Do a hard thing

Every morning (or as soon as possible)

Over the last 12 months it has become apparent through all my reading that all successful people do something hard very early in their day.

It’s a way of shifting their mindset into the productive and positive zone before anything else has a chance to clutter their mental space.

This resonates with me because for most of my life before I turned 30 all I wanted to do was stay in bed 85% of my mornings. Whether I was sleeping by myself or with a partner by my side, it made no difference that the negative cluttering thoughts came crashing into the front of my mind instantly upon waking. It would feel all so depressing yet easy to constantly tell myself the day was going to be the same as every other and therefor another wasted notch in my life’s belt.

But as I began to make a shift with the reading side of my life, I found so many people did something hard first thing in the morning or at least, as soon as possible, to shift their mindset.

Things like;

  • Taking a cold shower
  • Drinking a salt and lemon squeezed water (to kick off hydrated rather than with coffee)
  • Doing yoga
  • Performing meditation
  • Reading
  • Writing about the day ahead, current thoughts, gratitudes
  • Exercising at the gym
  • Running or walking (outside in the less than ideal conditions sometimes)

They are all activities that stimulate the brain and/or body. Once even one of these activities are executed you begin to think better, move better and communicate better.

Paving the way for more

Doing a hard thing so early in the piece can change the course of your day significantly. We will never know this truly, but have a think to yourself now…If you were to compare you that woke up and did a 5 minute meditation followed by a 30-60 second cold shower or you that woke up and flicked through your phone for 30-40 minutes (yes, that fucking long!) who would potentially have the more productive day?

Now I’ll be honest, I like to wake most mornings and flick through my Instagram feed to read some philosophical and motivational quotes accompanied with some functional training clips from selected professionals. But within 5 minutes I’m up and at it! My hard thing, well it’s either getting to the gym 15-30 minutes before my first client to mobilize and loosen up my body. Or sometimes I’ll get up at 3:30am or so to do my workout before my first client of the day.

It’s a pretty powerful feeling to know that before the suns even risen you’ve completed a workout and are ready to take on everything else the day has to offer. Getting things out the way before sunrise gives you an opportunity to work on something outside of your work and family/social life if you so choose. Is there anything you’d like to improve or add to your life that would benefit from you doing the hard thing first thing in the morning?

How many hours are in your day?

There is something quite odd that became apparent to me a little over a year ago. And it is something that we have known all along but seem to forget…

There are 24 hours in a day. But most of us are CONVINCED that once 12 or so waking hours have passed, it’s over!

I too was one of these people! ‘Wow I’ve woken up nearly 90 minutes before my alarm and feel rather good, I better go back to sleep.’ ‘Well I’ve finished work, I better watch some TV or play some playstation for 3 hours before going to bed.’ These are things that waste away our daily hours that each and every one of us have exactly the same amount of.

Before I was 30 I’d often tell myself of a night that I would get up very early and train tomorrow and turn everything around…It never happened. But it never happened because I didn’t do anything else throughout my days that solidified to myself that I was actually willing to change.

Do something hard today to set the wheels of motion for you tomorrow.


We human beings are designed to endure to overcome and grow. To take the comfortable option time after time is how we fall into despair, depression and unfulfillment. Comfort is the realm of idleness, it won’t take you anywhere.

Take some time out of your day to assess just where all your days activities actually go. Be honest, don’t make excuses for each thing. Start by removing one comfortable habit and watch your time expand in that daily world of yours.

Wake, do your hard thing, feel the instant change in your mood thereafter.

Here, have a song to see you out.

Closing quote

I’ve never grown from doing the same comfortable thing repetitively. I’ll let all the hardness I endure be the resolute expansion of me.

Nick Donnellan

Nick Donnellan

Self awareness is progression

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