up doing it for 15 months, I was pretty stoked. Now I don't do cold showers anymore. And I'll go back and explain the process I was using when I was doing cold showers. Now what I'm doing is water submersion. So cold water submersion. That I find is way more powerful. It is much more difficult, but in a weird way, it's more enjoyable. So when I was doing the cold showers, it went like this. I would get in, stand, bucket naked, dry shower, and just will myself to crank that on because there was nothing worse than standing dry knowing that that cold water is going to hit you. That was by far the worst. Is that anticipation of like, do you stop and take a couple breaths? Do you just get in there and crank it on? Like with all hesitation, it was so powerful to have to face that down day after day after day. It really was pretty incredible. So that made it more difficult. I did not find it hard if I was taking a warm shower. So Wim Hof, the ice man, recommends that you do a warm shower like normal, but then you end on, he suggests to start with 30 seconds, you end cold. I actually didn't find that that hard. And so because that wasn't hard, I wanted to do it the hardest way possible by starting just dry and going straight for the cold. So that was how I did it the whole time. I would though end on warm most of the time. Every now and then, if it was a hot day or something, I might do cold, warm cold. It just depended. So there is something about an entirely cold shower that's quite powerful, but I found it very difficult to warm up after. And so that can slow the rhythm of a day down and I just didn't want to give that much time to it. Okay, so I do that for 15 months. I end up growing this resentment towards my shower. I didn't like the way that felt. I wanted to get back to actually enjoying my shower. And I thought, you know, I have always had a lingering notion in my mind that it would be far better on a physiological level to get the response that you're looking for at a cellular level from true submersion. And since I have a swimming pool that for most of the year it's not heated, I thought, well, just start going in the pool during the winter months. Pool gets down to about 58 degrees. That's plenty cold. Let me tell you. And it is so much more intense than a cold shower because there is no part of your body that isn't getting the life force sucked out of it by the cold. And so one, you feel like a total bad ass doing it and you get that self confidence. You get that. Yeah, like I'm here. I'm doing hard things. I'm pushing through. So that gave me a lot of confidence that it was having the kind of physiological effect that I was hoping it was have.
How to get your Work mode back. (01:07:01)
So if you can do submersion, I highly recommend it. I would stay in the pool water again. It was about 58 degrees. I would stay in that. The longest I did was 22 degrees, a 22 minutes, excuse me. And by the time I got out, I was moving so slowly. And my teeth, like I was so afraid I was going to bite my tongue because my teeth were chattering so hard. And so I thought, okay, that's a little too extreme. So I started backing it off. And then the important part is to warm up naturally. So I wouldn't end up taking a warm shower until say 45 minutes later to give my body the command that it had to warm up on its own. That was, I think, more powerful than the cold shower. So now I'm more focused on submersion. Word. Next up. Hey, Tom. I just wanted to take a second to thank you and your team for all the positive impact you had on my life. I'm Eros from Lithuania. And I'm currently studying physiotherapy. I'm also an aspiring person trainer. And my question is, I have these ups and downs, a really good productive work. And then something happens. And I get down to this baseline, which is terrible, but I just know that I can do more. And I just want to find out how do I keep that habit of always producing good quality work with minimal to no downfalls. Yeah, that's it. Thank you. Okay. So this is very straightforward, but there are a lot of different pieces that are going to go into it. So the first thing you need to do whenever somebody wants something, they know what they want. They've got a clear goal. They're prepared to do the work, but they just find there's pretty radical inconsistencies as they're trying to move along that path to really get something going. Number one is that you need to really get amped up about why that goal matters to you. Because once you know why the goal matters, that's going to be