Why You Need a Morning Routine
Most of us will agree: Routine is not easy.
With routine comes discipline—another thing in the “not easy” club. Especially when you’re a creative.
Creatives must often rely on self-discipline to get jobs done, and one of the best ways to do this is through establishing routines. By creating something habitual, you lay the path of productivity.
Then, all you have to do is take a stroll.
Want to know how to ensure that every day will be ripe for productivity?
The brain is not a thing that likes to behave. It likes to facebook, to eat, to tinker, to choose the right song, to organize the fridge … it likes to do all the things at the wrong time.
When a puppy or baby comes into your home, you want to be soft yet firm from the get-go. They must look to you as a benevolent ruler.
You go Alpha—it’s for their own good.
It’s the same with the brain.
The great thing about brain, though, is that if you have a beta day, you are given a new chance to alpha with every new morning. Sleep gives us a reset button.
Mess up with that real-life baby out the gates and you have a looooong and troublesome road ahead.
A Morning Routine to Start off Your Day
Why do sports teams practice? Why do they suffer through hours and hours of drills and stakeless routines?
So that they are ready come game time. So that they are ready to win.
The same applies to our minds. Take on mental “practice” by using a daily morning routine, and you’ll be practicing wins for the rest of the day.
Have you ever jumped into a cold pool? We hem and haw and shudder and squeal. We build ourselves up…
And eventually we jump.
After a few splashes and strokes we’re not cold anymore—we’re comfortable. Swimming is fun!
But it takes that initial splash to get us swimming laps. A good morning routine is your splash.
This idea was first introduced to me a few years ago when I watched Navy Admiral Willaim H. McRaven speak on the importance of making your bed. I’d always been staunchly anti-bed-making, but since his speech I am a changed woman.
That was about as far as I went with routine, though.
This past summer I listened to an early-twenties Italian speak on his routine mattinale. Because this youngster had figured out a way to earn his sole income through his podcast on personal-development, I decided to try out his advice.
He was clearly doing something right.
Why Morning Routines?
The practice of a good morning routine ensures that we start the day off right. I’m not talking about eating a healthy breakfast here—it’s more serious than that.
From minute one, you have to let your mind know that you’re taking it (your mind) seriously. You have to establish a pattern for success.
There is a zoo in our brains, did you know that?
Procrastination monkeys, laziness sloths, addictive cats, excitable parrots.
Taking disciplined initiative in the morning lets all those inner animals know that we see them, but they will be ignored. We do this for our higher selves—for our humanity.
Having pets is cool. I love animals. But they are pets. If we bring them into our home, they cannot rule us. We gotta be alpha.
Designing a Daily Morning Routine
Rule 1: It can’t feel like a drag.
You must find the sweet spot between feeling like it’s a step toward doing what you want for the rest of the day versus a chore working against it. It should be equal parts structure and play (something that’s especially important for the easily-distracted).
When I began with this concept, I had a morning routine checklist with something like seven things on it. It was just too much. I want to quit something as soon as it feels like work, and a checklist that long will feel like work no matter what’s on it.
Even when we love our routines, other things pop up that we’d like to do. We want to eat breakfast, we want to check our phone, we want to poop.
Random dailiness will attempt to interfere…
On that note:
NEVER LOOK AT YOUR PHONE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
Wait until the routine is over. Checking your phone in the morning is a commitment to letting yourself to be distracted for the rest of the day.
Don’t let your phone rule your mind; Take the day’s first minutes for yourself.
If you have trouble with this, sleep in a separate room from your phone. Seriously. Often simply seeing it in the morning will create that inner tug toward picking it up.
A good morning routine should often include journaling and stretching. I also encourage meditation.
Otherwise, make a list of things that you’d like to take care of first thing, and narrow down from there.
Read my post on ideas for morning routines if you need a boost
Whatever you decide to do, give yourself a couple weeks to find the order and quantity that feels right. Eventually, the routine will become a habit.
We love healthy habits!
Here’s the catch:
You’ll have to stick with it. Every. Single. Day.
Eventually, yes, some actions will fall away or be replaced. Just don’t completely fall off the wagon. Have a few anchors in there that you know you won’t give up on.
Put the work in if you want the reward, and give new habits anywhere from two to thirty-five weeks to stick. So says science.
Do you have a routine? Have you tried before with any success (or failure!)?
Let me know in the comments!