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Personal Development

3 Ways To Wake Up Earlier Without Feeling Like Death

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Want to know how to wake up earlier because it’s currently a struggle?

You’re not alone in this fight—by a long shot.

I used to struggle with this. And hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans also aim to but can’t wake up earlier for the life of them. So they settle for the snooze button and sleeping as late as they can before school or work.

This is a problem because it means you’re not getting all the benefits of waking up early. For example, early risers are often associated with being more:

  • organized, because they’re not playing catch up on their day. They have built-in extra time to consider their goals for the day, week, and month.
  • productive, because they know what they need to do today and can attack each item on their to-do list. This also creates positive momentum that carries into the afternoon and evening.
  • healthy, if you capitalize on this extra morning time for a morning walk, run, or exercise routine. That will get your blood flowing to start the day and encourage you to eat healthier foods, which is a double win.

Plus, a Harvard research study found that adults who wake up earlier tend to experience more positive feelings throughout the day than those who don’t. And this study found these people felt subjectively healthier than the night owls who wake up later.

I could write a whole article about the correlation between mega-successful people and waking up early.

So by now, whether you’re naturally an early bird or a night owl, I hope you’re convinced about the benefits of waking up earlier.

And I want to point out that there’s a difference between waking up earlier feeling rested and recharged to tackle your day. Or feeling pooped out, with zero motivation, wondering when you can take a nap next.

It defeats the purpose of waking up early if can’t properly function in the morning and rest of the day.

That’s why this post is about how to wake up earlier without feeling like you’re on your deathbed. That’s important to starting the day as productive as possible.

Successful People’s Thoughts On Waking Up Early

I figured I can’t just make the claim that successful people are often early risers without backing it up with some quotes.

So here are a few legends with their thoughts on the matter.

One of the greatest inventors of all time had this to say,

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. — Benjamin Franklin

This English thought leader had great insight,

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it. — Richard Whately

A Founding Father and the third President of the United States believed in early mornings,

The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years. — Thomas Jefferson

An American industrialist and the richest citizen in the world in 1966 said,

Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil. — J. Paul Getty

The author of the series A Series Of Unfortunate Events contributed this,

Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have. — Lemony Snicket

This final thought comes from a notable French poet and philosopher,

The best way to make your dreams to come true is to wake up. — Paul Valery

There are thousands of other examples, but starting the day early helped these people get an edge in their career and not look back.

How To Wake Up Earlier

I could write a post with 37 or more tips to wake up early, which works for some blog posts, but I felt it did not for this one.

In this case, it’s best to keep it simple and stick to the basics to overcome your fight against the early morning.

Follow these three keys to waking up earlier and you just might—I bet you will—start to enjoy it.

1) Make Your Bed A No Device Zone

The biggest problem I notice among my friends and family is they use their phone, tablet, or laptop up to the second they want to fall asleep. Then they get upset that they can’t go to bed right away, when really they set themselves up to fail.

Sometimes this issue is so bad that while binging on social media or their favorite show, they’ll start to daze off and drop the phone on their face or laptop on the ground.

Your mind isn’t meant to be firing at all cylinders in front of a lit screen and then instantly turn off to go to bed. It’s not a light switch. It takes some winding down to go to bed and be rested for an early morning.

So as interesting as it is to scroll through my Instagram profile, control yourself and get off of social media at least 30 minutes before bed. Maybe this means putting your phone at the opposite end of the room or leaving it out of your room.

And this tip also means, to avoid the temptation altogether, not using your phone or laptop in bed during the day. This creates a bad habit that makes it acceptable to do it before bed.

However, what is allowed in bed is reading a book because this will relax your body and prime your mind to fall asleep. That’s one of one million reasons why reading is the best.

Keep your bed a device free zone and your body will have an easier time going to bed, plus waking up early.

2) Get 7 To 8 Hours Of Sleep

Most people treat food and sleep the same way, they want more than they actually need. There’s no need to sleep more than 8 hours to feel rested and have energy throughout the rest of the day.

