When I first heard the term “Morning Routine” I immediately felt disconnected.
It’s something of a buzz phrase in the entrepreneurial community, but having a morning routine almost suggests that you are part of some elite training program or club, giving you the right to look down on people who don’t have a morning routine.
Of course, that’s not what it’s about.
The reality is that everyone – including you – already has a morning routine, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Your morning routine is simply the sequence of activities you do first thing in the morning.
After years of blissfully ignoring my morning routine, my mentor finally helped me realize the incredible benefits of designing a morning routine that worked for ME.
And that’s what I am going to do for you in this article.
What did my OLD morning routine look like?
Rewind the clock 24 months and here’s what I did when I woke up every morning:
- Depending on the day, I would hit ‘snooze’ at least once
- Scroll through Instagram for 15 minutes (sometimes as much as 45 minutes😅)
- Finally drag my ass out of bed and take a hot shower
- Brush my teeth, put on clothes, do the rest of my personal care (in no particular order)
- Check my messages and email as I drank a coffee and half started my work day
- Some days I would also get outside for a run or walk (most days I wouldn’t)
Working with a personal coach opened my eyes to why this routine was holding me back from becoming the greatest version of myself.
Consciously or subconsciously, the actions we take the moment the alarm goes off define who we are and what we think about ourselves.
Consider the Hemingway quote: “There is nothing noble in being better than your fellow man. True nobility lies in becoming superior to your former self”.
To be true, you need to seriously rethink the way you start your day.
How to set yourself up to win with a killer morning routine
It’s easy to hit snooze, scroll through Instagram, have a hot shower, and dabble around until you find yourself in the right gear to work.
But by following these steps, you create a routine that gets you into a positive working mood from the second your alarm sounds.
#1 – Snoozing your alarm clock is breaking a promise to yourself first thing in the morning.
That statement may sound a little dramatic, but that’s because it is serious business.
Last night you consciously decided to set that alarm for your future self. If it goes off and you immediately decide, “Naaa, not yet,” and hit snooze, then you have already broken a promise to yourself BEFORE YOU EVEN STARTED YOUR DAY!
As soon as I heard that I was a little skeptical, but I said, ‘Sure, I guess I’ll stop snoozing.’🙄
However, this process made me stop and consider how my body is feeling at night before I sleep. If I pushed myself hard that day – whether through exercise, work, social, or family life – I would set my alarm 30 minutes later, giving my body extra time to recover.
Many hardcore gym people would saying, “No excuses!” right now, but screw that. It’s up to you to decide if you are your own best or worst enemy each day. I vote best friend 100% of the time.
By giving my body the extra time it needs in bed in advance, I am able to jump out of bed without hitting snooze, and have already kept a promise.
It’s an instant win to start the day.
If you feel out of touch with yourself, invest in an Oura Ring and learn how well your body actually rests based on hard data. Then do yourself a favor, and stop listening to Instagram quotes like “No pain, no gain” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.
Which brings me onto my next point…
#2 – Scrolling through social media first thing in the morning is probably the worst thing you can do.
We live in the age of distraction.
Social media is training our brains to shorten our attention spans and send stress levels soaring as you subconsciously (or, in many cases, consciously) compare yourself and your life to other people.
There are countless articles published on the effects of social media on your brain, but the moral of the story is that if you’re working on becoming the greatest version of yourself, scrap social media first thing in the morning and focus on YOU.
#3 – Set yourself up for success by creating a self-care routine.
While “self care” is something we all need to do to survive, some people seem to avoid the notion like it’s a bad thing (my past self included).
So forget the term self care and just realize that you need to do the following things to feel good, look good, and keep your body healthy.
- Cold Shower
- Brush teeth
- Use deodorant
- Style hair
- Shave (if necessary)
Now, if you rearrange this order every single day, then you are allowing your subconscious mind to decide for you. Inevitably, the fewer decisions you have to make, the less brain calories you will use first thing in the morning.
In short, set your self-care routine and allow your body to go into autopilot to take care of itself!
Notice that I mentioned a cold shower 🚿
It’s certainly not a requirement, but I listen to Tony Robbins on this one (he has a custom built cool pool that he jumps into every morning). While I don’t have this, I do have an ice-cold shower and, after the first week of HATING it, I now look forward to it every morning.
There is a lot of research on the physical benefits of cold showers, but I see thrusting myself under ice-cold water when I first wake up as one of the hardest things I will have to do that day.
