From 3am wake ups and 20 mile runs to downing raw egg smoothies and having an ice bath, it seems every man and his dog has a morning routine these days.
When I first started my business, I felt like I’d been living under a rock. I’d never even heard of morning routines, and apparently they were the key to my whole day? I think not.
Clearly whoever devised this concept had never had kids. I’m lucky if I get a solo trip to the toilet.
How was I to establish any kind of routine normality when my son’s ‘normal’ is running around naked in his armbands roaring like a lion? (just to be clear, he’s only 2).
Creatures of habit
It was during a chat with my coach that the truth started to come out. I actually already had a morning routine.
My partner always brings me coffee in bed. The toddler gets milk. We sit on the bed reading books or watching TV. We go downstairs and put the TV on. Next comes breakfast on the sofa and then I walk my son to nursery. Straight back home and I begin work.
I had never even considered the fact that I had a choice in this. This was a habit – a routine – that I had unconsciously formed.
The thing is, whether we like it or not, we are creatures of habit. Whilst we may not have constructed our morning routines intentionally, we likely do the same things every day.
With this realisation came a choice. Did I continue with my unintentional routine, with activities such as TV first thing that were out of alignment with my values? Or did I choose to start my day with intention, doing things which are important to me?
It’s a pretty easy choice when you put it like that.
Go on then, what does the research say?
It’s no secret that top performers have powerful routines. Discipline and success come hand in hand.
So what are all these benefits we can expect to see?
- Powerful mindset – starting your day with intention sets the tone for the whole day. As the expression goes, ‘win the morning, win the day’.
- Avoid mental fatigue – you will spend your day making decisions. Taking the decision-making out of your morning will save energy for the tasks that count.
- Alignment with values – starting your day with the things that are important to you will contribute to your happiness and overall fulfilment.
Sounds pretty awesome huh?
Align your morning routine with your values
When I first tried to implement a routine, I failed miserably. I wasn’t realistic about the time I had, but I also wasn’t realistic about the activities I added. If you haven’t exercised all year, adding a 20 minute workout first thing is unlikely to stick.
My morning routine began to make sense when I aligned it with my values and goals.
One of my values is spending quality time with my son – technology-free. This is now part of my morning routine. This was important to me before but I just wasn’t doing it consistently, as I didn’t set the intention.
It is also important to me that I have a healthy body, as I know this affects my mindset. I introduced a workout to my morning routine, but kept it short (7 minutes to be precise).
Finally, I want to ensure I keep learning. I introduced reading a business book or doing a course for half an hour each morning.
Now that my morning routine contains activities which closely align to my values, it is no hardship focussing on them every day. I look forward to it.
And the difference my morning routine has made? I now go into each day feeling grounded and intentional. I have the right mindset to be successful.
Starting a realistic morning routine (with examples)
My advice is to start small. Add one intentional action to your morning routine and once you’ve embedded that habit, consider adding more.
There are three pillars I try to hit in my morning routine: physical, mental and emotional.
Here’s some examples for each pillar:
- Cold shower
- Walk outside (walking the kids to nursery/school is ideal for this!)
- Exercise (I use 7 minute workout app)
- Online course
- Journalling (I use Neil Pasricha’s ‘Two Minute Mornings’)
- Time with loved ones
And here’s some quick wins for your morning routine:
- Make the bed
- Drink a glass of water
- Do 60 squats as you brush your teeth
If I hit two out of three pillars of my morning routine, I’m happy. I don’t obsess over what I didn’t do.
As a mum (and for me, business owner) you are juggling so many balls. Don’t let your morning routine become something else to beat yourself up over.
It’s about you and no one else. If it’s not working for you, change it up. Let it be a source of power – a commitment to the right mindset. A commitment to the importance of making time for you.