And besides certain seasons of life where limited sleep is necessary, there’s no reason to go through weeks on 5 hours of sleep because that will limit your performance during the day.

When you sleep more or less than you need to, you through off your body’s clock and make it difficult to wake up on time. It’s also impossible to get in a routine.

That’s why moderation is key here.

Plus, as long as you’re getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, you’ll be well rested and it won’t matter if you get up at 5, 6, or 7 AM. To do that, of course, you need to go to bed reasonably early at night.

This is powerful for many of you, since you’ll be trading the normal hours at night you would waste watching television for quality hours in the morning to do significant work and feel great about it.

And this method also works on the back end. If you’ve been busy and working hard for 16 or 17 hours during the day, your body will be ready to fall asleep at night.

3) Wake Up At The Same Time Each Day

You’re not putting yourself in position to wake up early if you get out of bed at 6 AM, some days 8 AM, and others at noon—depending on the day of the week. Your body will be insanely confused, and get worse REM sleep because of it.

Again, keep it simple by waking up at the same time each day. Following this tip inherently includes going to sleep at night at the same time each day, so you get your 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

This won’t be bad during the week.

Though this may mean you have to sacrifice late nights out with your friends on the weekends to keep your wake up routine going strong.

With that said, this doesn’t mean you can’t break this rule every once in a while for a social night out. But I’d say that 95% of the time you need to be waking up at the same time each day to get this momentum going in your favor.

Otherwise you’re just placing struggles in your way, like hitting snooze and tricking your body, which make it more difficult to stick to this game plan.

Final Words

It’s easy to say you don’t know how to wake up earlier when you haven’t put in the effort to try to do it the right way. If you do it wrong, you will feel like you got hit by a train in the early morning.

So use the three action steps above and give it a genuine effort.

I’m not going to lie. It will be uncomfortable in the beginning as your body adjusts to its new routine—just like anything else. But over time it will feel normal and your body will get better sleep because of this regular routine.

And most importantly you’ll pick up the benefits I mentioned earlier, like becoming more organized, productive, healthy, and joyful because you woke up earlier—that all sounds like success to me.

Maybe this extra time in the morning is the difference that helps you reach your goals or New Year’s resolutions.

Anyway, cheers to becoming a morning person. And a more successful one at that!

Related: The 30 Day Challenge: Waking Up At 6 AM

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Career

Life Tip: Never Take Anything Good For Granted

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Have you ever had something really good in your life, until you took it for granted and lost it? What a horrible, miserable feeling, right? It’s the worst.

I know from experience.

My senior year of basketball still leaves a sour taste in my mouth thinking about it.

It’s strange though because it started out good, like really good.

After thousands of hours of insane dedication to practice my basketball craft and improve my shooting, dribbling, passing, defending, and rebounding, I reached a dream of mine: make the starting lineup for the St. Xavier Bombers varsity basketball team.

Not only that, my first game of the year couldn’t have been better considering I only played 14 minutes the entire game. The stat line below proves it.

brian-robben-basketball-stats

And we won the game by 23 points. Everything is going smooth, until it wasn’t.

From the next game through the last game of the year it was all downhill.

Let me explain.

The Lost & Final Basketball Season

Let’s just say I was a different guy in high school. Now I’m all motivated and focused on building my businesses and leaving a legacy.

But the 18-year-old Brian was all about wreaking havoc and having a good time above all.

To express himself at school or during basketball team activities, he’d go as far as he could to toe the line of breaking the rules for pure laughs and excitement. Often he crossed the line.

Here are some of the reckless things I did during that basketball season:

  • After receiving a hard foul when driving to the basket, I stayed on the ground and racked off 5 push ups before shooting foul shots
  • On the bench during a pre-season game, I grabbed my phone and sent a tweet out to my Twitter followers explaining what I just did (tweeted during the game)
  • Ruined team pictures by putting a 3 goggles sign on my thigh, so the school had to retake them a week later
  • Stormed the refs locker room after a frustrating overtime loss when a bunch of questionable calls went against us
  • Put a teammate in a headlock during a shoot around hours before a game
  • And a lot more crazy stuff

That’s not close to all of the bad-boy moves.

