6 Unbeatable Strategies to Make Your Morning Routine a Success
We all know that feeling of being motivated and excited to start a new habit or routine.
Maybe you were inspired by something you read or saw online. Maybe it was hitting rock bottom in your life, and feeling like “enough is enough!” Whatever the reason, you made decision that NOW is your time. You’re going to implement a new habit, and gosh darn-it, this time it’s for good!
It might be going on a run every morning, or committing to a productivity routine that’s going to help you write that book you’ve always wanted to write. Or maybe it’s just spending a few moments practicing meditation at the start of your day.
So you start out with your grand plan, and for a few days, things are going well. But then, a few days into the new plan, you wake up, and just don’t have the energy. You think to yourself, “What’s the big deal if I skip just today. I’ll get back on it tomorrow.”
One missed day turns into two. Two turns into three. And you know the rest.
In this post, I’m going to give you my 6 unbeatable strategies for making SURE that your morning routine is a success.
First, a disclaimer: this post primarily applies to morning routines. Some of the strategies here will apply to routines at other times of day, so see if it applies to you, and take what works.
1. Set your phone on airplane mode at night, and KEEP IT ON.
This is probably the most important strategy I can recommend for any morning routine. This is the one tactic that will have the greatest effect on your ability to follow through with your morning routine. The key here is to leave your phone on airplane mode until AFTER you’ve completed your full routine (this also means not checking email or social media on your computer). In our age of distraction, it’s nearly impossible to get deep and meaningful work done when you are checking your inbox and messages every 5 minutes. Additionally, when you check email and messages first thing in the morning, you are letting other people decide what you should be focusing on each day. You are giving your power over to friends, coworkers, and even strangers. So trust me, do this one, and your life will benefit from it.
2. Get SPECIFIC about what your morning routine will look like.
One of the most common mistakes in habit change is a lack of clarity. Remember learning about SMART goals in grade school? The first two letters stand for Specific and Measurable. If you’re not doing those two, it’s going to be easy to cut yourself short when you lose motivation. So for example, you might change “I want to meditate in the morning” to “I will meditate for at least 10 mins every morning, first thing, before doing anything else.” See the difference? Get specific. The universe will give you what you ask for, you just have to ask for the right things.
3. Get in the habit of waking up earlier than you’re used to.
There is almost no better feeling than getting 3–4 hours of focused and important work done in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. As I write this, it’s 7:56 am, and I’ve been up and focused on my personal development tasks (meditating, reading, writing, exercising) for the past hour. The beauty of this is that by 10 am, I will have done more deep and meaningful work than most people do in their entire day. The other benefit of waking up early is that it’s typically the least interruptible time of the day. It’s the time that’s just for you.
4. Let your first 2–3 minutes be simple activities that get the body moving.
Let’s face it, when you first wake up, you’re not necessarily in the zone for writing that best-selling novel, or sitting upright on your meditation cushion to follow the breath. The body needs a few minutes to adjust to the state of wakefulness. For this reason, I like to have my first few tasks be simple ones that just get me moving. It’s like a startup sequence for my body. Good examples are brushing your teeth, splashing water on your face, drinking a glass of water, making your bed, and putting away any dishes from the drying board. Once I finish with those tasks, my mind is more awake, my body feels alert, and I’m ready to dive into my first real task.
5. Set yourself up for success by preparing in advance.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is to “do something today that your future self will thank you for.” We can take that idea and make it immediate: “Do something tonight that will streamline your morning routine.” The last thing you want is to wake up, and have to struggle with basic logistics in order to accomplish your morning tasks. For example, do you want to listen to a guided meditation every morning? Then download a week’s worth of meditations on your phone so you can listen while it’s still on airplane mode. Want to exercise in the morning? Then put your workout clothes right next to your bed (I’ve even heard stories that some people will sleep in their gym clothes). Want to read? Get your book ready and put it by your reading chair. The idea is simple: do whatever you can in advance to make your morning routine streamlined, so that when your motivation fails, it’s easier to “just do it.”
6. Get accountability or join a group.
I can’t stress this one enough. There’s enough research out there now where we know that habit change is much easier when done in social settings. Just think about it in your own life. Say you want to start going to yoga 4 days a week. You wake up one day, and just don’t feel like going to the class you had planned on going to. “It’s okay” you think “I’ll just go tomorrow instead”. Tomorrow it doesn’t happen, and you’ve lost your momentum. But let’s say you made a plan with your friend to go to that same yoga class together. You’re way more likely to go. You can use this to your advantage. Find a buddy to run with in the morning. Join a group on Facebook. Hire a coach to hold you accountable. There are endless possibilities. I like to think of the often-quoted proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
So there you have it! 6 unbeatable, ass-kicking strategies to get you ready to master your morning routine and set yourself up for a life of success. Remember: a powerful life demands powerful habits and routines. You don’t simply become successful in life, rather you develop the habits and behaviors to become the kind of person that attract success to you.
Here’s what I want you to do now: DECIDE what is your specific morning routine. (If you need help with ideas, watch this video I made: The Morning Routine I Use for Creating a Powerful Life) Once you’ve decided, write your specific routine in the comments below.
Then, get accountable! Join a morning routine group on Facebook. Find a run club. Or just tell a friend and ask them to check in with you.