Everyday I get bombarded with stories on Medium about the power of a morning routine.
You can’t deny the research that says if you get up early and meditate then roll into focused work such as writing, painting or a creative activity, with no distractions, you’re far more likely to be a gazillion times more productive and successful.
Clearly that’s an accurate stat I’ve stated there, so you should take me very seriously.
The thing is it’s true.
The other thing that is true is that establishing the damn routine in the first place, is the hardest part!
Which is why so many people keep writing articles on why a morning routine, heck any routine that cuts out distractions and lets you set and act on your intentions for the day, is so powerful.
I should know. Back in 2004 when I was training to compete in my first ever Body Sculpting (Figure) competition, I had my entire daily routine down pat.
But if I didn’t get the morning right, the rest of it would fall over, without fail.
This involved an alarm for 4:45am that saw me spring out of bed (I knew if I didn’t spring, I would chill out in bed just that little bit longer which would throw off my whole day).
I’d drive to the gym, occasionally run since it was quite close, and sometimes, without even knowing how I’d got myself there (thank you autopilot), I’d be on the rowing machine or spin cycle doing my cardio warm up.
Then I’d throw myself into around an hour of weights from my detailed, alternating workout schedule to hit all major muscle groups of my body.
Once I’d done that, I drove home, showered, ate a healthy breakfast and jumped in my car again with my latest audio book in the CD player, and headed to work to beat the morning traffic.
And so it went on 5 days a week, exactly like that, with two more workouts on the weekend.
That discipline gave me freedom. I achieved more than I ever thought, both personally and professionally that year, including winning my competition!
Starting a new morning routine without a big goal.
The reason why I committed to that morning routine, and nailed it 98% of the time, is because I had a big goal and a deadline to meet.
For every gym workout I missed, I was one step further away from not being in my peak physical shape come the time of competition.
There was a VERY big reason to wake up each morning. It was my why.
So how do you start a new routine and stick to it when you don’t necessarily want to tie it to a big ass goal?
You start with ONE day at a time.
Like this morning. My partner and I set off on our new routine that we mapped out in our ‘Project Life’ planning session we do each Sunday.
You see we’ve already established a rhythm of a weekly checkin each Sunday about how our week went, whether we hit our three goals we wanted to achieve that week in the areas of health, wealth, business, impact, relationships, community and personal growth.
The one thing we both knew, deep down, is that we hadn’t yet established a consistent morning routine that worked for us.
And how he was on sabbatical and we could both work from home, we thought the time was right to support each other on this journey to start each day off with in the best possible way.
The why was obvious. To have a brilliant start to the day, everyday.
We had proposed to get up at 6:15am and go into a 2 hour session including meditation, some stretching or movement and then uninterrupted writing or editing time.
The reality turned out more like this:
5:55am our 12 week old puppy needed to go for a pee.
Then my phone, which I always put in flight mode, buzzed to tell me our morning routine was starting at 6–8a.m.
Useful though that was, I didn’t like my phone buzzing at all, and our alarm wasn’t synced…..
Nevertheless we were embarking on our first day of the new morning routine!
And we were awake. This was a good start.
It was a frosty morning, and even though we knew this meant a gorgeous day was ahead, it made both of us less inclined to get out of bed.
6:15am went to turn on the heat pump
This is a luxury we are grateful for, and it didn’t work. After much fumbling with the remote to try and figure it out, and too many beeping noises, I suggested we just get dressed in warm clothes.
6:25am I put my socks, hoodie and yoga gear on.
I sat at the end of our bed, on the rug and started on a 15 minute meditation. My partner put his warm clothes on and sat in bed!
Now I know ALL about many benefits of meditation, I wrote and podcasted about it after much research in Mind Your Mindfulness.
Yet that still doesn’t make it any easier to do. That said, this time I’m prepared for the journey and to treat it as just that.
So I sat there and breathed in gratitude for four seconds, and breathed out love.
Breathe in gratitude.
Breathe out love.
Rub puppy’s gorgeous tummy.
Start writing this Medium post in my head.
Come back to my breath.
Open my eyes to admire our two gorgeous puppies curled up sleeping.
Come back to my breath.
Start on a body scan, while still breathing.
Get to my neck, get distracted with a thought.
Come back to my breath. Continue body scan.
Somehow get to knees. Timer goes off. 15 minutes is up.
I’ll take it!
6:40am roll out my yoga mat.
I started with some cat/ cow which felt lovely and little Angel was sitting right beneath me trying to chew my hair strands. It was adorable.
Luckily she moved as I rose up to standing and a big awesome stretch. Followed by a round of ten sun salutations.
I noticed as I flowed through them that I felt more flexible than normal through not focusing on that, simply the movement and my breath.
Josh put some yoga music on for me in the background and went to the study to start writing.
I continued on and finished off with some back stretches and then went to join him, after grabbing a cup of hot water and lemon.
7:05am I switched on my laptop and connected to the monitor.
I logged into Medium and clicked on Start new post.
I was excited to finally be using my monitor and external keyboard set up, while standing at my Limber desk.
Except my keyboard needed new batteries. I spent a minute faffing trying to find some and ended up just using my laptop keyboard.
And I started typing. I deleted my first line. Sipped my hot lemon water.
Then carried on typing.
The result is this.
It’s by no means perfect, but I’m proud of this first day of our new morning routine.
I think it was a great start and I look forward to the bumpy road and challenges that each morning will lay out for me, as I continue to commit to starting off my morning focused on my intentions and my own inner peace.
It’s 8am. I hit publish.