I don’t know if you realize this, but it’s hard to play solid basketball and stay in the coaching staff’s good graces when you’re messing around whenever you can. It doesn’t work out well.

take-basketball-for-granted

That’s why it’s to no shock looking back that I got suspended twice. The first time I had to sit out two quarters against our biggest rival. And then I was suspended a full week from the team later in the year.

Not to mention a bunch of other disciplinary issues and conflicts with coaches that I don’t have time nor want to discuss.

It all boils down to the fact that my antics sabotaged my final year of basketball.

After the season ended, the problem was I couldn’t go back in time to stay focused on basketball and give it my 100% again. That ship had sailed. The opportunity was gone.

So I had to, and now have to, live with regret when thinking back to that year and what could have been.

But regret about not appreciating the game of basketball isn’t the only thing I received from that experience. It’s the unforgettable lesson: never take anything good for granted.

Fortunately I learned this lesson at age 18, not 48.

Never Take It For Granted

Thanks to my failure that year, I developed a wiser perspective to appreciate the good things in my life.

So now I know never to take my work, my company, my clients, my health, my friends, my family, and life in general for granted. Regret is the worst feeling out there so I want to live in a way that eliminates it.

Where maybe if my senior year basketball season went smoother I’d never have learned the full extent of that lesson. Who knows? Maybe something far worse than a disappointing basketball season could have went down.

But because of the outcome I get to hold that experience in my back pocket going forward. I turned a scar into an advantage.

Although it’s always cool for me to flip negative experiences into positive ones, it’d be even better if I didn’t have to learn the hard way.

Truth is you don’t have to be a dummy like me.

I don’t know what your “it” is (I can guess it’s your family, friends, faith, career, pets, house, teachers, and country). I do know you need to never take it for granted if you want what’s best out of your life.

Also, don’t forget to appreciate the little things that come and go during the passing days.

It could be your peaceful commute to work where you’re alone with your thoughts. It could be the Monday morning cup of coffee you can afford without thinking about. Or it can be your place’s proximity to the beach that other people would kill to have.

Never taking life’s big and small gifts for granted is a big step to living the good life.

And there’s another reason to have this mindset: you don’t want to mess around with regret.

Regret Is Brutal, Eliminate It

Regret is the worst feeling out there in my opinion.

Sadness sucks but you can become happy again. Anger isn’t fun but you can eventually relax and get over it.

But regret, there’s no way to reverse it and recover. It sticks with you the rest of your life. That’s why it’s brutal.

Your only solution is to do your best job to eliminate it at all times by both being super grateful for what’s good in your life and staying focused to keep it going well.

If you are unappreciative and lose focus, there’s sometimes no going back from there. Your fate is often sealed once the moment ends.

I want my life to be filled with as little regret as possible. That’s part of the ingredients for a great life, in my humble opinion.

Don’t you agree? Please join me in this effort to never take anything good for granted.

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Personal Development

Brian, Promise You’ll Never Stop Writing

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Hey guys, to celebrate video number 40 on my YouTube channel I put together a different kind of video.

Here I share a personal story and value I hold dear to my heart. It’s all about my relationship with writing and how it’s went from zero to hero in my life.

I hope you enjoy the video and feel inspired!

If you’re interested, here’s the transcript:

Let’s first take it back to high school. You sucked at writing. Just like all of your other classes, you hated it and let your teachers know by your classroom antics or naps, and doing the bare-minimum on papers.

Writing never interested you because it was a part of the school system you went to war against.

Brian this is a note to your future self.

Things changed your freshman year of college. You wanted to be a big time lawyer, and writing soon became your major since top lawyers know how to read and write well. So you needed to write, and write well, to get a top GPA and reach your dreams. And you did.

