When I worked in the corporate world, I used to set my alarm for the last possible minute. Then it was a mad rush to get ready and out the door. I was stressed out before I even turned my computer on.
I never considered myself to be a morning person. Mornings were for drinking the coffee that propelled me into the afternoon.
But when I began really digging into my day, in an attempt to be happier, less stressed and more productive, I realized that by trying to get the morning over with, I was throwing away an opportunity to transform my entire day. After reading Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, I decided to create my own morning routine.
I started small. Meditation was a habit I had wanted to establish for a while, but I never seemed to have time for it. I downloaded the app Calm and set the timer for 5 minutes. At first that felt like an eternity! My mind raced around like a monkey swinging from tree to tree.
Every morning I returned to the same chair and eventually, 5 minutes turned into 6, 7…10! And my monkey mind even settled down for a few brief moments. I was meditating!
After I discovered James Clear and learned about the power of Habit Stacking (essentially, that it’s easier to build a new habit off of an existing one), I decided to add to my morning meditation routine.
Exercise and movement always perks me up, but in my rush to get ready in the morning, I always pushed it until the end of the day. I decided to add either a walk or a mobility routine to my morning. As little as 10 minutes of movement and diaphragmatic breathing perked up my brain like a cup of coffee.
Over time, I’ve added journaling, motivational reading, listening to podcasts and listing the day’s goals and priorities to my morning routine. The results have been powerful and are enough to get me out of bed in the morning.
I’ve realized that even if I wake up in a foul mood, my morning routine can quickly shift me out of it, so I don’t carry it with me into the day. The habit of getting out of bed and doing something for myself has changed my outlook on the day. I’m also much more productive because I’m planning my day, instead of letting it roll or allowing other people to dictate my priorities. The meditation also helped create the space for deeper thoughts, insights and creative inspiration.
Tips to create your own morning routine:
- Your morning brain waves are naturally conducive to things to like meditation, exploring movement and creativity. One thing that can derail this quickly is by checking your phone first thing. Make a commitment to resist social media and email for the first hour of your day. Tuning into these things often hijacks your brain, convincing it to respond to other people’s priorities at the expense of yours. Your morning routine is your time!
- Start small. Find one habit you’re already doing and then build a new one off of that. For instance, if you always brush your teeth in the morning, when you put down your toothbrush, head to the same chair to meditate.
- Create a modified version for time-crunched mornings. Some days it’s 5 minutes of journaling and goal setting, 3 of meditation and a few breathing and core activations before I’m heading out the door. But it still counts!
- Get creative. Use this time to play music, dance, read a fun book, draw or play with your kids. Stack your morning in a way that works for you.
- Get some guidance. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with a meditation app like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer. You can also pick up a daily journal that will guide you with prompts to help create your perfect day, week, month and year. One of my current favorites is Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Journal.