that thing that gives you meaning and purpose that turns into a passion that allows you to show up and keep doing it when you're bored. Because boredom kills more dreams than failure. I just promise you, you just get to the point where it's such a grind and you've got to do it day after day, month after month, year after year. It's just like it really drags on. It's like that old outcast song forever, forever, forever, forever. It's like it's easy to do something once. Maybe you can do it for a week. And you have to just keep at the grind, then you really have to have a strong why. So figuring out why is it that you care enough about this? Because by the way, if you don't care enough about it to do all this, go find something that you do care enough about to go after. Because you can do anything you want in life, just not everything. Now, if you're as angered by that notion as I am, you realize whatever it is you're going to give yourself over to and do all the way, it needs to be something that you are really on fire about. Now getting on fire about something, you're not born with that. You cultivate that fire. So you're going to pick something, starts as an interest, you're going to pick it, engage with it, fan the flames of that fire by talking about it to yourself, to your friends, to your family, to anybody who will listen about why it matters to you. And then you go hard on that. So like for me, I'm trying to build the next Disney. But why? Why am I trying to build the next Disney? Because I've worked with so many people in the inner cities that were extraordinary, far smarter than I am, and they're doing nothing with their life. Why? Because they don't have the right frame of reference. Their mindset is so limited that even though they have all of this natural skill that they could build upon and turn into something absolutely extraordinary, they're not doing it because they're not thinking about themselves and the world in the right way. Okay, I'm not prepared to live in that world. Right now in America, the number one predictor of your future success is your zip code. Okay, I want to introduce you to a word, maybe you know it, maybe you don't, called an animus. Something that pisses you off enough that it animates you to take action. Now you want to find something, a spark of something and really turn that into this raging inferno of I am not prepared to live in a world where that's true. And now I'm going to show up every day and I'm going to fight. Make sure you focus it, get it specific to a person. Don't let it be abstract. Who's someone you know and love that's struggling with that thing that you want to put an end to? Do you have a mom that's struggling with depression, a brother that has massive anxiety, whatever the case may be. There's something out there that animates you, that you want to fix and you attach that to a person that you love and care for. Why? Because you're not that on a Friday at 2 AM when you're exhausted and you're bored and you know you need to show up and have the discipline to see this through. You don't want to be thinking in the abstract. You want to be thinking very concretely about a person who is struggling with that thing and then you can fight for them. I always said at Quest, I was trying to end metabolic disease because my mom and my sister were morbidly obese and I didn't want them to die. So at Friday on a 2 AM, I wasn't showing up thinking about protein bars. I showed up thinking about them and suddenly when you're fighting for somebody like that and it's personal, you'll have the energy that you need to see it through. Word. Next. Hi, my name is Aisha. I live in Boston, Massachusetts and I'm a financial consultant. So for my job, we are required to pass on certification in order to be promoted. As I was struggling finding time to study, I was advised to wake up a couple hours early and study before work has my brain will be fresh and more focused. And I noticed on days when I'm truly motivated, I can get up even before my alarm goes on and put in the number of hours I want. But on days when I don't feel motivated, I will keep on snoozing my alarm until my usual wake up time and try to rationalize my excuses in my head. I'm usually pretty hard on myself and I noticed that my brain has found a trick to rationalize my excuses when I don't feel motivated. I know that discipline will be the solution, but what is, what will be the process to actually implement the habit/discipline to just do it without thinking when I'm lacking motivation? Thank you.
