I have developed a solid morning routine that I follow regardless of what else is going on in my life. It has become so entrenched that it often feels like it happens automatically. It is almost as though the routine takes on a life of it’s own. Even on bad days or on little sleep I can follow this routine to get the day started. My morning routine has helped me through difficult periods of life and I have no doubt it will help me through more in the future.
For me it is a seven-days-a-week routine. I would actually find it more difficult to follow my morning routine for 3 days a week than I would for 7. You would think that doing something less often would be easier. But it seems that, in my case anyway, making it an everyday routine allows me to accept it more freely. I don’t have to battle with myself every morning to follow it. I am so used to it that I just accept it, even if a part of me can’t be bothered with it.
I’ve now had a morning routine for probably 6 or 7 years. It changes from time to time but the core aspects remain. It would just be so weird for me to stop it now that I’m confident I can maintain it for life.
Everyone is different so what works for me might not work for you but for the record here are the sorts of things I have included in my morning routine over the years: Pranayama (yoga breathing) – this has formed the core of my routine and is the one thing I always do, meditation, prayer, playing the guitar, Yoga (postures), Tai Chi, Chi Gung, jogging, press ups, sit ups, chin ups etc.
So how can you come up with a routine that works for you?
1. Figure out what you want to achieve
What are you aiming for? Improved health? Want to cope better with stress? Want to learn a new skill? Decide on the goals you want to achieve.
2. Pick the activity
Pick something that is enjoyable, that doesn’t take too long, that you can do whilst half asleep or whilst tired and/or grumpy :) Choose something that you can do away from home if you do much travelling. Figure out what you what you can do on a daily basis that can move you towards achieving your goals.
3. Make it manageable
This is the key to creating a lasting routine. I encourage you to greatly underestimate your ability to stick to this routine. Don’t try to get quick results. The important part in the beginning is establishing the routine. Make it really easy so that you can do it comfortably. You can always add to it further down the track.
4. Work out your timing
I do things in the morning because if I’m away on holiday or travelling for work I can get up earlier than everyone else and do my routine without it impacting on how I spend the rest of the day. An after-work routine can be difficult to maintain when you’re out of your element. But choose what will work best for you.
5. Record it
This sounds a little over the top but it’s the best thing I did to improve my routine. I have a little calendar in a prominent place in my bedroom and I tick off each day that I do my routine. That way I can look back on the year and see when there was a little drop in activity. When I started doing this it made me realise that sometimes I go for longer without doing it than I had previously realised. It also makes you more able to admire your success in sticking with your routine when you look back over the month as see all the ticks. It builds your confidence in yourself.
6. Review it
After you’ve been doing it for a while review it. If you’re doing exercises for example, then make sure you’re doing them correctly. It can be easy for bad habits to creep in slowly over time. Are the exercises still working for you? Is it time to step it up a notch? Do you need to change to something new?
If you’re looking for a quick fix then this isn’t the approach for you. But if you’re prepared to put in a little bit of effort on a regular basis then over time you will definitely see results.
If you liked this you might also like to check out 10 Ways to Give Your Morning a Makeover on The Change Blog.