“It is well to be upbefore daybreak, for, such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” – Aristotle
The morning it the best time to do anything – period. I’ve never been a happy person in the morning – I still prefer to not talk to anyone for the first hour or so until I’ve come out of my grogginess. As happens to most people when they start working, your body begins to naturally wake you up at 7:00am on Saturday morning regardless of your resistance. Your body gets accustomed to the rhythm of the workday.
As I started waking up earlier and earlier on the weekends I noticed that I had so much more day to do things. I could work out, eat breakfast, and do my errands all before lunchtime. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. It still takes me a while to get out of the morning funk (coffee helps) but knowing the sense of accomplishment after I wake up at 5:30 is enough to get me out of bed.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to wake up and go to bed at the same time on weekdays and weekends.” – Bedros Keulilian
Here’s how I begin each and every day.
6:00am – Wake up with alarm, plugged into charger far enough away from my bed that I have to get up out of bed in order to turn it off
6:05am – Make my bed. This has a small, but effective impact on your day. Even if you have a shitty day, it always feels good to come back to a made bed and you feel like you did at least one good task for the day.
6:10am – Meditate for 10 minutes, visualize success
6:25am – Light stretching, some pushups to get my blood flowing
6:30am – Make a coffee or green tea
6:35am – Brain dump at my desk. After I meditate, I like to write down all of my thoughts that distracted me during my meditation in to a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a journal, I just jot down a list of things that are on my mind like “Christmas shopping, weekend plans, work agenda, etc.). I find that this helps to really clear my mind especially after meditiation. My days seem much more organized and when I forget this step in my morning routine, it’s noticeable.
6:40am – Gratitude journal. This is something that took some getting used to. When I first heard about it I thought it was kind of weird. And it defintiely feels weird doing it for the first time. At first it’s easy – friends, family, health. But when you do it every day, you start to realize the small things you’re grateful for. The breeze on your face, the heat from the sun, the computer or device your looking at. I try to write three things every morning in a simple “I am grateful for XYZ…” format.
6:45am – Get dressed and walk to the gym. Even if I don’t work out, or if it is a rest day – I always try to walk for at least 10 minutes in the morning to stretch out the legs and get fresh air. It always seems to wake me up and get me going for the day.
7:00am – Stretch and warm up for 10 minutes. Run 1-2 miles. HIIT workout. I try to lift weights or do body weight excercises like pushups, pullups, and squats at least three times week. On the in-between days I’ll try to mix it up with something less stressful on the joints like swimming, spinning, or yoga. This helps to keep me loose and flexible, and prevents the soreness and stiffness that comes from sitting at a desk 8 hours a day.
7:45am – After a workout I love to sit in the sauna for 10-15 minutes. I’m starting to read more and more the amazing health benefits of saunas. And I find that I definitely feel much better on days when I do sauna work. Especially followed by a cold shower.
8:00am – Ice cold shower. I can’t begin to go through the benefits of this. Its sounds crazy, I know. And it is awful at first. But trust me, it gets much much easier. I started by taking a hot shower and ending the last 20 seconds as cold as possible. Slowly over time, I was able to extend those 20 seconds in to 30, 45, 60, and now I can do a full shower at ice cold temperatures. I’m telling you there is NOTHING more effective than waking you up and getting your blood flowing than an ice cold shower. It sucks at first, but I 100% recommend it to everyone. Even physcologically it helps you to feel like you can do something you don’t want to do. It puts you in an uncomfortable position which is where you grow the most. It sets you up to take more risks and be less fearful when confronted with other uncomfortable obstacles.
8:15am – Breakfast if I had an especially hard workout. Usually two fried eggs with some spinach. I’m trying to push back my first meal of the day until lunch. Experimenting with intermittent fasting and not eating from dinner the night before until lunctime – keeping my eating window from 12-8pm. I find I’m more focused and alert on an empty stomach in the morning. More on this in a future post.
8:30am – Read a book for 10-15 minutes and/or do a crossword puzzle. This is a huge advantage in your morning routine as it helps you calm down, relax, and ease your brain in to the demands of the workday.
9:00am – I’m sure a good deal of you get in to the office or to work well before I do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wake up earlier to do all of this. By the time I get into work I feel like I’ve accomplished so much and my mind is totally at ease. I never feel like I’m rushing or stressed.
If you’re someone who is constantly snoozing, rushing through their morning routine, and running to time your commute just to get into work 1 minute past your first meeting I recommend you start small. Put your phone or alarm clock on the other side of the room, wake up 15 minutes earlier. Discipline = freedom. It sounds counter-intuitive but the more structure you have in your day, specifically the morning, the more freedom you have.