The Importance of a Morning Routine (Especially during a pandemic)
I had a different article that was scheduled to be released for this week, but in light of recent events (Coronavirus pandemic), I had a different subject that was weighing heavy on me that I felt I should share.
At the time of this writing, we are in the throes of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. There really is no telling how long and how extensive the damage will be to both human health and economic health.
So while we have been in lockdown, I noticed a huge mistake that I made.
I skipped a couple of days of my morning routine (because of my entire family routine being thrown out the window) and it threw me into a weird funk. I was going nuts. I needed things to do, normalcy, a job, hustle. And I was being shut down by the government. How could they...
So that’s what I want to talk about.
If you don’t have one, I suggest you build a morning routine, because, without it, I almost started to become unraveled, just staying in the house due to the virus, as well as my children not being in school. I felt aimless, goalless.
So here we go, let’s talk about the importance of morning routines.
Bottom Line Up Front
A morning routine, those key events that you conduct upon waking, is extremely important to high personal function, as well as long-term personal success.
During times of crisis, it is even more imperative to psychological health, high personal function, and long-term success, to continue to conduct a morning routine.
More than this, we should develop a well-rounded morning routine for general life, during times of non-crisis, that address several critical points that establish, increase, and reinforce our psychological health, and enable our long-term personal success.
What is a morning routine?
This may seem like an obvious question, but it still needs to be clarified.
I’ll restate it. A morning routine includes those key events that you conduct upon waking.
Brushing your teeth is not a part of your morning routine. If it is, and you have to make a conscious effort to brush your teeth, you need to be reading a different article. Sorry, but this article is about high personal function, yikes.
The best source of a morning routine that I have been able to find is from The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Just to get you up to speed without having the read the book, here’s what the morning routine that he recommends looks like.
Stick with me. You may or may not agree with doing everything on the list because you feel like it might be too cheesy for you or that you just don’t have the time.
Well, all those concerns are fine, and they’re legit. Because even me, I don’t follow that exact routine. Plus, when you go through the entire list, you probably think to yourself that the morning routine will last like 2 or 3 hours.
My advice: Take what works, and leave what doesn’t.
If you don’t’ have time to exercise for 60-90 minutes at the gym every morning, then go for a 15-minute run, and if you need more, lift some weights during lunch or in the evenings after work. That’s up to you.
Reading doesn’t have to be long. It could be one chapter from the Bible. It could be a chapter from a self-development book you’re reading. Find something that you can break up into logical chunks that you can devote realistic amounts of time.
The point is, make it work for you. That’s what I did.
Here’s my morning routine.
Since I mentioned that I made the Hal Elrod morning routine work for me, I’ll tell you exactly what my morning routine is.
Upfront, I didn’t really leave anything out, but it isn’t necessarily in the same order and compartmentalized into categories to spell a super neat and convenient acronym.
#1 Silence (Pray) and Read
After I get up, brush my teeth, and brew some sweet, sweet coffee, I sit down on my couch, I say the Lord’s prayer, wrap it up with a quick acknowledgment of the sins that I have committed, ask for forgiveness, and thank Him for my salvation.
Upon completing this, I read through one or two chapters of the Bible. I just decided to start in the New Testament and just sent it, in order. One book after another.
For me, this is the very first thing that I do because I acknowledge that it is the very most important aspect of who I want to be, and so I place it first.
It goes along with the idea of tithing.
“When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.” —Leviticus 23:10
Sure, this is Levitical law, but by no means am I following the law and giving a tenth of “the first fruits” of my human currency, time, to God. The idea for me is more symbolic in nature. I do it as homage, not necessarily because it is directed of me (because it isn’t), but since it is the most important, I put it first.
I talk more about the importance of charity in my previous article.
For you, this can be mindful meditation, spending a few minutes clearing the mind. It could be praying in whatever faith that you subscribe to. I would just front load whatever is most important to you and do that first.
As you know, I don’t journal. I keep a commonplace book, that’s way more macho, for reasons I won’t discuss here, but probably just because I never understood the idea of writing my daily thoughts down… That probably shows my immaturity 😬. Nonetheless, if you journal, that’s fine too, but be warned, make sure it is buried with you (or cremated with you)… I always cringe when I read my old journal entries, and wouldn't dare leave it behind when I pass on.
