I love mornings.Plain and simple, it’s the time of day that excites and inspires me more than anything else.
I started to think of why, and here’s what I came up with:
It’s a fresh slate, a new day, I understand who I was yesterday does not define who I am today and that anything can truly happen.
Over the years, I’ve truly found that there are two types of people in the world and I boil them down to two types:
Inspired vs. Non-Inspired.
It may seem simple and broad to categorize people into these two realms, but it comes down to mindset (you can also use Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset from the brilliant book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck).
It’s those who are purposely forcefully choosing to grow and those who are staying the same or allowing their environment to control them.
In this post, I‘m going to go through a morning routine to make you a badass — no matter what you do or where you want to go.
These habits and rituals have been tested time and time again and each has a purpose.
This is my routine and it doesn’t mean it’s the one for you. I encourage you to find a routine customized to you, of course, but this can be a launching off point.
As always, start simple and don’t be like Joe.
Joe hears the alarm, and at first, prays it’s just a dream.
After a minute or so, he realizes it’s his alarm and moves around in bed and eventually slams the snooze button, wishing for more time in bed.
This process lasts about 30 minutes, until he finally gets up.
“Damn, he tells himself. “I have to wake up”.
He grabs his phone and starts seeing messages from the night before, quickly checks email and lets out a sign of frustration at all the things he now has to respond to.
He’s rushing, slams his foot against his night table, yells out an intense sigh and rushes to the shower in distress as another email from a boss comes back with a passive aggressive tone.
Now, this is a fictional, but typical story but there’s a lot to watch out for here.
In this simple example, Joe…
- Wants to stay in bed
- Has negative self-talk over waking up
- Checks his phone and allows other people to impact his emotional balance to start the day
- Is rushing, out of time, in a scarcity mindset, with no plan
- Starts his day off on other people’s terms and with no structure or planning
From reading the above, does this sound like a way to start your day on fire?
I don’t think so.
I’ll be honest: there was a time in my life where I thought the idea of the morning ritual was awesome, but I wasn’t really doing it.
I would preach the importance of it, and then half ass the entire process.
The morning routine is a decision you make and it’s a simple one:
You put the most important person in your life (you) first, before anyone else.
Selfish? No, not really…rather, acknowledging how you create your experience directly impacts those around you.
Below I am going to detail 7 daily habits and rituals to incorporate into your daily routine that I’m currently using.
#1: Clear Your Headspace
The first step of the morning routine is to clear your mental headspace, or to simply meditate.
A lot of people have negative associations with meditation, so I simply call it “creating space”.
By creating space in the morning, you set the tone for the rest of the day and you show the world that you are in the driver’s seat of life.
Things are going to happen today.
You will get cut off.
You will bump into a stranger in a rush.
You will get into an argument with someone.
You may have a major life event happen.
Simply, you will be tested.
The power of meditation in the morning is you’re able to slow things down, start from a place of power, and decide how you choose to react.
Most people react on automatic pilot instead of choosing it.
How To Do It: Don’t complicate this. A lot of people don’t meditate because they say they don’t how. There’s no right or wrong. If you’re new, set a 5 minute alarm and just focus on breathing in and out. Do this for 30 days and then we’ll add some layers to it.
The first thought I’ve forced myself to have every morning is simple:
I’m truly excited to experience another day, because nothing is guaranteed.
Expressing gratitude after meditation is a perfect chance to align yourself and remind yourself how special life is.
This can take a couple minutes and can be done even during meditation if you’d like to combine both.
Think about who or what you’re grateful for.
- Who’s supported you during both great and tough times?
- What events that seemed terrible at the time actually helped you tremendously?
- Look around at your life right now. What do you truly appreciate?
When there’s gratitude, there’s a feeling that doesn’t allow room for negativity, judgement or creating false stories and excuses.
How To Do It: Make a list of 5–20 things you are thankful for and think broad (the Sun, the fact we’re still spinning around it, your legs) to the specific.
#3: Read A Higher Level Text
My 3rd ritual is to consume material that I consider “higher-level”.
This may be something in the spiritual realm, but doesn’t have to be.
The reason I do this is because I’m coming off meditation and gratitude, and I’m in a place of power and accepting these types of messages.
