What's Your Morning Routine?
For those that know me, I am a routine guy. I have my daily routines that are a part of almost everyday of my life. Particularly, over the most recent years I have worked extremely hard to create those routines that will assist me in getting the most out of every single day.
As we all know there are hundreds of articles and books written about the importance of "willpower" as the major contributor to our successes or lack thereof. Certainly to some degree, willpower is a contributing factor in almost all success stories. However, what may be missing is the fact that many of these people that have overcome extreme situations or have attained high levels of success also had something else in their repertoire. I suggest that many had powerful "routines" that conditioned them to do amazing things, overcome extreme difficulties or simply outperform the average person. Random success is not the norm, nor is simple willpower the single element in success!
So if you are person who feels that you might be underachieving in one or more areas of your life, try tackling one very important part of the day; your morning. A morning filled with scheduled time for a personal growth might just be the answer your looking for. The most important thing to realize is that this is your time and you get to make it whatever you want it to look like. Unlike so much of the rest of the day that is controlled my appointments, meetings and a schedule that is often difficult for us to truly manage, the morning is YOUR time. During this time you have the opportunity to read, listen to an audio book or podcast, reflect, meditate, offer gratitude, workout, practice new life strategies, etc. Again, it is your time!
You may have a questions about how to start, and as you might guess, I have a suggestion or two. First, don't try to bite off more than one new personal development activity at a time. Your first step might be an attempt at adding a simple walk around the block or if your game, 10 push-ups at the foot of the bed. It might be an attempt at a 10 minute guided meditation session. By mastering one simple task it will feed confidence that this is all doable and you can add other tasks as you go.
My second recommendation, would be to only add a small amount of time to your early morning routine. If your normal waking time is 7:30 a.m. you might start by waking at 7:00 a.m. which is not a drastic change. Again, you can always adjust as this becomes more and more comfortable. It will also be incredibly helpful to work at getting the maximum amount of sleep necessary to compensate on the other end day. Over the course of the last couple years, the most significant and useful adjustment I have made in my life has been working towards an earlier bedtime.
There are many great books on the value of a morning routine and the statistics are pretty clear as well. "Most" high performing individuals, have significant/productive morning routines. An additional note is that as you begin creating a morning routine, you will likely add other positive routines to your daily activities which will create substantial benefits to your life. But regardless, understand that leaving things up to willpower is NOT the answer.
Lastly, I would suggest adding journaling to your morning routine. I have spoken to all my clients about the power of journaling. With that said, I have also received a lot of push back from clients on daily journaling. Clients will often tell me they simply don't have time for it. My thought is that "you don't have time to not do it." One of my all-time favorite quotes is, "If you give me 7 hours to cut down a tree, I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening my axe." Preparation is key. I will save this discussion for a later article, but for now, it might even be fair to say that journaling has magical power to help you on your way to become the best you that you can be!