In his book, The One Day Contract, legendary basketball coach Rick Pitino outlines the steps to achieving your health, wealth, and personal goals. His number one piece of advice: “Make the most of each day by creating a contract with yourself that you will do your best that day.” By honoring your one-day contract, you will overcome adversity and make progress every day.
Plan ahead to act proactively rather than reactively so you can concentrate on what really matters in life.
When you apply these secrets to your daily routines, you will put into place a simple system that will lead to a better tomorrow, and you will see progress almost immediately. You will come to live a happy, virtuous, and fulfilled life, one governed by freedom rather than regret.
The formula for the Perfect Day is built on the Three Cs: Control, Conquer, and Concentrate.
- Learn to controlwhat you can and cope with what you can’t
- Learn to conquer the chaos in your life to win your days
- Learn to concentrateon what really matters to you
Through the Perfect Day formula, we simply apply the Three Cs — Control, Conquer, and Concentrate — to different parts of the day. It looks like this:
- Controlyour mornings
- Conquerthe chaos of your afternoons
- Concentrateon what really matters in the evenings
The thing I liked the most about the book is how it is structured.
It is written with your typical day in mind, starting in the morning and ending in the evening.
Craig establishes a “theme” for each phase of the day (control the morning, conquer the afternoon, concentrate on what counts) and teaches you how to master and optimize each segment of time.
Whatever the changes you wish to make — losing weight, improving your relationships, or making more money — I guarantee that adding more structure in your life will help get you there.
You must have a structured approach and a daily practice for every area you want to improve. If you leave these things to chance, they will never materialize because there are simply too many distractions in life.
Commit to your rule. Believe in it. Follow the rule as if it were law. Uphold it as if breaking it would put you in jail.
This is in reference to having strict “rules” for yourself that help you stick to your intentions and values no matter what.
“Rules” like eating dinner with your family at a certain time might be more like guidelines for many people. But for you, they are not.
Breaking the personal rules you set for yourself may not actually land you in jail, but behaving as if they would makes them much more effective.
It creates a mentality that deviating from your values is unthinkable, which is the mindset you need to truly succeed.
“Every time you default to a bad habit, like visiting a forbidden website or biting your nails, you make the wiring stronger and the habit harder to break.”
I believe that every action you take is either getting you closer to your goal or further away from it.
There are no neutral actions. Habits will form no matter what we do. It’s just how our brains are wired.
So, it’s up to us to make sure we are strengthening good habits and weakening bad habits, not the other way around.
10 hours before bed — No more caffeine. 3 hours before bed — No more food or alcohol. 2 hours before bed — No more work. 1 hour before bed — No more screen time (turn off all phones, TVs and computers). 0 — The number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning.
The 10–3–2–1–0 rule is a practice that sets you up for success the following day, not the current day.
I like it because it’s catchy and easy to remember.
All these rules are designed to help you get better sleep an put yourself in position to attack the next day to the best of your ability.
I find having these time checks throughout the day is very helpful.
“Sheryl Sandberg, the COO at Facebook, is famous for setting a rule that she would be home every night at 5:30 p.m. to have dinner with her children. That was a non-negotiable deadline.”
This might be my favorite example in the whole book.
Getting back to the personal rules theme: Here is an example of a C-level executive at one of the biggest, most influential companies in the world who has a personal family rule and sticks to it as a “non-negotiable deadline.”
If the COO of Facebook can put her family first and still be successful, surely you can.
Essentially our lives our made up of days, and if we can get better at designing each day, we’ll be able to have the life we want.
Own your day from the start to help you be more productive, present, and aligned with purpose.
Wake up 15 minutes earlier. Avoid the snooze – just get up, and have something you’re excited to get up for. This is the most quiet and productive part of the day, so take advantage of it
Work on the important things first in the morning, as even a few minutes a day can add up
You control your priorities and purpose. Use this time to work on your personal projects, business, or learning that new skill.
This is especially useful for people with a “day job” that want to start a side project or begin a business while still working.
Rules and Structure equals freedom. Set personal rules or boundaries, to avoid ambiguity and have integrity. This can include bed time, number of drinks in an evening or number of times you exercise per week
Write down things that swirl in your head to clear it. Writing things down that pop in your head helps you not forget important to-do’s. Once they’re down you can free your mind to be present
Before you leave work, wrap things up and plan the next day. Planning your next day will allow you to come into work knowing what you need to do. Winding down at a specific time will help you meet goals of getting home in time for family or other priorities you have
Make time in the evening for fun and family – this is done by getting your stuff done earlier and planning the next day. This is a great time to be present with those you love. If you’re working on a passion project outside of a day job, you can use this time to continue what you started in the morning
Create meaningful goals. You need to know what you’re shooting for, in order to take shots in the right direction. These goals will allow you to push through when you’re in the middle of obstacles or tasks which you don’t enjoy. Coming back to the your “why” or your purpose helps re-inspire you
Share your goals for accountability and for the universe to conspire with you. Sharing your goals with others makes you accountable to them. They can also help you achieve your goals in ways you can’t conceive
Align yourself with people who are aligned with where you want to be. Disassociate from the people who don’t want you to change. You are the sum of the people you spend time with for better or worse
Become a teacher in order to learn the better than a student. By teaching you learn the material better than the student. You also are providing value and service to others which is great for you and them.
At the end of the day, the lesson is you only have today, so work to make it perfect as your lives are made of the day you’re living in.
Write down your goals and make it as vivid as possible.
Structure = Freedom