The entire goal is to consume information that allows you to think bigger than yourself … a reminder that the world is bigger than us.
This can be reading 5 pages of a book, listening to a podcast and other simple things.
I’m partial to books such as The Art Of Living by Epictetus or Meditations by Marcus Aurelius because the chapters are short but have a lot of depth.
You can grab any book off your bookshelf and focus on it intensely until you’ve got a real, actionable lesson you can apply today.
How To Do It: Keep this simple. 5 pages in a book can reveal a massive lesson for your day. There are plenty of books that have short chapters in which you can easily extract mindsets, values and action steps from.
#4: Intentional Breathing
Once I’ve done the above, I transition to a breathing exercise. I never have a set plan for this, but I do follow a couple protocols.
One is “box breathing” by Mark Divine & SEALFIT. To learn about box breathing, check this out.
Another is “priming” by Tony Robbins which is deep, fast breaths to bring tons of oxygen into the system — a wake me up of sorts after going through some slow work above….check out Tony’s priming guide here.
Breathing is one of the most powerful exercises we can master and is highly, highly, underrated.
How To Do It: There are a few ways which I’ve listed above. To make things simple, you can breath in and out 30 times (deep breath in, and exhale forcefully). This will oxygenate the body and get you primed and ready for the day.
#5: Physical Activity / Training
The next step is to get going physically.
I recommend most people train in the morning, but if you’re not, then crank out something physical and fast after breathing.
I like doing a few sets of max push-ups to get my entire body going and it only takes a couple minutes.
For those headed to the gym or for a sprint/hike, just get going and block out the time for it.
I love a combination of intense, focused strength work and high intensity conditioning to set the tone for my day and I always include portions of my workout that truly challenge me mentally and physically.
This way, I know once I’ve left the gym, that I’ve conquered my own mind and body.
Training in the morning has a host of benefits I’ve covered in the past but it usually best for people in terms of timing themselves with their work/life schedule and circadian rhythm.
When you train late in the day, there’s just a higher chance that something will come up and get in the way.
In his brilliant book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science Of Exercise, John Ratey concludes that exercise is the most powerful cognitive behavior we can ever use.
How To Do It: Just get going, get moving, do something. If it’s your off day, maybe go for a simple walk outside.
#6: Encouragement Messages
Everyone needs a push some days.
Even the most successful people who are always on fire sometimes need a push.
At this point during my morning, I’ll pick 2–4 people and send them a quick message that entails any of the following:
- Encouraging them
- Thanking them
- Pushing them to take action, or hold them accountable for something they said
Sometimes I’ll simply scroll through my phone and pick people at random, or someone will come up during the routine above.
I even challenge myself to choose people who will never expect it.
The key with this is to expect nothing in return and do it from a truly authentic place.
How To Do It: Find 2–4 people who may need a push or some encouragement. You truly never know who needs it, so don’t over-think it. Just ship it.
#7: Tackle Highest Priorities
At this point, I’ve truly taken care of myself and I am coming from a place of power.
Now it’s time to tackle the highest priorities of the day…I truly think that there are about 3–4 priorities you can truly focus on in one day.
I’m not talking about small errands or emails…it’s 3 massive action steps that get you closer to your ultimate goals.
So, there you have it. That constitutes most of my morning routine. I’ll also usually study business, marketing or something related to my current project and / or goals.
I urge you to come up with your own routine. Maybe you want to add things relevant to you or take them away.
That’s fine…just find something that works.
5 Essentials For Your Own Routine
1. Airplane Mode. I sleep with my phone in Airplane Mode and only turn it on when I’ve accomplished something and I’m ready to check it.
2. Don’t check e-mail. I urge people not to check email before 9:00AM for many, many reasons.
3. Have a plan. Having a plan with the way you’re going to start your mornings is crucial.
4. Auto-pilot. The above will be really, really hard at first. After two weeks, less so. Give it 60 days and you’ll do the above without even thinking about it.
5. You can do it. Most people want a morning routine but use the excuse of “not having enough time” and “not being a morning person”. You can do it if you want it bad enough.
Famous Last Words
As the brilliant author Stephen Pressfield states:
Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us.
This passage has rocked my world and is precisely why the morning routine was created — to never, ever look back and think I missed out on my potential.