Developing Your Own Morning Routine for Success
In our last post, we explored the idea of the importance of a regular routine that sets you up for ongoing success.
If you didn’t read that, you’ll want to check it out because there are lots of links to tools and freebies that can help you develop this for yourself.
The reason you have to develop this for yourself and not just Google “morning routines for success” is because:
- there are 85,000,000 results when you search for that
- copying someone else won’t work
- I’ve already done the research for you and am giving you a shortcut.
Of course, if you read that other post you already know that so I’m not going to dive back into it.
You know that starting a positive morning routine begins by setting yourself up for success the night before.
You know that deciding what habits and what order in which your activities flow hinges on your unique natural rhythm and your own personality.
Now that you’re an expert on all the prep work for figuring out what morning routine you want to have, let’s get on with the good stuff.
Making the Magic Happen Every Morning
If only it were as easy as Cinderella had it.
Yes, yes, I know… she has a wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters and lots of chores… but look at this another way.
Her alarm clock was the bellower from a prince’s castle.
Birds provided her morning shower.
Adorable highly-intelligent mice set out her clothing and helped with sewing and other light housekeeping.
But alas, most of us do not awaken with magical creatures assisting us on our way.
Many of us scramble for the buzzing clock to hit snooze and try to snag the last few available moments of sleep we can get.
And that is where we go wrong.
The Elements All Of Us Need
With the understanding our routine needs to be customized, let me completely contradict that and inform you that our routines will all have several common elements that have to do with basic human biology and not individual DNA.
Think of it as you would in making a cake.
My daughter and I recently made our first Genoise sponge cake which has only four ingredients for the basic concoction: 6 eggs, 1 c flour, 1 c sugar, & 1 tsp baking powder.
From that base, many varieties can be created from a classic chocolate Genoise to more in-depth versions utilizing fruits, compotes, and more.
You’re the same way.
You’re a unique creation with some basic ingredients, and you need a routine to match.
Here are your basic ingredients:
Isn’t that what this whole thing is about in the first place?
We’re structuring a routine you can keep up with daily.
Your days also need structure.
If prioritization, time management or boundary management issues plague you, check this out – we help people develop those skills every single day at GILD.
You need a structure; structures provide freedom.
That sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s not.
In order to have freedom, you must have a framework.
Freedom in modern society is available to those who operate and behave within a defined framework called laws.
Freedom in a classroom belongs to students who operate and behave within the defined framework of rules and assignments.
Extremely successful business people and entrepreneurs achieve their personal freedom because of a personal framework they developed that helps them stay on track.
You need structure.
We all do.
Going back to that Edison quote from last week: failure to plan is planning to fail.
Plan to succeed; otherwise your default mode is failure.
Success happens within a structure.
Do not hit snooze.
Your body works in sleep cycles that are more than 9 minutes long. Actually, they’re 90 minutes long.
The reason you feel groggy after hitting snooze is that your internal sleep clock needs about another 81 minutes of rest thanks to your collapsing back down onto your pillow.
No matter how tired you are when your alarm goes back off, do not hit snooze and sleep or doze in and out for those precious next minutes.
The only condition to this is if you are turning the alarm off completely and have at least 90 minutes to devote to more sleep.
In that case, knock yourself out.
Otherwise, get up.
You chose that time for a reason.
Snoozing does not help you get more rest.
Snoozing makes your brain foggy and kills your energy levels.
Stop doing it.
There is sound scientific research behind this.
If you don’t believe me, Google it and enjoy reading the more than 1 million results.
(Or you could just trust me and move on.)
Our bodies are largely made up of water.
You haven’t had water (or much water) over many hours since going to sleep.
Drink 8- 16 ounces of water upon awakening, minimum (I go for 20).
This helps set the stage for proper digestion and bodily function for the day.
It helps with your immune response and kick-starts your metabolism.
Think of it as an alarm clock for your internal organs.
Not just because it feels good – stretch because it is good for you.
After I awaken I perform several stretches combined with breathing exercises I learned from a Taoist master combined with easy movements that are gentle for “first thing” activity.
I am not a personal trainer by any stretch of the term, however, if you are curious what works for me in this area, I’ve recorded a quick video & posted on YouTube for you here.
You don’t have to do the same stretches I do, but do some sort of stretching to truly awaken the different parts of your body.
The important thing with this is getting your body moving in a way that is healthy and feels good.
Some people call this quiet time.
