You have roughly 25,000 mornings in your lifetime. How do you make the most of them?
Morning routines have become the secret of success in recent years. Pick a podcast that interviews famous people and you’ll hear the question asked, “What does your morning routine look like?” Countless successful people have pitched countless approaches:
- Writing / Journaling
- Working Out
- Waking up at 4am
- Cold Showers
- Asking yourself a single question
Ask ten people what they do each morning, and they will probably swear by ten different rituals. With so many thoughts and trends, how the heck do you craft a morning routine that works for you?
3 Morning Routine Approaches that Won’t Work
1. Do it All
With so many trends, it’s tempting to devise the perfect morning, cramming every beneficial activity possible into your morning.
“I’ll wake up at 3:37am. 3 minutes and 17 seconds of meditation, 4 minutes of visualization, and 49 seconds of prayer. Then, 2 glasses of 48 degree water. Next, I will cook 3 free range, grass fed organic eggs and wash it down with approximately 3 ounces of apple cider vinegar. Next: a 54 minute workout. Next, 6 minutes of creative thinking via meditation. Then I will write a letter to a loved one I appreciate while listening to the latest self-help audiobook, all the while getting a hot stone massage…”
You get the idea.
2. Copy Your Muse
Another tempting tactic might be to find the person you most admire, who’s doing the thing you really want to be doing: The successful entrepreneur, investor, designer, or artist who has the pristine morning routine you think will lead you to their status. If only you can replicate it perfectly, you’ll soon see the same results.
The problem with this thinking is that you are not them. They are wired differently. They have different gifts, weaknesses, and probably blood types. In the same way that following the diet of that girl who lost 200 pounds won’t give you the exact same body type. We are all wired differently, and what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does every morning may or may not translate to the same success you’re looking for.
3. Ignore it All
Having said that, there are centuries of morning routine wisdom that can be gleaned from. A morning routine is not a new idea. The idea of a morning routine dates back to the Stone Age. There is a ton to be learned from those who have gone before us, and those whose daily rituals contributed to their success.
Don’t be overwhelmed and simply discount it all, thinking you’re doing something new that hasn’t been done before.
The Tried and True Works
Don’t fall for the hype of all the trendy approaches. Sure, buying your own hyperbaric chamber and using it thirty minutes each morning may have benefits. And perhaps alternating between a sauna and an ice bath may give you a needed morning jolt. The 5-Minute-A-Day journal catered specifically to you with customized containers is probably very helpful.
But sometimes, the what of your morning routine is less important than the how.
Maybe one simple, proven workout is all you need to fire you up for the day. Maybe ten minutes of real, focused meditation will suffice for you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the latest trend, or the latest tool or gadget will solve all your problems.
Many become obsessed with the creation of a routine, and have no real interest in carrying it out once the alarm clock goes off.
So maybe the newest routine hype does work for you, but if you’re struggling to find a routine that works for you, be honest with yourself: am I failing because I don’t have the right tools? Or am I failing because I lack discipline?
What Works for You?
How do you determine what really works for you?
Begin with examination.
Don’t assume you need to throw every possible activity or ritual into your routine.
The point of a morning routine is to prepare yourself for your day. So ask yourself: what do I need in my morning routine? Where might I be falling short in my day? And what can I do in the morning to better prepare myself? Am I at my best in the morning? Or do I struggle in the morning?
7 Questions to Ask When Creating a Morning Routine:
- Can’t wake up? Consider an early workout or a cold shower.
- Falling asleep mid-afternoon? Sleep in a little longer! Or plan to eat a more nutritious breakfast.
- Losing focus mid-day? Spend some time visualizing in the morning. Meditate on why you’re doing what you do.
- Lacking inspiration? Read in the morning, or go for walk.
- Feeling disconnect from the family? Quit doing everything else in the morning, and eat breakfast with your family.
- Not a morning person? Don’t do important work first thing.
- Missing good habits? Use your time in the morning to create some (reading, writing, etc…)
Carry it Out
This can be the hardest part. You may or may not become a morning routine superstar on day one.
3 tips for following through with your morning routine:
- Get some accountability. Let people close to you know you’re trying something new and to ask you how you’re doing every few days.
- Give it a shot for a full month. If you change your routine, or begin one for the first time, keep it up for at least a month before backing out or changing your mind.
- Journal about it. Maybe journaling isn’t a part of your morning routine, but at some point during the day, journal and reflect on how it’s going.
Test and Evaluate Your Progress
Maybe the most important aspect: Testing. What’s working? What needs to be adjusted? What morning activities are pointless? Which ones could maybe be moved to a different time of day?
As with any aspect of life, it’s vital that you reflect and adjust as necessary. Don’t feel like you have to be locked into the same routine for the rest of your life. It’s awesome to hear stories of people who have done the exact same things every morning for 800 years, but it’s also more than okay to make changes as you go. No one ever said you have to do the same thing every morning forever. Don’t believe that lie.
At the end of the day, your morning routine is your morning routine. Don’t fall for the trends, don’t believe that the right tools will save you, quit copying celebrities, and start owning your own mornings.
More Resources on Morning Rituals
- Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
- My Morning Routine
- The 5 Productive Morning Routines of Highly Effective People