My ‘How to’ blogs offer you practical advice that you can easily apply to improve your health and fitness.
Here’s what you’ll find in this post;
Do you have a morning routine? I’m talking about a set of tasks that invigorate, motivate and benefit your day.
I began looking into morning routines a few years back, after listening to many of Tim Ferriss’ podcasts. All of the people he interviewed had some sort of morning routine to set them up for the day.
So, I wanted in. I started playing around with a few different ideas, but none of them lasted.
Where I went wrong
Over the years I obsessed over this, which thankfully has led me to my current routine, but not before copying so many others. Here’s what I’ve learnt:
It’s about developing YOUR OWN routine, one that excites you.
Key components of all routines
Let’s look at what most of highly successful people include in their morning routine. They:
My take on these common traits
Simply re-phrasing each trait is all you need to do to develop your own successful morning routine. It’s what I did.
It doesn’t matter what your routine looks like, the simple habit of “winning your morning” is a sure way to guarantee more success in your day.
The most common advice is to create a to do list the night before. Now, I understand the positives here, for instance it’s a great way to unload and “empty your mind” before bed, but honestly, you can write this list at any point.
I tried taking my planner to bed but it just didn’t work.
Simply working off of a to do list is a great way to build momentum, plus it’ll give your day some direction. Ticking items off of your list is hugely satisfying.
This one caught me out for a long time. When I first started practising this habit, I was already working super-early mornings, which meant 4am starts in order to build on this particular habit.
Then as my business focus began to shift, I needed to do extra work in the evenings, but still woke up early. Not 4am but 5.30am, as was most prescribed. I was just too tired.
So, I started shifting my focus to the number of hours I was sleeping, and I soon noticed it wasn’t about getting up early, but about getting enough sleep to make sure I could be productive.
This couldn’t be truer for my wife. Her job as a consultant is extremely demanding. She operates across multiple timezones and projects, all with varying deadlines. She still smashes it.
This means she could be done by 10pm or 5am GMT depending on the project and deadline. And so, for her waking up early isn’t always possible, but getting enough sleep is. It's just not always at normal hours!
Stimulating your body and mind is important. Especially when you first wake up.
Drinking water upon rising is super-important, since your body is often dehydrated after a night of regulating your body temperature. It also helps make sure we don't overeat at breakfast, since we often confuse for thirst for hunger.
Once you’ve drunk your water, then move onto your coffee, tea or apple cider vinegar concoctions.
Swapping the term exercise to ‘move’, makes it easier to complete and achieve.
Most people associate exercise with the gym and sweating, but ‘move’ is a simpler, broader term.
If you’re able to hit the gym early, go for it. Otherwise just move your body in the space you have.
For some that could be a few minutes of mobility, a few push-ups or squats before jumping in the shower or simply walking to work.
Moving your body increase your heart rate, flushes blood around the body and increases your adrenaline.
Journaling is something I struggled with for a while. But I love to talk and write, which meant my problem was more about writing too much, as I (always) have too much to say.
Then I began simply reviewing my day the following morning, and it instantly became more achievable.
When you’re told to journal, you instantly assume you have to write a 2-page entry. In fact, a simple phrase like:
“I Met with Dan yesterday to discuss the Jones’ project. It’s coming along great, but I need to manage Dan’s time better so we can finish on time. I need to be better at delegating and communicating to him.
"Laura had her first football game yesterday, she scored and the team won 5-4.”
Reviewing your day is a great way to improve your self-development and keep track of what you most enjoyed or did on that day.
It’s about creating references that allow you to know what you did and accomplished.
I personally do this in my notepad where I write my daily to do list.
I tried focusing on my biggest task first, but it just didn’t work for me. I’m a momentum type of person, I do well when I’m doing well.
I prefer to start with a small win, and build from there, capitalising on my momentum.
Ultimately, both strategies achieve the same thing, completion of all of your tasks.
The problem I’ve found over the years is that sometimes you wake up without the necessary tools to complete the task, or the motivation isn’t there. Which means starting with what you can do, build momentum and tackle your biggest task when you’re prepared and able.
Mediation is a hard sell for me, even though the benefits are clear. Taking a moment to “quieten the mind” brings focus and calmness to your busy day.
Even if you simply close your eyes for only 5 minutes, it's a great way to reset.
Sitting in silence might not work for you, and that’s ok. It’s about taking a moment for yourself. Time to think, be present and allow yourself a moment of calmness.
My morning routine
I’ve been using the bare bones of this routine for the past 3 years, but I’ve adapted a few things along way to suit my needs and goals.
Remember, you don’t have to include ANY of the suggestions above, it’s about developing your own morning routine.
Plus, your routine might extend through the first few hours of the morning, even into your first hour at work.
It doesn’t matter, as long as your routine kick-starts your day positively and helps you build momentum.
We’re all different, so let’s use it to our advantage.
Let me know how you get on, and if you have any suggestion or strategies for new habits I should try.
If you’d like more help with your health and fitness goals, make sure you sign up to my newsletter or check out my online coaching options.
Speak soon, JC.