Lately, I have been thinking a lot about habits and routines. I’ve had always some routines in my life, but I wanted to build a better morning routine because I’ve come along so many sources, that emphasized the importance of routines for success in life.
Of course, you are not automatically successful with routines, but it’s very unlikely to be successful or happy without one. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker, mentioned in his talk 2017 Personality 02/03: Historical & Mythological Context the importance of a schedule and routine:
You need to pick a time to get up, whatever time you want, but pick one and stick to it because otherwise you dysregulate your circadian rhythms and they regulate your mood.
A morning routine does not only give health benefits, but if you include time for learning, reflection, thought, and fitness, you will improve in all aspects of life.
After reading a lot of articles, and watches a lot of talks about morning routine a similar pattern appeared in all of these routines. So I sat down a month ago and created a routine for me, which included also most of these patterns. I took some inspiration from Tim Ferris, Ryan Holiday, and other inspiring people.
- Wake up at 6:00 AM
- Read in bed for an hour
- Get up, make my bed, move, and do some stretches
- Open the windows everywhere to get fresh air in
- Record weight
- Drink something
- Learn languages for 15 minutes
- Workout with Calisthenics for 30-45 minutes
- Bathroom & Clothes
- Meditate for 15-20 minutes
- Prepare and eat breakfast while reading RSS Feeds
- Prepare for the day, by checking the calendar and select To-Do items for the day
- Get Ready
I do this routine every day, the only difference is, that I do not use an alarm clock at the weekend, but instead wake up when I wake up, which is usually around 7:00 AM. I’m doing it now for a month and I’m really happy with it. I’ll keep updating this article, should my routine change.
I wake up at 6:00 AM, usually after 7 hours of sleep. I don’t have any electrical devices in my bedroom (no phones, tablets, cables, TV, …). Only two-bed Slamp lights, which turn on automatically (during winter season) at 6:00 AM (with Philips Hue light bulbs) and my Sonos box, which plays a wake up Spotify playlist for 5 minutes, which consists of a mix of classical, chill out, soundtrack, and electronica music. I can’t hit a snooze button, because there is none. And my box is standing out of reach, so I would need to get up to mute it. I also get woken up by my Fitbit armband, which also records the sleep.
I really like waking up that early because it is quiet outside and I have more time for reading. I would love to join the 5 AM Club, but currently, this is too early for me.
Reading is honestly the most satisfying thing I do in the morning. I never did it before and read usually mostly on the commuting or in the evening. But reading in the morning is different. My mind is much clearer and I’m able to read much harder books.
I have a Traveler’s Notebook Passport Size with a ball pen and my Kindle Paperwhite (or some paper books) on my nightstand. The first thing I do after waking up is to turn on my belly and read in this position for an hour. It’s a good exercise for the back and stretches the opposite of the usually C-bend shape most people sit in during the day.
I start by reading the daily chapter of the fantastic book The Daily Stoic. The stoic practice is the best start in a day you can have. After that, I read in 1-2 books, usually not novels, but harder stuff (philosophy, science, psychology, etc.). Whenever I want to remember a quote or part of a book, I mark it and extract it later into my Commonplace book or write it down in my pocket-size notebook.
Then I stand up and get up, and make my bed. Because if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed says William McRaven, a former US Navy Admiral and Navy Seal:
If you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you’ll have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And 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 the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.
It also gives me movement, and I add some stretches and occasionally some Burpees.
I open the windows to all other rooms to let in the fresh air. My bedroom has always fresh air during the night.
I step on my Nokia Body Cardio scale to measure weight, fat, muscle, bone, and water. It’s important to always do this every day at the same time. It’s the only way to see health trends early.
After that I drink a glass of juice (no added sugar), this will refill some lost water of the night and add some quick energy for the workout.
Then I learn languages for 15 minutes. I pick up three tasks and practice them. These 10-15 minutes add up to 5-7 hours at the end of the month.
I do Calisthenics three times a week. I start with some warm-up, followed by a full-body workout, including pulling, pushing, core, and leg bodyweight exercises. In the end, I do some skill work like working with rings or practicing handstands. The workout usually lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. Two times a day I run instead for 15-30 minutes.
After the workout, I do some headstands and stretching.
Then I take a shower. The benefits of cold showers are well-known, but I take a warm one. In the end, I switch to a cool temperature for a minute. I shower my legs in ice-cold water, but not the whole body. I’ll leave this to Wim Hof. 😄
I put on my clothes, which is easy since I changed my style to a minimalistic one: black jeans, black, grey, white or some colored shirt and a belt. I took some inspiration for my wardrobe from filmmaker Matt D’Avella, who showed his wardrobe in this video.
My breakfast consists of 5 different types of cereal (oats, spelt, barley, rye, rice), corn flakes, poppy, sesame, linseed, almonds, hazelnuts and brazil nuts, amaranth and some dark chocolate flakes. I add cinnamon and honey and mix everything. I drink coconut water and a glass of juice while reading my RSS Feeds in Feedly.
I prepare for the day, by checking my calendar for upcoming events, meetings, birthdays, etc. I also open my To-Do app Things on my tablet and select my tasks for the day.
I’m quite happy with my routine for now and hope you also see the benefits of building some routines in your life. The morning routine seems to be the one with the most benefits. Because if you start your day successful, the chances are high you end the day successful. And as Jordan Peterson said:
You cannot be mentally healthy without a routine. So I recommend, build yourself a morning routine.