Search the keyphrase “Morning routines” and you end up with hundred millions of results:
- 7 Inspiring morning habits of highly successful people
- Top 10 morning habits of wildly successful entrepreneurs
- What successful people are doing in the morning?
- How billionaires start their day?
Lots of blog posts have been written about how CEOs, best-selling authors, motivational speakers, top marketers, etc. spend their morning.
And it makes sense, right? If you want to amass greater wealth, your best bet should be to follow the rich and successful’s footsteps.
The sad truth is adopting millionaire’s morning habits won’t make you a millionaire. Not if you do it blindly under the illusion it will make you richer and more successful.
And this blog post will try to prove just that, so bear with me until the very end.
I’ve tried it all ‒ success-driven morning habits: getting up early, doing meditation, listening to motivational videos, reading books, writing journals, etc.
For a while, it worked. I became more energetic, focused and alert. I could perform tasks more productively than ever before.
But then the stress kicked in. I felt pressured (and reluctant) to wake up at 6 am every day only to find myself getting caught up in a hamster wheel of tasks.
So one day, I decided to take a break…
I woke up without an alarm clock (get a full 8-hour sleep). I didn’t dive into listening to motivational videos right after waking up. I didn’t freewrite for half an hour before having breakfast. I didn’t try to squeeze any of the so-called productivity-boosting activities in the first hour of my day.
Instead, I indulged myself with a satisfying breakfast. Then I remained at the dinner table for the next 30 minutes or so, waiting for the sun to rise while enjoying a steamy cup of coffee.
A stream of calming and fulfilling air rushing through my entire body. I had never felt more alive and peaceful. No stress. No hurry. I simply enjoyed my morning. The rest of the day progressed in that manner. Calm and slow.
To my astonishment, I managed to accomplish loads of things. And since I wasn’t in the rush to do anything, I didn’t experience stress, anxiety, and frustration — something I had always felt when trying to cross off everything on my to-do list.
Then I realized all the morning habits I forced myself to abide by didn’t make me more productive at all. In fact, they were counterproductive. I’ve set myself up in a busy mode, always on the run, chasing one deadline after another.
I learned a hard lesson:
There’s no such thing called successful morning habits. The only morning habit you should adopt is the one that you enjoy doing and you can do it not in a rush.
Here are some good reasons for it:
1. What works for others may not work for you
Do you like to dress the same way as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs do? Then why copy their morning routines?
None of us is the same. We grow up in different environments, live different kinds of life, have different hobbies, lifestyles, likes and dislikes, etc.
So even if you adopt the same morning routine of the richest man on Earth, you won’t be able to live the same life he does.
Tim Cook finds waking up at 5 a.m a breeze because he’s an early bird.
Jack Dorsey may have the luxury of time to meditate before going for a 6-mile jog every morning.
Tim Amstrong wakes around 5 or 5.25 a.m and starts workouts, reads, tinkers around with AOL’s products, answers emails because he’s not a big sleeper.
But your circumstances are different.
You might be a night owl who couldn’t get the ball rolling until late afternoon.
Your job starts at 8 a.m and couldn’t squeeze in a 6-mile jog every morning.
Or you’re a big sleeper who wants to take your morning slowly.
It makes more sense to build your morning routines than copying someone who comes from a much different background than yours.
2. You will run out of steam eventually
Successful people are highly disciplined individuals who’ve spent years shaping strong habits and personalities.
Anthony Trollope was able to write from 5 a.m to 8 a.m before heading to work because it’s what he’d been doing for over 30 years.
If you just plunge yourself into a similar morning routine, you won’t be able to keep up with the “demand” and soon run out of steam.
Instead of adopting a habit that you will soon give up, why not develop your own?
Building a morning habit around what you love is a great way to start the day off fresh and energetic. It also keeps your mood high so that you can live your day to the fullest.
3. You don’t want your life to be too rigid
A lot of successful people build their morning routines around a long list of tasks: reading, checking emails, writing, going for a job, etc.
You don’t want to force yourself in such a compact routine with no room to breathe.
An uncondensed morning routine with one or two activities that you love doing is enough of a healthy dose for your day.
You’ll feel much calmer, experience less burnout, and work more effectively as a result.
Life is too short for you to chase it. Trying to cram so much in your day and you won’t have time to truly live it.
How to develop your own morning routine
1. Make a list of what pumps you up
Ask yourself this question:
What are the things you could do in the morning to pump you up for the rest of the day?
Is it treating yourself to a healthy breakfast? Enjoying a coffee while reading your favorite book?
Taking a bath? Going for a run? Swimming? Making breakfast for your kid?
If you can’t think of anything that could pump you up, consult other people’s morning routines. Chances are you’ll find something you want to do too.
Remember it has to be what you really want to do, not something you do because successful people do it.
2. Take it to action
Now that you have a list of things you want to do in the morning, it’s time to experiment ‒ find out the routine that works best for you.
While experimenting with different morning routines, notice how it makes you feel. Do you feel tense or relaxed carrying out an activity? How does it affect your mood and productivity throughout the day?
If you catch yourself feeling reluctant to do something, try another activity the next morning. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t commit yourself to seemingly good morning routines like reading a book or going for a 30-minute jog.
The key is to find out what you enjoy and keeps your mood high for the rest of the day.