I’m a big believer in the power of habit.
By putting certain parts of my life on autopilot, I have more energy to dedicate to important stuff, like building relationships and doing creative work.
A friend recently asked this question on Facebook: “what’s the activity that has the biggest impact on your life?”
While certainly there are many simple things like flossing and showering that matter a lot to my health and well-being, without a doubt it’s my routine in the morning (and night) that matters the most.
My morning routine
Before going through the morning stuff, it’s important to point out that every day starts off on the right foot with a good night’s sleep.
And to sleep well, there’s a few things that need to happen. Most importantly, my mind needs time to unwind.
Firstly, this means no lights, screens, or gadget-generated stimuli of any kind after 10pm. Secondly, this means a full night of quality sleep – at least 7 and a half hours.
My routine at night:
- No screens after 10pm
- Meditate for 20 minutes
- Sleep for 7.5+ hours
If I’m having trouble falling asleep, I read my Kindle until I zonk out.
My routine in the morning:
- Wake up naturally (no alarm).
- Slowly drink a glass of water (~8 oz)
- Meditate for 20 minutes using Headspace
- Journal my thoughts — how I feel and what I think in the moment. Stream of consciousness.
- Power questions while journaling
- What am I most proud of in my life right now?
- What am I most excited for in my life right now?
- What am I most grateful for in my life right now?
- Who do I love and who loves me?
- Take a cold shower (warm-cold-warm)
- Cold showers have tons of benefits, as does soaking in warm water.
- I don’t let the water get ice cold, nor scolding hot. Just outside the range of comfort is enough to do the job.
- Move. Usually some bioenergetic stuff from Elliott Hulse
- Bow for 20 breaths
- Stretch forward for 20 breaths
If my neighborhood is nice, go for a walk. Maybe get breakfast.
Breakfast officially concludes my morning routine. Once I’m done, I find a quiet spot and get to work, usually 2-3 hours of writing.
As is obvious, I keep things very simple. The essential steps are:
- Get good sleep
- Wake up naturally
- Cold shower
A little optimization is good, but too much just creates anxiety. When I follow these basic steps in the morning, I usually feel great and my days are noticeably more productive.