As humans, we are meant to be creators and makers.
It is in our DNA.
One of the biggest challenges though is just starting.
Because things get in the way as the day progresses.
These include distractions, overcoming negative emotions and other people’s demands on your time are just a few.
Some people start their morning in chaos.
Wake up late and plunge into the day.
Dash out the door.
No set routines or rituals.
That approach to life is a recipe for failure.
Successful people have morning routines that set them up to thrive and flourish.
Why are these morning routines important?
Willpower has been shown to be finite according to Kelly McConigal, PhD and author of “The Willpower Instinct“.
According to her research we only so much of it and it runs out as we use it.
So starting your day and applying it to what is important can be the difference between success and failure.
But routines can also help you with the following:
- Keep you moving forward despite how your feeling.
- Nourish your mind and spirit.
- Give your body the energy it needs to get through the day and thrive.
- Anchors you. You can start without thinking and not worry about how your feeling.
Morning routines will sustain you when tough times show up.
And we all know that they will.
Here are some routines from successful people.
Tim Ferris achieved global attention when he wrote his first book. The 4 Hour Work Week. It was one of my key inspirations for starting my blog and digital entrepreneurs journey.
His core philosophy to life is “Stoicism”. Routine for him is the discipline and ritual to overcome emotions that can ruin his day.
Here is his morning routine as outlined in Businessinsider.com
- Meditates for 20 minutes – He uses a technique called Transcendental Meditation
- Drinks some strong tea – His combo is pu-erh aged black tea, green tea, and turmeric and ginger shavings, he adds hot water and lets it steep for one to two minutes. Then, in his mug, he’ll add one to two tablespoons of coconut oil or Quest MCT Oil Powder for a dose of medium-chain triglycerides, which some studies have shown to be linked to promoting fat burning.
- Journals for 5-10 minutes – He alternates between a 5-minute journal and a Morning pages exercise.
- Has a small breakfast – He often has half a can of Amy’s black bean chilli, a low-fat chilli that’s high in fibre and protein
- Exercises for 20-90 minutes – Varies between a peloton bike and a 20-minute high-intensity interval training workout.
For Tim, he knows that the daily routine can change your emotions rather than letting emotions control your day.
Twyla is a world-famous choreographer. Her creations are dance.
How does she start her day?
In her book “The Creative Habit” she outlines her rituals of preparation for each workday.
This is what works for her.
- She rises at 5.30 am
- Dresses in her workout clothes.
- Walks outside her Manhattan home and hails a taxi.
- Tells the driver to go to the Pumping Iron Gym where she works out for 2 hours.
What’s the most important part of this routine for Twayla?
That ritual is the cab.
That is the trigger and the first step where she is committed to the gym habit.
She knows that the first steps are hard.
That ritual leads to the routine.
Then the rest of the day is set up for success.
Steve Jobs kept life simple and eliminated distractions where he could.
His morning routine as disclosed in Inc.com revealed that each day he would get up, make his bed, shower and then look at himself in the mirror and ask this question.
“If today was the was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?”
If he discovered that the answer was “no” too many days in a row he knew that something needed to change.
Brian is the author of many books and is known for being highly productive.
Here is his morning routine.
- Get’s up 2 hours before his first fixed appointment.
- Exercises for the first 30 minutes. Swim, Yoga or stretching
- Have coffee
- Spends some time doing some inspirational reading.
- The next hour is to plan his day and have breakfast.
Brain is also the author of the best selling book, “Eat That Frog“, which get’s its title from that famous Mark Twain saying “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day“.
The practical essence of applying that quote to your morning routine is a habit of getting one important thing done before opening your emails.
And we all know that once you open your first email that your ability to get important things done starts sliding into oblivion.
What works for me?
Routines are your creation.
You need to find out what works for your metabolism and feeds your soul and mind.
But reflection on what works for others you gain a glimpse into the elements that you may adopt, copy or ignore.
This is not prescriptive but a journey in self-discovery.
- Rise at 6 am but it used to be 4.30 am. But this changed due to life circumstances evolving. It will change again.
- Drink a glass of water with 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Make a coffee and tea – Coffee to start and Lemon and Ginger Tea to follow while reading
- Be grateful – I use the 5 Minute Journal app
- Read the Bible.
- Meditate for 10 minutes – Currently using the “Calm” app
- Breakfast – Bircher Muesli with almond milk and berries and yoghurt
- Get one priority and important task done before opening emails
Now you may have noticed that exercise is not in my morning routine. I have tried to weave it into how I start my day but it just didn’t work. But I do exercise 3-5 times a week but later in the day or after work.
The most important thing for me with exercise is to do something you love and is convenient and easy. You may be an early morning person so do it then. For me, late afternoon is best.
But my biggest challenge in the process?
Stopping myself opening emails before 10 am.
Finding a morning success routine has been a game changer for me.
It’s transformed my life.
And you may discover that it will take you from ordinary to extraordinary.