I’ll now go through my new morning routine step-by-step. This is what I have been performing on most of my days this year and is the basic framework that I try to stick to every day when I wake up early at around 5 am.
This might look different from my previous routines but I wanted to be raw and real here, so that I discuss this subject with utmost honesty. So, let’s go through it.
I wake up as soon as I hear the alarm on my sunrise simulator. I switch off the alarm and while there are days when I get out of bed and get started with my day, there are also days where I want to go back to my bed and to the sweet slumber. During the mornings when I struggle to wake up, something that has been working for me lately is contemplating on this phrase: Pain of discipline vs. Pain of regret. When I do that, I immediately remind myself of the difficulties and troubles I’ll have to go through if I wake up late, and how smooth and free-flowing my day would be if I just get out of bed and get started right away. We humans are wired to avoid pain and discomfort rather than embrace pleasure, so just reminding myself of the rush, anxiety and stress that’ll come my way if I don’t wake up on time gets me going. I’m still experimenting but it works most of the days for me.
After I switch my alarm off, I do a few boxer shuffles to get myself in a pumped up state. Then, I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth and freshen up. I sprinkle cold water in my eyes and wash my face. This helps me in waking up from any residual sleepiness.
After using the bathroom, I read the daily passage from Think and Grow Rich Every Day, and then make my bed. Even though it’s a small task, I feel amazing and I get a great sense of accomplishment once I’m done with it. It’s a great habit to have as it sets the tone for the entire day. As Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations, said in his 2014 commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.” I highly recommend reading his book Make Your Bed for some invaluable lessons.
Next, I grab my hoodie and face mask and go outside for a quick 5-10 minute morning walk while listening to something inspirational. I adopted this habit during the lockdown and my main inspiration was Ryan Holiday, who goes for a morning walk first thing in the morning with his son.
After coming back, I go to the kitchen and get 600 ml (20 ounces) of warm water either plain or infused with apple cider vinegar.
Next, I do my 10/10/10 routine. This is inspired by The 20/20/20 Formula (or victory hour) by Robin Sharma, that he explains in detail in his book The 5 AM Club, as well as Darren Hardy’s morning routine.
Here’s the basic format:
- Pocket 1 – Exercise
- Pocket 2 – Reflect
- Pocket 3 – Learn
First, I start playing some inspirational music on Spotify (the Rocky playlist is my personal favorite and always works) and begin my morning fitness session, which lasts somewhere around 10-12 minutes. It comprises of three parts: cardio + workout session wherein I mainly do push ups, squats, sit-ups, plank, jumping jacks and a bit of ‘amateur’ cardio boxing (in the same sequence), yoga asanas (body postures), and pranayama (breathing exercises). Each part takes 3-4 minutes to complete. Next, I drink the previously prepared warm water.
Then, I proceed with around 3-4 minutes of meditation practice. I mostly use YouTube videos and Spotify these days, and occasionally just set up a meditation timer to perform a silent meditation. Next, I begin with my morning journaling — I empty all my thoughts, worries, anxieties and/or questions in my journal. This proves to be very useful as we live our daily lives and avoids the bottling up of any negative emotions. After that, I follow the format of The Five Minute Journal® (my customized version), and answer a few key morning questions, write down empowering affirmations, and set my intention for the day by listing meaningful actions that I need to do that day. So,here’s the basic framework of my morning journaling for your reference:
- My Thoughts
- 5 Things I’m Grateful For
- Daily Affirmations, I AM…
- What Would Make Today Great?
Once I’m done with writing in my journal, I either read and/or listen to a book (on Kindle, Audible or Scribd), or some relevant blog posts on the core skill — I commit to one skill per quarter — that I’m trying to develop with respect to one of my big goals for the year. Then, I start brewing my morning coffee. As it brews, I step outside on the balcony to soak in the morning sun, meditate on the green — the plants and trees around me. This quick exercise helps me reconnect with nature and my inner calm. Next, I water the plants, get back inside and read the daily meditation from More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. By the time I finish reading the meditation, my cup of joe is ready for me, and I take the first heavenly sip that I had been looking forward to with gratitude.