For the last year or so, I have been fascinated by morning routines. It seems like everywhere I turn, the most successful people I find, have a morning routine to prepare for and make the most of each day. From Tony Robbins’ hour of power that includes a dip in 57 degree cold water, to Steve Jobs looking at himself in the mirror and asking the question, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
I recently finished a great book called The Miracle Morning and it has motivated me to get the best out of my mornings each day. If you are interested in diving deeper into this area, I would highly recommend picking up the book. To get you started, here are a few of the things that are having the biggest impact on me each morning and each day.
- Waking up in silence. No, I am not referring to waking up without an alarm clock, which would be nice, but simply spending the first 5-10 minutes of your morning in silence or meditation. We spend so much of our time each day in reactionary mode between our email, phones, social media, and taking on the requests of others. That’s why it’s so vital to start each day in a manner that removes you from this hamster wheel of requests and putting out fires. It puts you back in control of your day. My favorite way to do this is by using the Headspace App on my Iphone, which offers 10 free and simple 10-minute guided meditations. I usually do one of these first thing in the morning before checking email, Facebook, or wondering what I have to do that day.
- Practicing Gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we have access to. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, or stressed, it is usually because I am lacking gratitude. We live in an age where the entire world is at our finger tips, but it’s easy to focus on all the things we don’t have, and forget about all the great things we already have in our lives. This quote from Tony Robbins sums it best. “Trade your expectations for appreciation, and the world changes instantly.” My favorite way to practice gratitude is to use the Five Minute Journal. Each day it asks you to write down 3 things that you are grateful for. Even if I don’t have time to write in the journal, I will always try to think of a few things I am grateful for on my drive to work.
- Exercise. – I firmly believe that energy is not something that you have or don’t, but that it can be created in any given moment. The easiest way to create energy is through movement and exercise. While I usually will attend a CrossFit class on most mornings, I always try to get some sort of movement in the first 10-20 minutes of each day. That way, even if I miss my workout, I still get the positive boost of energy from exercise to start my day. One of my favorite ways to do is to just spend a few minutes bouncing on a mini trampoline that I have at my house, or to go through a short warm up routine like this one. I will usually watch/listen to the motivational video below, and by the end of it I feel like I have enough energy to run through a wall.
- Feed your mind. – Motivational speaker Jim Rohn is famous for the quote, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Why not start your day by surrounding yourself and learning from some of the smartest and most successful people in the world? One of the easiest ways to do this is through books and podcasts. Even if you can learn just 1 or 2 new concepts or ideas each day, this will begin to snowball as you do it day after day. And because you are hearing those things first thing in the morning, you have the rest of the day to apply those ideas or concepts to your life, which exponentially increases your chances of retaining that information. Every morning I try to read for at least 10 minutes or listen to an audiobook or podcast while I am making my morning coffee or while driving to work.
- Feed Your Body. – What you eat first thing in the morning is absolutely critical to having the energy to take on the first few hours of your day. If you are hungry first thing in the morning, I would recommend a high protein and high fat breakfast like bacon and eggs. This will give you a sustained energy versus the crash you will get from most cereals and traditional breakfast foods. If you are not hungry first thing in the morning then I don’t think it’s necessary that you eat something. I don’t agree with the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and believe that drinking a couple glasses of water first thing in the morning is far more important than eating. Since I am not hungry first thing in the morning, I will generally have some greens powder mixed in with a tall glass of water, and bulletproof coffee on the days that I feel like I need an extra boost. The combination of these two things with the rest of the morning routine will make you feel superhuman; like you can take on anything that comes at you that day.
If this sounds like a lot to add to your morning routine, consider this. I have always considered myself a night owl, and found it nearly impossible to make the switch to an early morning routine for most of my life. Now that I coach CrossFit most mornings of the week, I have to be at the gym by 5:40 am and on Monday mornings I am at the gym by 4:40 AM. The thought of waking up any earlier than I already was, sounded like a deal breaker, as I am sure it feels that way for most of you.
But as I have started to add this habit to my life, I actually love the idea of getting up 15-20 minutes earlier, just to make sure I can hit all the aspects of my miracle morning. Even if I only have an extra 5 minutes, I will pick one or two things from the list, and it is usually enough to give me some positive momentum going into my day.
I have also realized the importance of your mindset when you go to sleep, and how it impacts you when you wake up the following morning. If you go to bed telling yourself you aren’t going to get enough sleep, and you are going to wake up tired the next day, then inevitably you do. But if you go to bed excited for the morning to come and take on the next day, then inevitably you wake up full of energy, even if the amount of sleep you got was the same.
I truly believe that these small additions to your morning routine can be a game changer for your life. So ask yourself this, what would your miracle morning look like?