When was the last time you thought about your morning routine? Whether you realize it or not, you have one. Some people wake up and go straight for the coffee machine, while others go straight for the snooze button. Not everyone is a morning person but having a well-designed plan to optimize your morning can make a positive change in your life.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
Most successful people have a well-designed plan for their mornings that helps get them both mentally and physically ready for the day. Billionaire John Paul deJoria, co-founder of Patrón Tequila, starts every day with a bit of meditation and reflection. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, has a 3-hour morning routine that includes catching up on the news, communicating with his followers, and talking with family. Barack Obama wakes up at 6:45 every morning to workout, read the news, and spend time with his family.
I know what you’re thinking, not all successful people have morning routines, and not everyone with a morning routine is rich and famous. Warren Buffett isn’t waking up to at the buttcrack of dawn to drink his detox tea and meditate. Regardless, it’s something worth considering if you’re looking to make the most of every day and actually learn something in those 9AM lectures.
Some Things to Consider
Hitting the snooze – I know it’s tempting to sleep just 5 more minutes, but trust me on this one, it does more harm than good. You set a goal of waking up at a certain time; follow through with your goal. Dedication is committing when it’s hard, not when it’s convenient. The quality of sleep that you’ll get in those extra 5-10 minutes is not worth it.
Negative thoughts – This is a general rule of thumb for living a good life, but especially in the morning. Some people wake up stressed out or anxious because they know they have a full day ahead of them. This stress or anxiety will carry on throughout the day setting you up for failure. Spend some time meditating or being grateful in the morning and it will have a profound effect on your attitude.
Social media – I am a personal advocate for this one. I avoid social media in the morning because I’ll often get trapped into scrolling down my feed or looking at the latest and greatest memes. Before I know it, I’ve wasted 30 minutes of my morning…you’ve all done it too. If you feel the need to be entertained in the morning, try keeping a book next to your bed and reach for that instead.
Eat a healthy breakfast – My go-to breakfast is scrambled eggs, avo toast, and greek yogurt. Its quick, easy and has lots of nutrients to feed my brain and body. I used to skip breakfast when I didn’t have time, or just grab a banana and breakfast bar out the door. This works for some, but it’s not sustainable for long periods and will eventually lead to burnout. Dave Asprey, founder of BulletProof Coffee, is a proponent of intermittent fasting, which consists of a high-fat diet in the morning to enter into ketosis (fat-burning state). It’s something worth looking into for those who don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning (and want to shed some pounds).
Set goals for the day – I usually set goals for my day the night before. I don’t like the idea of a “to do list” because it puts too much pressure on having to do those things. Planning your day the night before also makes it a lot easier to wake up and just do it.
Exercise/ stretch – Doing something physical in the morning is a good habit. If you have a house pet, you’ll know that cats and dogs always stretch right after waking up. In fact, most of the animal kingdom stretches as part of their morning ritual. Waking up your muscles, raising your heartbeat, and getting your blood flowing increases mental acuity and keeps you sharp throughout the day. If you don’t want to go to the gym, consider biking or walking to wherever you’re going. Julius Caesar would walk 5 miles every morning as soon as he woke up!
My morning routine:
6:30AM: Wake up, take my heartbeat, and immediately make my bed. I use an app called Sleep Cycle, that I learned about from Tim Ferriss, which tracks my sleeping patterns and heartbeat in the morning. I know I’ve had a good night of sleep if my heartbeat is around 55 BPM when I wake up. My dad always taught me to start the day by making my bed because it’s an easy task to complete that makes you feel good.
6:30AM – 7:00AM: Drink a tall glass of room temperature water, review my goals for the day and meditate while I do oil pulling. Some people like to add lemon to their morning water because it boosts metabolism. I have daily goals, monthly goals, and life goals – all of which help frame my choices for the day. Something new I’ve been trying is called ‘oil pulling,’ which is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It takes very little effort and is the perfect excuse to just sit down and relax a bit in the morning.
7:00AM – 8:30AM: Go to the gym. I like to work out in the morning because the gym is typically empty and I don’t have to fight for the equipment. It’s also a habit I’ve developed that makes sure I actually go to the gym. My days are always packed, so mornings are the best time to fit in my exercise routine. Exercising reduces stress, increases blood flow, wakes up the body, and boosts confidence.
8:45AM – 8:50AM: Take a cold shower. Cold showers have many health benefits – increased blood circulation, boosted immunity, reduced depression, and much more. It also encourages me to get in and out of the shower as quick as possible without wasting any more time (or water).
9:00AM – 9:30AM: Chef up a big breakfast and be ready for my day no later than 10AM. I’m mentally and physically awake, I’ve worked out and excited to conquer the day!
Disclaimer: It’s traditionally recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Not everyone needs 7 hours and there are some interesting new studies that show that 4-5 hours of high-quality sleep is better than 7-8 hours of mediocre sleep. For those night-owls who are up until 2-3AM, you can have a morning routine whenever you wake up. This is just my way of trying to make the most of every day.
Improving the routine
My morning routine is not perfect, and I’m always trying to make it better. I know when I enter the workforce I’ll have to adjust my morning schedule to get to the office on time. Morning routines are not about perfection; they’re about finding a balance that’s right for you.
If you found this post helpful or if some aspects of my morning routine caught your interest and you want to know more, feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to hear if you have a morning routine and what you do to optimize your mornings!
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