Your life can be hacked. In fact it's being hacked all the time without your permission. Advertising, fast food, fast information (social media), it all affects how you feel and operate in your world and ultimately affects the life you create for yourself.
But the good news is, you can take control and hack it yourself.
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. – Omar Khayyam
Your life is lived one day at a time, so when you can string together those good days you will create that good life you desire.
Before we get started you need to answer this question for yourself.
Who is in charge?
Who is in charge of your life? Who gets to make the decisions for how you live your life and what you do?
We have to start from the basic presupposition that you are in charge and get to decide for YOU how you live your life. Now you may have things in your life that you do not want to do. We all do, but you get to decide how you react to those things and how you handle what life throws at you.
YOU are in charge of your life. YOU get to decide what it is you do with that life and what kind of life you get to create. So let's get to creating it.
First things first.
Setting yourself up for success is done by setting up the day before you. You can create good days by creating the morning that helps ensure the rest of the day will turn out good. You do this by taking care of yourself and giving yourself what you need first. FIRST. Not later. Not sometime next weekend when you'll have time. First.
It is not selfish to put yourself first. In fact it’s the only way forward to take care of both yourself and those most important to you in your life.
In a healthy relationship, instead of serving from your cup, you actually serve them from the overflow that fills the saucer around the cup - Aubrey Marcus
In order to create the life you want and to care for those in your life, it is critical that you take care of yourself first so you have the energy and capacity to take on all that is yours to create and to care for all those that are in your life.
You take care of yourself first and you do it first thing in the morning and everything becomes easier after that. When you feel amazing, you make better choices and your decisions throughout the day will fall in line with what you want to get out of life. When you look at what you've already accomplished before 8 am, the image you create for yourself of who you are and who you want to be shows up, and the rest of the day feels downhill and easy.
When your attitude is aligned with what you want to create in your life, the world lines up for you.
The Morning Routine Recipe
I’m going to give you the ingredients necessary to create the perfect morning routine and then I’m going to share my routine with you. You can use mine as a template to get you started and ultimately work to craft the perfect morning routine that works best for you towards creating the life you want.
A quick intro on me. My name is Ben Cote and I've been in the work and practice of biohacking/neurohacking for a couple of decades now, long before we came to know it under those names. I am deeply passionate about the work of self-development and one of the key learnings I've discovered in all of that time is everything you are building and working for must be set up on the strong foundation of habits. The morning routine is one of the keystone elements that allow for the development of everything else you want in your life. This is why I am very excited to share this work with you.
4 Ingredients for success
You are not your thoughts. You are not a brain in a jar. You are not just your body in this physical form. You are not your failures or your successes.
Who you are is a beautiful complex design of all of these things and so much more. Everything within you and around you interacts and affects the world to create your experience. The recipe for the perfect morning routine is the recipe for what it means to be human. To ignore one part of this is to cut off a piece of you and to be out of balance.
So here's the recipe for a powerful morning routine that will make you feel amazing and will set yourself up for the perfect day, every day.
Meditation - first thing
Start with peace. Begin your day with a calm and centered focus that allows you to quiet your mind and direct your attention on where you want it to go vs jumping into email or social media and being hijacked by the chaos of the world outside. Start inside your mind and set your intentions for the day. You get to decide how it goes.
Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax. Bryant McGill
Journal - You decide how you want the day to go and everything after that is you choosing how to respond to what the world throws at you
Take a moment and decide for yourself before the world decides for you how this day will go. What will you do? What is important to you this day? What will you accomplish? What will you remember? What will you create for yourself and those around you? Write it down. Feel it as you put down the notes. Connect with the feelings of accomplishment you will feel when you do what you set out to do.
Journal to awaken your mind and transform your life. Asad Meah
Drink Water & Supplementation
You are not just a brain in a jar. Your physiology affects the quality of your thoughts and you are dehydrated when you wake up from sleeping. You need to drink water upon waking. Much of the brain fog, low energy and sluggishness in the mornings can simply come from being dehydrated. Drink 16-24 oz of water. Give it a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt to help get your body the electrolytes it needs to feel and function at its best. You need to understand how your body and mind work together and give each what it needs to be successful. Take the supplements your body needs to feel its best. Your body isn't getting all it needs from your diet. It's not entirely your fault as our modern factory farming system is not great at delivering the most nutritious dense food so understand what your body needs and get it the highest quality source of those vitamins and minerals that you can. When your body is working for you, vs against, you, everything else is possible.
Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues. - Kevin R. Stone
Honor your body in all it does for you by creating the best version of yourself in which to go through this life. Your body needs exercise. It just does. You feel better and think better when your physical body is in good shape and good health. So take care of it, so it can take care of you. Find the exercise that inspires you and do a little bit of that each morning. This doesn’t have to be over-thought or overdone. You don’t need to run 10 miles each morning or work out for an hour. A very simple bodyweight exercise routine of pushups, squats, and plank can cover most of the basic muscle groups and get you feeling good each day. Yoga is also a great way to not only stretch but build those muscles as well.
Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. – Carol Welch
Send a note of love and gratitude to those most important to you in your life each and every day. Pause for a moment to reflect on those to whom you are most grateful. Those in your life that give it meaning. Connect with the feelings of gratitude you have for them and then express that gratitude to them. Send a text. Write a note. Give them a call. Write something nice on their social media platform of choice. Share those good thoughts with those around you and watch them transform in front of your eyes. Your relationships with them will grow and get deeper with each passing day.
The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard—they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller
Clean your room. Clean and organize the space around you. Start as small as making your bed. This does two things immediately for you. First, you get to look at a nice clean made bed and this is not a small thing. You shape your environment and it returns the favor. Your environment impacts how you feel. When you exist in a chaotic environment, that impacts your thinking. When you can move around an organized space you have the mental energy to put towards other things that you wish to take on instead of trying to find your keys for the 9th time that week. This simple act also gives you the psychological win of getting things done. It’s a small simple task, but completing it early starts the day off with an easy win that can translate into bigger wins throughout the day.
Our thoughts build our spaces; the spaces return the favor. - Jason Silva
Those are the basics. Those are the core pieces you need to put together to take care of the whole you, so you can take care of your world each day.
Now let’s cut straight to the excuses to get those out of the way and then we can get into the advanced work.
But I have no time!
Bullshit. Refer back to the beginning of this. Who’s in charge here? YOU get to decide what your morning looks like. We all have responsibilities; work, children, family etc, but you get to decide when you go to bed and night and when you wake up in the morning to do all of the things you need to do in order to take care of those responsibilities.
This doesn’t need to take a long time. I can get this all done and more in 30 minutes if I have to. I like to give myself more time so I’m not rushing through or going through the motions on these pieces.
Here’s a quick rundown of my exact routine and the smallest amount of time it takes
Meditate immediately upon waking - 10 minutes
Journal - 5 minutes
Drink water & Exercise - 10 minutes (I can combine these and drink water in between sets)
Cold plunge - 2-5 minutes (more on this below)
Send notes of appreciation - 5 minutes
Clean room - 5-10 minutes
That entire routine is 45 minutes or less for a quick version. I can even squeeze it into 30 on a busy day but generally like to give myself an hour or more to allow myself to go deep where needed, especially meditation and journaling.
You have the time because you get to make the time to do what's right for you.
That sounds like a lot of work!
It’s all a matter of your perception. You can look at this as a burden. Something you must do each day. Or you can look at it as the opportunity for something you GET TO DO for yourself because you are worth it. Remember who’s in charge here. You can hack yourself towards the life you want or you can let the world do the hacking towards its own end.
But how will I know if it’s working?
Pay attention. Notice how your day unfolds. Notice how you respond to what the world throws at you versus how you used to respond before. Notice how you feel and what you are able to accomplish throughout the day. Notice the state of your relationships improving. Observe your health and your energy levels throughout the day. See what is possible when you put yourself first and what you are truly able to create in your world.
Now onto the advanced.
The above work is the basics. The core principles that address the core areas of your life that are needed to take care of yourself so you can do the work most important to you.
Do hard things first. It's no secret that you have the most mental energy early in the day and struggle with focus and paying attention as the day drags on. Do the big hard thing first. Right away. Get it done and off your list. This will do several things for you. First, you are accomplishing the big goals you set out for yourself and not letting yourself get drowned out in the busywork of the little tasks that make you feel busy but really don't contribute to what you really need to get done. Second, you are able then to look back on that the rest of the day and feel that accomplishment and success and let that flow take you onto the next task and the next one as you crush your goals for the day. Getting into flow states and allowing for the energy you create to propel you forward is how you hack your life towards the success you want.
I've added a cold plunge into my morning routine and it is now one of my favorite morning hacks. Beyond the fantastic physical effects I feel while I'm in it and for the rest of the day, it's a very clear psychological win first thing in the morning similar to the cleaning your room and making your bed environment work.
Here's the deal with a cold plunge. It feels amazing, but it is cold. It is really really cold. 38 degrees cold. I do not want to get in it. My brain tries all it can to tell me all the really good ideas as to why I don't need to get in this morning, but when I ignore all of those very good reasons and just get in, for the rest of the day after I know I can do the hard things set before me and after that everything in life is like a video game with a cheat code on. Do that hard thing and revel in its accomplishment to let the rest of your day flow with ease.
Do that hard thing that you need to do first thing in the morning after you do your morning routine. Do the thing that scares you and pushes you outside of your comfort zone a little bit. Take the feelings of power, energy, and flow and put them straight into the work most important to you. Put off email, social media, news for later (or never). Focus on the work that's inside you first before you give your attention away to the world.
You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. – C.G. Jung
Taking care of yourself fully and showing up to the world in the full capacity of your creativity and skills is what this world needs right now. It is up to you, to create the space and the conditions to make all of that possible. This is how we live and how we grow and ultimately how we thrive together.
You create the energy that allows you to create your world.
Director of Brand & Community