Johnny FD is an entrepreneur who left San Francisco in 2008 and has been traveling the world ever since. With six professional Muay Thai fights under his belt, and an online business paying the way, Johnny currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
What is your morning routine?
The very first thing I do in the morning is jump out of bed, turn on all of the lights, and throw open the curtains letting in a flood of sunlight. I stand with an open window, on the porch or balcony, letting the sunlight wake me up and charge me up for the day ahead.
If I’m somewhere private, I’ll stand there completely naked with my arms in the air like a Roman gladiator after he conquered the world. It’s a strange sight to see and I feel bad for my neighbors, but when you wake up ready to take over the world you create the momentum to get it started.
After a few solid minutes, I drink a glass of water with a spoon full of pink himalayan sea salt, and I take a few drops of liquid vitamin D. Even though I get more sun than 99% of people I know (since I live in Thailand and spend half of my time on beaches), I was still low in vitamin D, so get tested if you’re unsure. I also take a mega dose of vitamin D if I’m feeling a cold coming as it helps boost your immune system.
I’ll then leave my house as quickly as possible, plug in my headphones, and listen to Grant Cardone’s audiobook, The 10X Rule, while walking to the coworking space as it pumps me up for the day.
I’ve realized that the more time I spend in my house in the morning, the less productive I am for the rest of the day, so I try to prepare as many things as possible before bed like packing my laptop in my backpack, making sure all of my dishes are washed, and anything else that would normally take even a few minutes in the morning. The only thing left to do in the morning is quickly making my bed as it’s become a positive habit for me. Even though we can’t control what happens the rest of the day, at least the first thing we do and the first thing we see when we get home isn’t a mess.
I have multiple online businesses, two dropshipping based e-commerce stores, a few books, two blogs, an online course, and a podcast, so I segment my mornings to do the most important tasks that make me the most money first. Here’s a daily work routine and success habits if you’re interested. Someone commented asking me how they could start as my routine seems so intense, but honestly, it’s more about taking away things that are a waste of time rather than adding them, and once I started getting positive results from having a kick ass morning routine, it just became easier and easier.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve been using this routine for the past three years and it has helped me in every aspect of my life. I have so much more energy throughout the day, have gotten in the best shape of my life, have been more positive, and I went from being almost completely broke to starting an online business that now makes over $13,000 a month.
Finding a routine that works for me has been the best thing I never did, and if you read through enough of these, you’ll see that most successful people share similar habits that you can replicate into your own life.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
The only thing that changes is sometimes I’ll catch myself slipping away from the ideal morning routine and I’ll start getting lazy and less productive until I bring myself back on track. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with my current routine and think it can work for me for the rest of my life.
What time do you go to sleep?
I go to bed at 10:30pm but I start winding down around 8:00pm, after dinner. It’s tempting to go out to bars and chase the night, but in reality, I noticed that we only do that when we’re lonely and want to be around others. It’s the reason why couples don’t stay late at bars or go to nightclubs, it’s not because they’re boring, it’s because they are fulfilled.
I used to think I’d be missing out on life if I went home before midnight, but now I realize how much life there is before 10:00am.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I put away my computer and smartphone every day before the sun goes down and don’t stare at screens after dark. When I read I use the basic Kindle instead of a tablet with a bright screen, and when I watch movies or a TV series at night I do so in my living room on a couch with my TV far enough away from me, instead of on a bright laptop in my face.
I also never stare into my phone at night and if I have to use it for any reason, I use the super dim shortcut which I’ve set when I triple tap my home button on my iPhone. I also switch my phone to airplane mode before going to bed.
After 4:00pm I won’t consume any caffeine and will have ginger or rooibos tea at night instead. The only supplement I take at night is ZMA which naturally helps with sleep, muscle recovery, and boosts testosterone.
I black out all light and put stickers over all LED indicators on my air conditioning and electronics at night. I close my curtains but don’t worry about having blackouts as I like having a bit of sun wake me up in the morning.
The best way to relax into sleep if my mind isn’t settled yet is to either meditate or have sex.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
The best feeling in the world is starting my day waking up naturally without an alarm clock. I set mine for nine hours after I go to bed just in case, but I’m usually up before it goes off as I’ve rested enough. This allows me to finish a REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycle and feel more refreshed the entire day instead of having it interrupt a sleep cycle halfway through.
