I can’t be the only one who hates New Year’s resolutions, right? The idea is great, but the execution always falls short, almost to the point that setting a New Year’s resolution is a guaranteed way to not complete it. Instead of a resolution, just set a goal: Own 2020. Make 2020 your bitch. Become smarter, healthier, and wealthier. Don’t worry, I’m not all doom and gloom. I’m actually going to give you 7 morning hacks to make 2020 your best year yet.
7 Morning Hacks
Before we dive in it needs to be mentioned that none of these morning hacks or habits are going to seem groundbreaking. They might be unorthodox, unusual, or abnormal, but what about normal is so damn good anyway? In contrast, these small daily habits and morning life hacks can accumulate to great progress over a short amount of time, making you anything but normal.
Morning Hack 1: Wake Up Earlier
The first of your seven morning life hacks to make 2020 your best year is waking up earlier.
Rich people don’t sleep 8 hours a day
A few people who wake up before 5:00 AM: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; David Cush, Former Virgin America CEO; Michelle Obama, Former First Lady, Lawyer, & New York Times Bestselling Author.
There’s a whole vendetta against waking up early at the moment. Bill Gates has come out and said that he used to pull all-nighters but now he needs 7 hours of sleep. Keep in mind that Bill Gates also built a trillion(!!!) dollar business and made himself a mega-billionaire in the process of those sleepless nights.
I’m not saying to get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. However, waking regularly at 4:00-4:30 AM helped me accomplish enough for my wife and I to ‘retire’ in our twenties. I much prefer to wake early than stay up late.
You aren’t going to be waking up at 4:00 AM and parking your ass on the couch for a Netflix marathon, but a late-night can quickly devolve into this.
Use this time wisely to work toward reaching your financial, health, and life goals.
Morning Hack 2: Take Colder Showers
I, like many of you, used to love hot showers. The hotter, the better. Like a lobster in a pot, the water would get hotter and hotter as it went and next thing you know, I was buttered up and on a plate as surf & turf. Okay, maybe that second part was only in my imagination.
I’ve since changed my ways 180°, and you should too. Cold showers have a laundry list of health benefits.
- Wakes you up quicker than a cup of coffee
- Improves circulation
- Boosts your immune system
- Promotes weight loss
- Enhances skin & hair health
- Lowers stress & chances of depression
- Increase in will-power
If you’re one of those people (like me) who’s interested in how this happens, here’s some scientific research that’ll explain it better & keep me from plagiarizing.
These benefits are particularly true with contrast showers. Contrast showers are exactly what they sound like. Creating contrast during your shower which means going from warm to cold.
If you’re new to the contrast shower and cold shower game, start slow. Start with a warm shower and for the last 30 seconds, go as cold as you can handle. Gradually increase the time in the cold, and even the temperature lower as you increase your tolerance.
Morning Hack 3: Check Your Net Worth
One of the many things that helped us on the path to early retirement was checking our net worth. It was a great way to track all of our accounts, and to see the progress we were making toward our goals. This is one of the easiest morning hacks to accomplish.
We use Personal Capital to track our net worth. It’s incredibly easy to link your 401k, IRA, bank accounts, and even your home value (we don’t link our home values, personally). Having a clear snapshot of all of your accounts in one place is really helpful.
Before you start tracking your net worth, you need to have a plan that you know you can stick with. If the market drops 10% and you watch your net worth drop by $10k or even $100k it can be tough. Stay the course and know that ebbs and flows happen. Don’t try to beat the market, because you can’t.
Also, I know you’re wondering, but Personal Capital is also incredibly safe. Here’s a great article from our friend Grant on why it’s safe to use. The Cliff’s Notes of it are: they use AES-256 encryption, they don’t store your login credentials, employees of Personal Capital don’t have access to your login info, they use 2-factor authentification and offer additional security on mobile devices. Also, because Personal Capital is a read-only tool (you can’t transfer funds from accounts on Personal Capital) it isn’t a useful target for hackers.
Morning Life Hack 4: Skip Breakfast
One of our favorite morning life hacks and daily habits is intermittent fasting. I’ve been intermittent fasting for nearly 9 years. However, fasting still sometimes gets a negative reaction, especially if people can’t understand that you skip breakfast.
“But breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” every worried grandmother exclaims. If that’s the case, then why are you offering me sugar-laden cereals, diabetes-inducing pastries, or icing covered cardboard rectangles filled with fake jelly?
Surprisingly, I agree that breakfast is the most important meal. It’s still the most important meal for me too. Just because I choose to not eat until 12:00-2:00 PM doesn’t mean that I’m not having ‘breakfast’.
