Morning Routines - finding the BEST option for you.
Do you groan your way through your morning ? Perhaps you wake up with good intentions but they are quickly snuffed out.
As we shift through into the darker, colder months I feel this is a great time to review what we’re up to with our precious first part of the day. As with most “practices” I don’t feel there is an IDEAL morning routine that fits everyone. I do feel we can learn a lot from the huge array of info out there that can enhance our mornings, which in turn spills over into the rest of our day.
There's no shortage of books written on this topic with some very snappily entitled ones such as “Miracle morning” or “Routine machine” !
Much of the literature has something in common. They take “successful” people and analyse what they do to give them that edge. There are also quite a few studies on some of the elements that make up a positive morning routine . Hal Elrod of the acclaimed “Miracle mornings” proposes 7 steps to transform your start of the day:-
1. Wake up EARLY.
2. Have a silent moment.
Of course, we don't have to do ALL of these. And the conundrum is to work out what WILL work for you. I’ve picked out a few of those steps to delve further into. These are the ones most supported by experts and evidence.
>>> The first trait that is most commonly identified as being beneficial is WAKING UP EARLY !
That’s usually several hours before work / college etc. actually begins. In a five-year study of 177 self-made millionaires (Thomas C. Corley), it was found that nearly 50 % of them woke up at least three hours before their work day began. Billionaire Richard Branson and the C.E.O. of Twitter Jack Dorsey state that they regularly wake up at 5am, whilst Tim Cook Apple C.E.O. rises just before 4am !
Interestingly Waking up early is identified as a productivity method by Wikipedia! “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom” claimed the philosopher Aristotle. We do also need to consider the other side. Perhaps the worm should have stayed in bed according to that old proverb “The early bird gets the worm!” .
There is a huge amount written around what is the best time to get up and I feel that I can conclude from what I’ve read that it’s a big thumbs up for an early start. HOW early will really depend on YOU and that is the bit to explore and play about with.
>>> Now, how about a little EXERCISE to kickstart the bones and brain? We know that this is going to be good for physical wellbeing but we also need to recognise that this is also going to enhance our mental health. There is a general consensus that regular exercise boosts energy and reduces fatigue. It can reduce stress, get us thinking more clearly and make us happier, although we may have to wait until it’s done to feel some of those benefits.
For those who struggle to keep up with exercise, doing it first thing can also be a way of getting it “over and done with” before we have time to make excuses. As with all the topics being discussed here today the “best” morning activity for you is one you can keep up with consistently.
>>> Next up - NOURISH ! As a kid we may have been conditioned to believe that breakfast is THE most important meal of the day. There is however, scientific disagreement on whether this is actually the case. One viewpoint is that your body has used up lots of its energy stores overnight for growth and repair and therefore we need to replenish well.
On the other hand, “Intermittent fasting” has been gaining ground over recent years, not only to manage weight, but to improve health in general. This article gives a good insight into the varying viewpoints . It’s safe to say the evidence is evolving. Every BODY starts the morning differently, so once again it’s about finding what works for you.
>>> Another part of a proactive morning routine is to consider your MIND. I’m thinking crosswords, podcasts, meditation, journaling, mindfulness etc. Could it be that you actually do the things you love upon waking – potentially lower priority items that tend to get squeezed into the end of days, if at all ? If you really have a battle to get out of bed in the morning then maybe it’s about putting something in place that makes you WANT to get up, that excites you.
>>> I felt I couldn’t leave this explore without a mention of “EAT THAT FROG” (Brian Tracy). Mark Twain once said that if you ate a live frog first thing in the morning then the rest of the day will be so much better as the worst thing is behind you! The frog Brian Tracy refers to is your toughest task. If you’ve got a couple of priorities then eat the ugliest ! Whilst his thoughts are not specifically aimed at morning routines they do nestle in nicely. It’s about list writing.
Perhaps one of the most important parts of the day is working out what you will do NOW, what you’ll do later and what you will NOT do.
In conclusion, having a morning routine you are happy with gives you that sense of accomplishment, even if the rest of the day doesn’t quite pan out as you planned. I agree with the Tim Ferriss suggestion not to get bogged down with the detail and start with a number of simple tasks to give you momentum towards the rest of the day.
Whilst embracing a morning routine that works for you will probably not be lifechanging, it WILL improve it.
So, what is your next step to getting one that is realistic for you ?
Join me and others on my Facebook page over the week as we delve further into the nitty gritty of this fascinating topic. Running 2nd – 6th November 2020
I'm Jodi and I work as a life coach and professional declutterer. Find out more HERE