Slay Your Dragons Before Breakfast

I awoke this morning to the dragon’s hot breath on my face. I was disoriented, not quite knowing where I was. I struggled to open one eye. Then another.

An Icon of St. George

And there he was. A dragon. A very big dragon. With three heads. Sitting in my bedroom, like so many mornings before, he was waiting. His heads swerved back and forth, dancing in the dim light. Each head alternately belching fire and hissing smoke.I groaned. Here we go again, I thought. If only I could shut my eyes and will him away. No such luck. His presence only grew more menacing.

I knew that I had to act. I leapt from the bed and ran straight at him. I have learned by experience that my only chance at victory is to slay the dragon while it is still dark. Before the first rays of sunshine strengthen his already substantial advantage.

Fortunately, once again I prevailed. But my victory is short-lived. I will face him again tomorrow. And the day after that.

Although this sounds like a fairy tale, it’s not. It’s my reality, day after day.

I face a dragon named Lethargy every morning. It has three heads: Pneuma (spiritual), Soma (physical), and Nous (intellectual).

If I don’t slay this dragon before breakfast, he usually gets the best of me. After breakfast—when the day’s activities are crowding into my life—my chances of doing battle and winning drop dramatically. Sometimes I can emerge victorious. But rarely.

My chances are better if I get in my basic disciplines before I get assaulted with the demands of the workday.

So, before breakfast, I complete the following:

  1. Read the Bible. I use this weapon to cut off the dragon’s middle head. I don’t know why it is so hard to defeat, but it is. A thousand and one distractions vie for my attention. That’s why I grab a cup of fresh tea, head to my favorite den chair, and begin reading at once.The Scriptures prime the pump and strengthen my resolve. If I can cut off the middle head of spiritual lethargy, the other two go down much easier. Currently, I am reading through the Bible in a year, using The NKJV Daily Bible (Kindle Edition).
  2. Engage in exercise. I use this weapon to cut off the dragon’s left head: physical lethargy. Sometimes, I think this is even more important than the middle head. Why? Because if I am not exercising regularly, it negatively impacts every other area of my life. It becomes more difficult to manage stress. I find that I just don’t have the energy to fight the other beasts I encounter.Currently, I am doing cardio four mornings a week for one hour and strength training two days a week for one hour. Weather permitting, I run outside. Otherwise, I am in the gym. Gail and I usually go together. It’s helpful to have an accountability partner.
  3. Listen to books. I use this weapon to cut off the dragon’s right head: intellectual lethargy. I learned a long time ago that “leaders read and readers lead.” By definition a leader (as opposed to a mere manager) stays out in front of his people. To lead, you have to set the pace. You have to be a thought leader.The problem I have is that it is difficult for me to sit still. I have a hard time finding a long enough stretch in the day to sit down and really read. I keep getting interrupted—or distracted.

    However, by downloading books from onto my iPhone, I can listen to books while I’m working out. Honestly, there are days when I hate to stop running or exercising because I am so engrossed in my book. It makes the time fly by.

Though I don’t do it before breakfast, I have one other discipline that I try to practice daily: prayer. I find that the best time for me to pray is in the car. This was easy when I had a commute. It usually took 35–40 minutes, so I had plenty of time. Now, I take advantage of any trip in the car. It’s become my rolling ”prayer closet.”

So what are your biggest dragons? What is your strategy for defeating them before breakfast? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Marshall

    That is so true. If I don’t get my prayer, devotions, and planning completed before the work day starts it is almost impossible to get them done.

    I used to think that it would get easier as the habits take hold – you know – 30 days, or 37 days, or whatever the flavor of the month is for making new habits stick, but it is still a fight most every day.

    Somehow it is comforting to know that I am not the only one.

    Thanks for sharing and have an awesome day!


  • Jim

    I was going to respond to this posr this morning but I ran out of time, again. Dragon 1 me 0. Great post, tomorrow I plan on (will) beat the dragon.


  • Scott Winter

    Mike –

    This is something I have heard often, and am convicted everytime I hear it. I imagine your evenings are quite different with this kind of schedule. What do you sacrifice in order to accomplish this? Do you go to bed earlier? I assume TV is all but out of the question?

    I’d also be curious as to how/if you did this while your daughters were younger and still at home.



  • Michael Sampson

    How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?

  • Michael Hyatt


    Just three cups of coffee!


  • Michael Hyatt


    I feel your pain. It is tougher when your kids are younger. No question about that. I do occasionally watch TV, but usually I am working on the computer when doing so. I get to bed by 10:00. Up at 4:30. I would like to get to bed by 9:00, but I rarely make it. Usually 6-1/2 hours of sleep is enough. I catch up on Saturday.

    One size definitely doesn’t fit all. You have to find what works for you!


  • Joel


    My dragon is nice. He hit my snooze this morning and brought me another donut!

    Joel S.

  • Michael Hyatt


    You’re supposed to slay the dragon not pet him!


  • Brandon Satterfield

    I’m winning the battle with 2 out of the 3 you mentioned. I have been exercising some but I want to run more and have been contemplating your offer for the half marathon. It’s hard for me to run in the morning because of my mostly one-headed sleep dragon.

    I am also loving the audio resources that are available. When i’m in the car I listen to Greg Koukl mp3’s from his radio station or his “Tactics in Defending the Faith”. You should check out Stand To Reason at Awesome stuff to combat the intellectual dragon!



  • Julia

    This was a great post, really speaking to my personal battle w/ the dragons. Thank you!

  • Daniel

    My biggest dragon is just getting out of bed. I know, lame. I’m home from school on Christmas break and so my body says SLEEP! If I decide to just get out of bed and get rolling the day is much better. Thanks for sharing your 3 dragons with us, its an encouragement for me to fight my own morning dragons.

  • Mattrix


    What a great post. Interesting timing too. I was late to work this morning because of lethargy. :^/

    I use the excuse that to wake up early I’d have to be up at 3:30am to do those things because I have a 1-hr+ commute and I need to be in the office by 7am. However, I’ve been inspired to rethink my mornings. Thanks for that.

  • Vicki

    This was great! Thank you so much. I used to think I was the only one who battled that early morning lethargy. Sounds like we’ve all got a little slaying to do. I find that God renews my strength through reading the Scriptures – so very needed above all.

    God bless you!

  • Cyrienne

    Thank you for this post. My dragons have nearly defeated me, I am on performance management at work, have not been to church in over 2 weeks and am now at the overweight / obese margin. I have a 9 month old and fear things will not improve. Please pray for me.

  • Brandon Merhout

    That pesky “stay in bed, put it off til tomorrow” dragon is oh, so seductive. :/

    Nice strategy. ;]

    • DerekDRobertson

      This is a nasty drgagon to fight. I have been fighting him for years but now that I have a little one that dragon has been killed.

  • Kraft

    I’m glad I ran into this post. I work for a church, so I have Thursdays off to make up for working on Sundays.

    Work days are fine for me; Thursdays kill me. Thanks for writing this.

  • Martins atanda

    Shalom,That is exciting.I like to read at nights.Is that ok?I guess my prayer time in the morning does not give me enough room to read in the morning other books other than the bible.
    Thanks for this insight.

  • Sweetie

    I agree with your post and add my fourth….passionately seek God's peace and ask for His wisdom before choosing to begin. In some things God will have only one direction for us to obey…in others like all fathers, it is His good pleasure as Father to allow us to choose a path to our happiness and follow the desires of our hearts…it is my experience that God's peace will remain even in the throes of the most complex storms if it indeed is where He has guided you to be….and His answers given to us through the Holy Spirit will not only move the mountains we face in extraordinary ways, but the dragons will at times even open the doors to the formerly blocked kingdom!

  • angeljake

    Typo point #3 "a long enough strentch in the day to sit down and really read.

  • Margo Carmichael

    If I ran before breakfast, my plummeting blood sugar would have me on my face. A trainer suggested a banana spread with peanut butter before exercise.

    Loved the analogy, though. I'll remember that.

  • Jody T Fransch

    Great post Michael!

    Indeed, we should take advantage of the early morning hours (the "Golden Hours') to slay those dragons. Reading the Bible is essential, I find reading and meditating on the book of Proverbs first thing in the morning gives one a good mindset to start the day strong.

    Exercising first thing in the morning is also a great habit and you can spend the rest of the day knowing that you have done your exercise for the day. As you mentioned, one can also kill two birds with one stone by listening to audio books while you exercise.

    I like your analogy and these things are definitely worth practicing. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to be highly productive throughout the day.

  • alisa

    I love how you pray while you drive. I pray while I work-out. I bet you probably do that a lot, as well. It takes me 25 minutes to drive to the gym. I’m going to start disciplining myself to pray during that time. Thanks for this post – I’m excited about my creative prayer time now!

  • David Moore

    Wow. I felt like you were speaking for me, but SO much more eloquently. I somehow stumbled accross your blog a day or two ago and wish I had tuned in years ago.

    I can relate to the dragons, but it is because I once had them cleary defeated and tamed. But quietly and somehow undetected, they have captured me. I am fighting the dragon "when I want to".

    But now I SEE the dragons. They have been there all the time. But now I can see them to fight.

    SWORD please!

  • Nikole Hahn

    Last month, I realized I did not have peace in my life because of the middle head of the dragon. I began to practice reading the Bible a few minutes each morning, but like always, my resolve weakened due to physical lethargy. Soon I was going a whole week without spending the few minutes with God. I am still struggling. Yes, I pray throughout the day in my head, in the car, and I talk with Him. I watched the documentary on "Fireproof." Did you know they prayed ten minutes prior to spending the day shooting the film? I now spend a few minutes praying to God before I work on my book.

    Any extra swords out there?

  • Deaquelynn

    This is a great blog. It’s helped me to understand why it’s important to be disciplined in my daily practices to keep on track and remain focused. Thank you.

  • janetober

    Excellent thoughts and writing!
    Because of the word pictures you used, I will remember this and my mornings will be motivated more than ever.


  • Sarah Walston

    I TOTALLY needed to read this today! Thanks for reposting on Twitter. I don't have time to pilfer through your blog and read everything you've ever written – but there's so much great content here – when you repost an old blog on twitter it is like a cool message in a fortune cookie! Thanks, Mr. Hyatt!

  • Haydee

    Well my dragons are some nasty customers I talk to everyday, yay!

  • Bill Whitt

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing! I'm going to give audible a try…

  • @mamapigeon

    Well my dragon is (are) three almost four year old triplets. They are the lights of my life, but exhaust me emotionally and physically. I am getting up early every morning (4 am Pacific time) to read and plan and pray before the craziness of the day sets in. I walk after I drop the kids at preschool, and then eat breakfast.

  • Kathy

    This is so true and a great reminder of how to get our day started on the right foot!

  • patalexander

    Great blog and presentation. My biggest dragon each morning is getting my head in order to stay on track for the day that I work from home. So many distractions that I get off track easily.

  • Ali

    I think this is an excellent post. I would like it if I could read the Bible before work, but usually I do my reading in the evening–except on the weekends when I have more time and can do it in the morning. Like you, I also practice daily prayer. I try, though not always successfully, to say the Lord's Prayer and certain Psalms throughout the day. And I also agree with you that exercise is key.

    By the way, I am an Orthodox Christian who heard you last year on AFR, and I have so enjoyed your podcasts. I have learned so much from your teaching.

  • DerekDRobertson

    I am working on the Bible reading using's 1 year and praying throught the day. I just need to push a little harder and get the physical one in.

    Great post. I know that you are human now. :D

  • Phillip Gibb

    Would it be ok to use the Hebrew word: “Harag”, which means: "To Smite with Deadly Intent"? Anything else will lead back to apathy and back to avoiding the responsibility to look after yourself in those three areas : "Pneuma (spiritual), Soma (physical), and Nous (intellectual)"
    Not that I have any authority to preach from from.
    But I have three swords at home – maybe I need to put them up in plain site to remind me. And reserve the Katana for the head that robs me of Pneuma. grrrrr

  • John Richardson

    Michael, thank you for a great post. All three of those are dragons that I face. My daily devotional comes by e-mail and is waiting when I get up and I usually have a good business oriented audio book waiting on the iPod. The iPod works great either while exercising or driving. Last year I set a goal of a thousand words before breakfast and in four months had my first draft of a book done. Exercise for me works best in the evening, but that end of the day lethargy dragon can really attack when I sit down at the end of a busy day.
    Thank you for the reminder that we really are under attack every day and that it takes action to overcome this beast!

