On Morning Routines

Getting into a consistent morning routine has been one of the most valuable habits I’ve developed.

It started a little over a year and a half ago, at the end of 2015.

I was at a pretty low point in my life, coming back from California after some failed business attempts with BodyBoss, and sitting with a lot of credit card debt and no money in the bank.

In the process of my turnaround, the thing I decided to focus most on was habits.  More specifically, my morning routine.

I’ve always been a morning person.  I find my mind works best then, operating with the most clarity and calmness than throughout the rest of the day.

I am also a firm believer that the greatest asset you own is yourself— your skills, knowledge, ability and experiences.  And that anytime you can invest in something, it should be in developing yourself.  More so that stocks, bonds, index funds, Roth IRAs, or even Bitcoin for that matter.

I wanted a morning routine that reflected this.

No matter what I wanted to accomplish with a given day, I knew if I could get the day started with a self developing routine, I could set the stage for a successful rest of the day.

On a given day, I’ll usually wake up anytime between 5:30-6:30am.  This is what the routine looks like:

  1. Smile— I try to make this the very first thing I do when I wake up, and the last thing I do before I sleep.
  2. Record my dream— I don’t always have a lucid dream, or remember for that matter, but I try to record down the previous nights dream or whatever I can remember.
  3. Meditate— Usually a 10 minute meditation.  Sometimes guided, sometimes just thinking about my intentions and visualizing the things I wish to experience.
  4. Read— I’m an avid reader, and aim to do about 20mins.  I’ve been able to fly through an average of about a book a week just by doing 20mins every morning.  I do all of the above 4 items before getting out of bed, or trying to look at my phone.
  5. 9min workout + cold shower— I like to get my metabolism moving by doing a light workout.  Focusing on getting the heart rate going and stretching.  I then immediately follow this with a cold shower.  There are tremendous benefits to cold showers I’ve previous written about, and I find the workouts really elevate my mood and provide me energy.  It’s better than a coffee.
  6. Morning journal— It starts after with a series of self affirmations.  Basically just written statements as reminders of who I am and what I view as my purpose.  “I am” is one of the most powerful statements you can make, and it is essentially just a series of 7 “I am” statements that I write every single day.  After that, I do a mind dump of what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, and any general thoughts going through my head.  The monkey brain can get very loud and distracting if you don’t give it space.  I find that this is the best way to just clear my mind of any internal dialogues or conflicts I am thinking about.  It can also been a reflection of a kickass day I had, or an awesome moment.  So not always negative or concerning by any means.  In either case, the intention is to provide the mind the time and space to address the things that might be looming on the back burner so they don’t gnaw at me through the rest of the day.
  7. Review goals— I have this broken down into 3 systems.  1) Life goals, 2) year goals, 3) today goals.  And always reviewed in that order.  Life and year goals are written PDFs saved on my computer.  They evolve over time and I make gradual adjustments, but largely they remain the same and help set the big picture of what I’m aiming to do.  After that, I write out my goals for the day and create a checklist of things I am trying to accomplish.  I don’t always hit 100% of the items, but it helps provide a general set of focuses and priorities.  Always at the very top of my today goals is “morning routine?” and I write out how many of the 7 items in my morning routine I hit.  (6/7, 4/7, 7/7, etc).

The above takes me about an hour to do.  By that time, its usually around 7:30-8:00am and I’m ready to tackle the day.

It’s just an hour every morning.  An hour to invest in yourself, your well being, and remind yourself of the bigger picture you’re really after.

It’s been a slow and gradual process to develop, but deeply impactful.

If you don’t have a morning routine yet, I’d recommend starting slowly and gradually compounding on it.  The most important thing is developing the habit.

Take some time to invest in yourself.

It’s just about the most rewarding thing you can do.