“How you start your day is how you start your life” – Drew Canole
Do you have a morning routine?
In the winter my morning routine involves rolling over, glancing at my iPhone and hitting the snooze button. It is soooo cold in Shanghai. Each morning I struggle with emerging from the warmth of my bed into a cold room and bathroom.
I’ve had routines in the past. They involved trying to do tai chi, qi gong (chi kung), reading books, listening to inspirational stories. I’ve tried a lot of things. Most of my successful morning streaks have taken place in the summer.
The winter is hard for me. I’ll admit it.
This year I wanted to change that. I decided that one thing I will focus on this month would be holding a morning routine. In this post I want to share how I prepared and what I do.
Before that, I will tell you why I am sharing.
As of today I have stuck with the routine strong and the benefits are noticeable.
I feel more relaxed when I get to work.
I have more energy when I go have my breakfast.
I am clear about what I want to accomplish that day.
I feel happier.
I’ve been able to enjoy a morning tea with my roommate.
Morning routines have their benefits.
Before I started doing this routine. I can say that I was waking up each morning with inconsistent feelings and moods. The gloomy, cloudy days were super depressing.
I felt more moments of stress during the day
I wasn’t focusing on the right things at work. Everything felt random and scattered.
I would skip breakfast
My energy levels were not as high until after lunch.
I felt stagnate.
I’m glad I made the change. I hope by sharing what I did you might also be inspired to make a shift as well.
Here is what I did
Phase I – Awareness of current habit.
Before the new year I basically started becoming aware of what I was doing in the morning. Which was not much. I paid attention to myself on work morning and on weekend morning. My weekends were a little more fruitful because they involved having a good breakfast and doing things that I wanted to do.
Work days are my area of challenge. Coldness is another area of challenge. I hate the cold weather.
Phase II – Do a little research.
I took a couple hours and started researching what some successful people do for their morning routines. I looked at Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, and Steve Jobs. I read Gary Keller’s book, The One thing. Then I started to put my thoughts together.
Phase III – Decide what will you do.
Make a decision of what you will do. Trying is what didn’t work. I had to set my mind in such a way that I would just do it and stick too it and see what happens. I didn’t set a goal for the whole year. I didn’t set a new year’s resolution.
After doing all the research I decide I would do the following routine
1. Jump out of bed immediately and go for a walk in the cold shanghai air.
Yes, I decided to take the cold head on. I would walk for 10-15 minutes around the changsha road and change road block. It was easy. I didn’t have to cross the street. Just one block would take about 15 minutes to complete.
2. While walking follow a breathing pattern that Tony Robbins shared.
Inhale 4 times in through the nose. Exhale 4 times out through the mouth. 30 cycles for one set.
3. In between sets, Give thanks and gratitude. Give thanks for three things about yourself.
Thanks for three things about things around you. Thanks for three things about people around you. Thanks for three moments in life that made you the extraordinary person you are today. Thanks for the vision of my life purpose as it is already happening. Thank God for being here and now, for living in you and through you as you carry out this life purpose.
4. Ask a question for today.
“What is one thing I want to focus on being or doing today?” What is in line with my one thing?
5. Return home and heat up some oatmeal.
6. While the oatmeal heats, do a plank or shoulder exercise.
8. Go do that one thing.
Phase IV – Do short term testing and retuning.
Make a small change. On December 31 at 8:00 PM I was feeling feverish and asked myself, “What can I do tomorrow morning that would help me get ready for making a productive day.” I only committed to doing it for one day. If it didn’t work, I could change. After one day, I committed to doing it for a complete 10 days. Today is the 10th day. I like how I am feeling. I think I will commit to doing it for 10 more days.
Keep tuning until you have a habit in place. I will continue reviewing and tuning the routine until I have a habit in place. Could take up to 100 days. I’m not worried about that. I’m just taking it 10 days at a time. That works for me.
What morning routine works for you?
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