But things changed again. You said see ya to law school, hello entrepreneur land and started the blog takeyoursuccess.com. That meant constant writing, and hours of it to publish 2-3 posts a week for the past few years. And then you became an author from your writing, already accomplishing a major achievement on your bucket list through this method of communication.

Now writing is your daily routine as much as breathing and eating is. Writing is your public and personal journal, the world sees it but you know the heart of what’s behind the words and the words unsaid. Writing is magical to you.

Although you’re a business owner, author, and coach, at the end of the day, remember your journey all started from a blog, from writing. You’re a writer, writing your story as you go, figuring it out piece by piece, and telling the world, striving to create your legacy one word at a time.

So note to future self, never stop writing. You wouldn’t be the same without it. And all great stories have a storyteller. You happen to be your own storyteller, just how you like it.

What’s your story?

What do you want to tell your future self to commit to?

What’s magical to you?

I hope by hearing part of my story you find clarity in your story. Because we’re all in this thing called life together, so let’s make the most of it.

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Career

The Art Of Negotiation: Care Less

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The art of negotiation is truly an art. Either you’re skilled enough to win, or you’ll stumble to the finish line as a loser. Those are the only two possible outcomes.

Depending on the deal, the difference in winning and losing could mean securing your dream job or entering unemployment, getting a deal or getting ripped off $10 grand, and building a million dollar business or going bankrupt.

But like many things in life—how to write a winning resume, who to marry, how to make money, how to invest—no one teaches negotiation.

Our parents: only if we’re lucky. The school system: fails at this. The government: nope.

If government and corporations had it their way, we’d never learn to negotiate so we would have to take the short stick without complaining. That’s just wrong.

Since you’re reading this article, you’re on the right path though. Because the first step is to want to know how to negotiate better.

The second step is to learn how…

“He Who Cares Less, Wins”

Emotions can often be helpful.

For example, you should feel love toward the person you’re about to marry before you go through with it. Duh!

Or you should feel sad when your parents are getting old and sick. That sadness can help you appreciate them better and prioritize quality time going forward.

But in the negotiation arena, emotions will kill you before you know it. It’ll be like a sniper with his finger on the trigger and a red dot on your chest—it’s already too late for you.

Why do emotions kill negotiation ability? It’s mainly because feelings cloud judgement.

Your brain focuses on how it’s feeling instead of reason, logic, and answering does the math work for you to go forward. Insecurities also come into play, which can make you do the opposite of what you intended.

Clouded judgement leads to rash decisions and often buyer’s remorse.

It also costs you real dollars.

This study found anxious negotiators were more likely to take deals 12% less financially attractive than their counterparts. If it’s a 12% loss off a $500,000 mortgage, we’re talking about $60,000. That’s a big deal!

But consider someone’s approach who couldn’t care less about winning the deal: They’re relaxed. They speak clearly and listen carefully. And they’re focused on the specific details of what they’re getting and giving.

Not to mention they hold the leverage because they don’t need the deal. If it helps them they’ll take it, but by no means are they getting on their hands and knees to beg for it like a dog.

It’s not hard to figure out that someone who is relaxed and focused performs better than someone who is scatterbrained and under pressure.

This explains precisely why caring less helps you win.

Plus, when you care less, you can’t lose. You either win the deal on your terms or you leave it on the table as a draw.

Caring less is precisely how you ensure you never make a bad deal that takes the shirt off your back. Those deals are the unrecoverable ones that will leave you unable to sleep at night.

Let’s check out how caring less comes to play out in day-to-day scenarios.

Real Life Negotiations

Negotiation happens everywhere, all the time.

You probably just miss it or don’t label them as deal-making.

To open your eyes and get a grip on how this goes down, read these four examples about how negotiating the right way changes the entire landscape.

1. Grad school admissions: Whether a grad school accepts you and how much money they give you comes down to 100% negotiation.

The university is negotiating to get the best students in their class (and fill the seats to make money). You’re negotiating to get into the school and make the best choice for yourself.

