13 Feb Conquer Each Day With a Morning Routine
It is often said that if we have a successful morning, we will have a successful rest of the day.
On the other side of the spectrum, laziness follows laziness. If we are complacent upon waking up, it takes much more effort to get productive than if we were to already have completed multiple tasks.
Having a set routine in the mornings can be integral in helping you grow and keeping you focused on your goals. Starting each day on a strong note can translate heavily into more substantial areas of your life.
It creates a ripple effect. Successful mornings lead to successful, productive days, and this inevitably creates a successful life.
It’s as Aristotle has once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.
Anchor in the Lives of Greats
You can see prominent examples of how integral a morning ritual could be by looking at the routines of the individuals who were highly successful and did great things.
- Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter has a consistent routine each morning, waking up at 5 every day to meditate for 30 minutes and working out for 21 min shortly after.
- Steve Jobs woke up every morning asking himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And when the answer has been no for too many days in a row, he KNEW he needed to change something in his life.
- Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States, asked himself a similar question each morning, “What good shall I do today” upon waking up at 5. He set his plans and goals for the day long before anyone else was awake.
- Richard Branson, no matter where he is in the world, wakes up at 5am to exercise and then spend time with his family.
Why Implement a Morning Routine Into your Life?
Having a morning routine is like an anchor to your life.
Not only does the morning routine set the tone for the rest of the day, it builds your discipline. Practicing a habit such as meditation or journaling, every day is tough. It requires a good amount of discipline and a consistent willpower to accomplish. And each time you successfully complete that routine, it only further ingrains it into your mind and life.
Furthermore once you complete a simple task such as making your bed, it starts a snowball of more tasks. This is because you feel a sense of accomplishment each time you complete a task which essentially motivates you to complete another task, and so on and so forth.
Contrary to this, when you sleep in and neglect your duties in the morning, it greatly demotivates you and causes you stay in lazy mode throughout the day
You may know this feeling when you snooze your alarm a couple times, then wake up just a few minutes before your work. As you hurry to dress and quickly get ready all you can think of is your day being in complete chaos! And this continues throughout the day as you try to adjust yourself to the rushed morning.
Furthermore, cutting out all the unnecessary decisions in the morning—knowing exactly what to do that first hour after you wake up, allows you to focus on using your willpower for the right decisions later on in the day.
And the best part about having a morning routine is that even if the rest of the day goes to complete shit, you can at least feel good knowing that you did those few things in your routine.
A Run-Through of My Perfect Morning
Here, I’ll give you a step-by-step run-through of my perfect morning. Each header will be a step within the routine, placed chronologically and below that will be a few sentences of the instructions and why I do that step.
Of course there are good days and there are bad days—but I find that if I adhere to this morning ritual without too many distractions, the day will be mine for the taking.
Wake up and drink a liter of water
Upon waking up, your body is in a dehydrated state from not having any fluids for the past 7-8 hours. Drinking a liter of water will fire up your metabolism and ensure that you’re fully hydrated to take on the day!
Do a priming exercise
I got this technique from Tony Robbins, a performance coach who has coached individuals such as Bill Clinton and Serena Williams.
In this priming exercise, I do a set of 30 Kapalabhati Pranayama breaths. To perform these, I sit straight up (usually on my bed) and then take a quick, deep inhale before exhaling the entire breath forcefully, moving my hands from my side, up above my head and then back down with each breath. The inhalations are done in quick succession, and I count after each inhale and exhale.
Express gratitude for the things you have in your life
Then, I spend a minute expressing gratitude for the things I have in my life. They can be anything—whether it’s being grateful for the sunlight shining in through the windows or having a roof over my head.
There are only so many emotions we can feel at once—if we are grateful for all the things we have, how can we have any room for negativity or depression in our lives?
Read your daily mantra along with a self-affirmation
Having a daily mantra and self-affirmation can be a powerful tool in keeping yourself aligned with your goals and values. I read over both once a day in the morning. You can learn more about the power of having a daily mantra here.
Think of three things you want to create in you life
After reading my daily mantra and self-affirmation, I will then think of three things I want to create in my life. I will visualize them like I already have them for 2-3 minutes, including how my life would be better with them, the things I’m doing with them there, and anything else that would contribute to the mental picture of the person I aspire to become.
Ask yourself a few empowering questions
Asking yourself empowering questions in the morning is like the ignition to your engine. It revs you up and gets you excited to tackle the day ahead of you.
Here are a few examples of the empowering questions I ask myself in the morning.
- What do you love most about yourself?
- What am I happy about today?
- In what ways is today going to be totally awesome?
- What gets you truly excited about life?
- How do you define your purpose in life?
- What are your top 5 values? Are you living those values every day?
- What motivates you to do your very best?
- What self-limiting belief have you been clinging to? How would your life be better if you got rid of this belief?
Make bed and take a cold shower
At this point, I’ll get up and make my bed. Making your bed ensures that you won’t go back to sleep (and is a good way to ensure that your room stays clean.
The initial stage of getting into that freezing cold shower can be difficult, but the feeling you get after all the endorphins are released feels amazing. It feels like drinking a cup of coffee mixed in with a nice runner’s high.
If you find you can’t handle the cold, start off with a hot shower and lower the temperature towards the end for a minute. It will be hard the first few times you do it, but as you continue it, your willpower will get stronger and soon you’ll be looking forward to it as your natural morning energy boost.
You can learn more about how powerful cold showers can be by reading my friend Stefano’s blog post on cold showers here.
Read 20 pages of a non-fiction book
Reading is one of the most essential habits you can pick up.
All the greats are avid readers. Warren Buffett read between 600 and 1000 pages per day. Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year. Mark Zuckerberg reads a book every other week.
Investing a short amount of time each day to gain more knowledge is essential for self-growth. It’s always good to set a page number goal for yourself that’s reasonably doable. For me, it’s 20 pages a day, which equates to about a book every two weeks.
Journal and write the three biggest things you want to accomplish today
Journaling in the morning is extremely therapeutic as you usually have so many racing thoughts. And getting those out onto paper can put you in a much more positive mindset to take on the tasks for the day.
As Tim Ferriss says, “Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life? As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”
Within that journal, I will also write down the three biggest things I want to accomplish by the end of the day.
Meditation has been one of the most powerful habits I’ve picked up. I will typically sit for 15-20 minutes, practicing vipassana meditation. A great book I recommend if you’re looking to get started into meditation secularly is The Mind Illuminated.
You can also read a guide on meditation from Nuoptimal here.
Plan and get ready to tackle the day
Afterwards, I’ll do anything necessary for me to get ready for the day.
I’ll block out different events on my calendar, assign tasks into time-blocks, plan when my workout is going to be, brush my teeth, etc.
This allows me to stay on track with all my tasks allowing me to know exactly what’s going on during the day, so no unexpected events suddenly pop out.
Be selfish with your time. Do the things that will contribute to your goals, and strive to fill it with meaningful activities.
Conquer Each Day With a Morning Routine
Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition. —W. H. Auden
What’s most important about your morning routine, is finding what works for you. Start small, maybe set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than the previous day or begin with a simple task each morning such as meditation or journaling. And continue adding habits one at a time after you’ve gotten used to the first few.
In the end, nothing changes until you do. So, if you want a more fulfilling and productive life, then you have to do something that will get you there.
And building a positive morning routine that works for you and your life could be the first step to making it happen.
So stop waking up every morning just a few minutes before your class or work. Take the time each morning, set up a routine and dedicate this period of time solely to yourself and your growth as an individual.