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How Can I Create a Better Morning Routine?

Rich Fernandez






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How Can I Create a Better Morning Routine?

Rich shares a simple approach for creating powerful morning routines.

Hi, it's Rich here.

I've been asked to answer the question,

how can I create a better morning routine?

So look, while morning routines are

personal, for most of us, it's the

only time in the day that we have an

opportunity to be fully with ourselves

and focus on ourselves, be that your

first 10 or 20 or 30 minutes of the day.

This is really true for me as life is

so full as a leader of an organization,

a husband, a father mindfulness

teacher, and so on, on, and on.

My days are filled with meetings,

calls, emails, deadlines, and so forth.

And I'm sure many of you can relate.

But as the saying goes, if you

win the morning, you win the day.

So I'd like to share a couple of tips

on establishing a good morning routine.

It's really three tips.

The first one is don't

negotiate with yourself.

The second one is to create

a very simple routine.

And the third one is to try

something called habit stacking.

So let me explain each of these.

So first the idea of not

negotiating with yourself.

That really means skipping the narrative.

In other words, if there's a story or

dialogue running in your head about the

do or not do, about the way you feel

about doing a routine, what I often

try to do is I just try to skip that.

To not negotiate with myself, but

just to go straight to the routine.

It's kind of like brushing your teeth.

Brushing your teeth can

happen in many, many different

states of awakeness, I found.

So for example, I've brushed

my teeth when I'm half falling

asleep, but the point is I did it.

I didn't tell myself a story

about doing it being half asleep.

And so what I'd invite you to do is to

try not negotiating with yourself, not

necessarily going with a dialogue or

story about whether it's a good thing

to do or not to do, whether you feel

like doing it or not feel like doing it.

But simply moving in and doing it.

That is, doing your routine, which

brings me to the second point, which is

to really create a very simple routine.

For me, it's the first 20 to 30 minutes

of my day when I really try to make

time for my mind, my heart and my body.

So what does that look like?

It means when I wake up, the first thing

I do is I go to the bathroom and brush

my teeth and splash water on my face.

And then I literally go and make time

for my mindfulness practice, where I

really try to cultivate qualities of

mindfulness and also heartfulness.

So I do some meditation and then I

try to do something called the loving

kindness practice, which is to invite

thoughts and intentions of kindness

and goodwill towards myself and others.

Other days I may do a gratitude practice

or an intention setting practice.

But it's really a way to kind of

orient around the heart and perhaps

cultivate a positive emotional state.

And after a number of minutes

of doing that, I transition to a

little bit of body-centered work.

And for me that means some

stretching and light yoga.

So this is now the first 10

20, maybe 30 minutes of my day.

And then I reward myself with

having breakfast and coffee.

So that's sort of my second point

there, which is create a very

simple routine that you can follow.

Again for me, it's brush teeth, wash

face, sit and meditate, do a heartfulness

practice, do body focused practice.

And finally, the third thing that

I wanted to share with you in

terms of developing a good morning

routine is to try habit stacking.

Habit stacking means that you

stack a new habit or a behavior

on top of a pre-existing one.

I have a few things that kind of

fit in a sequence as I've shared

with you and help me sustain the

habit of mindfulness, for example.

It's the meditation, the heartfulness,

the body centered practice.

But then if I want to build on

top of that, I can add other

behaviors or habits on to it.

So, as I mentioned to you, I also have

a yoga and stretching routine that I do.

And honestly, that is

something that's new for me.

I've really brought that in

because honestly my back's

been bothering me lately.

So I really wanted to kind of emphasize

the stretching and the yoga after my

meditation and heartfulness practice.

And so I added that onto

the mindfulness practice.

So that's an example of habit stacking.

And if you're trying to build a new

behavior into your morning routine, don't

try to shake up your routine all at once.

Rather I'd encourage you to do

what you normally do, that is

to follow your normal routine.

For example, wake up, brush your teeth, go

to the bathroom, have coffee, et cetera.

Then you can consider the aspects

you want to integrate as part of

a new routine or adding a habit.

For example, perhaps a working out

or prepping a meal or some other

behavior that you may want to

bring into your morning routine.

Choose just one aspect of what you'd

like to integrate into your current

routine and commit to making just one

behavior change until it becomes habitual.

Be very clear as to when and where

you'll insert your new behavior.

So for example, for myself, after I

brushed my teeth and before I have my

morning coffee, I will do five minutes

of a guided meditation in my armchair.

That's an example.

So this is habit stacking.

Finally, I'd invite you to consider

that an effective morning routine

can actually start the night before.

Preparation for your morning or

team can make a big difference.

For example, spending five minutes

the night before setting up for

the morning can go a long way.

Let's say you want to integrate 10

minutes of yoga into your daily routine.

The night before, what can you

do to increase the likelihood

of following through?

Perhaps setting out your yoga mat or

laying out your yoga gear, so that

in the morning you won't have to

make the decision to practice yoga.

You won't have to negotiate with yourself.

You won't have to find

your gear or your mat.

It's already been set out for you.

That's what I do.

In fact, as we speak, it's likely that

I left my yoga mat on the floor in the

living room to the chagrin of my wife.

Normally I'd put it away.

I think I rushed out of

the house this morning.

So these are the tiny decisions

which left until morning, you're less

likely to get to, or are more likely

to drain your vital mental energy

before you even step out the door.

This is something known as decision

fatigue, which leaves you with less

mental resources available when you have

those really important decisions to make.

For example, in my life I sometimes

have to decide on one budget versus

another, or to email this person about

an important issue or to not email them.

And then if I do choose to

email them, what to say.

Those are really the important decisions

and it's better to approach them

without having this decision fatigue.

So just to conclude things and

to tie off my suggestions for a

better morning routine are number

one, don't negotiate with yourself.

Skip the narrative.

Number two, create a very simple routine.

And number three, stack your habits.

Finally, consider

starting the night before.

So I want to thank you for

considering these ways to

create a better morning routine.

And I wish you well, as

you work towards that.

And most importantly, I'd invite

you to be kind and understanding

with yourself as you try this.

There'll be days where you succeed at

installing a new morning routine, and

there'll be days in which you fall off.

It's really natural.

It's something that

happens to me all the time.

And you always have the

opportunity to start again.

So I'd invite you to just hold the

whole approach, the whole attempt

at starting a morning routine with

kindness and goodwill towards yourself.

Thanks for your practice.

Talk to you again soon.

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