I love TED Talks. I watched one talk/day for the month of January, and at a minimum, I’ll watch one every week. They have the most interesting personalities and perspectives that it captivates me and forces me to think differently. Very motivating…and inspirational.

A couple weeks ago I heard that TEDx is coming to my area this July for TEDx Hennepin Ave. It’s been my goal since I became a speaker to share an idea on a TED stage, so I immediately jumped on the website, submitted my proposal and took my shot (I’ve heard you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take).

I thought you could benefit from my idea. It’s called…

Change Your Life With 4% Of Your Day

What if I told you that you could change your life in ONE HOUR, or no more than 4% of your day?

I believe that we can dramatically alter the course of our life by using the first hour of our day effectively. This preys on the law of inertia, that every morning we wake up and we’re at “rest,” but by starting the process and getting our mind, body and emotions into positive forward motion, it changes the game and makes it exponentially easier to sustain the momentum.

To understand the positive impact of 4%, consider the opposite. Have you ever had a day where something negative happened to you first thing in the morning? We all have. Maybe you spilled coffee on yourself or got stuck in a traffic jam and were late to the office. Then something else negative happened. And another. Before you know it, a single negative event compounded and seemed to ruin your entire day.

What if you could flip the switch and start each day with four positive things? How much momentum would that give you to WRECK the rest of your day (from previous posts, you know that “wrecking your day” is a good thing :-))?

You CAN! Even the busiest person has the most control over two times in their day – what they do when they wake up and what they do before they go to bed.

Step 1: Your Attitude of Gratitude (10 minutes)

Ever heard the phrase, “They just woke up on the wrong side of the bed?” Really? Why would anyone do that?

You get to choose what side of the bed you wake up on (figuratively speaking) so choose the right side. Simple as that. Think of all the things for which you’re grateful. It fills your brain with positive emotions and conditions empowerment. It makes you a more patient, resilient person. Studies have shown that gratitude exercises stimulate the same region of the brain as cocaine. Seems to be a better alternative.

Step 2: Exercise (20 minutes)

Exercise is the most powerful performance-enhancing drug…for your LIFE. It doesn’t take a gym membership. Just…move…your…body. When the body turns off, the brain turns off, so exercising not only stimulates neural activity but it improves mood, lessens depression and improves cognitive functioning by flooding your body with oxygen.

Most people will also burn roughly 100-150 calories for 20 minutes of movement. That’s more than enough to drop the 10 lbs the average person gains per decade after the age of 20.

Step 3: Fueling your body (15 minutes)

Your body is constantly rebuilding itself, all the way down to the cellular level. You want to fuel it like you would a high-performance automobile, with nutrient-dense, clean burning fuels for breakfast. Hydration also has a huge effect on your mental alertness and cognitive functioning. Fueling + hydrating = sustainable energy and stamina.

Smartest thing I’ve ever heard about food: People don’t get hungry and have cravings because they lack calories. It’s because they lack NUTRIENTS. You can have 10,000 calories a day of pizza, but if you’re not meeting your daily nutritional requirements, you still won’t perform the way you want to. Think about that the next time you’re choosing your breakfast. What are you fueling your body to do?

Step 4: Proactively plan your day (15 minutes)

Many people run west looking for a sunrise. They can’t find it so they think they need to run faster. Still doesn’t work. Eventually, they burn out, not realizing that they were running in the wrong direction in the first place.

Start each day by PROACTIVELY setting your agenda and what tasks you’d like to accomplish. What would make it a fulfilling, productive day? Brian Tracy once said every minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution.

If what you’re doing is not getting you what you want, place greater emphasis on the tasks that are MOST important to your end goal (ignoring the ones that are just urgent). Discipline yourself to work through the list and use in conjunction with my “SWEPT” strategy, where you manage (as much as possible) the distractors of social media, web browsing, email, phone calls and text messaging. These are the biggest time wasters.

I realize people have different circumstances and this exact progression may not work out for everyone. Focus on the concepts more than the time frames. For example, I always work out longer than 20 minutes…but I have that luxury. I just know that the earlier in my day I can do these four things, the better my day is likely to turn out. It’s almost an exact science.  My best days are when I wake up and choose grateful, positive thoughts, exercise and fuel my body and proactively plan exactly what I want to accomplish.

4 steps. 4% of your day. HUGE benefits.

All the best,


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