  • Cassandra Frear

    Love this post. It's so true. The early morning choices are strategic for the rest of the day.

    And we should remember 1 John 1:9 for those days when we don't do so well:

    'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

    As we are cleansed, we can begin again, at any time.

    Frank Laubach wrote: "Every minute can be a fresh beginning." I like that. It reminds me that there is hope at any point on the path, and that Jesus is the one who ultimately has already won our battles. We walk in the victory that he has secured and continues to secure through his great sacrifice on our behalf.

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  • Peggy

    Thanks for your comments. I have a hard time just getting out of bed in the mornings and feeling motivated to do anything!

    I thought I was the only one with this type of problem.

  • Allie Marie Smith

    Killing these 3 dragons using these 3 methods before breakfast has been my resolution this year. The problem is my other resolution was to give up coffee.

    Tomorow the dragon is doomed! ;)

  • Catalin

    I am a Baptist Christian from Romania, but that does not mean I did not like your post or did not find it useful ;-). I really wish that our Romanian Christian Orthodox fellows could practice the Bible reading but I know this is not promoted by Orthodox church so it is a pity!

    • Michael Hyatt

      That's too bad. I am also an Orthodox Christian. We do promote Bible reading here.

  • abritunique

    Thank you! I nodded knowingly with a lopsided smile as I read this! Though I could never imagine running, let alone before breakfast, I relate to your demons and battle them daily. Most successfully before breakfast.

  • Monica

    This is an awesome approach… I'm not a morning exerciser though so I guess I have to slay that one head closer to the end of my work day. The others definitely need to be done before breakfast or shortly therafter!:)

  • Theresa Ip Froehlich

    For me, my dragon usually gets half slain before breakfast because I start my day with a workout at the gym and reading Scriptures at the same time. If I extend my prayer time a bit, then it will be immobilized for the day, otherwise it re-emerges during the day with such symptoms as anxiety, fear, and just plain negative self-talk.
    Thank you for being so transparent.

  • therealmimi

    Thank you for this post, Michael – what a metaphor.

  • Matt Harrell

    I have been trying hard to do this exact thing. The trick is you have to go to bed at reasonable hour!~

  • Josh Byrd

    This is exactly how I feel this morning. It helps to know that you fight the dragon too. Now I'm encouraged today. Thanks Michael!
    My recent post Nashville Springtime Market Tip: Get It While It’s Hot!

  • Kristie Jackson

    I think we all face these dragons. As a stay-at-home mom of three young boys and aspiring writer, distractions are a way of life. How different would my life, and my productivity be, if I just got up before everyone else and pulverized my biggest dragons? Thanks for the inspiration!
    My recent post Hebrews 8: Our Inner Tabernacle

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  • K.C.

    I'm right there with you. Well 2 out of 3 anyway. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Am reading books on the bus to work, but breakfast only consists of a protein shake so that counts, right?

    Happy Monday
    My recent post Writing A Story

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  • Marcia

    Thanks for sharing this; you said it so well. I do all my Bible reading, prayer, exercise in the morning as well. I don't feel my day starts well if I miss out on any one of these. The only thing I can't get in is reading, which I do in the evening. I have so many books I want to read and work through, it's almost impossible. I haven't tried downloading them yet.

  • gary s. chapman

    I see you posted this on 1-09-07, yet I just now found it after you followed me on Twitter. What perfect timing! Needed the boost! Also, I see you like photography…any galleries online? I am a pro photographer that specializes in shooting for NGO's and non-profits.
    Blessings…going for my morning run…


  • Jana Holmer

    Your dream has a significant application to your awakening life. Being under pressure, meeting deadlines, juggling home and work life has become overbearing. You have omitted to keep God in your daily schedule. Perhaps it is about time you invited God back into your daily walk and keep a watchful eye of the scriptures. Reclaim power of Jesus Christ so that your whole life can been seen from a watchtower and turn from the slippery, subtle devices of the demon's dragon. In Scripture: dragon is referred to a great monster and it is also applied metaphorically to Satan. You have to ask yourself whether you have been in touch with God lately. Ps. xci. 13. He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. Claim Victory..Amen. Jana H-Coburg, Vic.

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  • Melissa Miller

    Wow this is a really great post. Thanks for such practical but life changing wisdom. I always do the spiritual discipline but I neglect the physical, and my energy level suffers because of it. Chasing two small children around throughout the day–I need all the energy I can get! Im challenged!

  • Paula

    Wow! What a great post! I also have this dragon, and he tends to revisit me during the day also. To combat this I do Bible reading, try and exercise (I fail on that ALL the time), listen to Christian audio books while working and pray.

  • Jo Princess Warrior

    I love this. You have motivated to slay my own dragin before breakfast. Thank you.xo

  • Nathan Perkins

    I love this article!!!!

    • Tim Peters

      Nathan.  Thanks for stopping by!

  • Dustin W. Stout

    What an incredibly inspirational piece. I am so glad to have read this. I love the imagination and the imagery. Thank you!

    • Tim Peters

      Dustin, glad you enjoyed the content! 

  • Katie @ Imperfect People

    Have you ever heard “eat a frog for breakfast” Similar idea but more about just doing the thing you dread first or it will never get accomplished. Great post!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have. In fact, someone wrote a book with a title similar to that. I can’t recall the exact title now.

      • Diana Flegal

        The title is Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy pub’d by Simple Truths. :-)

        • Tim Peters

          Thanks Diana.

  • Joshua Hood

    Thanks so much for the link to! I just signed up and downloaded “Born to Run” (Another great resource from your post here:
    My new dragon-slaying routine this year involves 1 hour of excersize (3 days running/2 days strength training) each morning while listening to audiobooks, bible reading, and 30 min of prayer on my drive to work. All before 7:30am!
    It sounds so productive and disciplined. DOING it will actually be the test…
    Wish me luck.

    Joshua Hood

    • Tim Peters

      Josh, it sounds like you have a plan.  How has the plan been going so far in the New Year? 

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  • Jill

    What a great analogy.  I needed this.

  • paula

    My dragons resemble your dragon but I’d add, Distraction and menutia to the three heads presented.  Much like the dog in the movie up, squirrels catch my attention much too easily.  I feel as if I’m being active and productive all the while it’s merely a distraction taking me off course.  I can also get caught in menutia (so not sure of that spelling).  Busi-body-ness and doing a little here a little there seems productive until I see it’s like I took one bite out of every cookie on the plate but didn’t finish one.   

    • paula

      oops that’s the movie “UP”.

    • Jason Stambaugh

      I struggle with the “bite-of-every-cookie” syndrome too. For me, I try to slay this dragon by making a to-do list after I sit down at my computer before I do anything else. This helps me to focus on what is important rather than letting my day happen by accident.

  • David Manning

    Amen!  Nuff said.  Now… just do it!  [I’m talkin’ to myself here]

    • Tim Peters

      It’s ok if you were talking to all of us!  

  • Nathaniel Scott

    This came at a good time. I think I’ve been letting the dragon get the upper hand often. I’ve got a lot going on (my wife, 6 kids, full time job, finishing bachelors degree) so in some ways I have used those things as an excuse not to even face the dragon. Most morning I’ve already given up. But I do realize the truth in your words. Giving it an identity – a dragon – really helps put it in perspective as well as gives me a tangible thing to fight.
    Thanks for the timely tweet!

    • Tim Peters

      Nathaniel, wow (my wife, 6 kids, full time job, finishing bachelors degree). That is a lot my friend.  Praying for rest and strength.  Now go get those dragons. 

  • Jeff Goins

    Good one. I am learning this!

  • Andre J.C. Bor

    Michael, thanks for this post (it’s a few years old, but since I read it to-day it’s new for me :)

    For the last 3 months our household habits are under construction. We are building a new (dream)kitchen. Living without a kitchen needs a lot of improvisation. No problem, but it’s a disaster for your daily routines.

    I used to be an early riser. To charge my mental batteries before breakfast. The best time of the day when the world is still sleeping. Your post encourages me to work on it again. In a few weeks  the kitchen will be ready. Time to work on a “normal” life again.

    • Tim Peters

      Wow.  If my wife lost her kitchen should we go nuts.  And then I would follow her and be nuts!  At least it is your dream kitchen!

      • Andre J.C. Bor

        Then let’s go nuts in the morning and slay dragons in the (dream)kitchen! ;-) Best way to wake up.

  • Carol Leaphart Ctr

    Thank you!

    • Tim Peters

      You are welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Dolly Callahan-roberts

    I have read this post before…excellent!

  • Michelle Campbell-Scott

    Superb. Thank you, that’s my morning planned without having to decide it!

  • JP

    Wow! To be able to drag up a blog post that is 4 years old and still capture people’s attention is awesome!!

    Lethargy is my greatest struggle. I find myself needing to take a nap sometimes even in the mornings. Always been that way. You are right that we definitely have to find what works for ourselves. I haven’t found that happy place yet. My dragon is still undefeated unfortunately.

    I find myself feeling like Paul sometimes with his thorn. I pray for the removal of this thorn, but maybe that thorn is there to teach me. thanks for the post today. It was inspiring for me to know it’s something even you face daily.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That’s the thing I love about blogging. Nothing never really ever dies, so long as you have a strategy for giving it visibility from time to time!

  • shirleyhs

    I love the image of slaying the dragon. I imagine that you know Kathleen Norris’ book Acedia?

    Also, here’s a post from a blogger friend of mine on the virtues of the KJV–finding the book of Mark in that version to be a textbook on story structure. Thought you would enjoy.

  • Delia

    I have been feeling somewhat depressed and discouraged for the past few months. This article was such a great reminder… I need to get up and start my day as a “warrior.” I woke up and took a 30 minute walk as I listened to an online devotional for the first time in 3 months.
    I always love reading your posts.
    Thank you!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good! I am glad it helped.

  • LaShawnda

    This is awesome – I am very undisciplined and very spontaneous with my faith/life pratices. What i do depends on how I feel. So my Bible reading is sporadic (it happens, but it is influenced by what the day brings). My excercise depends on my schedule and what I have time/energy for (if anything) at the end of the day. I’ve loss so much focus that I rarely read anything other than blogs these days.  

    Quite honestly, I get up early enough to read my Bible and exercise, but I see now that Lethargy has been defeating me for many years.
    Thanks for sharing.


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  • Carolyn Brown

    Thank you for your blog on “Slaying Your Dragons Before Breakfast”.  I too can suffer from the same lethargy – but didn’t know how to identify it or attack it – you helped me do that – thank you!

    I found something you said at the very end of this blog, very thought provoking, yet troubling, at the same time. You mentioned that while you’re driving to work, you use this as your prayer time and even pray out loud. I too have done this. What jumped out at me when I read this is that I recognized the same thoughts I have had while praying out loud while driving, “What if ‘they’ see me talking out loud by myself? Oh, ‘they’ll just think I’m on my cell phone.” HOW SAD that I had rather have ‘them’ think I was on my cell phone that the truth that I was PRAYING! I never thought of it in that way, until I read your blog and realized that you may have the same feelings. Do you think the day will come when we can be praying out loud while driving and ‘they’ will say to themselves – “She must be praying!” ??  How great that would be!!


  • Charissa

    Awesome post! I love it! So very helpful- alot of times i don’t realize there are three dragons- spiritual, physical, and intellectual

  • Jon Stolpe

    The new year always provides an opportunity for a fresh start.  For me this year, I am returning to reading the Bible FIRST – before eating, before exercise, before watching the ESPN morning sports update, before anything.  I realize that this is where I need to start.

    • Jason Stambaugh

      Are following any kind of reading plan?