After this brutality, attending to clients and preparing work never seems to be that tough! Try a cold shower as it’s a great way to develop mental fortitude.
#4 – The way you speak to yourself in the morning makes a BIG difference.
Establishing some baseline affirmations can help put you in an emotionally happy state and change your day before it’s really even started.
Affirmations help you design the state of mind you want to be in. They help you decide how you want to feel today.
Do you want to feel limitless? Abundant? Healthy? Motivated towards a goal?
Whatever state you want to achieve, there are affirmations you can say that will put you in the RIGHT emotional state to accomplish them.
Sounds like bullshit? If success leaves a path, go look at top performers like Oprah, Jim Carey, and Will Smith who all practice affirmations.
(Check out our downloadable guide to morning routines to see which are my favorites)
#5 – Do the following steps – but pick an order and stick to it!
After showering, getting ready, and practicing affirmations, you can move onto some positive tasks that will leave you feeling awake, inspired and energetic:
✅ Morning beverage ritual
Drink coffee, tea, or lemon water first thing? Do it exactly the same way every morning. I drink tea each morning and it really is a ritual. I weigh out exactly how much loose leaf tea and water (down to the gram) go into my cup. Consistency is key.
✅ Morning meditation
You may be on the fence about this, but there is overwhelming evidence that doing SOME kind of meditation practice or mindfulness practice in the morning is beneficial for you and your outlook on the day ahead.
Taking the time to write out how you are feeling or what you want to accomplish, what you are grateful for, and the current challenges you are facing can positively affect your psychological wellbeing. It also helps you manifest your goals!
Reading in the morning is awesome. This may be something that informs, entertains, inspires, or educates. It may be business, lifestyle, or spiritual. Whatever it is, a little reading goes a long way. Only 10 pages a day can equate to 10-20 books a year!
✅ Saying specific affirmations
We have touched upon affirmations in the section above, but they are worth mentioning again.
Whatever you have concerns over, repeating a positive affirmation over and over again can change the subconscious programming that may have started the negative self-talk that manifested the problem in the first place!
Intrigued? Check out this article on Self-Affirmation Theory.
✅ Get outside and exercise
As little as 5-10 minutes before you start work can make a huge difference. This may be a short walk, a quick run, some pull ups, or some yoga on the lawn. Anything to get the blood flowing.
#6 – Create a Vision Board
When I first heard about vision boards as part of a morning routine, I pictured 9-year-olds with glue sticks, scissors, gossip magazines, and those white foam boards from grade school. Not something I associated with myself!
The final product may still be something that your elementary school teacher would be proud of, but the meaning and power of this vision board can be life-changing.
Ultimately, a vision board is a visual representation of your vision of the future.
What does the healthiest version of you look like? Where do you want to live? (If you haven’t already read the article we wrote on the Wheel of Life, now is the perfect time to go check it out.)
The vision board allows your mind to run wild and can help you turn your vision of a 10/10 life into a reality.
I look at my vision board every morning. I fill myself with gratitude for what I have today as well as in my vision of the future.
#7 – Transition into working by creating a “Start your work day checklist”
While I have ritualized this practice, I also have a printed version of this on my desk to remind myself of how I should start working each day.
For me, this is about clearing any hangover from yesterday’s tasks, prioritizing and preparing myself for what I need to do (usually the toughest task first), and then easing myself into work.
Build your own version of this (or feel free to copy mine)! It can help you walk into work, ready to dominate your day.
Putting your morning routine into practice
You now have the framework to a great morning routine.
But why even get started if you have failed every fad diet, routine, or recommended best practices you have read in other articles?
#1 – This ain’t no normal blog post! We have created a complete guide on how to create a life-long morning routine practice and why it works.
#2 – We are here to help you. We have helped countless people implement systems like this into their lives and businesses. Email us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you put the gears in motion.
#3 – This isn’t a race. As we discussed in the Hemingway quote above, life is about becoming a better version of yourself. You have plenty of time. This is just the start.
I’ll leave you with this sentiment: I’m imperfect, you are imperfect, and Will Smith is imperfect (hey, we all saw the Oscars).
People make mistakes, but if you keep showing up and putting in the practice, I PROMISE that you will make progress towards your 10/10 vision of the future.
I mentioned Will Smith just now and that was for a good reason.
If you haven’t looked at Will Smith’s life, it’s truly an inspiring place to start. In his book “Will”, he writes about how, no matter what happens in life, you must keep building.
“You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.”Quote from “Will” by Will Smith
So go lay a brick my friend. Today is the day.