How do you start your day?
The first few minutes of your day directly dictate how confident, productive, and happy you’ll be for the rest of the day.
After interviewing Hal Elrod (bestselling author The Morning Miracle) about 6 months ago I’ve re-committed myself to performing morning habits every single day.
Since then my I’ve exponentially increased my productivity, eliminated practically all of my anxiety, avoiding getting sick even once, and most importantly, I feel like a fucking boss every single day!
I’ve experimented a lot of different morning habits to get my morning routine to where it is today. I’ve also helped a lot of friends and clients form their own morning routines. And I still get a lot of questions about it…
So I decided to put together a guide to help you form a morning routine that fits into your schedule and matches your own personal needs.
Why Do a Morning Routine?
Obviously my morning routine has paid off big time for me. But why should YOU care about forming your own routine?
Put simply: it will revolutionize your life.
The things we do every single day are the things that form us. Far too many guys get side-tracked thinking about what they want and who they want to be, and engaging in absurd amounts of mental masturbation.
Your goals and aspirations are secondary to your daily habits. You’re not going to get anywhere fast without taking action and putting in work on a day-to-day basis. A morning routine is a simple and practical way to make sure that you’re taking these small steps every single day.
Aside from all of this, here are 3 more compelling reasons to get on the bus and form your own morning routine…
When you do a morning routine every single day, you’ll quickly begin to yield an enormous amount of self-discipline. You’ll change your mental programming to be someone who gets shit done RIGHT NOW rather than making excuses and ‘waiting for tomorrow’. This is a result of forming the habit of self-discipline by starting off every day with a series of habits (that you definitely won’t always feel like doing).
2. Habit-Specific Benefits
The beauty of a morning routine is that it’s a collection of multiple habits that each have their own respective benefits. You can improve your anxiety, productivity, focus, self-esteem, wisdom, and overall mood in a matter of minutes by stacking together a few awesome habits that each offer incredible benefits on their own.
Face it, when you put things off, you usually don’t do them. This applies to daily habits more than anything. If you plan to read, meditate, and do a bunch of other habits each day during your lunch break or before bed, chances are you’re going to be too busy or tired to actually do them. By tackling all of your habits first thing in the morning, you ‘get them out of the way’ and don’t have to try to fit them in later on.
In addition to these 3 benefits, you’ll also achieve an intense sense of accomplishment if you can stick to your morning routine. You’ll build trust in yourself and your ability to make commitments to yourself and make real changes in your life.
3 Steps to Get Started
Ok, let’s get our hands dirty. Let’s dive into the exact steps you should take to create and get started with your new morning routine.
1. Pick Your Habits
The first step is to choose the actual habits you will perform as part of your morning routine. I suggest starting small and choosing just three. This way you’re more likely to actually do it.
Below you’ll find 2 core habits that I recommend everyone uses. Their benefits are unmatched. They simply should NOT be ignored by any man. In addition to these core habits, you should select one more habit from the recommended habits section below. Don’t overthink it, just pick one that appeals to you, you’ll have the freedom to change it up later on.
2. Do Them First Thing in the Morning
You must perform your morning routine as soon as you wake up! This is non-negotiable.
As we explored above, much of the magic of morning routines comes from the fact that you do them before getting sidetracked by the rest of your day. If you need to wake up 30 minutes earlier, then do it. If you’re running late and you have to shorten the individual habits (e.g. do a shorter meditation or read for only 5 minutes), then do it.
Open your eyes, get out of bed, and get going! Oh, and I also recommend downing a large glass of water before starting habit #1.
3. Tackle Your Biggest Obstacle Directly Afterwards
As soon as you complete your morning routine, you’re going to be in a peak state. This means that you’re going to feel fully energized, focused, and confident. You’re going to feel like a fucking beast!
This is the perfect time to tackle your biggest or most challenging task for the day. Don’t waste time procrastinating, responding to email, or doing some other mindless bullshit. The quality and sheer quantity of work you’ll be able to accomplish will only decline as your day goes on, so take advantage of it.
The Core Habits
Below are two habits that I believe every man should incorporate into his morning routine. Their benefits cannot be ignored.
Since I’ve began to meditate every morning, I’ve drastically improved my ability to remain present and engaged in everything I do throughout the day. I have more fun, perform better, and worry less. Studies have also shown that meditation lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, enhances your immune system, and even transforms the grey matter in your brain to make you more compassionate and less stressed.
To get started I suggest downloading the Headspace app on your smartphone (also available for your computer) – it offers extremely quick and effective 10 minute guided meditations.
Reading is the gateway to unlimited learning, wisdom, motivation, and creativity. Almost every single successful person credits reading and as an irreplaceable part of their growth and development. I’ve learned about everything from weightlifting and dating to marketing and web design from reading books. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without them.
To get started, buy a book that offers a solution to an issue you’re currently facing or teaches a skill you need to take your life to the next level. I suggest buying Kindle books and reading them on an iPad or Kindle device. If you’re really struggling to find a book you like, check out my books 🙂
Other Recommended Habits
Below are some other habits that you should consider for your morning routine, they each offer some amazing benefits.
