In this Episode
This week, I talk about one of the most fundamental self-improvement practices you can engage in – the morning routine.
I talk about why it’s so powerful, what to include in your morning routine and how to get started or make it a permanent habit.
Why is it such a powerful practice?
The morning routine sets your direction for the day, allowing you to be more intentional and conscious about your choices.
Depending on the practices you engage in, it has the capacity to narrow the gap between your intentions and your actions, shape your mindset and change your habits and behaviour.
- It builds self esteem
- It is a keystone habit – shaping other habits you engage in throughout the rest of the day
- It shapes your mindset in line with your intentions
Self-esteem improves when your everyday choices align with the the “best you” as you see it. Having a morning routine that allows you to set your intentions and choose how you show up is a great way to boost self-esteem.
When self-esteem builds, we tend to make more positive choices and these build greater self-esteem so the cycle perpetuates continuous improvement.
If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of keystone habits, this earlier podcast episode offers more information.
Essentially, a keystone habit is a habit that encourages further, incremental changes in the same direction – when the keystone habit is a useful or productive one, the habits that follow tend to be productive as well. When the keystone habit is unproductive (leads to lower self-esteem / takes you away from your goals) the habits that follow tend to be unproductive as well.
Your mindset includes many aspects – thoughts, values, beliefs etc.
Having a morning routine allows you to gain clarity about your current mindset and make informed choices about why and how you’d like to shape it.
It is one of the most useful ways to become intentional about the mindset you adopt and the effect your mindset has on your everyday experiences.
Practices to include in your morning routine
I first learned about the power of morning routines in a book called, “Miracle Mornings” by Hal Elrod. Hal talks about 6 practices and calls these the SAVERS.
- Silence – meditation / prayer etc.
- Scribing (Writing didn’t work for the acronym!)
I still engage in many of these practices but have shaped them to ensure I cultivate my habits and mindset more deliberately as a result. I’d therefore recommend doing these things too:
- Set your intention – How do you want to feel today? How do you want to show up? Who do you want to show up for? Once you know these things, shape your morning practices to help get you ‘in the zone’ for those intentions.
- 60 minute retreats – this is an extension of the previous point. The 60 minute retreat is a morning routine in which you only choose activities that help you practice or align with your desired/ intended emotion in you. For example, if want to cultivate a sense of calm or patience, you choose activities for the morning that allow you to experience and practice those things.
- Include an evening practice – the quality of your morning routine is often determined by the quality of your sleep. Having an evening routine that promotes great sleep is a great way to boost your morning routine.
How to Get Started or Increase Consistency
If you want to commit to a morning routine but feel you’re not a morning person or don’t have the discipline, these tips can help get you started:
- Develop healthy sleep practices – look out for later episodes on sleep if you currently struggle with poor sleep.
- Pick activities you actually like doing – you don’t have to do everything.
- Avoid the “how bad to I feel” scan when you wake up – instead, choose what you’d like to focus on when you wake up and deliberately turn your attention to that. It’s sometimes difficult to do so if that fails try…
- The 5-second rule – This is a practice created by Mel Robbins. Essentially, you simply count down from 5 and do the thing you don’t want to do – in this case, get out of bed. No thinking, no excuses, just go.
- Find your why – most people who start a morning routine have a reason for doing it. Make yours as compelling as possible and remind yourself of it every morning.
- Wake up your brain – drink water, brush your teeth and do other things you usually associate with the start of the day. Your brain likes patterns and adjusts your state accordingly so these things can help wake you up.
- Buy a few bits to help you – journals, pens, a new mug, anything you’ll enjoy using and will help you enjoy the practice. Two journals I like are:
Be patient with yourself.
It’s a myth that habits take 21 days to form. A habit like this one can take up to a year to fully embed – for some people, it could take even longer.
Be patient with yourself, allow the habit to build steadily. Commit at a level that feels rewarding and doable for you – even if you start with a 5 minute morning routine at first. When it comes to habits, consistency is king.
And if you miss a day?
That’s ok, but if you want the habit to stick, get back to it the next day.