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A few years ago, I noticed a very strange pattern. Whenever I would do an intense workout, especially long runs, it instantly flipped how I perceived life. 

Now, at first blush, it may not sound all that remarkable – after all, it is pretty well known that an intense workout causes the body to release endorphins, which makes us feel good. So what is the big deal?

But there was something even more intriguing – whenever I worked out, I would reduce my random snacking, I felt more disciplined, and had better self-control and focus.

Why does this happen?

Furthermore, whenever I have been extremely regular in working out (e.g., 5-6 days a week) over extended time periods, I have been able to plod through very difficult situations in life. My startup once ran out of money and I was unable to pay salaries. It felt like a disaster wrapped in a nightmare – and the only reason I could keep my sanity and pull through was the morning routine.

All this started to make sense when in Duhigg’s book (The Power of Habit), I read about ‘keystone habits’. These habits create other spillover habits and can generate huge positivity and a sense of well-being. 

My morning routine did not just improve my health and mood – it altered my self-image. It made me feel like a different person. 

I have found that starting your day early (e.g., 5 am) and working out is an unbelievably powerful keystone habit. Add meditation to it, and it can be life-changing.

Is it really life-changing?

All this may sound a little hyperbolic. After all, should a life-changing event not be something really eclectic, like say meeting a ‘spiritual guru’?

And I just talked about my personal experience. Is drawing a generalized conclusion from one data point not the very definition of statistical illiteracy?

Fortunately, I got to test this out with dozens and dozens of participants. 

And here is the conclusion: Almost every person who followed the routine of ‘5 am wakeup plus workout and meditation’ found it life-changing. In fact, totally unprompted, many used the exact same phrase – ‘life-changing’.  Too much of a coincidence, eh?

One habit = mindset shift

I believe that it is no coincidence. What we found is that following the 5 am routine even for two weeks totally changes your mindset. People said they were able to study better, reduce procrastination, and one guy even said that he was able to quit smoking which he had been struggling with for the last 10 years. 

Now I don’t claim that this can be a ‘quit-smoking rehab program’. But undeniably, the self-control and identity shift it brings is real and non-trivial.

So bullish are we on this that we include this 5 am routine in not just our habit-building programs, but we ask even our Learning Bootcamp participants to work out in the morning.

In case you are wondering – how will working out in the morning help me have a better study session? The way it works is that regularly working out shifts your identity – you are now a more disciplined person. And a disciplined person will sit down to study in the evening instead of procrastinating. 

Sounds crazy, isn’t it? 

But does it work? You betcha. Almost every participant of our habit-building programs will tell you that.

Plus, I have personally adopted this routine for many months now without a single day’s break, and I can say that there is literally nothing more powerful than this. 

In summary

Start the day early, work out and meditate – and you can rule your destiny. Sometimes, life really is that simple.

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