“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
Inconveniently, my alarm rings on the other side of the room.
This prevents one from snoozing.
I hop out of bed and shut it off.
My mind makes its usual attempts to sabotage, but I fight back with thoughts of gratitude.
“I’m grateful for roof – it keeps me dry.”
“I’m grateful for toilet – for running water.”
“I’m grateful for my body – it allows me to navigate this life experience.”
After 3 or 4 of these they come easy.
I’m getting dressed now, my clothes laid out the night before. This prevents me from getting back in bed.
Not long after it’s out the door. In my stairwell I do some breathing exercises. I meditate.
This is my morning routine.
This is how I start my days.
Morning and Evening Routines (Or “book-ending” your days)
Whether you know it or not, you have them. Question is, do they work for you or against you?
I remember a few years back how my mornings would go.
I’d wake up late and try to find something to wear.
I’d skip breakfast, run to my car, then race to work.
I’d show up late and throw myself into the day.
You can imagine what kind of impact that had on my:
- Energy levels
- Mental state
So how did I go from rushed and out of control to calm and collected?
I made a conscious effort to take control of my morning and evening routines.
An empowering morning routine should help you:
- Build new habits
- Create positive and productive momentum for the day
- Set your mindset or mental state for the day
- Complete important tasks
An empowering evening routine should help you:
- Wind down
- Prepare for the coming day
- Learn from your day
Let’s talk more about how this works.
Building New Habits
I’ve found building new habits is much easier when they’re a part of my morning routine.
Before the day gets started, I can get them in.
And because it’s part of my routine, the consistency is already there.
Try adding a new habit or two to your morning or evening routine.
“Everything effects everything else.” – Jim Rohn
Does your current routine give you clarity? Purpose?
What we do first thing creates a momentum.
What kind does your routine create?
Set Your Mental State
Mornings act as a marker in time.
If you want to live to your highest, take advantage of this.
Before your day begins, set your mental and emotional state in a way that empowers you.
You can do this by asking yourself:
What am I (happy/excited/stoked/etc.) about today?
Practicing empowering emotions consistently will bring them into your awareness more and more throughout the day.
Getting angry at someone who cuts you off can quickly turn into a trigger to be thankful you have a car.
Similarly you can change your state with the right questions.
How would I feel if I was 1000x more (happy/confident/proud/etc.) right now?
How would I (feel/approach this problem/behave today) if I was someone who (works for himself/has a positive impact on the world/grows in every moment/etc.) right now?
Do this consistently and your perspective changes.
In time, you’ll find yourself in the role you were looking to fill.
Complete Important Tasks
Doing more than required can be tough after a long days work.
Doing it before the day starts is a better option.
No distractions, no excuses. Just you and an important task or two.
Do this consistently and see how things change.
Coming off a busy day?
Re-learn how to relax.
No more input – Facebook, email, twitter – is a great way to start.
Grab a book.
Grab a journal.
Do something that reduces the stimuli and prepares your body for rest.
Prepare the Next Day
“Don’t start your day until it’s finished.” -Jim Rohn
Preparation is key.
Plan your day, your tasks, your appointments before you go to bed.
This allows the sub-conscious to start working, which reduces the need to make decisions.
That’s why my clothes are laid out.
Last thing I want to do is think when I wake up.
Learn From Your Day
Don’t let a day pass without learning something.
Take 10-15 minutes to write it down.
What did you do?
How could you improve?
Remember, we’re looking to become all that we are, not someone we’re not.
Journaling teaches this.
How to Create Routines
1) Pick em
Pick a handful of empowering tasks to complete each morning.
Choose tasks that get you focused, grounded, and excited to start your day.
I’ve included a list at the bottom of this article to help get you started.
2) Stick em’
One a notecard, write them out.
3) Create a Trigger
Leave your list somewhere consistent – your desk, the kitchen counter, the bathroom mirror…
We want to wake up and go on auto-pilot.
Same time, same place.
4) Set a Bedtime
Get plenty of sleep while you’re building your routines.
Set a bedtime and stick to it.
5) Wake Up
Preferably the same time each day.
Your body adapts to what you do consistently.
Be consistent about when you turn it on and off.
6) Work through your list
Put a check-mark next to each task you complete.
This reinforces your new behaviors.
After 3-4 weeks of your routine you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t.
Keep what’s working, ditch what isn’t, and add new behaviors as you see fit.
Do the same for your evening routine.
A few things to keep in mind…
Training your brain takes time.
In order to make your morning routine automatic, you must be consistent.
In my experience, it takes about two weeks before this happens.
It should take you around the same amount of time.
Make it happen as quickly as possible.
This winter I’ve been doing a lot of camping.
Winter in the Pacific Northwest = cold and wet.
This provided plenty of opportunities to NOT do my routines – it’s very uncomfortable.
It’s also a great time TO do my routines – it’s very uncomfortable.
If you can stick to your routines when it’s uncomfortable – when you’re wet and cold, out of town, or having a bad week – then your everyday becomes a cake walk.
Complete your routines no matter what!
Creating a morning routine is simple and the benefits are many.
Take the time to create positive routines and your life will change.
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- Make bed
- Practice gratitude
- Shower/wash face
- Brush your teeth
- Open your blinds
- Drink water
- Get dressed
- Read quotes
- Plan the day
- 3 Important tasks for the day
- Plan the coming day
- Set your alarm
- Turn off electronics at set time
- Layout your clothes
- Brush and floss
- Practice gratitude