1. Cold Shower
I fucking love cold showers. If you’re unsure of which of these habits to pick for your third habit, I suggest this one. Cold showers will wake you up and fill you with energy and determination, not to mention they’ve been proven to release key hormones and neurotransmitters that fight depression and make you feel happy.
To get started, turn on the cold water in your shower and step inside. It will suck, but man up and step in. After a few short seconds it won’t so bad. Now stay in there for at least 1 full minute.
2. Journaling/Daily Review
There are many forms of journaling, but my preferred method is the daily review. In a nutshell, you should answer a few key questions. I recommend using the following 4: what did you do well yesterday? What would you do differently? What are you grateful for? What do you need to get done today?
List out 3-4 items for each question. I use the Grid Diary app to make this quick and painless.
When I say yoga, I just mean doing a handful of sun salutations, the basic sequence that most yoga practices utilize. The benefits of doing this are getting your body moving, your blood flowing, and your mind focused. It’s essentially a micro-dose of exercise to get your day going.
Affirmations are an old school self-help technique where you repeat a positive belief to yourself several times over in hopes of internalizing it. For example, “I love myself,” “I’m going to crush it today,” or something like that. They can make an noticeable impact on your immediate self-esteem and overall mood.
5. Power Posing
The last morning habit I want to cover is power posing. Power posing is when you hold an expansive posture for 60 seconds. For example, standing up with a wide stance and holding your hands overhead in a wide position, as if you just won a race. Power posing has been proven to increase testosterone, decrease cortisol, and make people report feeling immediately more confident and self-assured.
Some Closing Thoughts…
Start tomorrow morning! Make the commitment to yourself and see it through. Not only will it make you feel unstoppable on a daily basis, but it will also build long-term trust and confidence in yourself and your ability to make real changes in your life.
I suggest experimenting with your routine every few weeks. Switch out a habit if you’re not feeling the benefits. Add a fourth habit in if you’re ready for it. After a while you’ll have a stable morning routine that works great for YOU.
To see a quick video I made of a myself demonstrating a sample morning routine, click here.
Very good article. I will start to apply thoses sugestions by tomorrow.I miss your videos man.
Thanks Andre! I have a new video coming this week (and weekly after that).
Is this true that your number one success to stay on track is meditation? Please elaborate what type of meditation you do or even better advise?
Upon waking I remind myself that ‘He who wins the morning wins the day.’ Before leaving the bed I handwrite a list of things to do -as many as necessary- covering exercise, reading, chores, grocery lists, people to contact etc.
I then engage in the ‘Race to Lunch Time’ where I hammer out all of the tasks as quickly as possible without making mistakes or multitasking.
I can’t eat until the list is done. (So everyday I automatically keep to an IF window). This system works because it creates momentum and, as you say, consistency. Also it taps into the same ‘beat your personal best’ mindset that you have when working out. And if everything gets done by noon then I can happily nap and watch Fight Pass without feeling lazy.
Also Yoga’s great. Trying to do the eight-angle pose and firefly pose when you weigh 175lbs+ is a surprisingly good workout.
Hey Tom, I love that approach and the mindset behind it. If you can motivate yourself by making the first half of the day a “competition” I think that’s awesome. I follow a similar approach in terms of knocking out all of my tasks once I finish the morning routine itself.
Would you recommend I do these tasks/habits before or after eating breakfast?
Hey Julio, I recommend doing them before breakfast. For me, breakfast is the final part of my routine. I like feeling light while doing the routine, and many people advise against meditating on a full stomach.
My daily routine is i wake @ 4am and first thing i do is drink 1 glass water with lemon then 1 go for “human business” you know what i mean 😛 after that i wash my face, brush my teeths, my my hairs little wet then i meditate from 4:30 to 5 am after this i get ready to go for gym i spend 1&half hours at gym ( 5:30 to 7 ) from 7:30 to 8 i read 2 newspapers @8 i drink 1glass juice (different fruit every day) and start learning Spanish (i’m learning Spanish these days ) at 10 i make list of tasks to done and at last i go for breakfast @10:30 i eat fruits eggs corn food and 1glass of milk. Till 11 i start doing my work so my que is should i miss something or something to change in my morning routine pls answer
Props man! Looks like a solid routine. As long as it works for you, then there’s no need to change it unless you want to experiment with one of the habits from the article.
This is a fantastic post! I know for me when i get up at 6am the first i thing i do is to be grateful to be able to see another day as well as for having my loved ones with me! And yes i do drink my glass of water or shall i say take a few swigs from my water pitcher. It was hard at first but i was able to train myself to handle it!
Most of time I’m up even before the the clock goes off!
having a good morning routine is important as it sets the tone for the rest of the day!
Thanks Emmanuel – I couldn’t agree more my man!
Hello David, what are your views on working out in the morning?
If it’s convenient for you, then I think it’s a good idea. I personally like it, but my strength levels are definitely higher in the afternoon.
Hey David, thanks for sharing this info. Personally, I am very into morning rituals as well. I actually created a guided meditation as a morning ritual.
this will be my first time to have a morning routine, i will do it and want to experience what you have experienced, i will start with mediation, reading and affirmation thanks Man
How can I do meditation if I don’t think it’s worth my time? It seems counterintuitive since meditation is about mindfulness.
Every attempt I make to meditate just irriates me because it seems useless.