I am regularly asked by people how do I keep so motivated, how do I keep up my energy levels. I put this down to a few strategies, like being clear on my purpose, but one area that helps massively is the morning routine I have cultivated. In response to the question – so what is your morning routine ? – I wrote it down to help others. So here you go……………………….. welcome to me as I wake up each day 😊
Morning routines – we all have them, we all have things we habitually do in the morning, consciously or unconsciously, good or bad, to kick off another wonderful day on planet earth. For some people mornings are not their best time of day for others they love getting out of bed.
Whether you like it or not there is no question that if you want to be successful, healthy and wise then getting up early is a key ingredient, but more importantly having a powerful morning routine sets you up for a focused, satisfying and productive day.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that your morning routine defines you and definitely defines the day you will have.
Like most I have always had some sort of morning routine. Have a coffee, read the news, go for a run, check emails, etc. but I have never consciously structured a morning routine until last year.
In January I read Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. In this book he has pulled together insights from his hundreds of interviews with some of the most successful people in the world – from businessmen, sports people, actors, pop stars – you name it he has interviewed them. One of the insights was that nearly every single person interviewed had a powerful morning routine.
The routines vary but they all consist of some form of exercise, some form of mindfulness/meditation and some form of focusing on personal goals.
As I read I was reminded of a Tony Robbins CD that I used to listen to called the hour of power – an hour in the morning for yourself before getting on with the day. This just reinforced the points I read in the Tim Ferriss book. Give an hour to yourself in the morning and you will have a great day, or if you don’t, at least you had a great start to the day.
So I started a set morning routine in January 2017, the effect has been amazing.
I built my morning routine by taking various bits from other people’s routines and building something that would work for me.
So here it is:
1. Wake up at least 30 minutes before I need to start getting ready for my day (typically 0500 or 0530)
2. Make “bullet” proof tea – this is from Tools of Titans – loose leaf tea in a pot – black tea, green tea, turmeric and orange tea
3. Exercise: over 3 sets I do:
a. 100 – 120 press
b. 100 – 120 sit ups
c. 60 bicep curl using dumbells
d. 90 “panting” shoulder press – I hold a 2kg weight in each hand, hands in the shoulder press position, sitting on the floor, As I pump my arms up I breath in fast, then on the down exhale fast. This is a fast pumping exercise – 30 each set
4. Meditate / Mindfulness for 10 minutes. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside, sometimes guided, sometimes, just completely clear mind, sometimes thinking about the people I love, what I am grateful for, and my long term goals (note: the Headspace app is great for this).
5. Write my journal for the day – this has been one of the best parts of the routine. I write everyday:
a. 3 things I am grateful for. This is interesting. When I started I was like anyone else, I would write that I ws grateful for my wife, my children, my health etc. Then as I developed, I started to write at least one new thing every day like – I was grateful for the colour of the leaves in autumn, or the sound of the birds in the morning, the ability to see and hear these things etc. Gratitude is a great way to start the daily entry
b. 3 things that will make today amazing. What are the most important things I want to achieve today. Not just a to do list, although at least 2 of the 3 are normally a key business action, but maybe one thing that would make the day amazing, to enjoy the journey to work, or learn something new, or meet someone new.
c. Affirmations – I have about 3 or 4 affirmations that I write each day in my journal. These are sentences I have developed that sum up – how I want to live my life, how I want to serve other people, how I want to develop our life etc. You need to play around with these until you are comfortable. When I am writing the affirmations each day I will underline a different word so that I focus on that word and how I can focus on that word all day.
d. Goals – I write down my main 5 year goal every day which reminds me why I am doing what I do, and I write down 2 or 3 short term goals – maybe 1 year or even 3 months. This just keeps me focused each day
Note – what I have found powerful is that while I write my journal and set up my day I put motivational videos on youtube. This really helps raise my energy levels.
6. Optional – if it fits in with my training plan and the days plan I will go out for a run and listen to an inspirational pod cast.
7. Cold shower – I know this sounds mad. Having now done this for over a year I can tell you that a cold shower wakes you up in the morning. It also has some health benefits for skin and your circulation, but I won’t go into these here. If a cold shower is to much, then just turn it to cold for 30 seconds at the end.
That’s it, a morning routine to kick start your day.
Time – many people will say that they don’t have time for this sort of routine in the morning. If you take out the morning run, this whole routine takes 30 minutes maximum.
The benefits I have seen so far:
· Focus and productivity – when I start each day thinking about what I want to achieve and focusing on the important things, whilst reminding myself about the long term vision it makes sure I don’t waste time on the wrong things during the day.
· Physically I feel better. As a runner most of the exercise I would do just revolved around running, adding in upper body and core exercise everyday has kept me feeling and looking better.
· Calmness and peace of mind – I have found that gratitude and meditation just makes me a calmer person who remembers what is important in life.
· Energy – I have always had lots of energy, but now I have even more as I launch into each exciting day.
How could having a morning routine benefit you ?
When I am mentoring people I encourage them to follow a similar morning routine, especially if they are feeling unmotivated or they have lost focus. This helps them each morning to remember what is important, why they are working so hard and the journey they are on to their long term vision. It also allows them to enjoy each day on the journey.
I have been amazed at the benefits of having a structured morning routine like this. I will keep adapting it as I learn more, but for now I would urge you to try it for at least a month and see how you feel.
Happy mornings……………………… Neil…………………………
Director / Executive Leadership Coach / Sales Trainer / Motivational Speaker / Author
If you want to learn the formula for achieving any Big Goal I have written about it in my book Yucan