      • Jon Stolpe

        I’m using the Daily Audio Bible podcast as a guide.  Right now, I’m reading in Genesis, Matthew, Psalms, and Proverbs.  I listen to the podcast and read along in my Bible.  It has been interesting to read and hear the spoken word at the same time.  I’ve been keeping a journal as I read to document some of the things that have hit me along the way.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. Me, too.

    • Michele Cushatt

      I’ve discovered if I don’t read the Bible first, it never gets read. Worthy goal, Jon. Let us know how it goes.

      • Jon Stolpe

        So far, so good.  11 days!  How many days does it take to form a habit?

        • Michele Cushatt

          Most say 21 days. You’re over halfway there. :)

  • MzSnowleopard

    My dragon is Disthymia- a chronic form of depression. I know many ‘clinical’ behavior modification exercises and so forth. Of course, I’ve never thought of this ‘condition’ as a dragon before- it’s always been ‘a hurricane (Hey, I grew up in Florida- the association was easy). Advice came with the ‘clinical solutions’.   Let me tell you,  they don’t always work.  I’ve done it this way for years and suffer set back after set back- I’m done with this. It’s time for a new game plan. :) How does one conquer an emotional dragon with the power to invoke hurricanes?

    • Rachel Lance

      Disthymia can be a hard one to slay. What if you looked at it not as one huge, overwheming dragon, but as many small dragons which each have a significant impact on your day? Exercise and nutrition choices are huge in terms of getting the body off to a good start, what other ways do you know that are smaller, more manageable things that make a positive impact?

      • Michael Hyatt

        Great advice, Rachel. I have often thought that if I were a counselor (and I’m not), this is where I would start with people who struggle with depression—check their exercise, nutrition, supplements, etc. Then, if that doesn’t bring relief, start looking at additional physical and emotional issues.

        • Tim Peters

          Michael, I have a friend who is a counselor.  He is very good.  In fact, he does exactly what you said you would do if you were a counselor.  If you become a patient you are required to follow a workout and eating plan.  He is widely popular!

      • Cheri Gregory

        Rachel — 

        Your emphasis on “smaller, more management things that make a positive impact” is a great reminder.  

        In our society — and even in our churches — we tend to have such high expectations that it’s easy to have an “all-or-nothing” mentality about progress. 

        When I dealt with a back injury and resulting situational depression, this over-achieving perfectionist had to completely re-define “doing my best.”  My old “if I can’t win, I won’t play” motto had to be replaced with “something is better than nothing.” It was very humbling process, but it resulted, ultimately, in a far healthier way of life!

    • Anonymous

      Hi MzSnowleopard, Rachel is pointing out a very practical approach.  She’s on to something.  As quiet as it’s kept most adults journey through some measure of “dark days of the soul,” OFTEN.   Depression grips our will power.  Coincidentally, praise & worship only begin to work when our will power is surrendered.  For me, beginning my day with praise & worship (as soon as my mind wakes up) is critical.  It helps me align my mind, body, and spirit.  You can even use “depression” as your trigger to prompt you into demonstrative worship & praise.  It’s funny how our mind, our motion, and our emotion are all tied together!

      • Rachel Lance

        Yes! It’s so easy to feel like the fight in front of us is too much, no matter what the dragon happens to be. You’re absolutely right, surrender is key! 

        Makes me think of 2 Corinthians 12:9  ”
        But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. .”

        • Tim Peters

          Rachel, great scripture reference.  Love that verse.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I would find someone with a proven track record for helping people conquer this dragon. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        I like Rachel’s idea, instead of blending
        everything into one over-sized and cranky dragon- small dragons or hatchlings
        are far easier to manage and train. Thanks for the suggestions and advice- now
        to put it into practice. :) Dragon #1 is- book 1 in a planned series;
        Dragon # 2 is- completing the ‘Competent Communicator’ manual in Toastmasters. 

  • Usemeplz

     Great post, I just want to add that physical training is very useful for each person. Without it we’ll become fat and ugly. With good morale and desire to be healthy we’ll overcome any disaster.

    • Tim Peters


  • Kate Hash

    There is a reason why five years later this post is still rockin’ — because it’s so on point for so many of us! Morning is my most productive time of day, but if I don’t nurture it from the second I wake up — BOOM, the day is gone. Intellectual stimulation is my best tool…whether it’s a chat with my husband over breakfast, reading the NYT or watching a tedtalk…I need the intellectual stimulation first thing.

    • Tim Peters

      I too watch/listen to TED Talks while working.  They are very good!  

  • Alan Kay

    I love the visualization of the difficulties that many face in different ways every morning. I send my morning dragon off by responding to great blogs like yours Michael. Thank you so much for the insights you bring. Thanks to your list I’m off to review my morning activities and create an even better approach.  

  • Cris Ferreira

    Michael, that is so true. I started a couple of months ago to pray and read the Bible before breakfast, and I read other books at night.
    I was also exercising, but I moved to another apartment far from where I used to live, and I’ve been procrastinating in getting the exercises back into my morning routine.
    But now you gave me the boost I needed, thanks!

    • Tim Peters

      Cris, hope you find a new gym near your new place! Go for it. 

      • Cris Ferreira

        Thanks, Tim, I will certainly will!

  • Marni Arnold

    My biggest dragons: Bible Study, communicating with others online, and my college studies (which during when class is in – starting next Monday for me again for 16 weeks). This latter one replaces a bit of my Bible Study time when I’m taking classes all based on books of the Bible right now since I am a religion major. The books I”m tackling this semester are Acts & Romans – looking forward to these classes! :)

    • Tim Peters

      Marni, are you in seminary?  Which one? 

      • Marni Arnold

        No, Tim…but I am a religion major at Liberty University Online. Bach of Sci in Religion is what my degree will be in come 2013! :D

        • Tim Peters

          Great. I am glad you are finishing up soon! Keep it up!

  • Dustin W. Stout

    Still one of my favorites @428d3304e42e0488424b878e2f1df43b:disqus ! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Brandon

      Me too!

  • Kelly Combs

    I think I’ll print this one out. Loved it. Although for me, with 2 kids and a hubby to get out the door, it’s easier to wait until after they all hit the road, before I start my routine. 

    A friend of mine who is the mom of 6 kids once told me that with so many kids around you learn to pray with your eyes open.  I couldn’t help but laugh when I read about your rolling prayer closet and think, “I hope he prays with his eyes open too!” 

    • Jason Stambaugh

      When my son was born my dragon slaying routine ended…still trying to figure out how to fit it all in!

    • Tim Peters

      Kelly,  I love the idea of praying with your eyes open.  I think God delights in constant communication with His children.  

  • Patlayton

    I JUST yesterday submitted a Keynote title for a speaking engagement called “Dragon Slaying Women” based upon Revelation 12 and using very similar action steps! So cool! thank you for some great thoughts!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love that passage in Romans 12!

    • Tim Peters

      Pat, looks like you got a good resource to help with your content!

  • Shannon

    Hi Michael! It is exciting to see that you start the day off with the Word and that you are reading a one year Bible.  I’ve recently started a free, online Bible study where we walk through the Bible in a year (we started last week) and would like to invite you to join us!  You can watch at 10 minute video after your readings each weekday, which I record to help highlight insights most people miss.  Check us out at


  • Gina Holmes

    I need to tape this up where I can see it. Lethargy is my biggest enemy and apathy is a big fear. It’s easy to look at someone like you and think you just start the day with tons of energy and inspiration. It helps to know it’s a fight for the best of them. Great post, Mike!

  • Sue k

    This is a great post. I read the Bible every morning, and pray. It is the best time to receive His love and Power for the day. Exercise is at lunchtime, when I need a break from the desk. I wonder if you post some of your favorite books. I’ll keep an eye open for them.

  • Chris Jeub

    This morning, I am up with my 17-year-old daughter working through a platform speech she’s preparing for competition. I’m her coach, but we haven’t been able to find the time to get this done. It takes time to meticulously comb through her rhetorical details (she’s a national champion), and it takes full focus, like a knight slaying a dragon. And here we are, working before breakfast, to get the job done.

    She’s working on a tough paragraph right now. I’m sipping coffee as she finishes up, and I checked my email. And here was your post! Great timing…now, back to slaying this dragon.

    • Jason Stambaugh

      Best of luck to your daughter in her upcoming competition.

    • Tim Peters

      Chris, that is great timing.  Glad she is doing well.  Hope the best for you and your daughter.  Let us know after the speech how things went.  

  • Betsy

    Thanks – I needed this today!  Time to slay some dragons!

    • Tim Peters

      Go get them Betsy!

  • Anonymous

    Right on Mike. I have a 5am appointment called “Coffee With God”. I find that by labeling it that, it is VERY difficult to stand Him up! I too am reading through the Bible in a year, and it’s sets my day.

    Because I start my coaching day early, the next 2 heads are dealt with at lunch and I posted on that yesterday – great minds baby!

    • Jason Stambaugh

      I love the “appointment” idea. I might have to try that myself.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love that label, Bill. Excellent! I also liked your video. Off to tweet it now.

    • Cheri Gregory

      Enjoyed your video, Bill!  

      (Side note: Tried to subscribe to your blog but e-mail subscriptions have been deactivated…curious if you have a specific reason for that?)

    • Tim Peters

      Coffee with God. I like that.  

  • Anonymous

    Pure and simple, initiative. As a writer and teacher, I work from home. As an “empty nester,” my house is now very quiet. After my husband kisses me good bye, I lean towards pulling the covers over my head and closing out the world. The days where I HAVE to get up in order to teach a class (which is one day a week), or go out for some reason, I am way more productive. I toy with the idea of getting a job “outside the house,” but my calling has not led me to do so. SO, in light of this, I must pray for the discipline and take the initiative — that “introductory first act or step” and get movin’.

    Thanks for the tips! Here’s to slaying the dragon in 2012! I’m sharpening my sword.

  • Burl Walker

    This post is as good now as it was 5 years ago! We all face this struggle each morning. While I have found that I prefer to read my Bible before going to bed at night, each morning is a great new day to tackle. It is my time alone before the rest of the house is up in which I can get a lot of writing accomplished…reading doesn’t go so well at that hour. (When I did early morning devotions, I would often find that more energy was expended on keeping my eyes open than on digging into what God had for me that day.)

  • Melissa Morrow

    I think I’m going to have to move my icon of St. George to my bedside table so when I look over to check the time (and see if I its possible I can loll around a little more), I will be reminded of this. And isn’t it cool how the dragon in most of these icons is positively serpentine?

  • lyndarva

    All are excellent recommendations. One that could be added for retired and individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities is to get out of bed and get dressed before breakfast. I have disabilities and regardless of how I feel, I make myself get out of bed, get cleaned up, dress – even with earrings, etc., and stay out of bed. It isn’t easy but it makes me prepared for whatever happens that day, and I don’t want to give in to the physical problems, etc.

  • Eric Langley

    Great post, morning, the most important part of the day.  I am curious as to what time you get up?

    I can also relate to,” The problem I have is that it is difficult for me to sit still.”  Sometimes this is an actual medical condition called restless leg syndrome, which my daughter and I both have. We literally cannot sit still! 


    • Michael Hyatt

      It depends on what I was doing the night before. Yesterday, I was up at 4:00 a.m. Today, not until 7:00 (late night with family and friends). Usually, I am up at 5:00 a.m.

  • Ben Matthews

    Why do you think that people who are energetic, high-achieving leaders during the day struggle so much with lethargy in the morning?  From the Christian perspective I can certainly see a spiritual battle element, but I’ve met non-Christians who struggle with this as well.  Thoughts?

    • Tim Peters

      Ben, I think it all goes back wiring and people finding their rhythms.  I too know people who are high-energy all day and still struggle with lethargy.  I have seen people on the flip side as well.  Ones who awake at 4 AM and have no energy during the day.  

  • Russ Pond

    4. Read Michael Hyatt’s information-packed blog article to start my day!

    Great stuff!

    • Tim Peters

      Russ.  I  completely agree! 

