Everyone has a morning routine. The question is, how effective is yours? Are you accomplishing the goals you want to reach? Are you filled with energy and vitality as you move through your day? Do you have the things you say you want, or do you find yourself falling into habits of procrastination, posting pictures on social media, and getting distracted by other people’s demands?
Studies have shown that a morning routine that gets you up and moving and focused on what you want will help you to reach it. Science also shows that willpower is the strongest during the morning, so creating a daily morning practice is more likely to work than if you do it later in the day.
Here are three important steps to create a morning routine that you can stick with:
Step One: Wake Up Early.
Wake up at dawn, In fact, the earlier the better. Set your alarm to go off sometime between 5 am and 6:30 a.m. This is one of the simplest ways to get a huge jump on the day. It’s quieter then, no ringing phones or pings from your computer or phone. Often others in the household are still sleeping, so you have time to focus on yourself and the day ahead. Never check email or texts first thing. Why? Because then you’re allowing others to control your day by reacting to their schedule and desires before you consider your own. You want to be proactive, rather than reactive to other people’s requests.
Step Two: Get Moving.
As soon as you wake up, get your body moving. Exercise! It’s crucial to get the blood flowing so that your body can get energized and ready for the day. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise such as spending an hour at the gym. It might be as simple as going for a brisk walk in the neighborhood for twenty minutes or maybe some simple stretching exercises. Why? You will feel better, the endorphins will be flowing, and you’ll approach the day in a more optimistic mood.
Step Three: Strategic Thinking Time.
Spend the next 20 minutes “doing your gratitude’s.” Literally, set a timer for 20 minutes and list all the big and small things that you feel grateful for. It might be your cozy warm sweater or the partner you have… or it could be being grateful for a job you landed, a deal you closed, or the color of the sky right now. Write down whatever comes to mind- don’t question it. Why? This action will soon have you feeling truly grateful for all the wonderful things in your life. This simple activity sets you up for more flow and ease in your life.
Spend the next 30 minutes on strategic thinking. Imagine you’re sitting down with a mentor or coach – someone you really respect. Imagine this person asked you simply: “What do you want?” Then listen to how you respond to the question. Ask the question over and over again to get below your initial, surface responses into the more interesting answers, some of which may surprise you.
Write your answers down in a journal. Do not underestimate the importance of this step. The possibilities are endless, but might include a new home, a fit and healthy body, a fun vacation, or maybe a love relationship – whatever you’d like, nothing is off limits, but write it down.
Ask yourself: “Why do I want this? Then write down the reasons why each item is important to you. Keep asking yourself why until you get to the emotional core of why you want what you want. For example, you might say you want to attract a particular type of romantic relationship. Ask yourself why is that important? The answer that comes to mind at first might be something like “because I want to travel to Europe and I’d like someone to share it with”. Now dig deeper… ask yourself again: why do you want that? The answer that pops into your head might be something like “because it’d be fun”. Or, “I want the warmth and closeness of sharing my life with someone.” See? That’s better… now you’re aware that the root of why you’re looking to attract this relationship is because you want to share the joy and fulfillment of being with someone you trust and feel safe and comfortable with. Remember: What is the feeling you’ll experience when you have this? Having this clarity will propel you into action; procrastination will no longer be an issue.
Over time, you’ll notice themes in your daily entries. As you start noticing what the recurring elements are, it’s time to set specific goals around them.
Spend the last ten minutes of your strategic thinking hour focusing on your specific goals. Let’s say, you want to lose 20 pounds before your next reunion. Or maybe you want to make more money this year. In order to achieve your goals, you have to break it down into smaller segments. If your reunion is in 6 months, how much weight do you have to lose each month? How much each week? What can you do today that will move you closer to your goal? If it’s to make more money this year, how much do you want to make over the next twelve months? Where do you have to be in six months’ time? How about three months? What about a month from now? What do you have to accomplish in the next week to stay on track for this particular goal?
Once you know that, choose three things that must get done today and focus on those three items. Make sure you choose things that are “big rocks” – the three key things that if those were the only things you got done today, you’d be a step closer to accomplishing your goals.
Being clear on what exactly you want each morning, whether it’s to close a deal at work or spending more quality time with your family, can make all the difference in whether you’re successful…or not. A morning ritual sets you up for success, not only for that day, but for the rest of your life. Make a commitment to yourself that you will try this for one month, and then see what happens. Your days will become a lot more productive and a lot more fun. You’ll discover how this new routine allows your life and your success milestones to unfold in a new way.
Regan Hillyer is an entrepreneur, investor, mindset coach and author of the bestselling book “Be Your Brand: From Unknown To Unforgettable“. She is the founder of Regan Hillyer International, a company dedicated to providing personal development and business training to men and women who have a big message they want to share with the world. Regan specializes in helping experts uncover their true message and launch powerful person brands, helping them make a big impact and build a legacy.