In 2017, I read the book Extreme Leadership for the first time. Author Jocko Willink writes about how to get your first win of the day as soon as you wake up. When the alarm goes off, you have a choice – do you win or not?
I got my first win as soon as I read the book and now months later, I have separated thought from action and put this practice into place.
The idea behind this concept is that once you separate the two components, execution becomes second nature. This has proven to work for the military but you can also make it work for you. Not just to help you get up in the morning but also to cross any other barrier to become excellent.
Try it tomorrow. Alarm goes off, turn it off and get up. Your first win of the day.
Rule #12 from my book The Fantastic Life: Get a Win
Start your day with a win, the minute you wake up, and watch how that win breeds more wins. It’s the easiest win you’ll face in your day, so why not go for it? Execute.
Retired Navy SEAL commander explains how to wake up earlier: ‘Don’t think’
By Richard Feloni
Your alarm goes off, but you hit snooze. After rolling out of bed, you end up sipping a cup of coffee as you slowly scroll through emails and articles and maybe come up with a to-do list for the day as the caffeine kicks in. You’re definitely not, as Jocko Willink would say, “getting after it.”
Willink was the commander of US Navy SEAL Team 3 Task Unit Bruiser – the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War – and he has spent his retirement from the military sharing his leadership lessons through his books, podcast, and consulting firm, Echelon Front.
During a recent visit to Business Insider to talk about his new book, “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual,” Willink said one of the most common ways to sabotage your morning was to get a slow start by gradually waking up over projects that require thinking.
“Don’t think in the morning,” Willink said. “That’s a big mistake that people make. They wake up in the morning, and they start thinking.”
Instead, as soon as his alarm clock goes off at 4:30 a.m. – he recommends waking up early, even if not that early – Willink jumps out of bed and puts on the workout clothes he prepared the night before. He did his to-do list then, too, so he doesn’t have to sip a coffee and wonder what he’ll do that day.
He heads straight to his garage gym for a workout that wakes up his mind and body far more intensely than checking emails and doing some light stretching ever could. By the time he’s done with his morning routine, most people are just waking up, most likely to try to start thinking.
Willink said: “Don’t think. Just execute the plan. The plan is the alarm clock goes off, you get up, you go work out. Get some.”