Monthly Mindset: The Morning Routine
If you win the morning, you win the day.
Not all of us are built to thrive in the 5am hour every day. The carpe diem folks that are running 10 miles, sending emails, preparing meals for themselves and spouses, and tackling children before 8am, touché. I consider myself a morning person more than a night owl, but even I applaud you and your efforts. Some of us can barely get out of bed and out the door to work every day - let alone on time and with the focus for the day required to be as successful as we would like.
So if we’re going to conquer the day we must have better habits to build off of.
Our routines are comprised of habits that we create, which in turn run our lives. Habits involve the creation of complex neural pathways in our minds that bridges together seemingly unrelated tasks into clumps — super sciency mindset stuff here. These seemingly unrelated tasks form the basis for our habits. Over time, routine sets of behaviors are repeated, and the habits become more deeply embedded in our minds, etching the neural pathways in stronger.
If you’re looking for more on all things habits, I strongly recommend The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life & Business by Charles Duhigg
So, imagine how much more effective the rest of your day can be with productive habits — habits that you have purposely placed in motion. It’s not only starting the day with a plan, but beginning the day successful - you’re in the win column already no matter how the day twists and turns.
The morning hours are different for all of us, and they don’t have to start at 5 a.m. everyday. One of my closet friends is a successful DJ and gets home from work at 3 a.m., morning for him is more like 11 a.m.
This doesn’t mean his day begins any different than mine – which is 5 a.m. – it’s simply a different morning. Your morning routine begins when it is convenient for your schedule.
Our mornings don’t have to be a struggle. They can be productive and set ourselves up for better success throughout the day.
Finding a routine that is doable and simple even in the early hours of our day is possible. Start small by keeping it simple. Here are a few things that I found helped me map out a small routine to build off of:
- -eat a good breakfast
- -listen to your body clock (meditation, yoga, running, workout)
- -do creative work when it feels best (writing, reading)
- -set an alarm to wake up/go to bed
- -disengage at night (no phone, tablet, tv)
We can organize and plan, and take action on all of our plans, willing ourselves towards our goals, but we can’t predict how our days will unfold. One less crush of the snooze button could be the 15 minute difference between running out the door in a forgetful rush spilling over yourself and your coffee, and walking out the door prepared to crush the day ahead.
Our routines become paramount to our successes because they can so heavily influence the pace and outcome of our day, and subsequently our lives. By building better routines in the morning, we can improve just about anything throughout our days.
It all starts with the morning routine. Begin there, and work your way through your day, handling all of your other routines, but start with a morning routine that fits your schedule. It doesn't have to be complicated or overly detailed.
Mine has evolved quite a bit over past few months, and there is more I’d like to do with it, but for now I’m in a really nice rhythm with it and my schedule:
If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m doing today? If ever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
—— I stole this from Steve Jobs, and changed it some, but it’s at the top of my morning list:
- -wake up at 5:15 a.m. (out of the bed)
- -splash cold water on my face, brush teeth
- -take athletic greens & vitamins
- -cook breakfast (even if I don’t eat it at home) & pack meals for the day (I prepare food for the week on Sundays)
- -read Daily Stoic
- -journal for 5 minutes (whatever comes to mind)
I have an evening routine that helps bring me down and disconnect from my days. I have found that this routine disconnect is just as important for me as the morning routine.
- -wash dishes for the following morning
- -Floss, brush teeth, mouth wash
- -Take magnesium
- -review planner for following day
- -read for 15 minutes (anything)
- -in bed by 10 p.m. (weeknights)
I’d love to hear about your morning or evening routines too! Please feel free to share!