Others use Bible study to accomplish this.
Many practice different forms of meditation and/or mindfulness.
Whatever your belief structure dictates, this is a necessary element.
This comes in part with the mental alignment, but there is another incredible tool that helps with the journey to positivity: gratitude.
One of the sections in my journal is devoted entirely to gratitude.
I shared all the ways I use journaling a couple of weeks ago in this blog.
It’s easy, and I don’t write meaningful log-form entries.
I’m not suggesting you start a “Dear Diary…” type of habit.
I call my journal the “bullet journal” because it’s mostly made up of short notes and phrases that begin with a • on the page, or a “bullet point” just as I have done with this section of the blog you’re reading.
Except this is tons longer than any of my bullets.
Check out just the words in blue beside each bullet.
That’s what the inside of my journal looks like for the most part.
Back to positivity… and gratitude is the key to positivity.
It’s entirely impossible to focus on everything for which you are grateful at the same time as wallowing in a pit of self-pity.
It’s impossible to be filled with rage and hatred while you’re focusing on gratitude and specific things for which you are grateful.
This works for everyone no matter the circumstance.
I read an article recently about a prisoner of war who utilized this tactic to keep his spirits up during the days when he didn’t know if he’d live or be murdered by his captors.
Anyone who says “my life is too messed up… there’s nothing to be grateful for…” needs to read that article about the prisoner of war.
Everyone – no matter the circumstance – has elements for which he or she can be grateful whether you’re homeless or live in a palace.
When I coach someone stuck in a cycle of negativity the first assignment I give is for them to take out a piece of paper and pen for 10 minutes each morning for a week (schedule it!) and write different points of gratitude continually for that time.
Not a single person has ever come back and said there was nothing to write down.
More often than not they asked if they could switch to typing because their hands hurt from all the writing.
There’s always something for which you could be or should be grateful.
My Personal Routine for Success
I’ve encouraged you to not mimic anyone’s routine – and that is intended to help you develop your own.
That said, if there is someone with a routine that works, check it out and see if any of the elements will also work for you.
In our last blog edition, I detailed that my morning routine begins in the evening, so that is where I will start here.
Having the structure of a routine brings freedom because you can always shift the elements; the following is my basic structure which I shift on particular days to accommodate special events, an evening coaching session, etc.; however, this is a general idea of the basic framework for my weekdays.
- 5:00 pm: Begin wind-down from work & focused activities
- 5:30 pm: Lamplight only; all overheads extinguished
- 6:00 pm: Salt bath, evening “evidence journal”, dinner
- 7:00 pm: Family snuggle/cuddle quality time, electronics curfew
- 8:30 pm: Evening quiet which may include reading, talking, or playing a quick game with kids
- 9:00pm: Bedtime/kids
- 9:30 pm: Lights out/white noise on/evening gratitude practice
- 10:00pm: Targeted asleep time
- 4:45 am: Awaken, mindset exercises, journaling & morning gratitude practice
- 5:00 am: Stretching/continued gratitude on recording, yoga
- 5:30 am: More intensive exercise
- 6:15 am: Time with dogs, more stretching
- 6:30 am: Awaken the household
- 7:00 am: Morning preps & breakfast
- 8:00 am: Our successful day activities commence
Yours may not look like that; however, I do recommend you think of this as not just a morning commitment.
If you look at the 360-degree view of your life you’ll see that a positive night’s rest (no matter what you think) includes not going to sleep with any tv show or movie playing.
I’ve heard every excuse in the book from someone who suffers from tinnitus because of an injury during his military service to “I was always put to sleep with a movie as a child and now can’t sleep without one.”
I call b.s. on that.
Yes, medical needs are real and habits are hard to break; however, your sleep will be more restful and rejuvenating if you controlling the final messages that enter your subconscious mind as you turn over control to it for the next 5-9 hours of your life.
There is medical data to show that your brain is interrupted and impacted by messages received soon before or during sleep – and nothing short of an exhaustive study to the contrary will convince me otherwise… even if you are one of my friends who swears you “sleep just fine” with any subject matter on the television. (You know who you are!! LOL! At least I didn’t call you out by name. 😘)
Have fun with your experimentations and know that no matter the results of anything you try, you get kudos for working to improve your life.
You may not find the right formula immediately, but you’ll soon find what doesn’t work – and that’s the first step toward finding what will work.
Another helpful tool is GILD’s complimentary consultation session which you can schedule here.