I’ve always had a morning routine.
Although no one called it a routine back then.
It started back in my late teens and early twenties. Even though I was a night owl, I would get up early and go to the gym before work. Making sure I was focusing on my health and fitness, I wish I’d focused more on flexibility back then.
Constructing A Morning Routine
Fast forward 20 years, constructing the “perfect” morning routine has become big business.
A few years ago I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
He prefaces his book by saying a morning routine can change your life in months, even weeks.
I’m skeptical of statements like this, this time I’d convinced myself that this book was the key to my success. It’s because a lot of the things he talks about in the book I was already doing at some point during the day. As well as the fact that a lot of friends had recommended it.
The book talks about the morning routines of people like Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey.
I’ve lost count of the famous names in there.
Whether you like or respect these people is for another day. What you can say regardless, is that they have become uber-successful in what they have chosen to do. It all seems to stem from how they start their day.
Committing To Making A Change
This made me commit, I stuck to it for months.
It didn’t seem to make any difference in me reaching my goals, my version of success.
I tried the book’s recommendation of meditating, and affirmations, followed by visualizations. Then get the blood flowing by exercising, then read 10 pages of a book. Finishing the routine by journaling.
Did I achieve my version of success in weeks? Months?
Nope, far from it.
Following the book’s morning routine, didn’t bring me the success I wanted. In fact, it added to my stress levels, “why isn’t this working”. As with most books like this, it’s a framework, a guide.
Since reading that book at the start of January 2020 I’ve been tweaking my morning routine a lot.
Morning Routine Is About Trial And Error
Finally, over the past month or two, it seems to be that I’ve found the correct routine for me.
What I would say is that the book misses one key thing that helps with your routine. Your professional commitments, whether that’s a 9-5, side hustling. Even running your own business.
I was always “clock watching” all the way through my morning routine.
My mind was racing about what I needed to get done on my side projects before starting work, it was a nightmare.
Recently I’ve realized that has been the problem. The fact I wanted to do 4/5 things for my “personal development”, my morning routine. Then start on this huge list of things that I needed to do over the next 90 minutes to kick start my own businesses.
It’s too much for anyone to do.
Professionally, what I’ve done is batch a lot of my “daily” tasks and used automation, but that’s for another day.
Here is what my morning routine looks like:
- Get up between 5 – 5:30 AM
- Journal – using “The 5 Minute Journal”
- 10 minutes of “breathwork” (Google ‘Wim Hof’)
- 1 hour+ of exercise
- 45 minutes of meditation
- Cold shower (Google ‘Wim Hof’)
- Start my “daily” to-do list
It sounds like I’m doing a lot.
I’ve left things out like affirmations and visualizations. (I won’t go into this for personal reasons) As well as reading, which I do later in the day.
But it feels like I’m making progress, that I’ve got the structure right now. I’m not thinking “I need to get onto the next thing” like I was before. Professionally I’m not where I want to be…yet.
It feels like this morning routine is working for me because I’m a lot happier.
Isn’t that the most important thing?
It could be for many reasons, but my gut instinct is because I’ve set aside so much time on the breathwork and mediation. We know you have to “put in the reps” when it comes to physical exercise. But with mediation I was trying to “hack it” by doing only 10 minutes a day, that isn’t enough.
We need to set aside that same amount of time, if not more to work on your mental health as our physical health.
I would recommend reading The Miracle Morning, but use it as a framework.
My key takeaway and what I’ve learned most over the last two years is that your mental state, your mindset. Is your most important asset.