I believe that one of the most critical things to cultivate when pursuing success in life is to have a solid morning routine. Not only do you begin your day in a highly motivated state, but you prime your mind and body to face the new day head on – challenges and all!
There are countless studies out there supporting this idea, in addition to the dozens, if not hundreds, of very successful individuals who could not agree more. Success Titans such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris, Brene Brown, Tony Robbins, Tom Bilyeu, just to name a select few.
You will hear it time and time again about the importance of setting yourself up, and your day, for success. Arguable the greatest time to accomplish this is very first thing in the morning.
So let’s break it down. This list is by no means all encompassing. There could be items listed that may not serve you best, or maybe there are other items that would benefit you better. What exactly you do is less important than simply cultivating the routine, and then dialing it in as you go.
1. Get up Early.
Yes, I’m looking right at YOU, Mr. 4 AM.
Hold up! FOUR AM?! Yes, you read that right, and No, I’m not crazy. How do I know that? Because many of the aforementioned Success Titans would be nodding in agreeance if they were reading this right now. I completely understand how ridiculous 4 AM sounds to most people – I used to be one of those myself.
However, the reality of working towards my goals slapped me hard in the face one day: in order for me to get my full morning routine in before heading off to work, 4 AM had to become my new best friend. Is it the easiest thing to do? Hell no. Some days it downright sucks. But the days I commit to getting up early versus the ones that I do not are noticeably different – enough so that kick myself the days I don’t.
Maybe instead you get up at 5 AM when you usually rise at 7 or 8. The entire point of this is to simply get yourself up and moving long before the priorities of the day command your attention. This early morning sesh is for YOU and no one else.
“Early is a Priceless
TimePiece Owned by
-Johnnie Dent Dr.
Another thing to mention is that once that morning alarm goes off, I command you to NOT hit the snooze button. Get up on the FIRST alarm. I recently read a study about the severely negative effects that continual snooze-hitting have on us and I’ll share the theory with you.
Think about it – after a nights sleep, when your alarm goes off, you have officially completed the entire sleep cycle. With you hitting the snooze and dozing back off to sleep, you naturally begin the sleep cycle over again. Depending on how long you let yourself sleep, the deeper you get into that cycle, only to abruptly bring yourself back out of it when the alarm goes off again. Those extra five or ten minutes gain you absolutely nothing but feeling even more tired during the day. You literally do more harm than good. It sounds backwards, doesn’t it?
But I promise you, getting up with that first alarm will do WONDERS.
It’s not easy either! I admittedly struggle with it from time to time, but I feel so much better when I get up with that first alarm. Not to mention, this is the very first triumph of the day and your feet haven’t even touched the floor!
Final thing to mention on this topic, DO NOT, under any circumstances, grab your phone and begin to browse. My phone doubles as my alarm clock, so it sits right next to my bed, just like nearly everyone else out there these days. This leaves a prime temptation for late night / early morning mindless scrolling. DO NOT DO THIS.
Once you turn that alarm off, the phone goes back down and you do not look at it again until AFTER your routine is complete. Whatever is happening in the world with social media or with work, IT CAN WAIT. Do not fill your mind with negativity right out of the gate. Give yourself the hour-to-two hours without any distractions or outside influence. This is all about YOU.
2. Drink Some Good Ol’ Fashion h20
I have heard different theories as to what type of water you should be drinking first thing in the morning. Regular water, warm temperature water, lemon water, shot of apple cider vinegar with water, etc. Whatever H20 route you choose, the point is still the same. You were just asleep for several hours and have not had anything to eat or drink during that time so we naturally wake up in a deficit state.
Give yourself some damn water!
It seems that the popular recommendation is a full 8oz glass which is a great place to start. Keep a water bottle near your bed so that this can be the first thing you reach for each morning. I know my old Crossfit coach Tommy would down an entire bottle of water first thing every day. I remember that when I begin to complain about my little glass.
I mean come on, we have all been drilled the benefits of drinking plenty of water, and the sad truth is that nearly all of us are not getting enough. So do yourself a nice favor and down some toxin-flushing water first thing in the morning.
3. Workout – Prime the Body
Aaaah, you knew this one was coming, but stick with me for a second and hear me out.
For me personally, I absolutely LOVE working out in the morning. I used to be present and accounted for at nearly every 6 AM Crossfit class. I’m definitely not my strongest first thing in the morning, but the endorphin rush and satisfactory feeling of having the workout done and over with before the sun even comes up is a triumph in itself.
Nowadays with my busy life, I do workouts at home in the confines of my bedroom. I have a pull-up bar, several resistance bands, a yoga mat and good ol’ gravity to accomplish one workout or another. Within 30 minutes, I can usually break a good sweat.
When I had first started implementing a workout into my morning routine, I had picked up a third job while the financial pickings were good. (Permission to now call me crazy). There was literally ZERO time to squeeze a workout in once I left the house for the day. Rather than accepting that excuse, I decided to set my alarm a tad earlier on those days.
Sure enough, as the little silver check marks on my calendar will attest to, I would complete my workout for the day, long before leaving for Job 1. The strangest realization of all was that once I got used to the new routine, the days that I would not work out I actually felt worse! I felt more tired! So even if I could not get a full-blown workout in, just a few push-ups or pull-ups often did the trick.