Anyway, I don’t always write something down every morning, but I always have my commonplace book next to me.
The reason for this is I have a special section in my commonplace book, for times when something sticks out to me during my reading. In my faith, I call it “Rhema”.
In his book, Secrets of the Secret Place, Bob Sorge talks about Rhema, which is the Greek word for “spoken word”, as opposed to “logos”, which is Greek for “written word”.
There come times during my reading (written word, logos), that I am struck with what I feel is Rhema, the spoken word, and I take it as God speaking to me.
Take it or leave it, it’s my morning routine, so it is how I choose to scribe.
I don’t always get Rhema when I do my reading, but when I do, I make sure I have my commonplace book nearby to jot down whatever was handed to me.
For others who don’t subscribe to the Judeo-Christian faith, I suggest doing something similar, except it can be writing down something that is profound during your morning reading, whatever it happens to be. If a particular quote strikes you, just write it down, why not?
There is something powerful in writing things down, and it has to do with a mental-physical connection that happens when we take a thought and transmute it into physical action. The writing is the first step, and it is something that Napoleon Hill talks about in his book, Think and Grow Rich. He had a rich and deep understanding of mental alchemy.
I have found that if I don’t get in any sort of morning exercise, I feel unaccomplished.
It isn’t so much that I feel accomplished from exercising in the morning, it is that I feel unaccomplished when I don’t exercise.
I am blessed with living in a primo 👌 neighborhood that surrounds various lakes, and so I can pick and choose from a variety of running roads that will take me around some very scenic locales, from lakes, woods, and golf courses.
"PT, It might not be the most important thing you do that day, but it is the most important thing you do every day." —SMA Daniel Dailey
I love doing it. It gets my blood pumping. It helps me feel refreshed. It gets me energized for most of the day. For those of you who aren’t morning workout people, I suggest augmenting your morning routine to include this portion, even if you just get your blood pumping for 5 to 10 minutes, and save your real workout for later.
I won’t even go into the health benefits of daily exercise, because, by now, everybody should know them. Nobody believes that exercising every day will have a negative effect on health, so just take this one at face value, exercise has plenty of physical and mental health benefits.
#4 Affirm and Visualize
The final thing that I do, once I am all freshened up from a post-workout shower, is I repeat my affirmations to myself and visualize.
I do this after exercising because my mind is energized, almost like my motor is fully warmed up and revved; ready to go.
Personally, I have a list of affirmations that I have written down. Here are some of those items:
I am loved by God
I love myself
I love my wife and children
I live in joy
I am positive and optimistic
I am a real estate investor
I am a successful and interesting blogger
I read these carefully and thoughtfully, and I visualize what that looks like. I’m not very good at it, but I try to use my imagination of life scenarios that show them as being a reality.
In addition to visualizing each once of these affirmation statements, I created a vision board.
As I mentioned before, I am not very good at imagining, in the scenario of visualizing the affirmation statements. So, I use the vision board to help me visualize the key things that I desire to be, desire to accomplish, and desire to acquire.
It’s a work in progress, I know. There are tons of vision boards out there that are far more elaborate and way more visually stimulating, but hey, you have to start somewhere.
And that wraps it up for my morning routine! Now I am firing on all cylinders and I am ready to get my day started.
The goal of this post was to give new ideas if you already have a morning routine and also encourage those who don’t have a morning routine just yet.
Keep in mind that we may be locked up in our houses for quite a while. If that’s the case, then it is even more important to maintain a solid morning routine that keeps us on track, while we float in this weird social and economic nebulous of purgatory.
Even apart from a pandemic, or disaster in general, a morning routine is so crucial to being the most we can be, enabling us to be high functioning, accomplished and successful in the long-term.
The Woke Hack
"Your habits will determine your future." —Jack Canfield
Time to Pay it Forward
I’m curious to see what your morning routine looks like. Leave a comment down below on what you personally do each morning, or leave a comment on what you took away from this.
Also, don’t be afraid to tell me on what information I haven’t come across and how my opinion might be wrong.
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Self-actualization: Stop wasting your life (and money) and start finding fulfillment