  • Kent Faver

    Work whatever works, but, by all means – work.  I work out in the evening.  An early morning work-out leaves me starving all day, and dead tired by 6 pm.  By 7 pm, I’m working out the day’s stress, frustration, etc. – and am much calmer at night.  Definitely in with the quiet time before the day really gets rolling.    Need to read more – much more.  Thanks!

    • Tim Peters

      Kent.  Yes! Totally agree.  I made the similar point in above comments.  It is huge to find your RHYTHM.  

  • John Richardson

    My biggest dragons are distractions. If I don’t overcome them right away, my day can quickly unravel into a time wasting mess. Having a timer and clicking the button for a focused work-time is the saving grace…

    • Michele Cushatt

      Me too, John. I’ve found that having my phone or laptop next to me at the kitchen table (while reading my Bible, etc.) is a surefire way to get off task. And miss out on the riches of the morning! I try to leave my phone in another room until my reading, quiet time, etc. is done.

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  • Patty Kingsley

    This is my answer — Dragonslayer.  This is a complex piece of gross energy and resolve.  Frayed nerves and stand up courage. 

    It centres on a warrior who stands on the lying tongue of the dragon to sever its head at the weakest point.

    Mmmm — Oh to to posses the resident freedom to conquer and dance in dragon’s jaws

    • Patty Kingsley

      hey…don’t know who flagged my image as inappropriate…we all see the dragons as different images in our hearts and minds…reading Michael’s blog just brought this image to mind as I stand up for yet another day…sorry if it was too graphic for someone.

      Take care and have an awesome day…I am off to dance through the balance of mine.

  • Kenneth B

    I created a very similar routine to fight the three-headed Dragon:

    Read Bible &Pray
    Listen to/watch Teaching Company course while exercising

    Given my ADD tendencies, I’ve found mindfulness meditation to be invaluable in helping me maintain focus throughout the day. And mindfulness meditation has been shown in many studies to make beneficial changes to brain structure, reducing stress, pain, anxiety, and depression. It’s good exercise for the brain, especially in our distraction-filled, always connected culture.

  • Ben Wall

    Thanks MH. I’m up early this am doing beheading 2 dragon heads…the 3rd is recovering from surgery & hasn’t been released to bug me about exercise yet. I feel like I’m up against a productivity wall & that going to bed is actually like “Puff the magic dragon.” on some level I know it will benefit me to go to bed earlier but this playful dragon says “stay up…check the scores…don’t miss out on Facebook… Work on that project @ 50% strength is fine…”. Making that switch would mean that my wife & I would need to turn from night owls into early birds. Any suggestions on how to recruit your wife to a “go to bed earlier” lifestyle?

    • Tim Peters

      Is she naturally a night owl or early bird? 

      • Ben Wall

        She is a night owl.  I have tried to live like one but I think I’d get a lot more done (reading, exercise etc) if I got up early each day. bw

        • Tim Peters

          Ben. Benadryl for her?:)

  • Two Eagles Marcus

    Thank you!

  • Two Eagles Marcus

    “Leaders read and readers lead.” Inspired by this article.

    • Tim Peters

      That was one of my best takeaways.

  • Scott Kantner

    May I suggest that, at least once in a while, you try moving prayer to the first item of the day? I think in the still quietness of your home, with no mental bandwidth lost to driving, you may hear God in a different way. Two-way conversations tend to be more meaningful when focused attention is in play.

    • Tim Peters

      Scott.  Good thought.  I have been convicted lately that my prayer time is lacking in listening.  Thanks. 

  • Vectortrue

    Thank you Michael.  A sibling of your dragon greets me every morning with a malicious smile.  I truly hate him. I use some of the weapons you do already.  Your post has given me a couple of new ones to employ and I thank you for them. 

    J. Rogers
    Intern Dragon Slayer

  • Raj Paulus

    Those same dragons visit my home every morning! What are the chances?!! To face the sleep/wake up dragon, hubby and I have been trying to go to bed sooner. Still a work in progress. To combat the anti-activity dragon, hubby and I signed up for a 1/2 and a 5K respectively to have a goal to work toward and work out 3X a week. And finally, to combat the internet dragon that sucks me in shortly after I wake up, I am committed to open before I check my email or work on any writing projects. And coffee always helps! Have a great day! 

  • Darien Gabriel

    Even though you got the heads a little mixed up, your explanation worked that out and it all made sense. Great post!

  • Agsteward

    Thanks Michael. It’s in my gmail Michael Hyatt folder and Dropbox! My dragons are similar, but change their names from time to time! Great plan. The Christian life is a “Liturgical Discipline in the Spirit!” Lord have mercy on us all.
    David Rockett

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  • Lisa Colon DeLay

    I wouldn’t doubt that there is probably a weather component here. So many ppl in North America struggle with this in January & Feb…there’s not as much daylight.

    I’ve been struggling too.Thanks for the tips.What do you think about “light therapy” coupled with exercise? Have you ever tried it?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I write on How to Overcome the Winter Blues about this time last year. I discussed light therapy. It really works for me.

    • TNeal

      I remember moving from northern Wisconsin to the Russian Far East (even further north and every bit as cold). I struggled less with the blues in Russia during the winter than I did in Wisconsin. One difference was the amount of sunshine. That part of Russia tended to have crystal clear skies every day. A second difference was the lack of a car, so more daily exercise walking everywhere.

      • Elizabeth Hill

        As a current Wisconite I can attest to the sunlight factor.  So many times it’s dark when we go into work and dark when we leave, add in the bitter cold and there are so many reasons to not get out!  

        I have seen people who struggle with season depression plan trips for January or February specifically for the sun exposure.  The trip seems to be successful, whether it’s due to the sun or the fact that you’ve gotten the vacation I guess could be argued.

        • TNeal

          Sounds like you don’t even have windows to look out. Been there, done that. I need light. :-D

  • Elizabeth Hill

    Finding time to work out is something I struggle with.  My intentions to exercise are good, but always seem to be hijacked by something else.  I’ve found that if I have my bag packed the night before and hit the gym first thing in the morning I’m more successful in my exercise goals.

    • Rachel Lance

      The spirit is willing but the flesh is so weak! I also have to get everything staged the night before or else I have so many excuses to stay in bed when the alarm goes in the morning – whatever it takes though!

    • TNeal

      Accountability and partnership add another layer to strengthen your resolve as well. I play basketball at 6:30 AM because I enjoy the competition and the friendship with the  guys who play. One young friend had a hard time making it but I simply asked, “Dave, can you commit to the next 3 days?” He said, “Sure.” That was in early December. He’s missed only one morning since. You offer wise counsel as well. Prepare the night before.

  • Rob Fay

    Thanks for your encouragement. I am not a morning person…or an evening person, for that matter, yet I am getting up earlier to incorporate exercise into my life.

    I would encourage you to check out YouVersion’s Bible offering ( You can have your Bible on your iPhone or iPad, there’s a ton of reading plans, you can switch between versions, and there is a social component (accountability, etc.). You can even listen to it! The one thing I like about it is that you can also do journaling. Personally, my quiet time has gotten so much richer following the Life Journal S.O.A.P. method (

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have You version, which is great for study. I couldn’t find the exact reading plan I wanted, despite the fact they have a gzillion. I have used the one in the NKJV Daily Bible for years and love it. Thanks.

    • TNeal

      Rob, the Life Journal link doesn’t work. Try posting it without the parentheses. Thanks for sharing the information though.

  • Joel Fortner

    What’s worked for me is simply being intentional about what I want to accomplish.  So far I’ve been successful scheduling what I need to do and when.  My wife and I recently started the Cozi app, which allows us to share to do lists and calendars and add to one another’s.  It’s provided one more layer of organization. 

    • Jim Martin

      Much of this seems to fit very well with idea of choosing to live intentionally which is a regular theme in Michael’s blog.

  • Brandon

    This is my favorite post of all time on this blog! So great! I have referenced this post so many times to others.

    Thanks for sharing this again. You might have to share this post a few times per year! :)

    • Rachel Lance

      Thanks for sharing the post, Brandon! It is such timeless wisdom, isn’t it?

      • Brandon

        It sure is!


  • Brandon

    When it comes to a consistent relationship with Christ, it is not simply a habit- it is a lifestyle. That is why we have to fight everyday rather than establishing a habit in 30 (something) days.

    You mentioned some great points!

    • Sundi Jo Graham

      So true. It is a lifestyle. That’s why I hate the word diet. Diets fail. Changed lifestyles prevail!

      • Brandon

        Great example!

      • Jon Stolpe

        Discipline is involved in both.

  • Brandon


  • Brandon

    I drink zero. I have coffee every once and awhile, but I prefer tea a lot better. What is better than both of those options is a nice berry smoothie!

    That was kinda random? haha

    • Tim Peters

      Brandon.  Very random.  I cut out coffee and diet coke.  Had the shakes for a brief period:)  My wife makes these great smoothies with almond milk, berries, spinach and bananas. Really good.  

  • Brandon

    I feel like I don’t have the time for #3 during school sessions. I have to read so many other assignments that I have no time for good books until the semester is close to being done.

    I read over 5 books on my 2 week break! I try to get in as many books as I can…

  • Brandon

    Reading the Bible is essential, I find reading and meditating on the
    book of Proverbs first thing in the morning gives one a good mindset to
    start the day strong.

    So true!

  • Brandon

    I have all of my devotions and blogs come to me through my email and google reader.

  • Kirk Weisler

    What a wonderful post… I’m so happy you felt impressed to share it again.  I am in the process of getting geared up to battle some dragons of my own.  Ones that have been coming in and stealing my sheep while I catch extra sleep.  GETTING UP, STAYING UP, READING UP, GROWING UP, STANDING UP, LOOKING UP are all things I am working to do again… MAN vs Pillow… your blog will help me as I Suit UP for my Dragon.   A great book a previous mentor read to me about Dragons is “Sir Kevon of Devon” by Adelaide Holl … are you familiar with it?  I am confident a Dragon Slayer like yourself will like it.

    • Joe Lalonde

      You have a great list to start working on Kirk. Take it step by step and you will knock out those dragons before you know it.

  • Rob Sorbo

    Very good post. I can definitely see how this would benefit me. 

    My dragon has a fourth head–night owl (is there a cool foreign word for that?). I don’t do well early in the morning. I typically slay my dragon in the evening, but by then he’s had all day to grow.

    • TNeal

      I hear those suckers can get pretty big by late evening. ;-)

  • Brett A. Magbee

    Excellent post.  Exactly on point.  To often our witness is compromised, because we haven’t prepared ourselves for the challenges we are going to meet during the day. I can’t think of a better way than the four you have noted. But I’d like to suggest one more. Recording your daily walk in a small calender you carry around, JUST FOR THAT PURPOSE. Note prayer topics; scriptures you read; encouragements you provided to others; chapters or page numbers in inspirational books. You will find yourself wanting to fill in the blanks of each day with substantive things. Over the course of the year you can review your progress.

    • Rachel Lance

      Great idea, Brett, thanks!

    • TNeal

      Since I walk our dog every day, you’re suggestion is a very practical use of time. A little notebook for a writer tends to be an excellent tool. You’ve given me a place to pull that tool out. Thanks–Tom

    • Jim Martin

      So true.  This discipline really is about preparing oneself for challenges of the day.

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  • Daren Sirbough

    Lethargy and Laziness are my biggest dragons. The way I defeat them is no matter how I am feeling I either get up and read my bible, or take a shower straight away. Moving wakes up my mind. Another way is to simply smile!

    • Jeremy Statton

      I smiled reading your comment. Never underestimate the power of a smile. 

    • TNeal

      I like your “Another way.” I remember reading about the benefit of laughter, even if you force it (my wife thought I was a little loopy when I practiced laughing for days after reading that–of course, she’s known that longer than we’ve been married). It’s funny (no pun intended; okay, well, yea, pun intended) but, if you laugh on purpose, you end up laughing for real. And it does energize you/elevate your mood. Now that you’ve reminded me of that exercise, I would put it into practice but I’m in our local library. :-)

    • Jim Martin

      Daren, you make an important point.  You said that you get up and move regardless of how you might be feeling at the moment.  I’ve realized that I can’t simply do what I feel like doing.  Rather it is much better to take action and trust that my feelings will eventually catch up.