If I can see the sun peeking out behind the curtains, I wake up. If it’s still clearly pitch black, I go back to sleep for another sleep cycle. I never hit the snooze button, ever.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Around thirty minutes after I wake up I have Bulletproof Coffee which is made with local coffee beans, grass-fed butter, and MCT oil, which I make at the coworking space wherever I am with my Aeropress, which I love. I do this Monday - Friday and on weekends I have bacon, eggs, and avocado instead.
I used to eat first thing in the morning but now I wait until I’m actually hungry. If I was trying to gain muscle, I would have some protein as soon as I woke up but right now I’m just trying to lean out.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Yes, but it’s more a light yoga routine than a heavy workout. I do a very light stretch first thing in the morning to get my joints moving. I usually do a few slow air squats all the way down to the floor and hold it for a few seconds to get my lower body muscles engaged. Then I do a few minutes of slow backstrokes in the air to loosen up my hunched forward shoulders from working on the computer too much.
I then take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk to work as a light workout and to fully wake up before starting my day. I save any intense workouts for the afternoon when my joints and muscles are properly lubricated and I can go all out with either Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, or a high intensity style workout.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
I usually only meditate at night, but my entire morning ritual is a type of meditation.
From using a hand grinder to prepare my coffee beans, to doing yoga and stretches in the sun, and even walking to the office; I’m extremely present during each activity. I learned this while doing a ten day silent meditation in Thailand that included something called walking meditation, which just involved being present in whatever you’re doing at the time.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I never check email first thing in the morning and try to do something creative for the first hour or two when I get into the office. As soon as you check your email, you become on the defensive and are always putting out fires or dealing with what others put in front of you. Instead I do something creative every morning.
My goal is to create one piece of value every day, whether it’s a blog post, or a new episode of my podcast.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I use the Calm app for guided meditation, and Mp3BookLite to keep my place for audiobooks.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I wait until I’ve completed my morning rituals before I turn my phone off of airplane mode. But even then, since I’ve disabled all notifications except for personal messages and new order notifications, I only receive good news in the morning and don’t get bombarded with Facebook, Twitter, or email messages.
If I wake up with even one new order, I know that my bills for the day are already paid and everything I do from that point on is a bonus. This really settles my soul.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
The only things I really need to do in the morning is fulfill orders for my ecommerce stores and answer any questions that my virtual assistant couldn’t handle.
Since I’m currently living in Thailand while my customers are all in the United States, I get to wake up as the day is finishing back in the states which allows me to make a quick phone call at the end of their day if needed, but other than that everything can be handled through email which they’ll receive the following morning.
The actual real most important task in the morning is making sure I am mentally and physically healthy which is why these morning routines are so important.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I have a giant glass of water with pink himalayan sea salt first thing in the morning. It’s helped me keep hydrated throughout the day, and has helped me get over the adrenal fatigue that I developed while trying Muay Thai full time.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
On weekends I often sleep an extra hour but usually don’t need to as nine hours is plenty. But instead of walking to the office, I go up to my roof and tan naked while reading a book. I’m currently reading the Arnold Schwarzenegger Autobiography: Total Recall, and just finished reading Tony Robbins’ Money: Master the Game.
It’s a great way to relax and get some much needed vitamin D. After that I usually go for a hike in the mountains and finish the afternoon laying by the pool or going for a swim.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I haven’t lived in the United States since 2008 and have made wherever I am my home, or at least home base, ever since.
I’m currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but have also made random hotel rooms work as my home base as I always try to travel for at least three weeks at a time to really allow myself to settle in, get back on schedule, and enjoy what it’s like living like a local instead of just seeing the traditional tourist hotspots.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
If I catch myself laying around and not getting straight up, I’m tired the rest of the day and less productive. Sometimes I allow myself to do it but only if I first wake up and open the blinds so sun shines through and naturally wakes me up.
We all know that having a good morning routine and actually sticking to it is key to being successful. My goal is to become a millionaire in the next five years, and I know that as long as I continue this routine I’ll get there.
It’s been a pleasure to share my morning routine with all of you. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends.
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