Do you wake up early naturally, or with an alarm ringing in your ear? Repeatedly. The snooze button tempting at every sonnet. Some of us are fortunate that we habitually wake early and feel ready to get up and start the day. Others not so. Personally, I don’t need a huge amount of sleep and can survive easily on six hours quality shut-eye a night. If this isn’t you, I can give you some hope as it hasn’t always been like this for me.
Much has been written about the positive benefits of a morning routine or ritual over the past few years and many entrepreneurs have adopted one as part of their day, including me. The idea of waking up every morning feeling more energetic, motivated and focussed is not to be sniffed at. Books such as ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod have made the morning routine popular and the much anticipated ‘The 5AM Club’ by Robin Sharma will no doubt, re-enforce the trend. Waking up to your full potential is an enticing idea.
When I first started creating my personal routine, I wrote down a list of everything I was going to do. The list started with six items I’d do every morning which was manageable. I chose these on the basis of the six key practices known as “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” which Hal Elrod talks about in his book mentioned above. These are; silence, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing. All went well for a while, but every time I read something that sounded a good idea, I got excited and added it to the routine. The ever-growing list started to take longer to complete every day until one morning I couldn’t face doing it as I knew it was going to take me so long to complete. That’s when I realised that the purpose of the morning routine I’d created for myself, in that moment, was lost.
Meditation, yoga stretches, reading a chapter of a motivating book, reviewing my goals, gratitude journaling, affirmations – they all started to appear on the list. Stooooop! It wasn’t sustainable and getting up early to fit it all in made me feel exhausted or guilty because I didn’t have time to complete everything. Surely this list was supposed to help me be a better person? To achieve more and be the missing link to the better life I desired. Any of this sound familiar? It certainly resonates with many of my clients who tell me similar stories about their own experiences along these lines!
Taking time off a routine for a short period to give it thought is often what I suggest. After a few days break, ask yourself the following questions about your list:
1. What, if anything, do I miss?
2. In retrospection, what daily action has been helping me?
3. What do I enjoy and what am I doing because I feel I should or because someone admired or respected said it was a good idea? (Your morning routine after all has to work for YOU!)
4. Do I need to do all of the items in my routine every day? (Probably not! Write a note in your diary as a reminder to do them periodically, so you’re not missing out.)
5. What don’t I like doing and why don’t I like doing it, even if I know it’s good for me? (Perhaps you have an emotional block around it to be acknowledged. Great! Work on that to improve yourself as part of your ongoing personal development.)
Think about the answers carefully. Once I’d asked myself these questions and culled my list based on the answers, my new ritual ended up being only four items long, but with a couple of upgrades. Perhaps the magic number? Being happy with the routine I’ve created for myself, look forward to waking up every morning to start my day, as I’m sure you will. Morning routines shape us for the better. We become more focused and certainly more determined.
What works for you? Unless necessary, I rarely make appointments before 10am so that I have plenty of time to set myself up properly for the day and complete my most important tasks first thing. I complete my shortened routine which is really enjoyable, plan my day using Brian Tracy’s famous ‘Eat that Frog’ system (sometimes known as the ABCDE method), have a healthy breakfast and off I go to have another fabulous day!
As the days get longer, moving towards summer, use this as inspiration to research and change up your morning routine. It can be challenging at the beginning, but please persevere. I promise from personal experience it does get easier and is very well worth it. Many entrepreneurs report having had profound results from incorporating one into their day and I know many of my entrepreneurial clients and peers who have adopted a routine, make the most of every single day. Give it a go and make a great start to every day!
Let me know what works for you by sharing in the comments on one of my social media platforms, links below.