Thanks to The Morning Miracle I’ve landed in some pretty good routines for the past couple of months. Don’t get me wrong, every day is not a magical carpet ride, and that’s okay. In a given week, one or two mornings are really good and the others are about putting in the time and setting the rest of the day up for success. Over the long haul I’m seeing subtle ways this routine is giving me more discipline and greatly improving my life overall. That makes it all worth it!

5 a.m. Doesn’t Come So Early Any More

I picked 5 a.m. as a wakeup time because nobody is awake that early at my house. Originally 5:30 sounded like a good time, but 5 a.m. just felt right in the sense I knew it would give me a block of uninterrupted time.

Some mornings I wake up earlier, and if I have the fortitude I’ll get up and just start the day. One morning I was wide awake at 3:30 a.m. So I got up, did part of the routine and then went for a walk. It is so quiet and peaceful at 4 a.m. walking through my neighborhood it was amazing.

Other mornings the alarm goes off or I wake up just before the alarm goes off and I really don’t want to get up, and yet I remember the committment I read out loud the night before and the benefits I gave for following that committment (written affirmations). There’s also the thought of, “Nah, this would be a horrible day and a lame reason to break my streak of 50+ consecutive days.”

Regular Routines

My routine usually consists of a mixture of the following activities depending on the weather, energy level and mental state. They all come from Hal Elrod’s suggestions in The Morning Miracle.

Normal Day

Most often the order is:

  1. Wake, dress, brush teeth
  2. Drink 22 oz of water
  3. Meditation (10 to 15 min)
  4. Affirmation (1 min)
  5. Visualization (1 to 2 min)
  6. Reading (10 to 20 min)
  7. Coffee
  8. Journaling (15 min)

On days like this I’ll save exercise for some part of the day when I hit a slump–usualy in the early afternoon. There’s something about brushing teeth first thing in the day–even though I brushed them before going to bed. I also recommend putting actual clothes on–not on a bathrobe or sweats.

Need to Get the Blood Flowing

If I need exercise or the thinker is not working:

  1. Wake, dress, brush teeth
  2. Drink 22 oz of water
  3. 40 min brisk walk
  4. Meditation
  5. Affirmation
  6. Visualization
  7. Coffee
  8. Reading
  9. Journaling

Dead on Arrival

And there are just some mornings where I went to bed too late or didn’t sleep well. Then the routine is more likely to run in this order:

  1. Drink 22 oz of water
  2. Coffee
  3. Meditation
  4. Affirmation
  5. Visualization
  6. Reading
  7. Journaling

Don’t Give In

This is the full extent of my routine. I try not to check email or get online at all (and sometimes fail). The times I have, it’s pretty much ruined the rest of the time–even 5 minutes checking email. I’ve learned the hard way it’s just not worth it. I want to stay in the zone of tranquility and peace as long as I can. Email and the world’s problems make it vanish instantly.

How Long Does the Routine Take?

The amount of time this process takes varies between one and two hours. Some mornings, a good portion of this time includes pushing side projects forward. Some days an abbreviated version makes sense or is required. In my experiences with it so far, I have not been sick, traveled for work, or been on vacation. I expect all of those will derail it in some way. And when it does, the key will be restarting!

Two hours sounds like a lot of time, but what it means is that worst case it’s 7 a.m. at the end. This was the most amazing feeling when I first started this process… wondering how it could only be 7 a.m. and yet I felt like I had already done so much. It wasn’t always that I had accomplished a lot it was more that I’d had time to really think and not be rushed. It feels good to be grounded and ready for a day.

Some days I just don’t get to everything and that is okay. Success for me is that I got up at 5 a.m. and tried to run through this routine even if I didn’t want to or didn’t feel like it.

There have definitely been those mornings I thought had no chance of being turned around and yet right around 6 a.m. I started to feel clearer and more optimistic about what the day held–such a different experience than rushing through the morning to meet the end goal of “getting to work” and feeling behind and frustrated the rest of the day.

If you aren’t used to drinking a lot of water when you wake up, try it and see if you don’t feel different. That was one of my 30 day trials/habits a few months back and it’s really stuck with me. On my list of 30 day trial/habit possibilities is eliminating coffee. Something tells me that isn’t going to happen until winter is over.

What’s your morning routine and how do you make sure it happens with regularity?