Morning routines are not an easy thing to maintain consistently. Some of us wake up and swim in wet dreams of social media acceptance and procrastination. Minutes or hours go by before we even set foot from our beds. We then proceed to load our bodies with carbs in the form of sugary pseudo breakfasts. Even if we sleep well and get off on the right foot, these two, and even more, simple morning routines make us switch feet on the fly and continue our day onwards with the wrong foot.
From my experience in life, and reading books and interviews from people who are smarter or wealthier than me, I have learned a few things that I can do consistently to achieve a state of homeostasis. No ups and downs of sugar. No cravings. No procrastination loop. Here they are:
In fact, this is more of a step 0. You probably have read or heard it all before:
- Never eat or look at blue light two hours before bed
- do not do rigorous exercise before bed
- light reading
- if you can’t fall asleep in half an hour, do not stay to toss, and turn and go into another room and do a relaxing activity.
I will go beyond that:
Find your relaxing sound
Mine are two things: videos of people painting(paintbrush sounds hypnotize me into dreamland) and more recently an alarm I got for Christmas that uses sound and light therapy to help fall asleep and stay asleep while also waking you up in a calming way.
For some people, this can be ASMR, white noise, the sound of rain, the ocean, the sound of people typing on computers, handling papers, or anything else. Find your sound.
Extract the thoughts right out of your head
Really. Either keep a journal where you can empty your mind or use apps like Nirvana. I would advise that you first read the book “Getting things Done” by David Allen to learn how to take actionable steps to solve the problems or complete the projects in your head. The most important thing is not to have them sticking around in the lobby of your mind hotel, kick them out!
For the love of god, speak!
I used to think that by keeping things to myself, I was doing two things: appear stronger than I was, and not burden others with my dilemmas. Meanwhile, It did not occur to me that everyone else was doing the opposite to me. They would dump their issues and then go quietly and joyfully into the night, leaving me with not only my problems to bear but also with all of theirs.
Follow their example. Talk! If you are married or have a significant other, they love it when you share. Trust me. Try it and then notice how you feel afterward. It is very possible that two things will happen:
- The problem will look a million times smaller than it seemed
- He/she will help you find a solution
Either way, it is a win-win-win situation.
Extra tools that may help relax you
The first thing I do after waking up, as other successful people have done, is meditating. As of this writing, I use the Calm app. I find the voice of their narrators and ease of finding the “right” audio clip is unparalleled. I just click on the Daily Calm for that day, and off I go.
The second thing I do after rising is journaling. It does not have to be a long entry. You can use the 5-minute journal technique which consists of:
- 3 things you are grateful for
- 3 things that would make your day great
- 2 affirmations
You can add more as you wish. After this, I would probably write whatever is on my mind: a dream I had or random thoughts. I usually make a long list of terrible ideas, and sometimes there will be a good one.
UPDATE: I have replaced the above journaling with 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing, as explained in “The Artist’s Way”. Approx. time: 30 minutes.
Make your bed
It might sound silly. But momentum is everything. You have to put your mind in a state of “can-do attitude”. Your brain will see your bed well made, and it will add translate it as an accomplishment. Many people speak of this, like Tony Robbins.
To add to the momentum, this would be a great place to add a small exercise routine here — a few jumping jacks, pushups, planks, or squats. I sometimes add kettlebell swings to my morning exercise routine.
UPDATE: I have replaced light exercise with a full-on exercise routine from fitnessblender.com every morning. Check out their programs!
I try to keep my carb count as low as possible in my breakfast. Protein and healthy fats like eggs, avocados, and even yummy bacon are great choices. Just don’t include any cereals, oat, or bread. If you do, you will feel sluggish and it will motivate procrastination and more bad dietary choices.
Make it fun. Try Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs recipe or another of many great low carb breakfasts out there.
Drink only water or black coffee.
A great morning routine is taking a walk around your neighborhood after breakfast. Not only will you aid your body in digestion and get a healthy dose of vitamin D, but you will also contribute to your circadian rhythm.
While walking, I usually listen to the Joe Rogan Podcast, the Tim Ferris Show, or music masterpieces(like We’re Here Because We’re Here from Anathema).
At this point, it’s safe to check your emails. Again, following the philosophy behind the book, “Getting things done,” the goal is to empty your inbox, assigning things a next sectional step, or committing block of time where you will work on that until completion or until the black of time is over. Also, read Tim Ferriss‘s book ” The Four Hour Workweek,” you might benefit from his email batch technique in which he explains that you should only check your email a couple of times a day. Both of these techniques invite you to not fall into the black hole of checking emails and responding or putting out fires as they happen.
More often than not, emergencies are not emergencies. People, if left alone long enough, can usually find solutions to their problems without needing your input.
I often take some time to say yes to activities I have a deep desire to partake in. As “Getting to Yes with Yourself” explains, often, we are involved in conflicts or general stress in life because we have stopped listening to our inner voice. We say yes to everyone but to ourselves. Take some time and do exactly what you want to be doing and take care of your deepest inner desires.
Morning Routines can be beneficial if you can harness their potential power. But these methods can only work if you actively pursue to accomplish them every single day. No cheating. Try these tips for at least a month and comment below what changes you have noticed.