  • Carrie Starr

    I never thought of myself as a dragon slayer.  Now I see how I’ve sharpened my sword, and it works! 

    This fall I began running at 6am.  I’m much more consistent with exercise now that I place it first on my agenda.

    When the school year began I also made a commitment to reading my bible before turning on my computer.  This has kept me consistently in the Word and  provides a daily reminder of my priorities.

    These two simple, consistent habits have transformed my life this year. 

    Being a dragon slayer becomes me.

    • Jeremy Statton

      It is fun to think about it that way, isn’t it?

    • TNeal

      Your comment reminded me of something I wrote last year (which sounds like a long time ago but was less than 2 weeks ago–last year, that is, not what I wrote): The order of the day used to begin with breakfast then exercise. Now it starts with prayer (something I’ve struggled with over the years). Your schedule seems pretty well-grounded. Good choices made.

  • Francarona

    Thanks for the reminder, Michael.  I am currently reading through the Bible again, and I MUST do it early or it doesn’t get done.  The hardest for me is the exercise piece.  I’m such a slug in the mornings.  The hardest thing I do all day is get out of bed.  

    • TNeal

      Agree with the difficulty of actually getting out of bed. The heaviest thing I’ll lift during the day is a finger (to write). Get those two exercises done and my day goes a lot better.

  • TNeal

    I’ve always found listening to books more engaging for me so it’s nice to know I’m not alone in that endeavor. I knock out 2 out 3 before breakfast but find I need breakfast for physical energy. It’s noticeable when I don’t get enough sleep, water, or food in the physical arena (which does influence the other two areas).

    • Jim Martin

      TNeal, thanks for the reminder about the importance of breakfast for physical energy.  A good reminder.  I have found it important to pay attention to the kind of fuel I put into my body.

  • Tim Peters

    Thanks Marshall.  I agree.  If I do not awake early spend time with God, I will not the rest of the day.  I am in the process of viewing this time differently.  I do not want the time to be a ritual or duty.  Yet, I desire the time to be a time of restoration and enjoyment.  Additionally, I want to walk in the presence throughout the day.  Silently praying as work, drive, etc.  

  • J. Michael McDade

    Thanks for the reminder Michael. Motivated me to get up and walk this morning. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. The dragon looks a little smaller today.

  • Marnie Hughes

    Thanks so much for showing us we’re not alone, Michael! I usually wait until evening to practice karate and always feel so fantastic afterward. Think I’ll switch it to the morning and get that motivation right off the bat!

  • Tim Peters

    Mike, I have three young children under the age of 6.  Over the past two years, I finally found my rhythm. I wake up at 5, spend unhurried time with God, hit the gym or run for an hour and a half and in the office by 8:30. We are very disciplined about putting our children to bed by 7:30/45 during the week.  My wife and I then have an hour to do personal tasks and still have an hour or hour and a half to spend with one another.  

    It took a bit of time to find my rhythm, but it has paid off tremendously.  I learned to protect my calendar.  I will do breakfast with people, but no earlier than 8:30.  

    Thanks for comment!

  • Tim Peters

    Hey Joel, can we trade dragons? 

  • Tim Peters

    Brandon. Thanks for comment.  Koukl resource looks interesting.  I had the same issue as you do with dragon 2 out of 3.  I highly recommend you find a plan and train for half marathon.  I am training for a marathon and every time I want to sleep in or stop running, I visualize myself crossing the finish line and seeing my wife and kids! Go for it.  

  • Tim Peters

    Julia, we are glad the information helped.  Sharpen that sword!

  • Tim Peters

    Daniel.  Completely agree.  Guess you are in college?  If so, I remember those days!  During semester it was easier to keep a schedule.  Then when you go home, it is madness because of all the free time.  

  • Ramon Presson

    Wow!  I don’t really have anything to add. I just wanted to say Thanks. I needed this. And am forwarding it to several folks, retweeting it, and posting the link on Facebook. More importantly, I’m going to implement the 3 each morning.   As Jesus said in the Upper Room after washing the disciples’ feet and modeling the attitude & spirit of servanthood (John 13:17) : “”Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.”   The blessing (and change) comes from implementation, not just having the information. Information minus Implementation = Zero.   Thanks again for acknowledging your own struggle and for offering wise and practical helps.

    • Jim Martin

      Good for you, Ramon, in implementing these each morning.  I also liked your words regarding the importance of implementation.

  • Ben Patterson

    Tremendous! I do most all of my writing in the morning so that it doesn’t get squeezed by the happenings or mood of the day.

    • John Tiller

      Me too, Ben.  Writing is the first item on my agenda for the workday!  90% of my creativity is lost after 11am! 

      • Ben Patterson

        For sure! And as fun as it is to write, it still takes discipline to make it happen.

  • Tim Peters

    Vicki, glad the post was a helpful boost.  Scripture is the sword!

  • Vicki

    Sometimes the largest dragon for me to slay is the “guilty” one.  The one that says I don’t pray enough, read my Bible enough, spend time with my husband…or children.

    • Justin Wise

      Vicki … That’s fairly common, I think. As a former people pleasure, this is a dragon I have to slay all the time. But it’s important to know that you can take the time you need for yourself!

      Keep slaying. It’ll be worth it!

    • John Tiller

      Vicki, I know that this is different for men and women, but I think we all struggle to ensure that we don’t cheat God, our spouse, or our children.  To avoid this I have much the same routine as Michael … I start with Bible reading, Prayer, Prayer Journal, and a written list of my Top 5 priorities for the day.  That gets my head straight for the day, then I make and eat breakfast for/with my wife and son, so they get the best of me before the workday has taken over my thoughts.  Then I exercise and shower by 8:30am.  

      I have to get up at 5am and be militant about my schedule to get all of this done which is difficult because I’m naturally wired to wake up later and I’m easily distracted!  However, I’ve kept with it because there’s nothing better than knowing that I did my best to take care of my relationships with God and family before the issues of the workday take over.    Your heart is in the right place.  You’ll figure out how to get your priorities accomplished!

  • Tim Peters

    Cyrienne, we will pray.  “God please give Cyrienne energy and strength to awake early and connect with you.  We pray that she connects with people at her local church and finds ways to serve You with her gifts and talents.  Please give her discipline and energy desire to exercise.  Guard over her young daughter. Amen.”

  • Tim Peters

    Kraft. I agree.  I used to be on staff and had Friday’s off.  Monday to Thursday was easy to connect with God and others, exercise, etc.  Friday’s were horrific.  What church do you serve?

  • Tim Peters

    Sweetie.  We all definitely need more and more of God and His peace. 

  • Sundi Jo Graham

    I’ve had to reorganize how I slay my dragons. Some health issues have kept me from working out in the morning, because it takes my whole day to recover. So, I rearranged my schedule to work out at night. One point Jesus. Zero for the devil. 

    Sometimes it’s still hard and I’m adapting to having to change things around, but we just have to keep going. 

    • Justin Wise

      Sundi Jo … I’m the same way working out. If I run my miles in the morning I’m wiped for the whole day. Simple switch? Run at night and sleep like a baby!

      Glad you found an alternative way to slaying your dragons.

      • Sundi Jo Graham

        Thanks. Glad you did too Justin. 

  • Sundi Jo Graham

    The flavor of the month. That’s so true isn’t it? 

  • Tim Peters

    Fixed. Thanks.

  • Tim Peters

    Jody.  Thank you for comments.  I too find exercising in the morning is reliever.  It is nice to know that it is out of the way and I enjoy how my body feels throughout the day.  

    When I lift weights, I pray.  It sounds weird but works for me.  

  • Tim Peters

    David.  Glad you stumbled across MH blog.  I hope you keep the bed on your nightstand and start defeating.  

  • Tim Peters

    Alisa, I am glad to know that I am not the only who prays while working out.  Everybody else thinks I am crazy.  

  • Tim Peters

    Nikole – 
    Praying that you connect with God each day.  Go for it.  

  • Tim Peters

    Janetober – I too appreciate the “word pictures.”  Helps visualize what is really going on.  

  • Tim Peters

    Ha ha … That is an interesting way to think about it … “cool message in a fortune cookie”

  • Tim Peters

    Bill, you will love 

  • Tim Peters

    Wow.  Triplets!  It sounds like you got a plan going.  Keep it up.  

  • Tim Peters

    Patalexandar – I have been down the “work from home” road.  Not easy!  

  • Tim Peters

    Derek, go for the physical dragon. I found by exercising, my spiritual time is much more deep. 

  • Tim Peters

    Phillip, I love the Katana reference.  

  • Tim Peters

    Cassandra, I love the Laubach quote!  So true! 

  • Tim Peters

    Peggy, you are not alone.  

  • Tim Peters

    I gave up Diet Coke!  First couple of days were tough.  Much better now.  

  • Tim Peters

    Abritunique.  You should give running before breakfast a shot.  Cool? 

  • Cheri Gregory

    “That’s why I grab a cup of fresh tea, head to my favorite den chair, and begin reading at once.”

    It’s taken me years to realize that this is the primary way to defeat my 4th dragon: overwhelming emotions (which can be more like a crazed octopus than a dragon, at least for me.)  When I start the day in the Word, negative words — spoken and thought — have far less power in my day.

    As for the physical dragon, I guess I’m fortunate that I can’t stay in bed for more than 6-7 hours at a time due to chronic back pain.  I never awaken to the desire to roll over and snuggle back down for another hour or two.  I always wake up knowing that I’ll be lacing up my running shoes and hitting the elliptical or the pavement!

    • Justin Wise

      That quote resonated with me too, Cheri. What a simple way to make sure we’re “slaying our dragons” before breakfast!

  • Tim Peters

    Allie, I think it is all about finding your rhythm.  I know many successful people who kill the dragons before they go to bed.  They workout, spend time with God and read leadership style books before bed.  Some people are simply not morning people! 

  • Tim Peters

    I battle “negative self-talk” as well.  We can slay it!

  • Tim Peters

    I agree. Great imagery.  

  • Tim Peters

    Matt, totally agree.  I started setting my alarm to one hour to one hour and a half earlier than needing to awake.  This gave me the opportunity to hit snooze and still be up early.  My wife hated the practice but it worked!

  • Kathie Nelson

    Thanks for sharing!  What a powerful story that anchors the practice.  

  • Bryan

    Great article and so true!

  • Cyberquill

    Poor dragons. The folks over at PETA probably aren’t too thrilled with this post. 

    • Justin Wise

      HA! Although, I don’t know if dragons fall into the protected PETA class, do they? ;)

      • Cyberquill

        Not sure if dragons are protected yet, but at the rate they’re being slaughtered at, they’ll be declared an endangered species very soon.  

  • Bryan

    If I can just figure out my career in life, I will be doing great!

    • Justin Wise

      Bryan … What do you want to do? Maybe you should start there? ;)

  • Katie Axelson

    You workout before breakfast? Wow, that’s dedication. I do agree with the need to hit the spiritual lethargy first. There’s a joke it my house that everyone else needs a cup of coffee to wake up but all I need is a good book (Bible first followed by something else).

    I loved the analogy!

    • Jeremy Statton

      It’s funny that you say that. I can’t run on a full stomach, so I always do it before I eat. But I had a friend that could only run on a full stomach. 

  • Daniel Harkavy

    Great post Michael.  I have coached the “by Noon” theory for years with our leader clients.  If we can schedule the few most important things in our day by noon, we have a much higher probability of getting them done.  Keep sharing the good stuff my friend!

    • Jim Martin

      Daniel, what you said here is so true.  I have found this to be true.  If I do not schedule the most important things of the day by noon, the probability of them getting done later is not as great. 

  • Jane Babich

    Great tips… when I read the article, I thought dragon…. if you do not slay them early… you and life with DRAGdrag…..ON.  I just recently began to eat breakfast, so making changes in my schedule have been difficult… I will remember your advise. Thanks

    • Joe Lalonde

      You make a great point Jane. I never noticed that dragon = drag on.

