THE IMPORTANCE OF A MORNING ROUTINE
Your morning can make or break your day whether you know it or not because the morning sets the tone for the whole day. If something bad happens, chances are the days already tainted by a bad mood. If something good happens, you will probably experience the exact opposite and bring that positive energy towards your day. Everyone has some sort of routine even if they don’t realize it. It could be as simple as making the same thing for breakfast everyday, taking a break from work at the same time, or instinctively scrolling social media when nature calls. For me, while I like having a sound routine, I haven’t been able to really set a strong one while in college. After graduating in May and starting my new internship I’ve had some time to settle in and decided to really take advantage of my mornings and set a routine. After researching morning routines of successful individuals, CEO’s, and entrepreneurs alike I found there are a handful of things they all have in common, so I tried them for myself.
1. Wake Up EarlyHow early? Well, it varies for everyone including successful professionals, but all signs point to getting up early helping set you up for success. After all, “early bird gets the worm”. Not everyone has to be The Rock and wake up before 4am, but can start more reasonably like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg waking between 7-8am. I am no stranger to waking up early as I caddie in the summer, so I decided to go for it and challenge myself to wake up between 4:30 and 4:45am every weekday.
2. MeditateWhile I may put an asterisk next to this one, as not all successful people do it, I have always been curious about it. Meditation has become mainstream along with its benefits. Meditation has been said to boost focus and reduce stress along with many other aspects of controlling your thoughts and actions. I have tried to meditate before but my mind is always racing and it never stuck. I utilized the Headspace app to help and start slow with 10 minutes every morning.
3. ExerciseI know waking up is hard enough for most people let alone trying to be active right away, but successful people tend to get their bodies moving in some form before anything else. Exercise can mean different things to different people but morning exercise has been shown to help boost energy and mood throughout the day along with lowering stress. It should be said that even though I choose the gym, a simple walk or bike ride could be the push needed for some people. What works best is something you can fit in to you routine and stick to.
4. ReadThis is another staple of successful individual’s habits. And while not everyone does it, Warren Buffet swears by reading and accumulating knowledge. You don’t have to read 500 pages a day like Buffett suggests, it’s more about reading with meaning. Want to be informed? Read the newspaper. Curious about bettering yourself or world history? Get a local library card to get access to all genres of literature. I had already made my mornings pretty full, so I just challenged myself to 20 minutes of reading a morning.
5. Write Out To-Do ListThis is a personal belief that many other successful individuals hold, and it’s very easy to do. Every morning before work I would go into my notes app and make a list of things I felt I had to get done that day. It varied from grocery store runs to checking emails to FaceTiming with my parents. But, I felt that if I wrote it down I felt more compelled to do it. And I’ll be the first to admit I did not accomplish every goal on my list every day, but even if I didn’t, I know what the first thing I would do my next day was. A super easy, yet powerful tool to hold yourself accountable.
So, after researching and finalizing a routine I thought would work for me, this is what I decided upon:
I am proud to say after only three weeks I truly feel more energized, optimistic, and productive. I won’t lie. In the beginning, this routine SUCKED. Trying to convince yourself to get up at 4:30am is not an easy task… and that was just the beginning. Meditating everyday has been a real rollercoaster, but one I’m glad I got on now. It was hard to start and take seriously, but it got easier every day. 10 minutes started feeling like an hour and has slowly started to feel like 2 minutes. Not only that but I have noticed myself thinking more mindfully, present, and focused. The morning gym sessions were really the easiest part for me as it’s been the one activity that’s been a staple in my routine, but it was definitely still a shock to go so early. I’ve always wanted to read more but growing up with technology so ready to distract you, I've never been able to completely shake it. I read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz and reread Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton which had a lot more positive impact than social media and helped clear my mind rather than clutter it. Lastly, writing out a to-do list was certainly not reinventing the wheel, but it was so easy it really helped me follow through on what I needed to do. Such a simple concept that anyone can utilize, and even if your list consists of one item, it feels a lot better to cross it off than to procrastinate.