How I Hack My Morning | My Morning Routine
I find it funny how we are such creatures of habit. Even little things like checking to see if we got more likes on the instagram post first thing in the morning. We fall into routines and when those routines are compromised or thrown off it seems like our entire day can be derailed. I struggled with this in the past and found that after university, where life is relatively structured for you. You wake up, head to class, have lunch, head back to class after a little bit of studying or completing assignments, head home, study more, go to bed (unless there was a party that night), then wake up and do it all over again.
I felt a little lost when it came to how to organize my day after university, until I discovered a blog post written by Tim Ferris. Ferris outlined his morning routine and how he borrowed morning activities from the routines of some of the most successful people in the world. After reading it, I gave Tim’s five morning rituals a try for a week and although I don’t follow them to a tee anymore, but there are a couple morning activities that stuck and are now pillars of my morning that ensure I start my day off right!
Make My Bed
It may seem like a simple, funny task, but as someone who feels more comfortable in an organized enviroment, this simple 2 minute task gives me the tiny bit of momentum that it needs to get the ball rolling. Admiral William McRaven of the US Marines said in his commencement speech to the University of Texas at Austin class of 2014, “if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
I am relatively new to meditation. I, like many I’m sure, thought of meditation as something only monks did and was more religious than it was practical. Little did I know that some of the most successful people in the world meditate once or twice a day! Understanding how to meditate and what one is trying to accomplish by doing so, it has completely shifted my perspective on it. I would recommend that everyone try at least 5 minutes of meditation a day. I think some experts say you need to meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes to truly reap the benefits, but I have worked myself up to that point. It can weirdly be uncomfortable to be alone with yourself and your thoughts for that long, especially when we are used to having stimulation all the time.
I got started with an app called “HeadSpace”. It’s a great intro to meditation and gives you 10 free 10 minute guided sessions. It’s a great way to get started. I now have created my own “Meditation Favourites” playlist on Spotify that I play when I meditate in the morning. I’ll listen to 2-3 of the ambient songs on the playlist which normally gets me about 5-15 minutes of mindfulness in the morning.
My biggest goal with meditating in the morning is becoming more aware of the loudest thoughts in my head. I don’t focus on any particular thought, and I like to let them come and go, but taking the time to become more aware of what my mind is being consumed by, helps me figure out what it is I am needing to do to fix that. The other thing that I focus on when meditating in the morning is aligning my emotional mind with my analytical mind. In Ray Dalio’s book “Principles” (Read my read my review here) he speaks to how we have an emotional and logical brain and we often make the best decisions when they are aligned. I focus on the word “Centre” when I meditate to align both my emotional and logical brain together.
This is the exercise that I feel has made the most impact for me and I have borrowed from Tim Ferris. For me, this mini journaling exercise sets the tone for each and every day. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete and had there short sections. Here they are
I am grateful for…
This section I write down three things that I am thankful for. Tony Robbins uses this exercise and mentions that being grateful for even the small things that you can see at the time of doing the exercise is most effective. I often write down two things I can see at the time of journaling I have used in the morning, like “Clean running water” or “my iPhone". I leave the third for a less tangible one like “The health of my family” or “That I'm Canadian”.
I find that this little exercise forces you to put things into perspective and how lucky we are to be living the life we are! Right now, I am grateful for being able to share my ideas with you through this blog and that you are reading it!
What will make today great…
I love how open ended this section is. Again, I write down three (sometimes four or five…) things that will make the day great . It may be having a great coffee or lunch with someone, completing part of a project, enjoying time with a loved one, or cleaning the house. It doesn’t have to be anything massive, but I like to align at least one of the three bullets to be in line with my weekly goals. Again, this exercise forces you to put things into perspective, enjoying some of life smaller, less flashy moments and appreciating them more.
This section is the quickest and simplest of them all. I write down the three things that I feel like I need to hear for myself. It’s probably the most personal of the three sections, but I think it’s also the most important. I feel that we often are harder on ourselves than anyone else is and don’t live up to our full potential because we talk ourselves out of things by telling ourselves that we aren’t enough in some way. This section is to stop that. I recommend keeping your affirmations relatively consistent. My affirmations over the last couple weeks have been “I am smart, I am creative, and I am appreciated”. I find these are things that I don’t think of myself enough and this forces me to do so!
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a coffee drinker. I am so sensitive to caffeine and just don’t feel that I need it in the morning. Along with not drinking coffee, I have also started intermittent fasting and have been feeling great since starting! But the one thing that I ensure I consume in the morning is at least a litre of water. We all know drinking enough water is something that is important, but can be tough to do. I have a water bottle that holds one litre of water in it and I know if I drink 3 of them in a day, I am good! It’s another small thing, but can have a major impact on the rest of you day!
There you have it, that’s my morning routine! It’s nothing fancy, but it get’s the day started on the right note and starts the momentum of what will be a productive day! Let me know what you what your morning routines is and what things make you feel like you can conquer the day!