How to wake up early. (01:13:42)
All right, here we go. I'm going to give you the three steps to this magic formula and if you do these, it will work every time. So number one, like we've mentioned multiple times already in this episode, motivation, you have to want it. It has to be something that you were on fire for. Literally, as you were describing it, I was like, oh my God, I would study so much. I would ace this exam. You have no idea. I would absolutely kill this because that's my identity. So why is it that you want to do this? Is it that you want to be the best? Is it just the promotion? If it's the promotion and this is just about money, what does that mean? Why does it matter? What are you going to do with the money? Are you the first person in your family to be promoted that far? Are you setting an example for your son or your daughter? Like when you attach it to something that really matters, like for me, it's like, I'm going to dominate. Wherever you put me, I'm going to dominate. That's just my thing. My identity is so wrapped up in outworking everybody else. I love it. That's why I love going hard, learning, putting more time and energy. My thing is part of my identity. You ready for the secret? Part of my identity is like I will work so hard at something that people will just assume I'm naturally gifted at that thing because the alternative to believe that I'm spending 40 hours a week, 40 hours a week on top of my full time job to study for that thing. They won't believe that I would put that kind of energy and effort into something. But I will. To them, it just looks like magic. Now, I love that shit so much that it becomes very easy for me to use identity statements. We've got motivation. We're getting amped about it. It matters to us for some reason. Now, we've got identity statements. I'm the type of person that works so hard. People assume it's magic. I'm the type of person that works so hard at something that people just assume I'm naturally talented. I love that. I love saying that about myself. I love knowing that it's true. I love knowing that I can trust myself to put in the time and the energy to own it because I'm the type of person that knows information is really power. And that if I go in and I work and I get better at this thing, then I'm going to be able to outperform other people. Skills have utility. And then the third thing that you're going to do to absolutely dominate is you're going to set rules in your life. I don't care if you've got motivation. I don't care if I have motivation. I get out of bed in 10 minutes or less every day, no matter what, no excuses. But Tom, your leg has snapped off at the knee. I don't care. I'm getting out of bed in 10 minutes or less. But Tom, you only got 45 minutes to sleep. I don't care. I'm getting out of bed in 10 minutes or less. I have a hard and fast rule. It's what I call a bright line. There are bright lines in my life. There is no excuse to lay in bed. There is no rationalization. Nothing matters. It does not matter. Has it been 10 minutes since you woke up? Then you got to get your ass out of bed. It's that simple. And every day, if I miss, and when I miss, I miss by seconds. But if I miss, I confess to my wife. If I miss, I'll even confess on camera and let people know, hey, I didn't get out of bed in 10 minutes or less. And keep in mind, it was probably 10 minutes and one second. But even then, if the clock has ticked over to the 11th minute, I got to wrap myself out because I don't tolerate that myself. I have that hard and fast rule. It is a bright line and I act in accordance. Now, the reason that I had to use bright lines is I used to in my mid 20s. I used to lay in bed for four and five hours a day every day if I could get away with it. So hard and fast rules. And then just as a bonus thing, I will say this, don't set an alarm. Go to bed earlier. Go to bed. However early you need to go to bed in order to wake up so that you have a couple of hours. Then your mind really will be fresh. Then you don't need to hit this news alarm. I built a billion dollar business without setting an alarm. Impact theory has grown by 400% in the last two years alone. I've done all that without setting an alarm. There you do not need to set alarms. I'm telling you, you just need to go to bed earlier. And this is where a lot of people mess up is they're living in this chronic state of fatigue wondering why they can't see things through. So I forget the coach that said it, but this is so powerful. They said the quote is fatigue makes cowards of us all. Don't allow yourself to be tired. It is a unique ring of hell to walk through life tired. So get to sleep you need, set the rules, make sure you've got the motivation, know why you're doing what you're doing, and then rinse and repeat. Just get after it. Next up.
Habit Suggestions for Tired New Entrepreneur (01:18:23)
Hi, I'm Emmy and I am a breakup and relationship coach based out of Boston, Massachusetts. And my question for you, Tom is I recently started my business over this past year. I am still a high school biology teacher of 16 years. And when I come home from school every day, I am mentally drained. And so I find it really challenging to stay consistent with working on my business and doing what I should be doing to keep for momentum and progress. So my question is, do you have any suggestions for habits that I should create to help my self work on my business and not have the things that I accomplished just be kind of random, like my check off list is kind of all over the place. So any insights that you have to share with me would be really appreciated. And I know that you're probably thinking, Oh, these are just excuses. You're tired. We get it. We're all tired. But I'm hoping for some habit suggestions. All right. I don't think you're just making excuses. I think that