“If you aren’t an early riser, I really encourage you to become one. It’s a life changer.” – Ravi Raman

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what gets me going. About what keeps me fired up. And I, like many of you as well, wear many hats in my day-to-day life. I’m an entrepreneur by trade and DNA, a father, a son, a pet owner, and a friend to many. And at times, life can seem like a lot to manage. I used to think that motivation was key to getting it all done and making sure that I was managing all of my relationships well, but I think I’ve found something better than motivation. And that thing is discipline.

I wrote a while back about how motivation is simply an emotion. About how, like any other emotion, it was fleeting. Here one second and gone the next. And I can attest to this. I would listen to a podcast, read a book, have a meeting with someone, and I would be fired up to achieve or push forward, but then, almost out of nowhere, the feeling would be gone. And so I’ve learned over time that I can’t rely on this emotion of motivation to keep me pushing forward in life. And you can’t either. Motivation, it seems, is out of our control.

Discipline, on the other hand, sets the stage for self-infused motivation. Discipline is crafted through intentional action, and when done in the correct ways, can allow a person to be motivated continually. Because discipline activates the areas of our brain in which we reward ourselves. Discipline makes us feel good and makes us want to do these actions over and over. And these actions, when intentionally set up, can allow us to create the motivation we need to push forward in life.

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I’ve gotten back into my morning routine, which is an act of discipline, where I wake up around 4:30 am to read, meditate, spend some time in intentional gratitude, and generally start my day on my own terms. I’m a firm believer in spending time in the morning to set the stage for the day, and I think that the way a person spends their morning can dictate the amount of success that they will have throughout the day. Think about it- the morning is the time of day when nobody is pulling for your time. You have the ability to simply wake up earlier and have time that you can dictate what you want to do.

So if you want to get fit- wake up early and go to the gym. If you want to be more mindful- wake up early and meditate. If you want to increase your spiritual life- wake up early and spend time with your higher power. Want to be more successful but don’t know where to begin? Wake up early and mimic what somebody else does to get started. You’ll find what works for you. There is a cool website called My Morning Routine, in which people share their stories about how they start their day. It’s eye-opening and can give you some great tips on how to spend the first 60-90 minutes of your day.

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