  • SEO Los Angeles

    Thank you so much for sharing these. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

  • Jleriger

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for being honest and sharing this information about the fact that we face a real spiritual enemy everyday. If we were honest about it like your are about this adversary, I believe the night before we would pray and ask God for his strategy about defeating the enemy the next day. David asked God what to do before every battle he fought. I believe David sent out his praise and worship team before engaged in war for the purpose of  confusing the enemy. He was declaring victory before he even fought, because God told him he would win if he did what he said.
     Worship is the way that I start my day and I also begin to God thank you everything I can think of, with focused praise for his son Jesus who died for my sins. It is still a battle and takes time before the enemy of my soul begins to retreat. For ex. I remind myself and the enemy that ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, I’m more than a conqueror etc. Sometimes it takes persistence before lethargy, worry, anxiety are replaced with Peace, Joy, Strength supplied by the Holy Spirit who lives in me.
    Keep on fighting the good fight of Faith.

    • Joe Lalonde

      I like your addition to Michael’s list. A little worship can go a long way and it’s easy to do.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Wow, my morning routine is very similar to yours Michael. Every morning consists of Bible reading and a book. Three days of the week include exercise. I’ve found it to be a very worthwhile way to wake up in the mornings.

  • Lon Hetrick

    I forwarded this post to my wife and she had a response which was very interesting to me. She wrote, “I’m glad you liked it. You should. It is a very “male” approach to life. This does not work for females/moms. We think differently. We live our lives so men are free to live this way.” Are there other ladies out there who agree?

    • Joe Lalonde

      Interesting response Lon. I’ll have to have my wife check it out to see how she responds.

    • Ngina Otiende

      With kids, a hubby, a home to run – in short being the “domestic” end of  the home – a woman can find it hard to have a stringent routine/formulaic way of doing things.
      Her life is basically full of “others” and there is this great need for flexibility and looseness. 

      For example, working around things can make it hard to “head off to the den first thing in the morning with a cup of tea”   or do all the three BEFORE breakfast. :)

      I think the point is to try and find a way to work these things (spiritual, mental and physical exercises)  into our lives.

      It may not be exactly how Michael does it. It is the principles which are important. We need to connect on these three levels and thus need to find a way to do it. 

      Just figure what works for you, then do it. :) :)

      • Michael Hyatt

        I agree: it is the principles that are important.

        • Ngina Otiende


      • Michele Cushatt

        I agree with you, Ngina. I have a schedule I try to shoot for each morning. But it doesn’t always work! If I’m rigid, I just end up disappointed and frustrated. I still shoot for it, but allow myself extra time to get it done. Like you said, it’s about finding a way to work these into your day, whatever it looks like. Great counsel.

        • Ngina Otiende

          Totally agree.

          Having something to shoot for everyday is really awesome. 

          Extending some grace to ourselves can make the impossible possible :) :)

          Frustration and disappointment are rarely great motivators anyway, are they?

          Awesome insight.

          • Michele Cushatt

            Definitely not ‹ hijackers, not motivators!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Very interesting comment. I’d like to hear what the women think, too.

      • Barry Hill

        Me too!

      • Michele Cushatt

        At first glance, Lon, I don’t agree. At least not fully. I’m a relatively disciplined and scheduled person. I like to get up early, brew coffee and read my Bible, go for a 3-5 mile run (while listening to podcasts/books), shower and get ready, and eat breakfast. In that order. I also have 6 children, and I have to loosen this schedule on any given day, even let some items go, to accommodate other responsibilities. But I still aim for this most days. It just might take me until 11 am to get it done.

        One more note … I love doing whatever I can to enable my husband to live his life fully. But he does the same for me. It’s the mutual serving of each other that makes our marriage satisfying for both.

        • Jeff Randleman

          I think your last paragraph is key.  When we live for one another instead of ourselves, it changes everything!

          • Michele Cushatt

            A counselor once said, “If you both try to out-give the other, you’re going to be happier than you’ve ever been before!”

          • Jeff Randleman

            I was once told that marriage isn’t a 50-50 thing.  If I only give 50% and my wife has a bad day and only gives 40%, then we’ve missed each other.

            It should be more of a 80-90% effort on both our parts.  (100% ideally, but whi is perfect?)  That way, if one of us has an off day, we still have met and overlapped within our relationship. 

            That’s what we strive for in our marriage.

          • Michele Cushatt

            Oh, I like that. Good counsel. For years I wanted everything to be “fair,” like your 50-50 reference. I tried to measure and count everything to make sure all things came out equal. It did nothing but create dissatisfaction and disappointment, and reveal my root of selfishness. Love ‹ a God-sized love ‹ is not fair.

          • Jeff Randleman

            I agree.  Fair would never have resulted in an opportunity to go to Heaven for eternity either.

    • Barry Hill

      Thanks for sharing! Did she say which section was a male approach? Was it more the dragon killing analogy or the idea of waking up early to center your day? Thanks again for sharing… Now I have to ask my beauty as well! Ha!

  • Dave

    Can you tell me where the art image in the post came from?  Thanks. Dave

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, I can’t. I do know it is an old icon of St. George.

  • Royale Scuderi

    I empathize…battling exhaustion is my dragon too. Though my spirituality is different, I too share your practices. I meditate, read spiritual books and exercise in the AM. I also read with my son before school to touch base. That gives me a little boost and reminder of what’s important.
    If I miss my routine my entire day goes downhill!

    • RecreationalWordSlinger

      That is so cool that you read with your son before school. Great way to keep communication open!

    • Jim Martin

      I can relate to what you say here, Royale, about your day not being the same when you miss your routine.  I have experienced the same and especially when I have not practiced my routine over a period of days.  Wow.

  • levittmike

    A church that I visited this past Sunday has for their 2012 theme:  Pray, Read, Do.  

    Looks very similar to your morning “slay the dragons” routine.  


    • RecreationalWordSlinger

      That is such a great theme for 2012!

      • Jim Martin

        This really is a great theme.  Much said in with these three words.

    • Barry Hill

      really love this, too!

  • Kevin Mackesy

    Man if I don’t face that dragon three mornings a week when deciding whether to get up and work out.  My buddy is there, faithfully, every Mon, Wed, and Fri and I am hit or miss.  The dragon seems to have been winning more than losing these days.  Oftentimes the dragon begins his battle the night before when I am unsuspecting.  No more…

    • Michele Cushatt

      It’s so worth it … Once you get there. But the getting up and going is the hardest part! Doing it with a friend helps. And, of course posting here makes you accountable, yes? :)

      • Kevin Mackesy

        Thought I should let you know that I made it to the gym this morning (that makes Mon AND Wed of this week).  First thing I thought of this morning was this post.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Great job Kevin! Keep it up.

          • Kevin Mackesy

            Thanks guys.  If I make it Fri then we’ve got ourselves a streak! haha

          • Joe Lalonde

            Not if but when Kevin (-:

            I know we’ll hear the good news that you’ve continued on Friday!

        • Michele Cushatt

          Yay! GREAT job, Kevin. One day, one workout at a time … You can do this!

  • Anonymous

    Tim – I saw your post on training for a half marathon.   I like the idea… I used to run frequently, for fun yes but for lacrosse.  Now 54.   I can do an elliptical trainer with no problem and now take an 8 mile walk once a week.  But the running motion really hurts the knees and ankle, ( it had 2 plates and 14 screws in it at one point) ….. Is this realistic for me.   I am up for the challenge, but also not wanting to do more harm at an attempt at good

    • Jeremy Statton

      You certainly don’t want to hurt your ankle or knees any further. Consider nonimpact exercise such as the elliptical or a stationary bike. Bikes are an excellent way to get a cardio workout and improve strength without the high impact of running. And of course talking to your doctor about this is always a good idea.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Exactly!  I switched to a bike for a lesser impact on a bad knee.  Worked out great for me!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I run about three times a week. I still have one plate and six screws in the ankle of my left leg. However, I mix it up with the AMT machine (like a combo elliptical and stair machine).

      • Anonymous

        Thank you all very very much.  I am going to add some jogging while doing my walking and extend and move one from there.    Michael sincere, thanks for re-posting this.   I get up every morning and slay one-head by reading the Bible, I need to get up earlier to start the day and back to exercising early in the morning.   Brings back memories of college when it was in the pool or on the track at 5:30…. I did it then, I can do it now….? Right :)

  • RecreationalWordSlinger

    This was the very post that got me hooked on your blog! Thanks for reposting it. I love the ideas that are in it. Once I get a job and develop a morning routine, these will be what I use. The physical aspect will be hard to do for me, but I will have to try harder to conquer that head of the dragon!

    • Jim Martin

      RecreationalWordSlinger, I can see how you might get hooked on Michael’s blog after reading this post.  What a powerful post!

  • Geoff Talbot

    Is it not so much what you do but how you do it Marshall?

    I imagine that it would be possible to pray, do your devotions and get some exercise before breakfast and still not be in good shape.

    You could be fit, disciplined and know a whole lot of scripture but…

    How do you keep Christ the center and achieve your disciplines. I find it easy to become proud when I am disciplined?

    Thanks for sharing
    Staying In The Moment

  • Lana Meredith

    Rock-solid advice here. Thank you! Love that phrase – ‘leaders read and readers lead.’ Awesome!

    • Jim Martin

      Lana, I like that phrase as well.  Right now I am reading Love is a Killer App in which author Tim Sanders stresses much the same.

  • Sandra Sullivan

    This is EXACTLY how I feel when I wake up.  I am encouraged that someone else feels this way and has a successful way to deal with it.  

    • John Tiller

      Me too, Sandra! When I have a bad morning, I always have a bad day. When I have a good morning, I usually have a good day. It’s really worth the effort to make mornings great!

  • Anonymous

    I love the allegorical visual description!  Makes it more memorable…and in some strange way, more real…

    Thanks, Michael!

    • Jim Martin

      Joseph, I agree with what you said about the visual description.  I suspect those of us who first read this post hours ago still remember the idea of slaying the dragons.

      • Anonymous

        I think something about the imagery of dragon-slaying pulls at something within us, making us want to rise to the challenge. 

        I used similar imagery, myself, in a poem a while back.  You can see a copy on my blog, if you like:

  • Pat Katepoo

    What a compelling and apt metaphor. I start with a cup of tea and prayer, then reading my Bible, but my dragon distracts me while praying, reminding me of all my to-do tasks for the day ahead. My “slaying” tactic is to pray out loud. It works–sometimes!

  • Jeff

    Michael, I love your three, but might add a fourth: kardia, (emotion, or more literally, heart).  I feel that to fully slay my dragons I also need to connect with the people I love the most each morning and receive their love.  Also, a great way I’ve discovered to fill my heart with God’s love is to journal my Bible reading using the SOAP method popularized by Wayne Cordeiro.  This allows me to fully assimilate God’s love as I read, and also to verbalize my own feelings as I apply the day’s Bible reading to my life.  Journaling my Bible reading has proven to be a healthy and useful ritual for my heart.

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  • Henders Carol

    My biggest dragon is just getting out of bed! Once I’m up I head immediately for the gym, come home eat, then sit with my tea, Bible and have some reading and prayer time.

    The next biggest dragon is stopping the quiet time. I enjoy it so much I have to force myself to head for my desk to start working!

  • Phyllis Unterschuetz

    You do an hour-long workout before eating anything in the morning? Isn’t it hard on your body to force it to perform like that without fuel?

    • Michele Cushatt

      I work out almost every morning, and usually don’t eat breakfast until I get back. But I typically need some kind of running snack before heading out (i.e. banana and peanut butter).

    • Jeff Randleman

      I usually eat after my workout as well.

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  • kimanzi constable

    I struggle with the same three dragons, and I read the Bible and listen to some aweosme podcasts in the morning. I wake up at 3 am to deliever bread so it’s pretty physical!

    • Jim Martin

      Kimanzi, waking up at 3 am to deliver bread!  Wow.  Sounds like it is very physical!

      • kimanzi constable

        Yeah it is and it’s not my dream job. That’s why I’m following my dreams this year!

    • Michele Cushatt

      Ahhh … Podcasts. One of my fave early morning rituals.