If you’re a top candidate with acceptances to all the elite schools, the game is on to negotiate the best offer package. You’ll want to negotiate for a fat scholarship, maybe a stipend, and see if you can get anything else (like a teaching assistant job) to entice you to come.

If you have average grades and admissions test scores, you’re playing a game of negotiating to get into better schools with no scholarship or less reputable ones with scholarship money. Use the acceptances into the better schools as leverage to get more money.

2. Buying a car: This is the classic negotiation scenario used from personal finance bloggers to authors. (Maybe because just about everyone buys a car and has room to negotiate.)

If you’re like most people, you’ll arrive at the lot and make a beeline to the car you want. Then tell the salesman, “I’ve always wanted this car. It’s perfect. How much is it?”

Their signals are telling them you’re an easy sale and to negotiate little. You cost yourself potentially thousands of dollars.

But say you come back another day after reading this article and bring a more tactical approach. Instead of making a straight shot to one car, you tell the salesman, “I don’t have any particular car in mind. I’m not sure I really need a car to be honest. Just had some free time and wanted to look around.”

You ask about a few car prices then “randomly” stumble on the one you actually want to ask the price, without being too excited (care less).

This is how the playing field gets tilted. The salesman is now the desperate one trying to both find you the right car and sell it to you.

And when you negotiate, you have to make an offer and be prepared to walk away with nothing (that’s a draw not a loss). There are plenty of stories where someone walks and the dealer calls them back the next day to drop the price to get the deal done.

This scenario works when buying a house, motorcycle, boat, and all other related-purchases.

3. Job offer and salary package: I feel strongly about this one. You have to negotiate your salary if you like yourself!

There’s free money on the other side if you do this well. That’s why I dedicated an entire section of my money book to salary negotiation, and have written about this multiple times on TYS. (See here and here.)

Let’s break it down (assuming you’ve been offered the job): The company is negotiating to get you on their team at a fair (or cheap) price, and you’re negotiating to get the job at a higher price.

Communicating you have other employment options and while you’d love to work here you know you may have to decline the deal, can often make the employer want you more. Odds are they fork over the extra money and hope you pan off as a long-term investment.

But if you don’t know how to negotiate and say, “I accept this,” the second after they tell you the salary offer, there’s no extra money for you. The reason you have less money is all your fault.

4. Business projects: Business comes down to negotiation across the board. If you’re an employee, freelancer, or small business owner, you need to know how to persuade the other side to get the deal and price you want.

Bad business negotiation means being in a place of desperation where you take contracts even if it’s 10%, 25%, or 50% your normal rate. The desperation will come through in your communication and be the reason you get taken advantage of in broad daylight.

A smart employee should recognize your company’s price is your price, and not care if you lose the deal because the person on the other side only values cheap labor, and not high quality work.

A freelancer should know the value in their work, price it accordingly, and have a take it or leave it mentality with clients. There’s always more work to be won instead of compromising your skill for cheap labor.

A business owner should double their rates to bring in more revenue (assuming they have a solid product, sales, and marketing), while not caring if they lose their smaller clients. That’s the quickest way to bring in more money, and it sure beats getting nickel and dimed on project rates.

Final Words

Everything is negotiable.

Knowing that, it’s your job to care less by having more options on the other side in case you don’t get what you want.

How do you get more options? The single best way is to work hard and provide value so you become financially well off.

Poor people are often in desperate, emergency-like situations where they can’t afford to shop around for a smart transaction. Where the rich have more time and opportunities to ensure they win the negotiation.

With wealth also comes the freedom to need less and become beholden to no one. This self-reliance empowers you at the negotiation table to only make deals if the numbers make sense to you.

You’re in a position of power when you’re finances are taken care of regardless what happens in these daily negotiations.

As you keep living, keep your eye out for negotiations big and small. Seeing them go down will give you mental reps and prepare you for your day-to-day negotiations.

Caring less about what you want, ironically gives you a better chance of getting it.

Related: Everything Is Negotiable

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