cellular energy is going to be what you need to focus on. And I can't tell you how much I hate that I have to pay attention to my body in order to achieve the things that I want to achieve. I want to just be able to work around the clock. But I know if I try to do that, I won't be cognitively optimized and I won't have the energy that I need. So when I go give talks, oftentimes I'll end up after the talk answering questions. And my record is I once stood in a hallway with whatever 50 people around me answering questions without even stopping to pee for 11 and a half hours. Now by the end of it, people were like, how the hell are you doing this? And the answer was because there are two types of energy. There's psychological energy, right? You're exhausted, right? Imagine it. Oh, you know those days, you're wiped out. But you got that one song. You put that song on and you still got a little ash taken left in you. And you can just feel it. It changes your mood. You're ready to get up. You're ready to get down. That's psychological energy. Okay. We can actually make you suddenly feel like you have this burst of energy. The other part, the one that won't let you down is real cellular energy. Now within your cells are a whole bunch of these things called mitochondria. Mitochondria are separate little organelles. Okay. They have their own DNA. They are not you, but they are inside your cells and they are the power plant of your body. And if you don't do things to push your mitochondria to stay razor sharp, productive, to proliferate, you just won't be able to generate the energy. This is why I'm always telling people you are having a biological experience. Here this is, your body may have been given to you by God, fair enough. But he gave you a body and now you have to deal with the realities of going through life in a body that if you're not eating right, you're not exercising, you will not be able to generate the ATP, which makes you feel like you can go and conquer mountains and do whatever you want. But if you really don't have the energy, then that's a nightmare. This goes back to being tired is a unique ring of hell. It is just absolutely miserable. So you're going to have to get your diet right, which is probably the number one thing to get your energy levels up at a cellular level. You got to get your diet right and then to really push things you want to start exercising. And then another one going back to one of our early questions, cold exposure is another way to get your vascular system going, to get your ability to generate ATP up high because cold exposure has a tremendous impact on your mitochondria. Okay. Getting that right, I think is going to solve a lot of problems for you. And you may even need to go and get your thyroid levels checked. Like there's really could be a lot going on biologically. So to put it all into the language of a habit, you're going to go to bed early. However early you need to go to bed to not set an alarm. Number two, when you wake up, don't eat. You're going to work out, work out fasted. Okay. I would highly recommend that you lift weights rather than doing a bunch of cardio. And then next, meditation, you'll be shocked how far that goes. And then we want to get some cold exposure in there if we can. That would be a really great way to get you going. And as far as diet goes, making sure when you do eat and try to do intermittent fasting so that you have call it a 16 hour fasting window and an eight hour feeding window. And so you're going to push your first meal back to post workout. And then when you eat, you're going to make it whole foods. So you're going to be eating green leafy vegetables. You're going to be eating meat. If you eat meat, that's absolutely fine. No processed foods. If you can avoid it, you should be less than 10% of what you eat should be processed. Obviously zero is the ideal. But realistically, if you can make less than 10% of it processed, you're going to be golden. If you do that all the time, you're going to feel like a million bucks. You just cannot overestimate how big of a deal sleep, diet and exercise make. It is life changing. And it's the one thing most people aren't willing to do. But if you want cellular energy, that's the habit you're going to have to get in. Word. All right, who's next?
Staying Motivated In Difficult Times
Motivation for Success during Difficult Times (01:24:00)
Hello Impact Theory family. Thanks for this opportunity. I'm Mika Darling. I currently live in Arizona. So this is the question I have for you. I'm currently in a job that I hate. I'm currently at a weight that I definitely hate. I'm ashamed of it. And no matter how horrible it is and how isolating it is, I just can't bring myself to get out of this routine of comfortability. At the age of 15, I lost my mother and then I shortly became, shortly after that, I became homeless. And so a lot of my behavior, I excuse it away because I say, oh, you've had a rough life. I've been in therapy. I've gotten to metaphysical. Even did hypnosis and nothing is shaking me to my core. How can I become comfortable with being uncomfortable? Thank you guys so much. I love you guys. Hopefully you can help me. See you. Bye. Okay. So here is the hard reality that I know all too well growing up in a morbidly obese family. Unfortunately, no one is going to be able to help you. We can give you all the tools and tactics and tips. But at the end of the day, you've got to be in a place where you want it. You're excited about it. You're amped. You're imagining like what your dream job is going to be and you're figuring out what you're going to have to do to get that dream job. And you're going to go through the application process and all the rejection, you're going to have to go through in order to finally get where you want to go. Maybe you have to study something. Maybe you