1. Stop Sleeping With Your Phone
I know, I know. I titled this post ‘5 secrets’ and then go on to tell you the most obvious fucking thing ever about why your morning routine is failing. AND YET YOU’RE STILL BLOODY DOING IT.
If you’re serious about developing a better morning routine, this is hands down the first thing you should do. Leave your phone in another room. Turn it off. Throw it out the window. Whatever works. But you must stop sleeping with the damn thing by your bed like a pacifier. It’s okay to not have something to amuse you the second you wake up. (Bonus points: going to bed without your phone is good for you, too, because you’ll get to sleep faster.)
Until you make this change, you won’t be able to develop a good morning routine, which means you will start every day of your life feeling pissed off at yourself. Is that really what you want? No? Then make the change. If you’re not willing to do this, what hope do you have? I mean, come on, how hard is it to just leave your phone in a different room at night?
And let’s take it one step further: No books, Kindles, laptops, or any other entertainment devices shall be called upon when you wake up in the morning. Because again… an hour will pass, and you will still be in bed. Nope. You don’t need to be entertained every moment of the day. You just don’t. Especially not in those peaceful first fifteen minutes. Where the hell did that need even come from? Fuck you, social media!
2. Stop Doing Shit You Don’t Enjoy
For a long time I battled with trying to find the perfect, most productive routine – but that’s all for shit if you don’t actually enjoy it. If you don’t like doing the damn routine, how long do you think it’s going to last, exactly? I learned this lesson when I conducted a 28-day experiment in which I worked out first thing every morning. Ugh.
So, seriously – what would you enjoy doing in the mornings? Does my tea and journalling sound nice to you? Give it a shot! Or maybe you’re more of a coffee-and-newspaper kinda person? Hell, maybe you’re even one of those crazies who does like to work out straightaway.
And don’t give me any shit about enjoying starting your day by browsing on your phone. Doing something because it’s easy is not the same as doing something because it’s enjoyable. Protip: if you hate yourself afterwards, maybe you didn’t enjoy it all that much. (Except for angry sex.)
3. Stop Trying to Manipulate Your Natural Sleeping Rhythm
I have a friend who is constantly bemoaning the fact that her days get off to a shit start. She wakes up too late, stays in bed too long, never starts work early enough… I say fuck that. Does it really matter what time you get out of bed? You’re still going to be awake for the same amount of hours, no matter when you get up. Who gives a fuck if you wake up at 10am and don’t start your client work until 2pm? It doesn’t matter.
If you want to start getting up earlier, ask yourself why. If it’s because you truly think you will enjoy doing so, awesome. Go for it. But if your reason is that you think it’s what you should do – because that’s what professional, respectable people do – Fuck. That.
4. Stop Striving for the PERFECT Routine
Striving for the perfect routine fucked me over time and again. I’d get pissed off that I couldn’t make this work. Why couldn’t I just figure out the best way to start my day, then do the exact same thing each morning and go on to have perfect, streamlined days? Oh yeah – because LIFE.
I still don’t always follow the morning routine I shared above. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that there will always – always – be interruptions, distractions, things that throw you off track. A few weeks ago, I got into the habit of taking my laptop to bed because I got addicted to a show on Netflix (Death Note!). I only did this for two or three nights, then I mentally slapped myself, binge-watched the rest of the show during the day, and vowed not to take my laptop to bed any more. So shit like this still happens sometimes. Of course it does. But – what’s that saying? What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while. So god damn true.
5. Allow Your Routine to Shape Itself Over Time
This is my newest lesson. I’d say my new morning routine didn’t even begin with an intentional change I made to my mornings. It started back at the end of November, when I completely cut out all processed foods from my diet, along with a bunch of other stuff I no longer eat for health reasons.
Good habits build on other good habits. My healthy eating gives me more energy and makes me feel great. I feel more alert as soon as I wake up, which makes it a lot easier to get out of bed. Plus, I feel better about myself mentally, which makes doing things I know will make me feel good easier. As a result, my new morning routine has unfolded quite naturally.
Not that you need to cut out all processed foods in order to start your days off right. So I guess what I’m saying is: don’t try to force a huge new routine on yourself all at once. Take it a step at a time and go where your personal rhythms naturally lead you.