A little over a year ago, I read a book by James Clear called Atomic Habits. Needless to say, it changed my life. Right after reading this book, I started working to control my habits and not letting them control me. I started by doing 500 burpees a day for 60 days. Yes, you read that correctly, 500 burpees a day. The goal for me was to become the person who could do something constantly, every day for 60 days. Well… I failed. I failed in the first 7 days, but I didn’t stop doing my burpees. If my goal was 60 days of burpees I would have failed my goal. My goal was not 60 days of burpees, it was to become someone that can do something daily for 60 days. Failing to get 500 burpees for 7 days didn’t hold me back from that. I went on to do 45 days of burpees.
Now, let’s fast forward about 6 months. I’m sitting at a conference in Chicago. The last speaker had obviously read Atomic Habits. He challenged us to write down a habit and share it with someone we didn’t know at our table and then exchange phone numbers. We were to text each other every day and if we failed our goal we had to send our accountability partner one hundred dollars. (As a side note, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to send someone $100.)
The habit or goal I shared with my partner was to have a daily plan. I knew if I had a set plan, I could then execute on that plan. While that was an ok habit, it wasn’t what I needed. I needed more specifics to my goal in order to be successful. Fortunately, I have the ability to start my day at just about anytime I would like, so I found myself getting to the office anywhere from 5:15-7:00 am, sometimes later if I wanted to sleep in more. I quickly found that having a plan was great, but arriving at my office at different times was not beneficial. So I pivoted and tweaked my habit: get to my office at the gym at 5:30am, everyday.
My habit still needed some work. I was getting to the office at 5:30 am everyday. However, I was waking up at different times each morning. I had to get more consistency so I decided to ignore the time I needed to get to the office. Instead, I changed my habit to getting up at 5:05 am every morning. Now this was hard for me. I would often wake up, finding myself laying there, scrolling through my phone or just staring at the ceiling. You guessed it, I tweaked my habit once again. This time once my alarm went off, I had to GET MY FEET ON THE FLOOR. This would force me to not sit in bed or lay back down. If I just got my feet on the floor, I would be out to door in 20 minutes max, even with a shower. It took about 2 weeks to find the habit that was best for me. Getting my feet on the floor became a meta habit. It caused a chain reaction. Mastering a meta habit will change everything in your life.
Now that I was getting my feet on the floor immediately and arriving at the gym by 5:30 am, what did I do with that time. I decided to use that time for personal growth or creative time. I started by editing pictures I have taken, taking pictures, reading, or just sitting and meditating. After several months of personal/creative time, I decided I wanted to use that time to be a more structured time. So I decided to use that time to work on projects that will move my businesses forward. I would read and then act upon what I read. I found that I wanted more time to dedicate to this, so I moved up the time I woke up. Instead of waking up at 5:05 am, I would start waking up at 4:21 am. I like odd numbers. It was an easy change because everything I already mastered remained the same. My alarm would go off and I would put my feet on the floor and get my day started. Around the same time I was doing all of this habit practicing, I was sent a book by an author that I was going to meet with my mastermind group, Alter Ego by Todd Herman. This book is a great partner to Atomic Habits that I referenced earlier.
After getting back from our meetup, I realized something. I realized that I could not communicate on the level that I wanted to. I have been terrified of writing for years and the words that came out of mouth never matched what was in my head. I knew that if I could create a habit and be empowered by my “alter ego” (described in the book above), then I could conquer my fear of writing while also giving me a language to communicate with. So I began to designate time in my morning to reading and writing about what I read. That quickly turned into reading for 5-10 minutes or not at all and writing for one to two hours. I would just write, no rereading or proofing. Magically, I started getting my better and my confidence skyrocketed. Fast forward about 2 months now and I have only missed one morning, thanks to the Chiefs parade. I have achieved things I never thought I would.
As many of you know, this week we made the difficult decision to temporarily close the physical doors to our gym because of COVID-19. Not only did we do that, we restructured our entire business in less than 24 hours. Our staff and coaches will now be reaching out to each member individually and giving them personalized workouts and coaching tips. In all honesty, this is a very daunting task for us.
This is a life-altering time. People are nervous about their business and what the future holds, but I am not. Nothing changes, I will get my feet on the ground every morning when my alarm goes off and “The Kid” will read and write so that I will be prepared for anything that comes our way. I am confident that I can do hard things daily to become the person that can lead a company to greatness all because I did burpees over a year ago. Our team will continue to pour into people and add value to our members’ lives regardless of circumstance; this will be our finest hour.
Don’t get it twisted. This is not a story of Jason; this is a story and an example of what YOU can do when you control your habits. Start with the smallest and easiest habit possible, then connect it emotionally to your WHY. Remind yourself of that reason daily. “I am doing _______ to become_______.” This will be your meta habit; never stop that habit. Once that habit is mastered, move to the next habit. Always master one before moving to the next. You will start out slow, but finish fast. By doing this, you will see the power of compounding success. It will not happen in a week, month or even year, but in 10 years; you will have your empire.
Never grow tired of doing what is right. Never grow tired of mastering the small things. Your time of greatness is coming, but only if you stick with it. Don’t give up!
Never grow tired of picking yourself back up. Never grow tired of mastering the small things. Your time of greatness is coming, but only if never stay down.