If anyone asks me what is the thing that I love the most I will answer – sleeping. For many of us staying in a bed as long as possible is a saver – from problems, from being tired, and so on. Sleep is also crucial for our health so it’s worth remembering about good quality and length. However, it is also important what time we are waking up and how our mornings look like – because it determines the whole day.
The idea of a morning routine is known for centuries and many people have/had their own. In this article, I’d like to present a philosophy that stays behind waking up early (why I’m doing that), what we can do with additional time and how to start and progress.
The last decades changed our perception of the balance between work and life. It is hard to define when we should stop working and start living. At the same time, we also complain about lack of time. If we feel that we have these constraints it’s the right time to create a morning routine that could help in having a more balanced and managed life.
The philosophy itself is not something revolutionary but I wasn’t aware before that it could be a huge life-changer. The concept is very simple – if you would like to have more time and have better control of your day you have to wake up early, 1-2 hours before your normal day starts. Easy to write, harder to do (at the beginning).
I changed my mindset after two books that are talking about this topic – The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma. Before we jump in I’d like to heads up the core benefits that my own morning routine is giving me and keep me on track:
- More focus and productivity
- Energy grows
- Higher creativity
- More time for self-care
- A better understanding of my circadian rhythm
- The satisfaction of getting things done before my workday starts
- Decrease of bad emotions
Where the habit begins
The morning routine is a habit. As with every habit, it requires time and effort to be formed. However, I would say that this specific habit is different from others because it includes 2 phases – the night before and what we are doing in the morning itself.
We used to say that we should sleep 7-8 hours but this time depends on the person. What can we do before we go to bed?
- Attitude – you ought to direct your mind to the thinking that tomorrow you will wake up earlier (set exact time) than normal but with the same energy as in the days when you could sleep unlimited time.
- Place – your bedroom is to be a place for one purpose only – sleep – not for social media, television, eating, working, or exercising. We can achieve it by removing unnecessary items from that room and setting rules with your partner.
- Ritual – or step-by-step instruction on how you plan to finish the day. It could look like this:
|07:00 PM |
|– Last meal|
– Low – energy activities
– Phone conversation with a friend
– Isolation from news
– Preparing for the next day
and the morning routine
|– Isolation from smartphone/tv|
– Meditation / Stretching / Yoga
– Warm shower / Salt bath
– Conversation with loved ones
– Setting alarm clock (if needed)
|– Preparation to sleep in a cool, dark bedroom|
– Journaling/Gratitude practice
– Self – care (f.e. face massage)
- Visualize – before you go to sleep you can try to visualize your morning. It means to have a picture in the mind of you as someone who is waking up with pleasure and it’s ready to install the morning routine habit into life.
Preparation is crucial in this habit. First of all, you have to have a plan. Secondly, prepare what is needed and finally, it’s a time for execution and realization. Let’s break it down.
“Fine, I will try to wake up let’s say at 6 a.m., but what’s next?” – probably this is the most common question that you may ask. Without a proper plan, it will be harder to mobilize our body and mind to wake up and it much longer will take to form the habit (because habit needs regularity and structure). My morning routine is divided into blocks because – I found this way the most useful. Here how my blocks look like:
|Personal hygiene |
(05:30 -05:40 AM)
|– Brushing teeth|
– Glass of water
– Face wash
– Dress up
(05:40 – 06:00 AM)
|– Gratitude practice |
(3 things that I’m thankful for)
– Day planning
– Meditation / Gentle Yoga
(06:00 – 07:00 AM)
|– Writing a blog post|
– Creating plans for the blog’s content
(2 times per week)
(07:00 – 07:30 AM)
|– Reading / Listening podcasts / Learning something new|
|Start of the day||– Breakfast/Coffee with book/podcast|
The optional block is exercising – I don’t include it in my routine because I prefer to do it in the evenings. My plan evolved last year because of working from home so when it will be time to back to the office I will adjust it. The thing is to keep blocks all blocks in your plan – only adjust the time if you think that you need more or less time for something.
When the plan is ready it’s to make some preparation – it should happen the night before. You need to consider:
- Place – where your morning practice will take place. If you plan to walk or run or exercise choose a spot for that.
- Equipment – to save time as well as your frustration if you cannot find something in the morning. Everything should be in one place and ready to use immediately – book to read, learning materials, your laptop, exercising clothes, journal, calendar e.t.c.
- Awareness – if you are living with someone – inform her or his about your plans – with someone’s support it’s much easier to begin.
Once everything is ready it’s time to realize the plan. It’s simple to say, harder to follow. As with every habit, this one also requires time and effort at the beginning. To help you with this and to change your mindset about morning really helpful could be the fact that many well-known people (like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama) are using morning routine to develop their lives. The useful thing is also what Robin Sharma in his book presented as “The habit installation protocol”.
The idea of this protocol is – to form any habit you need 66 days to get to the automaticity point. We need to go through 3 stages (each takes 22 days):
- Deconstruction – it’s all about being determined and having the willpower to form new habits and to work with your old, ingrained habits. There is a huge chance that you hit the wall ( lack of energy for example) but this is something normal and you should continue to force yourself into a new habit with persistence. Other people’s help might be useful in this stage.
- Installation – in this stage you will probably feel even more frustrated and would like to quit even more. But again – it is something normal. I would say that you will start to see the first benefits of your morning routine – more time, more energy, more things done, and so on. Use these benefits as motivators to progress.
- Integration – this is the time when habits gett easier. You will start to wake up without your alarm clock with full motivation to own your day and after these last 22 days, you will be receiving all the benefits of your morning routine which will make your life better.
Do you have your own morning routine? How do you install it into your day? Please share in the comments!
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