We have all read about morning routines but how do you create a morning routine that sticks?
I am guessing by now everyone has heard the term ‘morning routine’ or the now famous ‘miracle morning‘, the famous movement from author Hal Elrod. Everyone is writing about your morning routine from Forbes, Business Insider, even me, I know this means we must have reached a morning routine event horizon. Now I am not one for trends and I am more than a little sceptical when huge claims are made. I am not on board with the belief that if I follow the morning routine of a billionaire that I too will become a billionaire, that is just tosh, but…. There is some credence to having a successful morning routine.
What is the purpose of a morning routine?
Having a successful morning routine sets the tone for the day. Think about times in your life when something bad has happened. Think about the time you were on your way to work and were splashed by a huge truck and left soaked, you missed your train and forgot to take your lunch. Did your day go well? No of course it didn’t as these things that put us in a bad mood effect our mindset for the day. Now of course if we lived in a rom com that sort of morning would mean you were just about to meet the love of your life, hell they were probably the one who drove through the puddle that splashed you and more than likely they will spill coffee on your top before your big meeting. The thing is we don’t live on the set of a rom com, and how we start our day matters.
Your morning routine sets the tone for the day.
It is simple cause and effect, what precedes impacts on what comes next. So why are there so many articles linking a morning routine to success? If you start the day well you are able to achieve greater productivity. By establishing a routine for your morning you reduce your level of stress. Productivity and stress reduction sound like great cornerstones for success to me.
Routine creates muscle memory, when we can act seamlessly in tasks we gain more time, we are calmer, we are more productive. A successful morning routine can offer an increase to our emotional, physical and mental health.
An effective morning routine can offer;
- eating a better breakfast
- better time management
- less stress
- anxiety reduction
- more free time
- greater productivity
- a calmer outlook for the day ahead
- improved cognitive reasoning
Good habits breed more good habits
Whenever I teach I workshop, or I am working with one of my coaching clients, the question that gets asked most often is, “how will I stick to this”. The truth is that good habits breed more good habits. Have you ever wondered why nobody asks you how you will keep up with maintaining a bad habit? I have never heard someone ask their friend, “that is all well and good but committing to sleeping in and eating crisps every day is not easy, how will you stick to it?” What I do hear is people questioning are the positive changes people are trying to make in their lives. This common sense viewpoint that better for us means hard work and no fun is one of the things that starts to feed our own self-limiting thoughts and disbelief in our abilities.
Success comes from knowing yourself
So how do you create your own miracle morning, one that you will stick to? Let’s assume that you have already taken on board my point about good habits and self-limiting belief. A very straight talking friend of mine once taught me one of my very favourite acronyms, K.I.S.S. and no I am not talking about the band. I have a tendency to go big, and that is fine, I applaud that in others and myself but big success does not have to be over complicated. Keep It Simple Stupid. I say this to myself so often. If you want to create something that you will stick to keep it simple. Now is not the time to start thinking up the craziest things that come into your head. It may well be very fulfilling to go on a 4 mile hike every day before breakfast and take your shower in the cold spring in the woods or spend every morning milling your own flour. The truth is if you set yourself up for failure, chances are you will fail. I have a theory that when we set ourselves an impossible task it is because we are purposely setting ourselves up to fail. If you fail you can stop trying and say I told you so, it is self-sabotage, and it is a common trait. So Keep It Simple Stupid.
Create a routine that establishes emotional and physical wellbeing.
This is where you have to strike a balance between a routine that is calm and consistent to you and your lifestyle whilst still challenging yourself. You need to look at your current mornings and work out what could go better. Ask yourself a series of questions;
- Am I eating well?
- Do I feel rushed?
- Do I forget things?
- Do I feel calm or flustered after my morning?
- What changes can I make?
- How can I better prepare?
The point of this is to see where changes need to be made. Don’t lie to yourself, you are the only person who loses in that scenario. Make small changes. Approach this in a scientific way. If this were a science experiment changing all the variables at once you would not be able to tell what is working. Make incremental changes. Tweak things as you go along. Nobody says you have to nail this first time. Perhaps you change your eating habits first. Breakfast is such an important meal and often treated so poorly by us. Make some changes there, you can even prepare breakfast the night before such as this Overnight Oats recipe.
The key to success is alignment
There are many things that I would love to put into my morning routine but I have two small children and a dog, my lifestyle influences my morning routine. So what does my morning routine look like?
- I start with natural waking, the benefit of not hearing an alarm clock is bliss. However my day normally starts at between 5.30am and 6.30am tops so don’t be too envious. My children wake me.
- We have a gentle waking and start the day snuggled together in the same bed talking about our dreams and any wild and creative thoughts we have had and want to share.
- I have a cup of tea outside or by the window so I can take in the nature of the woods and Yorkshire hills that envelop my house.
- Get moving with a kitchen disco to wake our body up.
- Breakfast sat down at the table. Breakfast is planned the night before and when possible made the night before. Everything I do is to take the pressure of decision making away from the start of the day.
- I get the children ready. Then they go and play together and I get myself washed and dressed.
- I like to have a warm weather and a cold weather outfit planned the night before so I can just pick it up and dress and not have to think about it.
My morning routine is fairly simple but that is because I am all about slow creative living. Yeah sure it is fun to look at blogs and Instagram feeds to be inspired and influenced. You may want to look at Instagram to see what works with a black leather laZboy chair, (the answer is nothing they are ugly get rid of it), but a morning routine is personal. You have to find the routine that is aligned to you. That is the key to making a miracle morning that works and sticks. It should not only slot seamlessly into your lifestyle in should enhance it. Remember good habits breed further good habits and challenge yourself in an honest and achievable way.