The most effective way to change your life on a daily basis is to start an early morning routine. This will provide immediate momentum and motivation to conquer the rest of the day.
Every morning you will have time to think about and focus on your goals and the kind of life you want. Before most people have woken up, you will be giving yourself small victories and this will affect the rest of your day; you will be proactive instead of reactive.
A morning routine will give you up to two, possibly even three, hours a day to focus completely on yourself. Once you take the leap and start to get up earlier, you will see results; you may even decide to push the time back even further to give yourself more uninterrupted space to work and focus on the things you really want to be doing.
This investment will also pay off during the rest of the day – when you have already made a head start with your goals, you will feel much more positive and motivated for the entire day. It is well known that some of the most successful and wealthiest people in the world do or have done this. They all attribute much of their success and focus to their morning routine – Barack Obama, Anna Wintour and Steve Jobs, to name a few.
You probably don’t have a staff or full-time childcare, so how on earth can you do this on top of everything else?
Studies show that morning people are likely to be much more driven and productive.
Research also shows that stress will dramatically affect your productivity throughout the day, as well as your overall wellbeing.
Starting your day with a structured morning routine of exercise, meditation and reflection will seriously reduce your stress levels all around, so as well as getting stuff done, you will also be positively affecting your overall mood and wellbeing for the rest of the entire day. After reading Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, I have had my own morning routine for three years now.
I started out just getting up at 6.30 am instead of 7 am, but I enjoyed it so much that my wake-up time is now 5.30 am – trust me, I never thought I’d ever been getting up at this time voluntarily! Three years later, I absolutely attribute what I’m doing now to those extra hours I gained each morning. Since starting my morning routine, I have read a stack of books I never would have had time to get through – books that support my learning and growth as a coach and as a businesswoman.
I have been able to launch my blog and YouTube channel. I have also conquered my stop-start habit of exercising, and generally, I just feel better, both physically and emotionally, because I am focusing on myself and my life, every single day. On the following page is my morning routine – I do it every day but relax the times a bit at weekends.
MY MORNING ROUTINE
- 5.30 am – Alarm. Glass of water, open curtains and window. Brush teeth, splash face with cold water. Make a pot of coffee.
- 5.40 am – Meditate.
- 6 am – Journal (gratitudes, acknowledgements, three things I want to achieve/experience that day), speak to a partner.
- 6.15 am – Read (self-help book or specialist subject book)/write.
- 6.45 am – Daughter wakes up, I make her breakfast and hang out.
- 7.15 am – Go running/do a HIIT session / get ready.
- 8 am – Leave house
Creating a morning routine
The whole function of a morning routine is to set your own focus for the day – rather than allowing that focus to be set for you by all of those outside responsibilities and pressures. The idea is to create a set of habits that will transform your life on a daily basis.
Habit 1: get up!
The first habit to establish is that you actually get up when your alarm goes off – this was the hardest one for me. What really helps here is a big glass of water (dehydration makes you feel sleepy) and opening the curtains. So that is the first step – no snooze button!
Habit 2: meditate
I’ve used a variety of meditation apps to help myself get going. Do shop around and try out different ones before settling on what works for you. Scientists have shown that meditation really does have a positive impact on the brain. It will give you the clarity, focus and motivation you’ll need to make changes, as well as help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Habit 3: journal
This is extremely good for reflecting on and thinking about what is important to you on a daily basis. It also helps you keep track of what you’re doing and your achievements along the way. My journal practice comprises three gratitudes, three self-acknowledgments and three things I
want for the day.
Habit 4: read
I have found this has made a huge difference; if you read for 30 minutes every day, think how quickly that adds up.
Habit 5: exercise
I found this tough, especially in the cold. As I’ve said, it immediately makes you feel more focused and motivated, and is great for combatting stress and anxiety.
Habit 6: practise visualization
The other great step that will help you stay on track is visualization. Set a timer on your phone (ten minutes is ideal, five minutes is enough to start with), and just sit there with your eyes closed and imagine your goal and the kind of life you want to be creating.
‘Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days – which inevitably create a successful life – in the same way, that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.’
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