have to build a marketing deck on spec or whatever to get their attention. But you're going to do all that because you're excited about what that dream job is. And you know on a long enough timeline, you can win that job. But it's about like I'm not moving away from hating this job because that's obviously not enough. I'm moving towards something that's exciting to me. And we're going to build that energy. We're going to build that excitement, that enthusiasm. We're going to tell ourselves, I'm the type of person that does whatever the hell it takes to get that job. So you're going to figure out what it takes. You're going to call them. You're going to ask, what does the ideal candidate look like? What do I need to do in the interview process to make you confident that I'm the right person for you to hire? And then whatever they tell you to do, do that and more. The number of people that think, well, I shouldn't have to do all that just for a job interview. It's like, sure, fine. You're not going to get the job. Like everybody wants to be blown away to have unusual success. Your job is to leave people in awe. Okay? So that's the job side. We're going to do all that. We're going to go leave them in awe. We're going to get our dream job. We're going to set our mind to something. We're going to keep going. We're going to push past all the rejection, which is inevitable. It's not a commentary on you. It is the nature of getting a job. Now, the next part, I can tell you right now, there's one word that's causing all your problems. That is, you're ashamed. You're ashamed of your weight. Don't be. Okay? This is just biology. We're playing a game of figuring out what do we have to do to get the body that we want. Now the problem is your biology is going to fuck with you. So did you know fat is an organ, meaning like your liver, like your heart, like your kidneys? It is an organ. It secretes hormones. It tells your body to want certain things, to behave in certain ways, to eat certain foods. Your microbiome is essentially an organ. It's five pounds of bacteria in your gut that respond to what you eat, that the population changes based on what you eat, and then to make sure that they survive, they keep telling you to eat more of that. So you've got your fat cells screaming at you to keep eating, to keep overfeeding so that they can stay safe. They don't want to feel like they've entered into a famine period where now they have to get rid of this incredibly useful, extra stored energy. You've got your microbiome saying, "Hey, that fast food that you've been eating, eat more of that because we're optimized for it. We want it. We need it. We won't survive if you change your diet." So you've got a lot of things working against you from a biological level. Okay? I'll say this. The deck is stacked against you. Some died when you were young that had massive cognitive implications, okay, would have at a very formative age impacted you. You were homeless. That creates this sense of fight or flight. It's a high stress moment. Not only is that going to push you to eat more, but I'm sure at the time you're struggling financially as well, which means you're going to be eating cheaper foods, which are going to be highly processed, which is going to exacerbate the problem.
You Have Every Reason to Fail (01:28:39)
So all of this stress, inflammation, emotional trauma, all of that is going on, okay? You have every reason in the world to not get your act together, right? But I will say this. Now what? You can keep doing what you're doing now and you're going to keep getting the result that you're getting. And that's fine, by the way. You shouldn't be ashamed of that. If that's a life that you choose, choose it. Do it. Don't be ashamed of it. Recognize that it is a choice. If on the other hand, you're like, fuck this, I'm not happy here. I don't want to live like this. I want to do something different. Well now we have to go into it with our eyes wide open. Your biology is working against you, but that doesn't mean that you can't overcome it. You absolutely can. There is no human being that is incapable of losing weight. It's just that the only bulletproof way to lose weight, which I will tell you, I will give it to you, it would be the world's simplest thing. But your fat cells are going to scream out. They're going to mess with your hormones. Your microbiome is going to mess with you. So you're going to have to want it badly enough to see it through. Now I know you can do it. It's just a question of whether or not you're going to want it badly enough to see it through.
You Have Every Reason to Succeed (01:30:03)
But here's all you have to do. Eat whole food exclusively. Okay? Eat in leafy vegetables, nothing processed, chicken, beef, fish. Keep the fish small if you can to avoid toxins. But as long as we're not eating swordfish or eating it for every meal, it's probably better than some of the alternatives that you're taking in. Zero processed food, no crackers, cookies, none of that stuff. First of all, it has just obscene amount of sugar, it has glyphosate, which has all kinds of downstream problems on your microbiome that are going to continue to create problems. I just want to say this is doable. It is hard. But even if the deck is stacked against you, even if you do legitimately have it worse than every other human being on the planet, now what? Now what? What are you going to do? You're not a bad person if you're like, it's just not worth the energy. Fine. Know what the realities are. It's going to shorten your life, whatever emotional problems you have overlooking that way. The inflammation doesn't feel good, all of that. But you're not a bad person. And if you want to go in this direction, well then it's like, fuck, let's celebrate what that's about. Right? Let's know our why. Let's know what we're going for.
