‘If you win the morning, you win the day.’-Tim Ferriss
By far, the number one personal question I am asked during my coaching conversations revolves around my morning routine.
- What time do I get up?
- Why do I have a morning routine?
- Does it benefit me throughout the day?
- What is my routine and/or habits in the morning?
I believe an extraordinary life begins with installing impactful early morning habits that center around productivity, reflection, peace, lowering stress, learning, and maximizing creativity.
Through trial and error, I have personally created my own morning ritual that has served me well for many years.
The morning is when I take the time to reconnect with my best self.
I believe having a great day doesn’t just show up, it is an intentional process that requires discipline and consistency.
Before I share my morning routine habits, here are the worst morning mistakes I have made over the years:
- STARTING YOUR DAY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Most high performers start their day willfully and with purpose.
This means not giving in to the seductions of scrolling through social sites because they trigger a comparison mindset.
When you do this, you are immediately comparing yourself to other people.
In the past, I would have my phone by my bedside or on the table in the kitchen and the first thing I would do is scroll and swipe my way through the early morning.
I would be distracted by shiny things and what other people are doing or saying.
Over time, I was noticing that I was training my brain to become a victim by viewing the world through the lens of others.
My reward was to fill up my brain with more distraction and comparison…
Instead of my own dreams, goals, intentions, and plans.
My recommendation to break this vicious cycle is not to look at social media in the first hour of waking up.
2. CHECKING YOUR WORK E-MAIL IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS
This was a big bad habit of mine for years.
I would wake up and check my work e-mail within the first 10 minutes of my day.
Over time, I became stressed, concerned, and anxious because I was starting my day by responding to other people’s agendas.
E-mail is really built for other people telling you what to do, what to think, and what they need.
I became a people pleaser and started my day with other people’s agendas, drives, and needs.
I eventually built my capacity to become a follower because I was up first thing in the morning reacting to other people.
I learned over time, that checking my inbox meant I was checking out of my own life.
I wasn’t creating or shaping my own life and sucking the joy, freedom, and autonomy I so desperately wanted.
I am not suggesting you do not respond to emails or even text messages.
I am recommending you do not look or respond to work email in the first hour of getting up in the morning.
‘When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive to breath, to think, to enjoy, to live.’-Marcus Aurelius
3. TO BEGIN THE DAY WITH NO INTENTION
In the past, I woke up 30 minutes before I had to commute to work so I could squeeze in as much sleep time as possible.
During this time, I had to shower, make my lunch, race out the door and I had this feeling of negativity during my drive to work.
It was almost as though the amount of traffic dictated how my day would turn out.
I couldn’t figure out why I was going through the motions during my workday, not showing up as my best self, barely conscious when in meetings, trying to focus and be motivated.
What I have learned is that the ultimate killer of high performance is starting the day with no intentionality.
You want to challenge yourself to deliver with excellence and to become great at what you do.
This means not stumbling into your work and performance.
Instead, think through your workday, especially in the mornings.
Remember to create a morning mindset, by journaling first thing when you get up.
In order to instill intentionality into your day, take out your journal and write answers to the following questions:
- How do I bring my best self to that meeting or conversation today?
- What do I have to think about and prepare in order to make it the best meeting experience for attendees?
- Who is in the meeting? Or who am I speaking with in a one-to-one setting?
- Mentally walk yourself through the day, and ask yourself…how can I do it with excellence?
- How can I contribute a unique level of value?
- How can I deliver excellence and where are the opportunities to do a great job?
- How can I enjoy today?
- What can I be excited about today?
- Who can I appreciate and show gratitude to today?
Answering these questions prepares your mind to be conscious and motivated to bring your best self to all your activities and relationships.
By not installing the habit of intentionality into your mornings, you are robbing yourself of growth opportunities and the ability to identify gaps in your personal and professional development.
I encourage you to stop losing your mornings by letting email distractions, social media and not being intentional with your day take away your power.
Decide to be strategic about your AM routines and habits.
I believe how you start your mornings determines how your day will go.
Being happy, at peace, productive, and in control of your life has nothing to do with the time or when you get up.
Rather it is how you get up!
I certainly needed a morning routine refresh to ensure my day was no longer getting highjacked.
If you are waking up already behind the eight ball, stressed out, in a hurry, and frustrated, it will be easier for the world of other people’s priorities and distractions, take control of your brain and behaviours.
I recommend you create (through trials and mistakes) a customized morning routine that works for you.
It could change or be slightly adjusted depending on your stage in life.
It needs to be simple, and the time allotted to your early morning ritual is not important. For example, if you a lot 15 minutes to your AM routine, make sure you stick to it.
There is a lot of information, statistics, gurus, and noise about creating the perfect morning routine.
But, if it doesn’t work for you and where you are now in life, you will lose momentum, not do it, and disappoint yourself.
The real power is in the routine you install in your morning through willpower, self-control, and relentless practice.
Crafting your own personal morning routine is an act of self-love and appreciation.
You are putting your emotional, physical, and mental well-being first, so you are able to serve others as a version of your highest self.
For more details on the power of self-love, refer to my blog…
3 Ways to Grow Self Love in the link below:
HERE IS A SAMPLE OF MY CUSTOMIZED MORNING ROUTINE:
(Again, this practice works for me, at this time in my life.
It has been tweaked and adjusted over the past few years, but the power is in creating the habit).
Ensuring 8 hours of sleep is crucial to my success.
- 5:30am: Wake Up.
- Make my bed: I take pride in my personal space.
- Drink a tall glass of water to hydrate my body.
- 5-10 mins: Move my body/stretching.
- 10 mins: Meditate/reflection.
- 30 minutes: Learning time: Read or listen to podcasts about positive/good things. Leadership, spirituality, or biographies.
- 15-20 minutes – journal
- 10 mins -visualize/plan my day with intention, using a high-performance planner notebook.
- Eat breakfast with coffee.
To get more information on the power of daily journaling, topics refer to my blog…
7 Steps to Transform Your Life with Journaling by clicking on the link below:
I also recommend a new book by Chris Estrada called Master Your Morning Routine: Beat the Sun and Build an Unstoppable Life.
The book gives a step-by-step guide to building a simple morning routine and installing habits to ensure they become part of your day and who you are.
You can view and/or purchase the book on Amazon using the following link:
I can share that when I miss my morning routine, my day is off.
I am not as productive, clear, and focused.
I am not living the day to my fullest potential.
So, I never miss more than 3 days in a row to ensure my willpower and personal discipline are not rattled.
I am a champion of establishing and sticking to a morning routine because regardless of what is going in the world or in our communities, we have control over who we are, and how we show up.
In the morning, it’s almost as if I am pressing the ‘pause’ button on what is going on around me.
I take the opportunity to fortify my mind and soul so when I step out into the world, I radiate positivity and energy.
The quiet solitude of my mornings, is a gift that allows me the opportunity to grow, reflect, express gratitude, self strengthen, and enable peak performance.
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I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder