Last December I went to a Generative Knowledge workshop in Michigan to help to get to know myself better and one of the things I learned was that I CRAVE parameters. Like seriously crave them, BUT I also have to buy into them in order to actually do them. And that, my dears, is the hard part for me.
I'm a “why” person. I can do anything consistently if I'm given a reason. 🙂 I've always been a bit stubborn like that. #superstubborn
For instance, I knew for years that because I have Hashimotos, that gluten wasn't helping my body. But it wasn't until I talked with my functional doctor about 5 years ago, and he gave me the reasons and how gluten was actually affecting my thyroid, that I was like “ok. I get it.” And I haven't intentionally had it since.
For years, I've been wanting to establish a solid morning routine to start my day. I figure, if we live to be 70 years old, that's only about 25,000 mornings.
And I strongly believe in Robin Sharma's quote (those that know me have heard this concept a million times) –
Your days are your life in miniature. As you live your days, so you craft your life. What you do today is actually creating your future. The words you speak, the thoughts you think, the food you eat and the actions you take are defining your destiny – shaping who you are becoming and what your life will stand for. There’s no such thing as an unimportant day. Robin Sharma
With the assumption that that's true, then the best thing we could do is to start our days intentionally, right?
So, back to that morning routine. I've read The Morning Miracle, My Morning Routine and Tools of Titans for inspiration. While I did get ideas and inspiration from each one, nothing seemed to stick for me. They are great books, but they were overwhelming.
I'm not getting up at 5 am for a run. Like ever. EVER.
I will share my morning routine in a bit, but I also want to share enough other options that my friends are doing so that you could figure out what YOUR perfect morning routine would look like. Just like I did.
So for you, I asked my smart friends…
Do you have a morning routine that you follow each day before you start your work?
If so, what does it look like?
Why do you do it this way?
For full transparency: This post is a compilation of responses from my friends as well as some fun stuff I researched and curated from people who I look up to who are not my friends – yet. Give me time. 🙂
I hope you enjoy this post. If so, please share!
“The Godfather of Video”
My Morning Routine, aka Punching and Kicking Stuff – Lou Bortone
The only “non-negotiable” in my morning ritual is my daily trip to “9 Round Kickboxing,”where I get to start my day by kicking and punching things. (Because randomly punching and kicking humans is frowned upon!) 😉
My first-thing-in-the-morning kickboxing workout gets me going and fires up those endorphins so I can hit the ground running (or kicking!)
As soon as I get up, I mix my pre-workout drink (my version of coffee) and a do a quick check of emails before I leave for the gym.
I know, I know. Everyone says NOT to check your emails or socials first thing in the morning but, being in a client-centric business, I disagree with the conventional wisdom.
I check my emails because, if a client needs something or one of my students is in a
pinch, I want to know about it ASAP so I can jump on it. It’s usually a quick fix and
doesn’t throw off my routine.
Once I’ve done the email check and downed my workout drink, it’s off to 9 Round for 30
minutes of kicking butt. The day has officially begun!
Candice Davis, Author Coach
My morning routine changes with the seasons, but I’m always happier and more productive when I have one. Right now, I greet each day with a prayer of thanks before my feet hit the floor around 5:00 in the morning. After a glass of water with lemon and MSM, I sit in my favorite chair and crack open my journal to do a bit of self-coaching on the page. Self-coaching allows me to set the tone for the day and decide in advance what results I want to create and what action I need to take to get those results.
(I asked Candice what ‘self coaching' meant to her and this was her reply.)
I often use a practice called “the model,” which I learned first from Brooke Castillo, of the Life Coach School, and then from my life coach, Jody Moore. It’s based on cognitive behavioral therapy and allows you to examine and change the thoughts that are creating your results, thus changing your results.
This year, I’ve added a new routine of writing my primary goal. My goal is to create and deliver $500,000 in value. I write that goal in my journal 15 times as an affirmative statement: “I am creating and delivering $500,000 in value in 2020.” It reinforces my belief in this possibility, and has helped me to stay consistent in taking action in that direction.
When I feel awake enough, I dive into some writing or review my clients’ writing work, and by 7:00, I’m off for an hour-long walk with my husband. On our best days, we also do ten to twenty minutes of pre-breakfast meditation, but that doesn’t happen every day. I’m never rigid about any of this. I have to enjoy it all, or as I learned the hard way when I tried to follow someone else’s morning routine, it creates more stress than it alleviates.
Angela Wills, Digital Business Coach
I've been working on this and playing with it so, yes, I do have a morning routine! Here's what mine looks like:
Wake at 7am and grab my water and coffee. Spend 1 minute meditating. Nicole as you know you got me into meditation by recommending it to me as my coach and I have yet to get beyond one minute but I do really value that one minute of meditation! I use the Insight Timer app. What's fun about the app is it also has some meditations for kids that I use for my daughter at night to get her to ease into her bedtime more easily.
After I meditation I write in my journal three things: Gratitude, What I want my day to look like, and as many affirmations as I can think of and that I feel will serve me that day (I am strong, I am happy, I am helpful, etc). I drink my coffee, which is a cold brew coffee with almond milk, while I journal.
Then I check my calendars – I have a physical planner and I also use Google Calendar so I check them both for the day and the week. This helps me foresee what's coming up. I know this sounds really BASIC but I can't believe how many years I got by not doing this. Of course I would forget things, miss them or just not do stuff that would have helped my business when I didn't make it a daily habit to check my calendar and a nightly routine to plan my days.
Next I get dressed and ready. My clothes are laid out from the night before and I have a skincare and makeup routine I can do in about 10 mins. I grab a smoothie and then go wake up Ella by 8am (or sooner if possible) and then start on her routine (she's got hers we created together). My son wakes himself and gets ready himself, he's 17 and Ella is 5.
Then, I get into a BIT of a work routine. Check my emails, look at my to-do list, brainstorm if I'm feeling overwhelmed and just work through the top priorities for my business that day.
This is an IDEAL day I'm describing. Every day is NOT ideal but I do try to keep to this routine and get my day started off right. I used to wake up, get coffee and look at my phone until time flew by and it was time to wake Ella. I like my organized routine much better!
I found that Natalie Sisson has a really solid morning routine. She talks about it in her podcast and you can learn more about it at the link below. 🙂
The summary if you're short on time is this:
#1. Wake up early
#2. Drink Water
#3. Move my body with Yoga
#4. Essential Oils
#6. Hot and Cold Shower
#7. Get Dressed
#8. Hot Water and Lemon
#9. Daily Greens
I also looked up to see if Vishen Lakhiani had a morning routine (as I greatly admire him). Of course he does. 🙂
Again, here's the overview if you're short on time.
1. A 6 phase meditation that he's invented.
2. Minimum effective dose workout (Tabata)
3. A killer workout playlist
4. Breakfast for fuel (green smoothie)
5. A bulletproof boost for his brain
Free Training from Vishen
Another person I admire for this productivity is Jim Kwik. I was able to see him speak in San Diego and purchased some of his training. I think you'll enjoy what he has to say.
Here's his list:
- RECALL MY DREAMS.
- I MAKE THE BED.
- I DRINK WATER AND TAKE SUPPLEMENTS.
- I FOCUS ON BREATHING.
- I MEDITATE.
- I MOVE.
- I TAKE A COLD SHOWER.
- I MAKE A TEA.
- I JOURNAL.
- I CREATE A TO-DO LIST, A TO-BE LIST, AND A TO-FEEL LIST.
- I READ.
- I MAKE MY BRAIN SMOOTHIE.
- I GO THROUGH MY BRAIN TRAINING.
- I START MY DAY WITH MY MOST DIFFICULT, IMPORTANT TASK.
Free Training from Jim Kwik:
If you've been following me more than a hot sec, you know I just really admire and enjoy Tim Ferriss so much. Here's his routine. I'm sure it changes constantly, knowing how he optimizes, but this was a video he recorded showing his routine at this time.
Tim's tips are:
- Sleep with your phone on airplane mode.
(Note From Nik: A lot of us have kids or family members who might need us so we can't do that, but we can turn off text notifications. I also have an override set up so that if either of my kids calls, my phone will ring, even if it's on Do Not Disturb.)
- Make Your Bed.
10-20 minutes of meditation (choose whatever you like best)
Amy Harrop, Content Savvy Expertise
I enjoy mornings. I'm a morning person, and I get up around 5 a.m. usually. Of course, it helps that I have two cats who act as alarm clocks. 🙂 In my household, I am the first person up, and have the house to myself for the next 3 hours or so.
I am a morning coffee drinker, and when I get up in the morning I have my cup of coffee and spend some time playing with the cats. I finish my cup of coffee and review my tasks and communications for the day as I wake up. I find for me, I like to have my coffee before I jump into anything, and reviewing content and information is a good way to ease into the day.
After that, I start my power hour as I like to call it. I spend about 15 minutes doing stretching and some yoga poses. Then, I meditate, and do meditative writing and journaling. I like to finish this up with some spiritual reading and contemplation.
After that, I'm ready to take on my important tasks of the day. I'm a big fan of Michael Hyatt’s ‘Free to Focus’ system, and I have three larger projects I focus on each week. I tackle one of those usually every morning and then when I'm finished, I will work on some smaller tasks. For the most part, I try to wrap up everything around lunch time.
I like my morning rituals, and I do think having a power hour every morning helps keep me focused and productive.
Here's an excerpt from the video:
Really Productive People (RPPs) make their morning routine non-negotiable.
“First of all, I think everybody should have a morning routine, a little collection of things that you do for yourself before you start interacting with the rest of the world.
For example, my morning routine involves meditation, time with Josh and Kuma, green juice and some exercise.
All these things I do set me up for success emotionally, spiritually and physically. I’m not perfect at this so, for example, if I have to catch a 5 am flight, my butt is not getting up at 2 am to do all those things. I’ll do whatever I can fit in and finish the rest of my little routine later in the day.”
Oprah (the Oprah)
In this interview she says:
“Usually before the sun comes up, I offer myself to something greater than myself. If it’s for one minute, 20 seconds or 10 minutes, I at least stop in that space in my house every morning. I have a little meditation space where I just go. I have beautiful spiritual readings there. I light my three candles there, daily word or something and I express to this greater energy field than I, that I don’t want to be alone as I move out into the world.”
5:00am | Wake Up
5:10am | Coffee, read a non-fiction book + Start Today Journal
5:40am | Spanish
5:55am | Motivational videos
6:05am | Write motivational posts
After that it's first mealtime (almond butter and jam…yummmm) followed by the gym in my skull cap and then it's time to wake up the kids and get out into the world!
Sarah Santacroce, LinkedIn Consultant & Strategist
I have been meditating most days of the week for about 4 years now. It really is a practice, as they say. Meaning that some days are better than others 🙂 I use the Insight Timer app for my guided meditations.
After I send the kids off to school I make myself a coffee (black, since I'm fasting until late morning) and go down to my office, take out my yoga mat and tune into the session of the day. I've recently discovered YogawithAdriene.com and love her! She has a monthly calendar with a free yoga video for every day of the month. Check it out!
Ben Greenfield of BenGreenfieldFitness.com
Posted on Instagram
My Morning Routine, Simplified.
Someone recently asked me for my morning routine. Here is it, in a very basic but quick nutshell. I hope you find it helpful, and feel free to leave your questions or your own morning routine in comments!
1. Wake and complete gratitude journal while laying in bed. Do not take phone out of airplane mode.
2. After journaling, go to kitchen and drink 30 ounces of water from a glass mason jar. Into water, place two packets or vials of Quinton hypertonic minerals OR a teaspoon of good salt, along with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 hydrogen tablets.
3. Drink, then proceed outdoors into sunshine in bare feet wearing as little as possible. Complete 10-15 minutes of stretching (I linked to my routine at in my bio and at bengreenfieldfitness.com/morningworkout), foam rolling and deep tissue work, specifically focusing on anything that feels tight or painful. During this time, feel free to listen to encouraging, spiritually enhancing music, or an audiobook or podcast, but continue to keep phone in airplane mode.
4. Upon finishing stretching and breathwork, use restroom, then, if time permits, proceed to 20-30 minute sunshine walk or sauna (hot) and ice (cold) therapy (otherwise can save hot and cold for later in day). There it is! Simple, but effective.
Nicole Dean, Awesome Human, Author, Business Consultant, etc.
First of all, let me give kudos to my buds.
You’re all awesome!
ok. So, me?
Here's the deal. If you're on my lists you know that I sunk pretty bad this year. I fell into despair pretty deeply between my son going into the Navy, my daughter graduating this year, and facing the empty nest. So, I had planned a whole bunch of travel to look forward to. And then I had a family tragedy (a suicide). And then the “you know what / aka C word” hit and all my travel was cancelled. Add a few other things on top of that that I don't need to talk about here and yeah…
I crashed and hit a pretty low point.
And, I stayed in it.
And, I stayed in it some more.
And, by “it”, I mean my bed.
It's a funny thing with me. I tend to decide when enough it enough and I snap myself out of crap when I decide that I'm done with it.
I make the decision “No. I'm not willing to stay here anymore” and then I go find people who have the answers and I create a structure to help myself.
It started with a cup of hot lemon water.
Why? I had been reading that starting your day with a cup of hot lemon water does a few things. It hydrates you, is good for cleaning things out, and is just a nice ritual.
I decided I would do it for 30 days and see how I felt.
The odd part was that it really did flip a switch for me in a lot of ways. I was putting something loving into my body first thing, and not just dousing myself with caffeine. There's nothing wrong with coffee if it works for you, but as someone who has years of anxiety under my belt, I feel like starting my day with a little bit of self-love is a good thing. Plus, if I don't start with a cup of coffee, then I usually only have one small cup a day. (Black because of intermittent fasting. The small amount of lemon water does not kick me out. I eat something between noon and 3 as my first food of the day.)