  • Cindiet

    I totally agree about reading the Bible first thing in the morning. Beth Moore once said that she does so because “His mercies are new every morning” and for me that is so true. My husband and I pray in the car as I drive him to work…love that we get to spend time together praying for one another, for our family, friends, church and other concerns. And we had both gotten out of the exercise routine, but since the New Year we have been back to the gym and I do weights at home.

  • David Gould

    I would be interested to know if your prayer schedule (in the car) allows you to fir in the normal morning and evening prayers that are relatively normative for Orthodox Christians, and I imagine for deacons? How do you fit in day by day your vocational requirements as a deacon?

  • Brandon Weldy

    Lethargy is my big dragon that faces me at the beginning of the day. I also face procrastination. My wife is a wonderful help. When my alarm goes off she often gets up and to head to the bathroom and turns on the shower for me. This forces me to get up, otherwise so much water would be wasted. Reading my Bible early in the day changes the mood of my entire day as well. 

    • Michele Cushatt

      Now that’s a good wife!

      • Brandon Weldy

        Yes, she is pretty great! I’m thankful for all she does everyday.

    • Jeff Randleman

      Sounds rather sneaky to me.  Does she go back to bed?  I bet she just wants your pillow…

      • Brandon Weldy

        I read this comment to her and she laughed. She said she knows the sooner I get up the sooner she can get my pillow and go back to sleep.

        • Jeff Randleman

          Lol!  And now you know the truth!  Enjoy the showers, because I bet there’s not a thing you can do about it…

  • Blclarke09

    I really enjoy getting your posts each morning. They always seem to be exactly what I need. I will add one thing I do which is to pray against the spirit of heaviness and to have positive dreams.

  • Tishsheard

    I started my own business last year and largely work alone, unless i am seeing clients. I am struggling to get started this year and struggling to have a positive outlook, although i had a very good year last year. I have recently joined your blog and am thoroughly enjoying your posts. They really are helping me in terms of planning and slaying the odd dragon or 2! Thank you!

  • Jon Stolpe

    1 big cup which is probably the equivalent of 2 or 3 cups.

  • Peter Walters


    I am with you, once I start my day running it’s hard to slow down and get quiet.  Funny how my days are always better when I start out with prayer and planning yet there are many days when this gets thrown to the wind and my actions say God you will have to wait until tomorrow.  I am glad that at this point in my life more days start with prayer than without prayer.  

    • Annette Skarin

      I just think he was saying that’s the way he does it. I do it differently, and don’t think either way is wrong. 

  • Nancy Fairweather

    Generally great advice- but you may find some benefit in splitting your Bible reading and prayer time.  Pray for half your current Bible time, then read the Bible.  Then ask God about anything you found difficult (or why you thought it was such an ‘easy’ passage).  I find greater benefit in being able to shut out the entire world and just be with God- this makes for bad driving lol, eyes shut and all… :D

  • Jk7javakafe

    @michaelhyatt, thanks for these powerful words. I have the same problem trying to slay my own “dragon” daily. Knowing what has to be some daily is the easy part, however, the “doing” part is where we as people tend to let the “dragon” hinder our daily activities. We all have to rid our lives daily from Satan.

  • Born2xcell4real

    Wonderful? you dragon seem to be same as mine but i have succeeded in slaying the spiritual and intellectual head in part, and ignored the physical part. I will push hard to slain this dragon completely. God bless you for this piece!

  • Ron Alvesteffer

    I like to pray in the car too.  That seems to be the best place to avoid distractions.  I turn off the radio, put the phone on vibrat and pray.  Also a good time to listen.  I always wonder though, why, when I am praying for patience, I seem to get cut off in traffic!  This challenges me and I think it is God messing with and testing me. :)  I

    • Michele Cushatt

      I’ve learned praying for patience is one of the most dangerous prayers!

  • Kingsley Izuka Uchunor

    What a metaphoric post there!

    My most dreaded dragon USED TO BE reading the Bible before breakfast, until God gave me breakthrough that now my cliché is: “No Bible, No Breakfast” .  Once in a while I do exercise but what I do most commonly, for my physical well-being, is taking at least a glass of water before any other thing every morning.

    This has greatly helped my metabolism, in fact, I can not remember the last time I became ill.
    These are fast becoming a lifestyle!

  • Jeff Randleman

    I just read this today!  Exactly what I needed.  Thanks!

  • Joey O’Connor

    This is such a timely post. I have been working out harder the past month with triathlon training (a new 2012 goal), but at the same time, been battling head colds that won’t go away.

    Fatigue, sickness and lack of focus can really cause the dragon to raise it’s head.

    On some days, one of the most spiritual things I can do is take a nap!

    • Jim Martin

      Joey, you are so right about fatigue, sickness, and lack of focus being factors that cause the dragon to raise it’s head.  I’ve experienced this as well.

      • Joey O’Connor

        Thanks Jim…we all need what I call “foxhole brothers.” Best to you! God bless…

  • Marty

    Great post.  I think what you’re doing is honoring the principle of “first fruits.”  You’re giving God the first and he’s blessing the rest supernaturally.  Blessings Michael.  I enjoy your blog.

  • Anton

    Michael my dragon has a fourth head – an emotional component. I need to review my dreams and goals every morning and say affirmations to keep me focused on what is important. If i do not keep focus, the urgent things can easily distract me from what is important. Great blog – I can’t wait for it every morning. ( we get it first in New Zealand) Anton

  • Robert Ewoldt

    Michael, this is a fantastic post.  I like the metaphor of slaying the dragon early in the morning.

  • Matthew Lawler

    Nice post. It’s real tough to slay him in the broad light of mid-day. Morning is definitely best!

    • Barry Hill

      By mid morning, if I haven’t already slayed the dragon, I’m already thinking about all the things on my list for the day—and it’s too late. you’re right, morning is best!

  • Angiewright7

    Great post! I love the imagery of the three headed dragon. I too like to listen to books. I even at times listen to my Bible. Another great audiobook source is They even sometimes offer some excellent audiobooks for free.

    • Barry Hill

      I am with you! I have been listening to the Bible in my car on the way to work. My default radio station is ESPN Mike and Mike in the morning, but I have been replacing them with the word! And, now that the EAGLES are out of contention it’s a little less painful. ha. Thanks for posting!

  • Tim Blankenship

    Unbelievable timing on this post. With the New Year, I believe “resolutions” start with these disciplines. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Wayne Hedlund

    This is great advise. I try to be an avid reader but still feel like I’m always behind. I might just try listening to books. Thanks for the repost and reminder!

  • Dreemail

    Every time I read your blog I have less excuse, and I thank you again.  I do think there is some aspect of lethargy that is biological, but I think you would largely disagree.  I find that at the same time encouraging and frustrating.

  • Br Branch

    The evening is the best time to start the day, see Genesis.

    In other words, by going to bed with everything sorted, the mornings are prepared for you.

    This may mean, and usually does, putting all the days dragons out of your life, so to speak. Each day we encounter things that would make themselves at home with us if we would only let them sleep the night and be made welcome.

    Try it. Before hitting the pillow, engage in a meditation on the lessons learnable for the day, meaning the good and bad, and as you do so, allow your thoughts to be taken captive by the faith you have and by so doing, close the door on unwanted guests, being the dragons of the day. Instead enter into some deep and meaningful praise and worship and sink sweetly into sleep from there.

    The night is for preparation for the morning and the day that comes with it. Sleep well and the dragons will be a thing of yesterday.

    Blessings and love,

    Br. Branch.

    ps… the same is true for when we get home from work or anywhere (the shopping trip and drive may be a stir-crazy experience!) when we need to leave all dragons outside. A moment of two to decide to do so and we can enter the house and home without bringing any invaders in.

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  • Anonymous

    Lovely metaphor! 

    Recently I’ve created my dragon-slaying habits, though not only before breakfast:

    1. every evening a write a question to myself and in the morning I answer it
    2. in my daily commute to work I spent around 45 min in a bus – that’s where I read a book
    3. and then I spent around 20-30 minutes running

    This proves to be great exercise and definitely slays the dragon of lethargy :)

  • Farhat

    Read the Quran as well. It is an amazing book. 

  • Drochester

    I really liked this.  Thanks for Sharing

  • Mike Mobley

    Awesome post!  Love the disciplines set up for each day!

  • Izzy

    Such a good article :)

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  • Rona Riley Davis

    My 3-headed dragon wears 3 hockey masks called SNOOZE 5, SNOOZE 10, and SNOOZE 5 More!!  My biggest hurdle in life is getting up!  Not waking up,  I do wake up, I just don’t stay awake & I don’t get up!  I stay up late, and have for as long as I remember.  As a wife, mom, solopreneur, and ministry founder it seems night is the only time I truly have to myself – uninterrupted, quiet enough to hear my thoughts and allow my creativity to flow into projects I cherish!  BUT, a few short hours later, again I smell that hot dragon breath, feel the fire crisping my eyelashes and open my eyes to see those ugly hockey masks staring me down, bullying me to hit the snooze and go back to sleep!  On the rare occasion I do wake up early, ahead of my family, and steal those precious morning hours alone I love it and my day goes so much smoother,  better, and more productive.

    I don’t know how to get out of this decades long cycle and yank off those hockey masks, crush them and bury them so I can THEN slay the dragon!  Any suggestions from rehabilitated night owls??? 

    • Barry Hill

      I am with you! For a while I would put reminders on top of my Iphone (my alarm clock) to jog me into reality. For example I put my manuscript on it one time, a sneaker, and my Bible. This helps me get into the right attitude because so many times I am just “not present” when I am waking up!

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  • The

    i love this article

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  • Lelanie9

    Thank you for this sharing this! My 5 year old daughter has been giggling since yesterday and tonight I asked her what is so funny, she told me she saw three heads. I googled three heads and found some interesting things. The serpent/devil is compared to a dragon in revelations, on another website they describe the devil as someone with three heads. Your dragon with three heads helped was like a confirmation. Everyone has a dragon and most people dont realise it. I prayed for my daughter and will keep on praying that Jesus will protect her body, mind and soul from this dragon! Thank you again…

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  • Bennet_Marky

    Hey nice post. I am happy that you are able to slay the dragon with three heads. Sometimes I am only able to kill two of the three heads of the dragon. The reading of book is something that I never do and I will do it one day.

  • toddmckeever

    Completely agree with all of your post. I have one question if you would or anyone else feel free to answer. With audio books, how do you remember certain points from the books if you cannot take notes while jogging and listening to audio books etc.?

    • Michele Cushatt

      I try to mark the time at the key points I want to come back to. Then, when I get back to my office, I listen to those sections briefly and write down the key points. If I know I’m going to do a lot of highlighting, I’ll buy a hard copy, not the audio book. 

  • CoachYvonne

    Maybe it’s the male version, but I love the dragon metaphor. It catches the danger of allowing the day to rule. I needed this. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Michele Cushatt

      I do, too! Adds a dash of heroism to the struggle.

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  • Katiakantzia

    Michael, I love your St. George icon and the dragon allegory!
    Have a great vacation…the engine cannot run if the tank is empty!

    Eating good nutritional food, sleeping early, getting into the habit of excercising, writing, and reading a psalm before any one else is up, and praying througout the day while cooking, baking, driving have done it for me!
    Good comments everyone! 

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    Beatiful post – and such a reminder that there IS a dragon awaiting us every day.   I appreciate the way you addressed with specifics how you took off each head of the dragon.  Too many times I think we give just the “generalities” – you nailed it with the specifics. 

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    I always thought it took 21 days to form a good habit – 14 days for a bad one!  And you said it, Marshall – it doesn’t get any easier to form good habits.  The older I get – the harder it gets.  To form the good – to break the bad.

    • Saskia E. Voss

      Hi Louise, I learned to change a habit takes 28 days. Weare for twenty eight days a wrist band one arm, if you brake the habit you would like to change (good or bad) change it to the other writst. This will bring awareness to it and your intention to wear the band consistently on one wrist will prevail.
      Have a great day.

