Most of us are.
Our alarm goes off, we check our smartphones for news and what others are up to, then we rush to get ready and out the door. Repeat. We never stop to think about where we’re going in life, what we could improve on, setting goals for ourselves, for our lives. We never stop to think who we are.
I recently read about this morning routine from Benjamin Hardy. I knew it would make a difference, yet I still hadn’t committed to it. So now I am. In writing it down and setting myself a pledge, I am elevating intention which is going to make it easier to stick to. I’m already living with intention and purpose, but this is going to step it up a gear. I’ve made some changes to suit my lifestyle, but principally these are tried and tested ideas that we know work.
I know it sounds impossible to fit in, with kids, wife, you, to all get out the door for school and work. But just get up earlier. In 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, what often makes people more focused, effective, mindful is no secret. They say they just get up earlier than most. There is a shorter and a longer version, do what suits and works for you. So stop making excuses, try it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Before you go to sleep
Spend 5 minutes before you go to bed mapping out your top 1-3 priorities for the next day.
Spend 10 minutes before bed thinking about your top goal or number 1 problem you’re trying to, or would like to, solve. This can be anything, don’t limit yourself.
Consider these like sowing seeds. You’re sowing seeds for a more conscious life and doing this will prime your subconscious while you sleep. As Thomas Edison has said, “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”
Sleep. Go to bed 7 hours before you intend to wake up and don’t look at any electronic screens 30-60 minutes before going to bed. Don’t check email/social media within 60 minutes of going to bed and use this time to rest/recover from day and if relevant, connect and be present with your partner rather than being absent on your device.
In the morning
If you struggle to get up/with motivation early in the morning – have your alarm set across your room so you have to get out of bed to deactivate it.
Don’t check email or social media for at least 60 minutes after waking up.
Spend 2-10 minutes in thought/meditation. We’ve talked about gratitude so much here on Learn Shed and I can’t recommend this enough. After gratitude, focus on your goals, and where you are most needed today. This will set your day’s trajectory on the things that really matter. It will also provide you with an abundance mindset where you expect good things to happen for you.
Start a journal. Don’t freak out about this, just find a small book and write by hand anything that comes to your mind related to your goals or problems you’re trying to solve. This will arouse your subconscious breakthroughs you had while you were asleep. As Napoleon Hill has said, “Your subconscious mind works continuously, while you are awake, and while you sleep.” During this session, write your big picture vision/goals down in bullet point form and in present-tense (e.g., I’m a best-selling author, I’m making over XXX/year, I’m fully connected and present with my partner, myself, family etc.). These positive affirmations are hugely powerful, again, to the subconscious.
Spend 15-45 minutes in intensive physical fitness
Consume 30 grams of protein (plant-based protein powder in water is great).
Spend 15 minutes in focused activity on a big picture goal or passion project (one of those things you’ve been procrastinating but want to do).
Take a cold shower. If this shower is immediately following physical fitness, just start with cold. If it is not, start warm and wash your body, then completely switch the temperature to cold for the last 30-60 seconds of shower. During shower, breathe heavily in and out through your mouth. This breathing technique comes from “Iceman” Wim Hof, who holds 7 world records for withstanding extreme cold. He has a method to withstand cold: breathe deeply yet relaxed for 30 seconds, until you can feel what Hof calls the inner fire—a sense of euphoria that extends from cranium to toes.
Listen to or read uplifting content (you can do this while you exercise if that’s convenient). This will get you motivated and energized to tackle the day. A few recommendations:
• The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
• Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
• Essentialism by Greg McKeown
• Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
• As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
• Relentless by Tim Grover
• The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton
• The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer The Keys to a Perfect
Consciously think about how you want to be for the day ahead – what person do you want to be, how will you react to stress etc etc. These are simple ideas which just shake you out of autopilot and into a more conscious way of living and being.
Any of that last few sections can be done on your commute to work, but if you haven’t already left for the day, interact with the people you live with. If you live alone, send a few kind texts to important people in your life.
Whether you work in an office or at home, if you have creative endeavors, spend 60-90 minutes in focused activity on a big project. Research has found that your willpower is highest when your first wake up, and your brain is most attuned to creativity. Thus, if you make the time, the morning may be the time when you produce your best and most important work. If you’re doing creative “Deep Work” immediately upon waking up, try listening to instrumental/ambient songs on repeat. In her book, On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, psychologist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis explains why listening to music on repeat improves focus. When you’re listening to a song on repeat, you tend to dissolve into the song, which blocks out mind wandering (let your mind wander while you’re away from work, this is hugely important – many people have big breakthroughs in their ‘mind-wandering’ periods – in fact, it’s where the magic happens!).
The purpose of all the above it to get myself out of autopilot, out of ‘survival’ mode. By giving yourself space in the morning to steer yourself more consciously towards being the person you’d like to be, or really should be. You also point yourself toward your highest goals and priorities.
Whilst I am still testing this out for myself and will report back on results, I already know it’s pretty much fool-proof. If you have a consistent morning routine, your life will be very different in 3-6 months. No longer will you be rushed and reactive. Rather, you’ll be living with intention and purpose.
Good luck ☺