What’s all the Fuss About Morning Routines?
We’ve read the books, and we’ve heard the news: the most successful people are the ones that start their day early and with a morning routine. The problem is that the average human hasn’t had the same life experiences nor the same circumstances as those early risers like Elon Musk, Twyla Tharp, or Mark Zuckerberg. We may be unable to replicate their morning routines because we neither share their career path, nor their resources, nor their schedules. We are all different, which is why our morning routines should identify with our unique personalities, habits, and life goals.
The list below addresses the fuss about morning routines, why they are relevant, and how you can benefit from creating one that’s right for you. Rather than telling you which morning routine is the best, this list offers you tips on how to create your own morning routine, how to stick to it and how you can evolve with it.
Go big or go home doesn’t apply here
Don’t over commit yourself. There’s no need to promise yourself a new routine that consists of a 1-hour workout after a paleo breakfast and before meditation. Take things little by little and start by creating a morning routine for yourself that you perceive as equally achievable and manageable. This may mean setting your alarm at 7:00 to go for a 30-minute jog, journaling for 15 minutes or even making time for yourself to have a healthy breakfast. When resistance is high, so too is the likelihood of giving up. Build your momentum by starting small so that you can continue to dream big.
66 Days to Make a Habit
The self-help saying that it takes 25 days to make a habit may be a myth, but that doesn’t mean you won’t reap results after putting in the time and effort. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes at minimum 2-months (66 days to be exact) to form a habit. This number may not be exact, but the good news is it isn’t an all or nothing process. Failing to perform the desired behavior every once in a while shouldn’t throw all of your progress off. Rather than being hard on yourself for failing every now and again, give yourself the opportunity to strategize when times get tough so as to avoid future mistakes. When you comprehend that routines are processes, not singular events, you will incrementally form a habit.
Free up your morning
Avoid time consuming and brain irking decision making tasks in the morning. This may mean picking your outfit out the night before or jotting down your to-do list before bed. Make your morning count by taking on tasks that are meaningful to you. Though we can’t replicate the morning routines of the rich and famous, we can most certainly adjust theirs to fit ours. CEO of American Express, Kenneth Chenault, for example, ends his workday writing down three things he wants to accomplish the next day. Chenault evidently frees up his morning by setting goals for the following day, and so can you.
Disengage at night
Making efforts the night prior will benefit your morning routine because you will have improved sleep to give you the energy to kick-start your day. This means turning off social media and your television before bed. I know the feeling- watching a little show before bed puts you to sleep, and yet while it may feel relaxing, doing so affects the quality of your rest. The light, sound, and irregular sleep cycle cause sleep disruptions that you may not even be conscious of, so tonight, try disengaging before bed.
It’s all about setting clear objectives
Once you understand what you want to achieve from your morning routine by setting clear objectives, you will be able to measure and reward your success. By setting objectives as to what exactly you want to get done, you will be more likely to achieve it. Rather than simply stating, “I want to get up earlier to have a fuller and more productive day,” set the objective of setting your alarm daily at 7 AM. Said objective gives you the stimulation and structure to act. If you struggle to set objectives, use the SMART framework. This means establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-framed objectives that you, as an individual, can meet.
What’s important to you?
Brainstorm things that are important to you by making a physical or mental list and associate those values with behaviors to create a customized routine. Let’s imagine health is important to you, but you hate running. Focus on an associated behavior that you could see yourself enjoying or that you have had success with in the past, whether that’s waking up in time to head to a yoga class or waking up to walk up and down your stairs. Enjoyment is key because your routine should ease you into your day, rather than make it dreadful.
Here I am at 8 AM writing this article with a coffee in hand, attesting that it is possible to establish a feasible routine. It’s inevitable that there are days in which your routine will get out of whack, and that’s totally fine because it is a process that needs to be continually learned and adjusted. Customization is key, and it’s working for me. Take this advice and structure a morning routine that fits for you!
Do you have a morning routine? Share below
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