*Beep Beep* I roll over. Grab my phone and swipe to snooze. It’s 3:20 AM. I lay there, trying to talk myself into going back to sleep. Instead, I reach up and turn on my lamp. It’s cold. I don’t want to get up. Slowly I sit up, swing my legs to the edge of my bed, and I’m up. I try and tell myself I’ll be able to take a nap, or lay down for a minute after the gym. I never do, but maybe this negotiation helps. I put on my workout clothes and I’m out the door. It’s dark. No one is awake, the only things on the freeway are semi-trucks.

I’m almost to the gym by the time my car warms up. No turning back now.

Six months ago I wouldn’t have been here. Six months ago I would have snoozed until just before eight. Getting up just in time to make some coffee before I left for work.

Habits are a wild thing. I don’t want to get up at this early, I think about that every morning when my alarm goes off. I don’t have to get up that early. But I do. Despite the urging of my sleepy self to stay in bed a few more minutes. I get up. I get to the gym. I work out. When I get home I journal, mediate, and write a blog post. Some days the monster convinces me not to post it. Tells me it’s bad. I’ll offend someone. I’m not a real writer. But most days I beat that monster too. By the time I leave for work I feel like I’ve already slayed a few demons.

Now that, is the power of a morning routine. I don’t say this to brag or say look at me. Look at all the things I do before you even wake up. I’m saying this as a very normal guy, who didn’t have a great morning routine six months ago. And now I do.

I don’t want to do it every morning. But I do. Action comes before feeling. If I waited to do something because I felt like it I wouldn’t get anything done. I’d rarely even show up to work if I had to feel like it in order to act.

Acting, especially acting toward something that doesn’t have an immediate reward is hard. It’s really hard. There isn’t anything outside of you that is going to compel you to get up a few hours earlier to start the day for yourself.

Start the day doing things for you, to better yourself. Doing this has done wonders for me. I don’t have a six pack, a six figure income, or yacht anywhere. But I am happier, I’m better at my job. I am a better friend, a better son, and a better human because I start my day with challenging things that make be a better person. Those things aren’t the same for everyone, but I promise if you suffer through a few weeks and put yourself first every morning you’ll see the benefits. They’ll certainly be worth it.