There’s not a lot worse than that feeling when you wake up and realize that you overslept. Panic sets in as you open your eyes trying to figure out what your options are, you throw the covers back, jump out of bed like Shawn Michaels and race around the house trying to get your shit together as fast as humanly possible.
It’s far from an optimal start to your day.
The craziest thing is, a lot of people start their mornings this way frequently. They hit the snooze button 8 times, stay up too late the night before and unintentionally turn off their alarm clocks, or just lay in bed thinking about how much their day is going to suck.
When they finally get out of bed, the time is short, breakfast is a no go, a shower is optional, and the only focus is on getting to wherever you’re supposed to be without being too late.
When it’s -9 degrees in the dead of winter, I understand it’s hard to get excited to climb out from under the quilts and down blankets to get your day started. I did it for like 28 of my years on the planet. It blows.
Do it anyway. This takes control of your day, and you get to start it on your terms, instead of reactively like so many people.
I’m a big fan of morning rituals. I really believe that they can set the tone for your day, which, when you think about it, is really your life. You can either choose to dominate every day, or you can choose to be a step behind and a dollar short, and it can all be dictated with how you start each morning.
Hell, I’d even argue that it begins the night before by setting up a To Do List for yourself for the next day. Just don’t put more than 5 things on it or you won’t do them. I often put things on that I know I’m going to do whether they’re on the list or not, like walk my dog, just to build some momentum.
Here’s how I start each morning, and even though I’m far from perfect, I can’t remember a morning when I felt stressed, rushed, or out of sync. A lot of this is newer stuff that I’ve implemented since I’ve lived in California, and it’s really made a world of difference, not just in my mornings, but in my daily productivity, my sleep, and my mood in general.
I wake up at either 4:45 or 5:45 am, depending on the day. (I set my bedside clock 15 minutes fast to trick myself into getting a jumpstart on the day.)
- Let Zeus out for his morning piss, give him his breakfast and fish oil (Dogs need great skin and joints too!)
- Write in my journal. To be 100% honest, I have no clue how gratitude journals and daily affirmations work, but I just write a few simple things each morning to give my day some focus:
- One thing that I’m thankful for
- One person who I want to inspire today
- What 2 things can I do today to improve my business
- What can I do today to not be an idiot roommate to my wife
- How can I make my dog’s life awesome AF
- 5-10 minutes of meditation. I’m not great at this and use this app to guide me. Thanks to Aaron Swan to turning me on to this.
- Drink a glass of water with lemon while I start a pot of coffee
- While coffee brews, I do a 10 minute mobility “workout.” This is usually some combination of foam rolling, stretching, mobility drills, time on my inversion table, or a 5-10 minute morning Yoga routine I follow along with on Youtube. Whatever it is, it’s just meant to loosen up and get my body feeling ready for the day.
- Coffee and computer work. I try to write for an hour. This might be blog posts, my newsletter, programs, emails, or whatever, but I sit down for an hour and get done what I can get done in this time, because the morning is when my brain is the sharpest. I understand that that’s not saying much, but it’s when I feel most creative and fresh.
- Breakfast, shower, head to the gym to train people to get jacked and tan.
This routine is certainly different now than when I lived back in Boston when I started each day with a 5:30 or 6am client, when I had to streamline it more and move some of the other stuff to later in the day. Now, I start at 6 only a few days each week, and start more towards 7-730 most days, which allows me to take more control of my mornings, and, not to be too dramatic, but my life.
Feeling stressed, anxious, and like you’re a step behind right from the jump is a really crappy way to live. The fact of the matter is that the world isn’t going to slow down for you, so you need to figure out a way to take control of how you approach the world.
Momentum can be positive or negative, so build your own morning routine, and I am willing to bet that you will be more productive, feel more in control, and be a lot more calm throughout your day.