5 Effective Ways to Push Through the Hardest of Times

It’s morning. Your alarm goes off.

Time to get up.

But…you lie in bed, motionless.

“I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to get up. I’m….up.”

And just like that, we’re off to the races.

1) Everything You Do Should Ladder Up To Your Purpose

In another post, we talked about how persistence [LINK] is the key to enjoying any journey.

You need to learn to love the plateau because that’s where you’re going to spend most of your time, 5am.er.

But this isn’t a bad place to be as long as your thoughts and actions are aligned with your purpose.

Persistence is the fuel and your purpose is the the guiding light.

It should be clear and specific and easy to summarize in a sentence.

Here are some ideas:

  • My purpose on this earth is to spread the gift of music.
  • My life purpose is to travel the world and share the lessons I learn.
  • I’m committed to teaching teens about the benefits of physical fitness.

Keep in mind, these aren’t goals. Your purpose isn’t something you cross off of your to-do list one day. Instead, it guides your goals, giving them direction.

Whenever you’re wondering if you should do something, ask yourself:

“Is this aligned with my purpose? Will this bring me closer?”

If it doesn’t, it’s probably not worth your time or energy.

2) Join (or Build) Your Tribe

The irony of social media is that many of us are more disconnected than ever.

To live a maximized life, you need to be proactive about surrounding yourself with the right people.

People who are encouraging and successful and aligned with your goals.

Here are some options:

  • Join Toastmasters (for public speaking).
  • Join an adult sports league, like soccer or softball.
  • Join a business mastermind group or referral network to help you find more clients.

And don’t forget about groups you can find online.

From Twitter to forums to Facebook groups, there’s a tribe for everyone.

Don’t limit yourself either. You may find that one tribe is aligned with your fitness goals, while another is a better match for your business pursuits.

Feel free to get involved in different tribes if that’s what it takes.

The benefits of a support network will outweigh anything you can do alone.

3) Use A Not To-Do List

From a notepad to iPhone apps, everyone’s used to-do lists.

And while it’s essential to have a list of things you want to accomplish every day, it’s also a good idea to think about the things you should NOT do.

This is another way to test your persistence, in case you didn’t notice.

There are all these less urgent, low-value things that pop up throughout the course of the day, begging us for our attention.

But to succeed, you need to avoid them.

Tim Ferriss talks about his own Not To-Do List and has some great suggestions.

Here are three:

  1. Don’t work more to fix overwhelm. Learn to prioritize.
  2. Don’t email first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  3. Don’t agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.

What else shouldn’t you be doing?

Think about it, and write out a short list.

When temptation hits, you’ll be in a better position to persist because you’ve already identified these things as poor uses of your time.

4) Make Yourself Accountable

As a 5am.er, you need to hold yourself accountable when you make a commitment.

A tribe, as mentioned in point #2 above can double as an accountability group or you might find some accountability partners within the group.

This works especially well in fitness scenarios, like:

  • Trying to lose weight.
  • Having a gym partner.
  • Trying to quit smoking.
  • Getting in better shape for vacation.
  • Running a marathon and so on…

When you commit to a goal and make it public, there’s a better chance you’ll see it through.

5) Discipline = Freedom

Jocko Willink is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, co-author of “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” and all around badass.

His motto?

Discipline = Freedom.

Discipline gives you the ability to live more freely because you don’t have the non-essentials getting in your way. If you’re going to be a persistent 5am.er, you must be disciplined.

You need to train your mind to persevere. It’s what Jocko calls “psychological warfare.”

We often think of our bodies giving up on us during times when we’re challenged, but it’s really our minds that are responsible for how far we can push ourselves.

Discipline is like a muscle and you can make it stronger over time.

From waking up early to hitting the gym, having good self-discipline is essential for creating winning habits. And the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Wrapping Up

Let’s summarize everything we’ve covered:

1) Everything You Do Should Ladder Up To Your Purpose

2) Join (or Build) Your Tribe

3) Use A Not To-Do List

4) Make Yourself Accountable

5) Discipline = Freedom

It’s easy to look at a list like this and say “That sounds good” or “I’ll do it another day,” but will you?

Don’t wait.

Look at your calendar this week and think about what you can put to use right away.

Let’s get started, 5am.er.