About Ian Warner
Habit Stacker Founder | Olympian
My name is Ian and I want to make sure you understand how I got here.
The journey to Habit Stacker did not begin in a typical way. I don't think any kid wakes up and says "mom, when I grow up I want to help people build better habits."
Even when it feels like you're on the wrong path I learned that, even the wrong ones can lead you to the right one if you are patient.
School took a took a toll on me and I learned to hate it pretty early on. It was never easy being different and the color of my skin made me an easy target when my parents first moved to the suburbs.
Growing up in Toronto was full of sports and playing outside on the block with my friends. I ended up gravitating towards football and track and field.
I loved football so much, I only ran track so I could stay in shape and be faster for football. Little did I know that track would eventually become my thing.
Track and field was the first thing that gave me true purpose in life. I wanted to be great. I built my life around it. My friends all wanted to be fast, I went to the best track and field school in Toronto and I set my heart on getting a scholarship.
I remember telling teachers that I wanted to move to the USA but they could not see my vision. They had never seen a kid get a scholarship before so to them I had pipe dreams. I stayed focused and kept moving forward anyway and earned myself a scholarship to Iowa State University.
Little did I know that all of these years running track I was building something beneath the surface that I did not realize at the time.
“There are a lot of things in life that you can't control. You have to focus on the things you can control. No one can stop you from putting in more work!”
- Ian Warner
The first thing I learned in high school is that your tribe is everything. Your life ends up a lot like those who you spend the most time with. I held on tight to this knowledge and took it with me when I left Canada for college.
The move represented the opportunity to remake myself. I was going to the state of Iowa, I did not know one person and no one knew me. All I had was a few bags and a dream with me. I focused on that dream....
Iowa State was full of challenges. I realized that I still hated school, only now it was much harder. The transition to college track and field was tough on my body and I struggled to stay healthy.
I spent most of my first two years injured and fighting with my coach. I tried to transfer because I thought I was a big shot and it turns out that I was a nobody! I was humbled, and thankfully Iowa State was willing to repair the relationship with me.
After getting a second chance, I was determined to make it work. I had accomplished nothing in my time there and I wanted to change that. I made sure that the next season I did not get hurt. I developed routines and habits in the training room and with my self care to make sure I was always healthy.
The season still did not play out the way I wanted. I did not run fast BUT the head coach said something to me that I will never forget. He said "Ian, if you stay healthy and consistent one more year you will have a break out season."
The head coach has coached multiple national champions and you know what he was right...
The next year I stayed healthy. I became an All-American, and went on to make the 2012 Canadian Olympic team. The lesson I learned in college is that consistency and routine starts to add up over the long run. The grind often happens in the dark when no one is watching though.
The Entrepreneur Life
Walking away from track and field was easy for me because I had always loved entrepreneurship and I had started a few companies while still running. I have been a part of two different tech start ups, raised $200,000, started a clothing line, made custom made ties, and done so many more things.
Each one left me with a major life lesson. They did not all fail, some did well and I just quit for no good reason. I did not have enough grit required to get through the tough times.
At the same time I am working jobs and most of them I can't stand. After reaching such a high level, its hard to wake up everyday and feel like your living well below your potential. I knew something had to change.
The thing that really changed my life was the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It reminded me of something important. You have to take ownership of the 24 hours you are given and I started getting up early so that I could do that.
At first my wake-up time was 6 AM
Then it was 5 AM
Then it was 4 AM
Finally I settled on 3:10 AM....
That was my new wake up time. I changed my social handles to @IanWarner310. At the time I didn't know how powerful that would be in enforcing a new habit. This became my thing and my way of life.
From 3:10 AM - 7:00 AM it was me time. I created room in my life to start doing what I wanted to do. I naturally started developing habits and these habits began to change my life.
The problem was that I was still working on all of these other things and I had not truly found my calling yet. I was not ready to accept what I was meant to do.
The tech start up I was working on finally ran out of money. I was $50k in debt (after graduating with none). I had no job, my wife was pregnant with our second child.... Times were hard! I sunk so much into businesses and I had nothing to show for it.
The Habit Life
I had started an app called WeWake which was going to help people wake up on time. It would be the first and only social alarm clock. Once we started working on it, I realized some reason it would not work. I decided to just build an app that could support my morning habits I had been building for a few years.
Then I got hit with something that I never expected. I realized how many people STRUGGLE to build habits. People were great at saying what they wanted. They could tell you all of their goals and desires but they had no day to day plan to get there. Most people were waiting to "blow up" one day.
When I looked back at my life, I realized that track and field was not my gift. It was a talent I had that revealed my gift. My true gift was in building habits and helping others to do the same.
I started studying everyone I could about habits and I came across Habit Stacking. Its a method of building habits where you use a another habit as your cue instead.
I had been doing this and its why I could build habits so easily. I did a few other things really well and I realized that I had been following my own habit system all along.
WeWake was changed to Habit Stacker. I created a course to teach people how to build habits, and shifted the mobile app to focus on habits. The rest is history! We started a movement helping others building habits through our mobile app and course.