Celebrate the Right Goals (01:31:20)
And if it's to look really good in a fucking pair of skinny jeans, then let's own it. Let's look really good in those skinny jeans. Don't let people tell you that you have to be doing it because you want to be healthy. I love some healthy. Man, whatever really motivates you, whatever is really true, whatever actually gets you excited. The only people shame you into thinking you have to do it for some specific reason. Because let me tell you, the vast majority of pounds that have ever been lost all throughout human history is about looking good in skinny jeans. That's just the reality. But that doesn't make you a better person. This doesn't make you a worse person. Over here, you're less healthy. It's going to have its consequences. And over here, it's going to be harder. You're going to have to stay focused. You're going to have to keep pushing through. So decide what it is you want to do and get fucking amped about it. And if you can't get amped about it, focus on that. You got to focus on the motivation. You've got to get yourself in a position where you want the change. But don't spend cycles lashing yourself, hating yourself. I can think of nothing worse. The only thing that makes me sad is when somebody's overweight, eating ice cream by themselves in the corner of the cold stone, crying, right? That's fucking heartbreaking. An overweight person enjoying ice cream, like it was their last fucking meal, good on you. The person over here that never touches ice cream, man, because they're going hard. They know what they want. They're amped. They want to live forever. They want to feel good. They want to look good. They want to be strong. I get that. Put time and energy into it. They're choices. No matter how hard something is, you've got a choice. And so I always come back to that one simple phrase. Now what? I'm in this situation.
Let me tell you, Tom Bill, you have a very easy time putting on fat and a very hard time getting lean. Now what? You're going to work harder and get the six pack abs or not. And that's it. All right. I know you can do this. You got this. I'm cheering for you. But ultimately, as much as I wish, I could want it for people. I cannot. You've got to want this for yourself. You have to take responsibility and know that you can get whatever you want. Whole food. That's it. You do that. Be a life changer. All right, guys, I'm telling you, you are but one habit, one killer routine away from having the exact life that you want. Your life is a reflection of the choices that you make. It doesn't mean that some things aren't way harder for you than they are for other people. It doesn't mean that other people don't have more motivation than you. It doesn't mean that some people don't generate more cellular energy than you. But all of us can make a different choice at any time, set rules in our lives, focus on our motivation, get super hyped about something, find a way by connecting this hard-ass thing that we have to do to our identity, to a person that we love and letting it be about them and not just that thing or focusing on the end result and being hype about how good we're going to look in the skinny jeans. You're having a biological experience. Figure out what are the things that you need to do to manipulate your biology to get the results that you want, right? Setting rules, being excited, following through on something because you said you would. You told yourself, you told other people to trigger, going back to the biology, to trigger that desire for congruence. Man, I said it to them, "Fuck, they're watching. I better do it." Use any tool at your disposal. But if you get the habits, the routines, the rules, the identity, right, you get all that stuff right and you will have your ideal life. All right, guys, that's it. This really is doable. You can have any life you want to go out, make it real. If any of that sounded like bullshit, I want you to let me know. I want people to come at me. I want people to say, "No, no, no. This guy's just a hype machine." Cool. Come at me, bro, because I'm telling you, this stuff works. I've done this in my own life. I've watched other people do it. I'll take any heckling people have. If you think something is dumb, let me know. I'll either change my mind and open me up to something new, or you'll give me a chance to show you that there's nuance and that this stuff really does come together into a tapestry of magically delicious lives. If you're still not sure that you can accomplish everything that you need to, be sure to check out this episode where I talk about taking as much control over your day as possible. If you're not going in the right direction in your life and you want an action plan that you can use, going to change everything in your life, it goes like this.