Guys, invest in your health – I cannot stress this enough. Your health should be a top priority at all times. Please do not neglect it because you will regret it.
Some (or most) people work out in the afternoon – that’s completely fine! I’m not asking you to switch your routine to the morning. If you get a spike in your heart rate later in the day, that’s great! For you, I may suggest a couple jumping jacks, some push ups, a quick walk outside, or maybe go up and down the stairs once or twice.
This is literally about getting your blood flowing throughout your body to begin waking up the brain and other organs first thing in the morning. You are “priming” yourself, as Tony Robbins would say, which leads us directly into the next item…
4. Meditate – Prime the Mind
Now that you have physically primed yourself with the workout, you should mentally and emotionally prime yourself with meditation. Starting your day off in a positive mind frame does some incredible things and the stillness of the morning is beyond perfect for a meditative practice.
Meditation is all about closing out the outside world and shutting down the chatter of your own mind. It’s about going inward, finding the stillness within, and becoming more self aware. It’s about mastering yourself. Yes, I know this seems as hippie as it comes, but those damn hippies were up to something. The benefits of meditation are incredibly powerful and the more you practice, the better you get and the greater the results will manifest themselves.
I have been practicing meditation for several months now. My meditation sessions last anywhere from a quick five minutes all the way up to nearly an hour. Once you learn how to control the mind and stop the endless stream of thoughts, you can easily loose track of time. However, I’ll admit that it took me a long time to be able to do this, and even to this day, there are still some mornings that the mental conversation just does not stop. It’s called a Practice for a reason. It takes time. And practice!
Start with short, guided meditations where you listen along to speaker. Actively listening to a voice helps keep your mind focused and undistracted. Progressively find a meditative style that fits you.
I listen to the app “Calm” – headphones go on, the outside world no longer exists. There are hundreds of options these days. The bottom line is to just do this. Make it a priority! Those Success Titans would also agree with this, as they ALL have a meditation practice in their routine.
5. Gratitude – Be. Freaking. Grateful.
You are ALIVE. You are here, on this planet, existing in a moment that has never happened before and will never happen again. You are a remarkable human being and the only one to ever exist. You are a damn miracle. So do me a solid favor and start acting like it.
Give some thanks back to the Universe, God, Omnipotent Being, to Yourself… whatever you believe in, throw some gratitude back out into the world. Be grateful for the new day and that you get to live it. You have air in your lungs and a heart beating in your chest – a miracle in and of itself. Be grateful for the roof over your head or the bed you just slept in. Hell, you’re reading this from either a smart phone or a computer, aren’t you? There is magic in today and every day. There is goodness in today and every day.
“Gratitude Turns what we
Have into enough.”
Be grateful for the challenges, blessing, and miracles that are headed your way that day. Be grateful IN ADVANCE. The minute you begin to anticipate miracles and blessings in your life, and are grateful for them before they even happen, the more abundantly they will begin to appear. That is Law.
Now, having a prayer of gratitude is very easy to even tie into your meditative practice. I personally spend at least five minutes of my meditation dedicated to giving thanks.
Also, giving thanks is so much more than just saying in a monotone drawl, “Thank you for the day”, “Thank you for my shoes”, “Gee golly willikers, thanks a bunch.” You have got to feel and express the gratitude from deep within! Imagine someone giving you a really awesome gift or surprising you with an extremely kind gesture. You know that wave of deep, inner gratitude that floods your SOUL? Yeah, that’s the channel of gratitude you need to attempt to reach with this practice. Feel the gratitude as deep down as you can. Bonus points if the tears show up – it means you’re doing it right.
6. Goal Work – This is for You.
This is the time of the day that you work on something for YOU.
What goals do you have in your life right now and how can you spend a few minutes in the morning working towards them? Maybe this entails spending 20 minutes working on a craft or hobby that you enjoy; maybe you look at your vision board and spend time visualizing the life you desire; maybe you work on editing photos or working on your website. Perhaps you spend some time repeating affirmations or writing out a plan for the day, the week, the month, or the year. Whatever it is that you do for you, DO it. Dedicate some time to YOUR personal growth and success while the days’ distractions are still at bay.
The things listed above are just a handful of ideas. My coworker Courtney, a wife and mother to three children, has a slightly different routine to her morning. These days she gets up an hour earlier than she used to. While the husband and children still sleep, Courtney uses this “Me Time” to the fullest. She will start laundry, do dishes, or tidy up around the house – things that would otherwise be stressful to find time to do later in the day when life is running at full speed. Courtney mentioned that just having an extra load of laundry started or having the sink dish-free by the time she leaves for work, it already puts her ahead for the day.
Once those things are going or are finished, Courtney will spend time specifically for herself. Prayers and personal reading are her usual go-to’s, just as the rest of the house begins to wake. She has admitted time and time again that her morning routine totally sets her up for a better day than if she were to spend the extra hour sleeping.
This shit truly makes a difference, so find a routine that works for you! It will be tough at first as you adjust to the early hours, but I can promise you that your day-to-day life will begin to change. As it becomes easier, soon you’ll find yourself regretting the days you DON’T wake up early. Challenge yourself to give this a try. You can do anything for 30 days, so what’s an extra hour earlier every morning to dedicate towards You?
Every day is a brand new day with miracles and blessings hiding in plain sight all around you. You have exactly 86,400 seconds with this one and only day. How will you choose to live them?