The Definitive Guide to Winning the Day: a Step-by-Step Morning Routine and Learning how to Meditate, Write, and Read Effectively

My post yesterday talked about routines and how I was not in the mood to write about said topic. So my post was about how to conquer that mental error. 

Why have a morning routine?

The Art of Manliness wrote a fantastic post about why you should have a routine. It’s the post that made me create my own routine. You should have a routine because if you, “win the morning, you win the day.” Credit Timothy Ferriss, I believe. Basically, if you start off strong in your day, it’s easy to carry that momentum. Start off weak and you’ve already fucked your motivation from the start so you’re more likely to end up in your bed, fetal, with comfort food and tears by the end of the day.

Simply, if you start the day off with… Say, even just making your bed. Or meditation, or contemplation on the universe in your backyard before dawn with a nurturing cup of coffee, you generally start your day with more peace.

On the other hand, if you jump straight out of bed, head to your laptop, and are confronted with high-stream information, your brain is over-whelmed immediately and you carry this intoxicated thought frame through the rest of your day.

Image by Alessandro Trapasso.

How do you create a morning routine?

I can only tell you what I do. As of yet, I only have a morning routine so I will only be talking on that.

So, let’s go through the steps.

1. Prime yourself for success — before bed, I’ll often turn my phone to airplane mode.

 Or even turn off your phone — the basic principle: do not check your phone for at least the first hour after rising. This is vital –  check your phone and you are immediately thrust back into the information saturated world of constant notification, email, and distraction. Your phone can derail your entire routine. Trust me, it’s happened. Preferably don’t even check your phone until you’re done your morning routine.

2. Read — I set myself a fifteen minute minimum reading time for the morning but I frequently read for forty-five minutes or more. Don’t think reading is worth your time or effort? Read this article by Ryan Holiday and see this post of mine.

This post also deals indirectly with reading, and this is just a fantastic quote that I got from – you guessed it – a book. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s from an interview between Brené Brown and Chase Jarvis. But she got it from a book, I swear.

Image by Alessandro Trapasso via VSCO.

3. Meditation — it’s a vital part of my day. I’ve been meditating on-and-off for years and only in the past four or five months have I made it a rule to meditate every day, twice a day. I’m human and I do miss my evening meditation – but there’s a staggering difference in my emotional state when I meditate at night and when I don’t.

Here’s the book that explains meditation simply and walks you through the first eight weeks. It is definitely worth the investment and it’s not a frou-frou, corny, style book that you’ll hate reading. It’s practical mindfulness.

Also, here’s the first ten days of Headspace — free of charge. They’ll guide you through everything as well. But I suggest the grounding in the literature.

4. Morning pages — write three stream-of-consciousness pages of writing. It’s helped me to clarify idea’s and opinions, it’s helped me come to terms with traveling for a year instead of going to university right away, and has a massive benefits.

As Julia Cameron said, “Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.”

And to quote Tim Ferriss, ”

2) I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day.

#2 is key.

Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.

Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life?

As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”

5. Write a blog post. Seth Godin is a huge proponent of writing a blog post daily. Not only does it force you to clarify your idea’s because, you know, you have to share them with the world, but if you have a vague idea of becoming a writer then there’s no better way to begin than by… Well. Beginning.

En finale

And that’s that. My morning routine. When I was in high school, I would have to wake up at 4:30am or 5:00am to get these things done. Frequently I would fall out of doing them because it’s just so fucking early. But after a while I realized I’d rather get up early and do these things than not because when I did do them, I felt like a Spartan — waking early to accomplish disciplines? Doing more before people wake than most people do in a day? Sign me the fuck up.

It’s nice knowing the rest of your day could be shit and you’ve still accomplished something.

And as they say on the Art of Manliness, you might not know what your day is going to consist of. Where you might be dragged off to mentally. But you know exactly how your day starts and how it will end.

It’s a recipe to excellence.

 

 

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