  • Steve Borek

    I start my day expressing gratitude. I like to shake up my routine from time to time. I find my brain likes variety. Sometimes it’s reading Proverbs, or reading a chapter in a leadership or self help book, or simply listening to music to jump start my day.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Great suggestions, Steve. I also agree with your gratitude practice. It really sets the right tone for the entire day. Do you express it in writing or verbally or both?

  • Chet Cromer

    How do you choose what audio books to listen to? I’m currently re-listening to the “7 Habits” book while I do the dishes or go running and constantly find myself wanting to stop and write something down… which is hard to do when your hands are all soapy or sweaty. 

    What I THINK is the answer I’m looking for is to choose those books that I can get a great overview from, and then quickly recap anything I want to remember when I finish what I’m doing by writing it down in my journal.


    • Michele Cushatt

      This is a tough one. Reading is an interactive experience for me, and I want to highlight and take notes while I read. So I usually reserve fiction or memoir for audio books, more relaxation reading. Then, if I want to read a writing craft or other non-fiction book, I buy the hard copy. Then after listening to 30-60 minutes on audio, I’ll pull out the hard copy and quickly highlight the key parts. Not sure this is helpful, but it’s the only solution I’ve been able to come up with!

  • Tina(:Lee

    My dragon has two heads, arthritis & easy muscle strain throughout my body. To slay it each morning I must get to bed on time the night before, maintain my daily devotion routine, & manage my daily schedule carefully. I often spend my mornings recouping from the previous days activities. During this time I am seeking Jesus through whatever source He has given me for that moment. (This blog is one of those sources(:) I fill myself up on Jesus love & wisdom each morning. This gives me the strength to get moving & I have sweet victory every day! Music is one of my biggest sources of encouragement. I love listening to Christian artists reminding me of how great God is, how much He loves me, & how strong I am when He is my strength! As I said, Jesus gives me fresh victory every day through this routine!

  • Chris Coussens

    Glad you said that. Looking at your ideal schedule the other day I saw it ended at 9 pm. 9 to 5 am is 8 hours… And I was thinking, wow I rarely get more than 6 or 6.5.

  • Chris Coussens

    Yes, getting up is tough, but the real discipline I struggle with is on the other side. Preparing for the next day the night before, and even more importantly getting to bed. We’ve never done this well, so I drive my wife crazy wanting to go to bed early one night and wanting to stay up and mess around the next.

  • Andi-Roo

    I loved this piece the first time I read it, & am grateful to read it again now. What a great reminder that I need to get back on slaying *MY* dragons before breakfast, too. I always try to work through some sort of self-improvement book to heal my spirit; I try to jog two miles to feel better physically; & I try listen non-fiction (history, science, biography, writing, etc) to keep my brain functional. If I start my day with these three things, I’m doing good, and celebrate by “allowing” myself to read for pleasure before bed that night. Otherwise I have to read blogs & drop comments. This is a win-win, of course, as either way I’m relaxing, but reading for pleasure feels like more of a reward to me… esp. since I don’t always manage to slay my dragon’s three heads.

  • CatNoa

    Glad you reposted this.  I’m a new follower and I enjoyed it for the first time.  My dragon looks oddly like yours.  That baby gets around. Still trying to slay it first thing in the morning.  One head has been cleaved.  Still battling with the other two.

  • Carmen Kennedy Wilkes

    This is a great reminder. I am working on my life plan and keep dragging my feet. My dragons heads are Read my Bible, Exercise, and Believe I can do it. It being what ever I am working on.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Belief is so important! Doubt can be a crazy tough dragon to fight all day.

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  • Nor Franco

    Thank you Michael. This is a fresh breath of air.

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  • Sheenabarnes39

    This was so helpful ! thanks! 

  • Christopher Battles

    The reading and exercise part is what I need to work on.  Bible reading is first thing in the morning.
    Where I am though, doing reading later in the day works well.  
    Thank you Michael for these tips and encouragement get more routine into our lives when it comes to the essentials.  

    K, bye

  • Dan Armishaw

    Great post. Reminds me of Brian Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog”, where he advises that if you have to eat an ugly frog every day, you might as well eat it first thing in the morning, and everything you do after that will be much more pleasant!

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  • Chol

    Im winning 2 of the 3 dragons. Now preparing to battle the 3rd one. Schedule that exercise! :)

    Thanks for this post mike! great guideline and reminder.

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  • Simon


    As someone who is keen to absorb as much information for application as you are, have you found a reliable method/way/system for retention and capturing key information when listening to the audiobooks/podcasts while engaged in other activities at the same time?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, no. I pretty much rely on my memory. To be honest, I am not so much interested in regurgitating the content as I am having it interact with my own thinking and shaping that in new ways.

      • Simon

        I know what you mean Mike. I find it, at times, difficult to retain enough of the key information that would enable me to grapple with it and benefit from it to the fullest extent possible. I’ll have to continue thinking about better and more effective ways for that type of capture.

  • Lindsey Whitney

    Great post!  I have been inspired by this and your post about morning meditation.  I’m trying to get my mornings in order, but with 2 little ones, sometimes it’s a challenge!  Thanks for sharing! 

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  • robert murray

    So you have clearly defined what is happening to me on my days off from work when I struggle to find motivation to do all of the things that I said that I would do when I am at work. I find myself struggling to get these three areas done, at least before noon anyway. Thanks for highlighting these areas! I needed this.

  • Kimberly Felton

    The analogy of the dragon is helpful to me — it puts me in this hero role, and I’m allowed to prevail…rather than groan and roll over. Fits well with another post I just read — — which begins the day with a blessing rather than burying my head in a pillow. I always love these ideas in the afternoons…tomorrow morning, though, will be my test.

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  • kimba the white lion

    the physical lethargy is not a demon at all for me, it’s a retro demon! I have made running my ‘job’ and it actually gets in the way of other responsibilities and sometimes I am too tired to get much done..just sayin’

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  • Bob LaForce

    My early mornings are sacred. I wake at 5:30 each day and check the weather and headlines on my iphone (TV is deadly!!) while making my coffee. Then I take a fresh cup of coffee and toast and do my devotions and prayer. I use Read the Bible through in a year, but I use different versions each year. Currently I am using The Message Bible edition. I also use a devotional from Africa that I have come to enjoy called, Our Daily Manna. It is a bit more pentecostal than I like at times, but usually it is quite good. I also read Oswald Chambers. Then I start my notes for the day, prioritizing what I need to do most. Its really a big to do list! Then off to the gym and from there to the office.

  • Fr Justin

    Well said!

  • EJM Photography

    Thank you very much-I needed this conformation!

  • Dragon

    Well I like dragons so they actually help me through the day. So sorry if this was offensive, but I think Lethargy does’nt like what you call and you think of him. Stop and think it over before you get the retaliation of the incorrect judgement.

  • Dragon 9

    Ok, so you forgot about 2 very important parts. 1: Without Lethargy, there would be NO relaxation or falling asleep. 2: Are you sure that he is only plaguing you because you slay him? (by the way, babies NEED Lethargy to get enough growth to be a child. I also like dragons. I personally think you are misjudging this situation by far. (by the way, i feel lethargic right now but i don’t care) Please do not delete this comment as it tells the full story that you forgot, or don’t want to, tell it to the audience. You want us to hate dragons because you are mad. You like slaying them. Imagine if you permanently slayed him, sleep won’t exist. And what happens if sleep does not exist? Think about it, then respond,

  • Futurestrader777

    Very true! My job has been very stressful recently and many people (not all) in the financial industry are lost. I have realized that my tiredness in the morning gets in the way of what matters. Such as giving myself to God in the morning and waking up with praise and thanksgiving. It is one of the most important things a Christian individual can do before heading into the battlefield and stresses of work. Sacrificing ourselves everyday makes those things at work seem minuscule when you have petitioned your worries,anxieties and doubts to the Almighty. Do it everyday and just see the blessings pour out in your life, outlook and workplace. Be a lighted city on a hill!

  • tammy

    O my!!! This how I struggle thank you by putting it into words I CAN see myself conquering my dragons!

  • Bill Johnson

    All I can do is say WOW! I needed that. Over time things et in the way and the dragon gets stronger. Pray for me as I begin to slay them early, before they take over.

  • Melinda Todd

    I pray through out the the day but always before I get out of bed. I hear my husband start his car at 5:30am every morning and I pray for him as he leaves. I can’t get up when it’s still dark out though. Every time I try to do this, I drag the rest of the day. It’s very wise that you know that you have to slay those three dragons every morning!

  • djump

    Great blog post. Thank you! Michael, what audio book are you listening to now? Would you pass on a couple recommendations?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am listening to Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath. It is a terrific book. Thanks.

  • Shane Sams

    Michael, I just wanted to thank you for this article. So much truth. Thank you for boldly putting the Bible and your relationship with God first.

  • MaryAnn Diorio

    One day years ago, when I was feeling
    overwhelmed, I read Proverbs 10:27 in the TLB translation. The verse changed my
    life. It reads: “Reverence for God adds hours to each day.” As a
    young mom with two small children and a writing career to grow and develop, I
    certainly needed more hours in my day. The very day I read that verse, I
    immediately began to reverence God by putting Him first in every thought,
    decision, and action, To my surprise and delight, I finished my most important
    priorities by 3:00 pm instead of the usual midnight. Ever since, I have been
    reverencing God and adding hours to each day. I compare this spiritual
    phenomenon to the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Reverencing God moves
    us out of the dimension of the natural into the dimension of the supernatural.
    It is there that miracles occur.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love that verse. Thanks for sharing!

      • MaryAnn Diorio

        You are most welcome, Mr. Hyatt! :) Thank YOU for your inspiring post. You are a great blessing!

  • James Thomas Canali

    Love it thanks!

  • Matthew Weathers

    Great post still.

  • Nathan Shearer

    An oldie but a goodie!
    My dragons were similar but joining the 5 club and getting what your mind and body need into you makes for a life changing difference. I wrote about it here enjoy

  • Shawn Andrews

    I love the creativity of this post. I will never look at my mornings the same again. My wife and and I recently became morning people after listening to your podcast on the subject. I look forward to getting up at 5:30am. I never thought that as a father of four under six (including three year old triplets) I would say that but I am. Thanks for all you do Mr. Hyatt.

  • Amy Hollingsworth

    My dragon makes me toast!

  • Your Italian Recipes Guy

    Thanks for this post.
    I will start to read the Bible back.

  • Jim Webb

    Thanks Michael! I also struggle with this “dragon” every morning. What book or books have you listened to recently? What are you listening to now?

  • BlownUpGuy

    Great post all around, Michael. Well-rounded, simple, and practical. I also do these things and it brings balance to the day that seems to always have tidal waves on the horizon. Very helpful in staying focused and in mentally standing firm.

  • Saskia E. Voss

    I have the same dragon every morning.Up to know I always read on my kindle first, still lying in bed what helped me to wake up. And it is a nice awakening when you have no commitments reading for a couple hours. From today on I will get up and follow your advice. I too have a commuite of two hours daily and try to use this time for my spirituell well-being and reflection.

    My issue is truly to stay focused on the important thing, my dragon has so many heads I have to fight each single day. Being not anymore the youngest (65), I have to get my business going .- the retirement is just around the corner -. One head is a writers block – and like yours the lethargic one is the worst.

    Thanks Michael for sharing your dragon…. Yes, it is good to know I am not the only one. And reading about how you manage, is such an inspiration. My goal for 2015 is, to fight the biggest dragon – my own culture –
    I lived for 30 years in the US and miss the easy going way of life. The upbeat and positive outlook in most people. In Germany it is quite the opposite and my biggest challenge is, to show people life can be fun and rewarding.

    You are awesome and I live to read your writings.

    Have a great day and Holiday Season.

    Greetings from the old world Hamburg, Germany,


  • Joey Basta

    SLEEP, the lack of it is my “dragon.” I can’t seem to get enough good sleep and that affects everyday of my life. Because of this I don’t have any spiritual, physical or mental energy to get through each day and the tasks that need to be done (taking care of our baby son, business, reading, praying, exercising; etc). This is an everyday cycle I seem to be stuck in.