I have recently re-committed to one thing that benefits me immensely — getting up early. The earlier I get up, the more I get done, and the better my day goes.
But establishing this new morning routine has been hard work. It’s hard because I’ve just come back from my summer vacation, so naturally I’ve let some bad habits slip in.
I don’t want my mornings to be rushed, stressful, and frustrating. Instead, I’ve implemented a morning routine that helps me achieve my broader goals.
Your mornings set the tone for the rest of the day, so it’s worth paying attention to how you choose to spend them.
The miracle morning
Hal Elrod, the author of The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), has built on proven practices to develop a morning ritual. His research shows that the following activities are beneficial to incorporate into your morning routine:
- Silence (meditation, prayer, or reflection)
I don’t do all of those as part of my new morning routine. Instead I choose to focus on meditation, exercise, and reading because that is what’s meaningful to me. I might add in journaling later after having talked to some of my friends about it.
Start your day with meditation
I have recently begun a new meditation practice. I started it when I was writing my master’s thesis, and I found some tangible results from the exercise. It’s a great way to tune into your body and thoughts before you enter the busy and hectic rhythm of everyday life.
If you want to make meditating a part of your morning routine, I use an app called Headspace and I strongly recommend it.
Learning to walk again
I like to walk whenever I get the chance. Instead of catching the bus to the train station, I put my shoes on and scroll down to the tube. I try to walk slightly faster, to raise my pulse and incorporate some exercise into my daily routine.
I sometimes listen to the Headspace app whilst walking (it has a session on mindful walking). This allows me to combine exercise with meditation. I don’t do it every day, because once you learn the techniques, you can practice them on your own.
I’ve gained a lot from applying mindfulness to my walking. It probably sounds bizarre, but I’m learning to walk again. I learn to tune into the senses: for example, I notice my foot touch the pavement and the sounds and smells around me. This helps me stay in the present moment, instead of worrying about things in the future. It also makes me enjoy my morning walk a lot more because it encourages me to discover what’s going on around me.
(Not-so-pleasant when you start to smell poo from a leaked pipe, though!)
What comes in, comes out
Reading has always been a favourite pastime of mine.
I have 45 minutes to spend on my commute to work. I intend to use this time to read meaningful books as part of my new morning routine.
Instead of constantly checking my email and Facebook, I choose to fill my head with powerful ideas and practical wisdom.
I’m sure to succumb to the pressure of checking email and social media later during the day. But at least I will have made the most of my morning.
What does an “ideal morning routine” look like to you?
I have only just begun to look over my morning routine and ways I can improve on it. Over the coming months, I intend to experiment with different activities to see what works best for me.
How about you – what does an “ideal morning routine” look like? How are you spending your mornings today, and how would you like to spend them in the future?
Please let us know in the comments!