I’m a big believer in the power of the morning routine. It can help you focus on your goals for the day and give you confidence. It also helps instill discipline and routine, both of which lead to a feeling of control.
I like to wake up around 5:00 a.m., take a cold shower, meditate for about twenty minutes, journal, and then write out in a notebook the major things that I want to do that day. After that, I’ll make my shake, wake the kids up, and head to the gym for a Crossfit style or Olympic lifting workout. I’ve been an early riser since I started working and cherish the quiet hours of the morning.
As to the cold shower, it took some getting used to it, but I started doing it consistently after reading about it in Tim Ferriss’s, Tools of the Titans. Many of the high-performers, including people like Tony Robbins, producer Rick Rubin, and surfer/health enthusiast Laird Hamilton, use some sort of cold treatment as part of their daily ritual. I simply turn the shower, get under it immediately and breathe deeply. I also have a couple of goofy songs that I sing to make it more fun. After the shower, I feel completely awake and exhilarated.
When I meditate, I typically do a mindfulness type meditation that involves breath counting or a body scan. I may explore this topic more in a future post, but to get started quickly, I would suggest an app like Calm or Headspace. I personally use Calm. It has guided and unguided programs of all lengths and types and is very easy to use. The effects of meditation on stress and concentration have been well documented.
I first started journaling this past summer after reading Tim Ferriss’s, Four Hour Work Week and Tools of the Titans. I typically write down observations about the day before, my diet, and the quality of my sleep. This helps me eliminate foods that cause problems and sleep better. I also will use the journal to record things for which I am grateful. I also will record goals on affirmations in the journal.
I have kept a task list of some sort since reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey many years ago. Typically, I keep a master list that I use to capture everything so as not to forget anything. However, in the morning, I review this task list, incorporate other tasks that might not have made it on to this list and then write down in a small notebook the four or five most important things that need to be done that day. I place them in order of importance. This last tip is straight out of The Four Hour Work Week, although Tim suggests keeping the number of items on the list lower than I generally can.
I’ll usually get a cup of coffee, my current favorite is Trung Nyugen Sang Tao 8, and add a tablespoon of coconut oil and two tablespoons of hydrolized collagen. If I’m feeling randy, I might add coconut milk creamer with agave nectar or cinnamon. The coconut oil provides a good source of fat (medium chain triglycerides or MCTs) and the collagen provides protein and may help promote joint health.
As to the morning shake, see My Power Breakfast above in the blog.
I should point out that this routine is my ideal routine and generally happens, but that occasionally it varies or I sleep late and blow it altogether. I find that it gives me a sense of accomplishment at the beginning of the day and makes me more focused and positive. I hope that it helps you. Feel free to share your own routine or to ask any questions about mine.