Build a morning routine that will optimize your success

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I am NOT a morning person. We all know “morning people”. Friends of mine who fall into this category know who they are. The rest of us look at these “morning people” with equal parts admiration, disbelief and frustration. How dare they impose their cheery dispositions on us so early in the day? Why must they make us feel worse about ourselves at our weakest hour? Who do they think they are?

Well, I hate to admit it but, these morning people are onto something. Successful people everywhere can’t stop talking about how essential their morning routines are to their success. Lewis Howes’ wrote a guide called “The Millionaire Morning”, Tim Ferriss interviewed 200 world-class performers for his book "Tools of Titans"... If you need further proof just see what any entrepreneur, athlete or executive has to say about their morning routine. Chances are they have it down to a science. 

So what is a non-morning person to do? How do we change something that for so long we just accepted as part of who we are? I assure you I struggled (and sometimes still struggle) with EVERY part of my morning routine. I couldn’t stop pressing the snooze button, I couldn’t get out of bed, I rushed around the house in a panic, I was late for class or work EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m telling you this, not because this is something I’m proud of, but because I think this makes my advice on this subject even more credible. Over the last few months I completely restructured my day with the goal of being more punctual, and the positive results continue to spill over into the rest of my life. With a solid, proactive morning routine, I’m more productive and don’t spend the rest of the day playing catch-up. I am confident that implementing even a few of these changes will help you and I’ve designed this post to be flexible so you can adapt it to your life. 

Step 1 – Get out of bed

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If you're like me and getting out of bed is the biggest hurdle to get over in the morning, I’ve got a game changer for you. I used to hit the snooze button at least three times before I could even rally together enough brain cells to open both eyes. Now, not only is the snooze button not an option but I have to get out of bed to turn my alarm off. Intrigued? Alarmy is an app that makes you perform one of five “missions” in order to turn your alarm off. My favourite is the photo mission which makes you take an identical photo to one you took the night before to turn your alarm off. I usually choose my bathroom sink but if you feel like you need to walk to your kitchen or down the street to make sure you don’t get back into bed the choice is yours. You can also do math problems, shake your phone or scan a barcode. It’s pretty awesome. 

Step 2 – Get in the right headspace

I get up on the wrong side of the bed every morning. It’s almost like overnight my soul goes into a coma and it takes longer for her to wake up than my body. I could easily walk around soul-less for the first two hours of my day and that is a LOT of wasted time. Something that really helps me with that is repeating a personal mantra or declaration to myself immediately after getting out of bed – kind of like the tiny curly haired cutie in this Youtube video. A mantra is a very personal thing and it's good practice to tie it to your personal goals but it can be as easy and simple as Lori and Chris Harder’s which is “I am happier, healthier, wealthier and more fit today than I was yesterday”. Take literally 30 seconds to get grateful, positive and passionate about your life and the day you’re going to have. I know a lot of people who cite this practice as having a profound impact on their life and mental health. If this isn’t for you, take a few minutes to meditate, read something inspirational or write in your journal. Set an intention for your day and try to generate some positive vibes. 

Step 3 – Get moving

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I can already hear so many of you saying “Yeah right! I’m not working out in the morning! I don’t have time to go to the gym! FORGET THAT!” but hear me out. This is one of the best ways to energize yourself for the day and if you don’t believe me, ask Mark Zuckerbrg and Richard Branson. By getting your workout done in the morning you will have significantly more energy throughout the day and you don’t expend an ounce of it worrying about how you’ll squeeze in your gym time later. “But Chloe I don’t have time to go to the gym.” OK! Look at Tony Robbins. He designed a daily exercise routine focused on explosive exertion and dramatic heart rate increase that only takes 15 minutes. You could also go for a quick run, powerwalk, or bike ride or do a couple sun salutations. The options are endless. You may not love it while you’re doing it but I guarantee you’ll feel the benefits throughout the day.  

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Step 4 – Get fueled

Now I’m not a nutritionist or a physiologist and I have absolutely no business telling you what you should eat and when but you should get something in your stomach before you head out the door. For me that means drinking half a green juice before I go to the gym and a protein shake afterwards. For you that might be a bulletproof coffee or a full breakfast. Do whatever works for you, just keep it consistent.  

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Step 5 – Get ready and get out the door

This is one of the areas where you can really make up a lot of time if you’re proactive. Deciding what you’re going to wear the night before and preparing your lunches ahead of time spares you those moments of indecision that waste your time. You’ve likely been told to do these small proactive tasks before and I’m going to tell you again because they actually help.

 

Step 6 – Get the timing right

Your new morning routine is going to change your life but you need to make room in your schedule for this change. For me, this means going to bed earlier so I can get up at 5:30, workout, eat, shower and change and still make it to class by 9:30. Do I always get a full 7 hours? No. Getting a full 7 hours of sleep during the week is purely aspirational for me at this point. Am I moving in the right direction? Yes. You might also need to carve time out of your weekend for meal prep or shift some of your computer based work to an earlier time-slot in the day. You’ll figure out what you need to do, likely with some trial and error. Most importantly though, don’t get discouraged. You are human and you will likely fail a few times before you succeed. Don’t take this as a sign that this isn’t meant for you. It totally is and you’ll feel so great when you’re able to consistently go through your morning stress-free.