Fasting, like the aforementioned cold showers, has a huge list of benefits:
- Reduces insulin resistance lowering chances of diabetes
- Decreases inflammation
- Improves cholesterol & blood pressure
- Boosts brain function and prevents neurodegenerative diseases
- Preserves muscle tissue & promotes fat loss
- Increases Human Growth Hormone levels
- Delay aging & extend the longevity of life
- Aid in cancer prevention & increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy
To start fasting, go 16 hours without food, and eat for the other 8 hours. For instance: start eating lunch at 12:00 PM and eat supper at 8:00 PM. Now, wait until 12:00 the next day for lunch again. It’s as easy as that.
Not as complicated as some people would make it. On the other hand, our morning hacks are easy to understand, easy to follow, and effective.
The first few days of fasting, you’ll feel hungry at the typical time that you would usually eat breakfast. The hunger feeling will go away after a few minutes. In the beginning, it’s also easy to mistake thirst pangs for hunger. Drink plenty of water & you’ll be fine.
Morning Hack 5: Stretch
If you’re anything like me, when you wake up in the morning you’re stiff and sore. Stretching is one of the greatest morning life hacks to start your day on the right foot.
The normal office worker sits for over 15 hours per day. That’s fucking shocking. Add in the 8 hours that people sleep and the average person is only off their ass one hour a day!
Sitting can contribute to a plethora of issues including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Decrease in flexibility
- Musculoskeletal imbalances
To top it off, recent research suggests that excessive sitting can actually undo all the health benefits of daily exercise. I’d suggest getting off your ass and start moving ASAP.
Take 10 min in the morning and do a quick stretching routine to start your day. Here’s a collection of 12 yoga routines that are around 10 minutes long and can improve your flexibility, mobility, posture, balance, strength, and reduces risk of injury, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Here’s one of our posts that includes some easy stretches you can do at home, at the office, or on the road.
Morning Life Hack 6: Drink Your Coffee Black, and Later
Black coffee has made skipping breakfast much easier since I started drinking it 4 years ago. However, most coffee drinkers are reaching for the stuff the second they wake up. That’s like setting your sheets on fire to warm up the bed. It’s overkill people.
First off, caffeine is a diuretic, and you’re likely already slightly dehydrated from your 8 hours of liquid free sleep. Additionally, your cortisol levels are higher first thing in the morning and caffeine can cause you to produce more cortisol.
Why does that matter?
Cortisol is the stress hormone and creating higher levels of stress is the opposite of what our morning hacks are about. Increasing cortisol causes weight gain, sleep problems, and a lower immune system.
You feel groggy in the morning because you’re slightly dehydrated, you probably had a shitty night’s sleep due to spending the last hour of your night in front of artificial light from your TV and phone, and you’ve become dependant on the cup of coffee to shake off the feeling of your shitty choices. Instead, start your day with a liter of water, and hold off on the coffee for at least an hour (two or three hours would be better).
Now, for the second part of the morning hack.
Since at least an hour has passed, and you’re sufficiently hydrated, you’re ready for some black coffee. The benefits of black coffee could be a separate article in itself, and it is, so we won’t try to re-write the whole thing.
Essentially, cream and sugar take a fat-burning, mind-sharpening, disease-fighting elixir and make it just the opposite. The good news is, if you’re fasting then black coffee is all you get anyway because we don’t have any room for cream or sugar in our 16 hour fast.
Morning Hack #7: Own Your Commute
Your trip to work can make or break your day. If you can’t bike to work (you can) the least you could do is consume some useful content during your commute. Making your commute better for you is one of the easiest morning life hacks to put into effect.
This may come as a surprise, but talk radio, the news, or the billboard top 100 aren’t going to help you accomplish shit. Listen to something that will benefit you whether it’s mentally, financially, or physically.
You can practice learning a new language, listen to audiobooks, or listen to podcasts.
Here are a few of the best books I listened to from the past year.
- The Coddling of the American Mind
- Digital Minimalism
- Own the Day, Own Your Life
- Atomic Habits
And here are a few of the podcasts I really enjoy.
Use Our Morning Hacks & Own 2020
There you have it, people. 7-morning hacks that you can easily accomplish and make steps in the right direction to make 2020 your best year yet. The good news is that these are all-encompassing morning hacks & don’t focus on any particular thing except making your life better.
Utilizing these moring hacks will make you healthier, wealthier, happier, and probably less of a little bitch. Once these morning hacks become routine and you take advantage of the opportunities that will come up, you could easily be in the top 1% of the world health-wise, wealth-wise, and happiness-wise.