Don’t underestimate the power of your choices first thing in the morning.
My mother touted the adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and now my husband does the same. (If you want to learn the history of that statement, check out this historical conflict of interest.)
I rarely follow that advice, but if I do, my breakfast is consumed during the final minutes of morning. The idea of food before 11am consistently invokes mild nausea. By noon, though, I’m famished. Go figure.
However, I do have a regular morning routine, which I find essential for providing structure and setting a tone for the rest of the day.
I’m not alone. The importance of a daily routine is promoted by many successful folks, including Tony Robbins, Oprah (do we need to include her last name anymore?), and Tom Brady (TB12).
Not a fan of those particular celebrities? Ok, here is a list of AM routines of six other successful women. And here’s another brief list of morning habits of highly effective people.
You might notice some themes:
Do you follow a routine of your own? If so, what does it entail?
For nearly two years I have fine-tuned my own combination of morning rituals, which (*sheepish grin*) sometimes begin long after the morning has ended. The time started or elapsed is less important than the consistency of the activities.
Every. Single. Day.
Build a routine. See a pattern. Start a habit.
Watch your life slowly shift toward a preferable, more deliberate, possibly more meaningful place.
Author, podcaster, and angel investor (among other roles) Tim Ferriss has shared his routine, which inspired me to start my own.
This is his list:
- Makes his bed
- Drinks Titanium Tea
- Does some form of light exercise
- Writes in a journal
This is not a directive to perform any or all of these tasks after you wake up. There is not one straight line to success or improvement. I do recommend each of them, in some form, at some point in the day, though.
Think of this as a starting line, launch pad, friendly suggestion, anecdotal self-enhancement story.
I have adopted my own version, tailored to my preferences, night-owl schedule, and energy levels.
Astrid’s (ideal) modified morning routine:
- Brush my teeth and eradicate morning breath
- Pull the duvet up to the pillows and fold the top sheet over
- Drink a cup (approx. 8-12 ounces) of water
- Brew some black tea, matcha, or chicory/coffee mix
- Go for a “shuffle” around my block for a burst of fresh air and a shot of natural vitamin D
- Write morning pages a la The Artist’s Way (three 11×8 pages–no more, no less)
- Kundalini yoga to get my energy going
FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t always complete, or even start, each of these activities every day. Some days, I’ll straighten a pillow, spend 30 seconds in downward dog pose, and pop my head outside in the cold, only to opt out. Kinda like this…
But I do always–ALWAYS–brush my teeth. I’m not a heathen.
My list may invoke nausea or an eye roll. That’s ok. I’m not forcing any stimulants, kriyas, or Tom’s of Maine on anyone. What you do between REM sleep and lunchtime is your business. Obviously, I feel strongly about getting the day started off strongly, though, or else I wouldn’t bother dedicating an entire blog post to the subject.
My husband has his own morning rituals, which may sound more appealing:
- Brews coffee in his Italian moka espresso maker
- Stretches or does a series of core-training exercises
- Reads news headlines and a select few stories
- Plays one game of solitaire on his phone
- Makes a light breakfast (smoothie, toast, oatmeal)
- Plays one move in Words With Friends against Nana C.
There is some overlap in our respective routines, and some rubs.
He insists that I eat more before noon, and I discourage reading anything, especially news items, from a device. Covid arguments, climate concerns, and political clashes will still be around later in the day–why fill your brain with that sludge while greeting the day?
At least he isn’t on social media, so we agree on avoiding that first thing.
The overlaps tap into more general themes:
- Ritual (teeth brushing, bed making, coffee brewing, tea steeping)
- Physical activity (yoga, jogging, calisthenics)
- Mental clearing (meditation, morning pages, journaling)
- Minor intellectual challenge (news reading, virtual games, also yoga)
- Addressing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs
If these hold appeal and make sense to you, choose your own version for the same fix. Scratch those itches in your own way and create some degree of beneficial structure. Over time, you may notice some enhancements in your life.
Try one or two and see how you feel. If they don’t work for you, mix them up! Maybe, like Mr. Robbins, you want to take a cold plunge for some icy mind clearing. Have five dogs like Oprah that you need to take out for a stroll (after brushing les dents, of course)? Or you might prefer to emulate the health-conscious GOAT with some avocados and all things anti-inflammatory.
You do you.
And feel free to let me know what you decide. I’d love to hear about your morning routines! Maybe there’s something I’m missing that could enhance my own start to the day.
Leave a comment and let me know!