The only warning with the lemon water is to have some actual water afterwards (switch it around) and don't brush your teeth right away as the lemon needs to work its way off your teeth first.
So, by telling myself with my first action of the day “you are worthy and you are loved” – for me, it sets the tone for how I want the rest of my day to go.
ok ok. ok. I have to back up a titch.
I'm going to give you my FULL morning routine which is currently a LOT. It's a lot right now, because 1. I need a huge influx of self care. 2. I have the luxury of being able to usually do it as I don't have little kids and I work from home. (Yes, I get up earlier than usual to fit it all in.)
Now, this is my typical morning routine, but I also have a shortened one if this one makes your head spin. 🙂
My actual morning routine:
1. I get up and pee. #facts
Why? Because. Biology, silly.
2. Then, after I wash my hands, I scrape my tongue.
Seriously, if you don't know about this, you need to do it. #sogross Here's the deal. Your body spends all night getting the gross stuff out of your body through your tongue. That's why in the morning you have a layer of what's called “Ama” on it. Ama is basically the yucky stuff that's built up in your body and your tongue is trying to help you to get it out. So… if you don't scrape it off your tongue and instead just drink coffee, you're re-ingesting that crud. HELL no. So, I quick do 5 passes on my tongue with the tongue scraper and rinse it off.
3. Brush my teeth.
Why not? I mean, did you just read about the Ama?! It takes a few minutes and I can do it again later. But it's done. Plus, you don't want to brush your teeth right after you drink the hot lemon water because it's not great for enamel so I do it prior to that.
4. Hot Lemon Water.
Then, I head to the kitchen. I have a sweet little electric kettle that I fill up with water and press the button to get it boiling. I like the ritual of that, as opposed to using the microwave. Plus it's quiet and doesn't wake up everyone.
5. Quick Tech Check In.
Once I have my lemon water, I take a quick tech break.
Then, I grab my lemon water and take it to the bedroom where I sip it and play a game of Blockduko and check on the “safe” things to check on that I won't be able to relax until I've check them. You know the things – which might be totally different for you.
YOU might choose to skip this step if it derails you. I have parameters… of course. lol.
What I don't check:
Email, news sites, or social media.
What I do check:
My calendar. I check it the day before, but I also recheck it when I wake up to make sure nothing slipped my mind.
Texts and Facebook messenger. Knowing me and how I protect my time, saying that the first thing I do is to check FB messenger probably sounds odd, but I check it for two reasons.
- My daughter in Latvia doesn't have the ability to text me from her phone. We communicate mostly through Facebook messenger. I check in there to make sure nothing is up or to see if she sent me any fun pictures!
- On the business standpoint, I also need to see if I have any CoachGlue.com or ContentDrafts.com affiliates who want to promote something of mine who are waiting on me (perhaps they need a simple clarification). Because not doing that could cost me thousands of dollars for that day. And, it's an easy thing to fix without getting sucked into a million distractions. (As opposed to checking email which could derail my entire morning.)
I also do those two things because once they are done, I'm able to focus on my next morning steps without wondering if everything is ok.
So, I pop into Facebook messenger. If I see a message “Hey Nik, I wanted to promote this offer today but I had a question or I can't find my link or do you have a sexy angle that I can use to my specific audience” — I get them set up and then I go back to my morning routine. Easy peasy.
That step usually lasts 5-10 minutes tops – then I'm ready for…
6. Light Fasted Exercise.
I do approximately 15-35 minutes of some form of gentle exercise. (Again, much less if I'm not able to. My “minimum” to achieve this step and keep my commitment to myself is 5 minutes of exercise or one sun salutation.
I do that exercise before eating anything or drinking anything with calories that would take me out of my fast. So, lemon water or plain water, then gentle exercise. Lately that has been swimming in my pool, but I also do yoga, pilates, walking, or bicycling. Something low impact and gentle to my body that also kicks things into gear and starts fat burning mode and tells my brain to wake up… ideally while also giving me a bit of fresh air first thing in the day.
This was a lesson that I learned while taking Ben Greenfield's Longevity Blueprint course and it's been really good for me. I am definitely clearer in my head and I'm getting a ton more done. It's awesome. Sometimes it's hard to talk myself into getting out of bed and into the pool, but it's definitely worth it afterwards.
7. Reflection/ Meditation.
After my exercise, I grab my coffee or green tea and go back outside for my sitting/ reflection time.
I personally do a four part meditation and it's a bit long on days when I do the whole thing how I like to do it. I do a shorter version when I have to version but this is my preferred one. (Again, to keep my commitment to myself, I have to do a one-minute meditation. However, my full one is about 25 minutes total.)
I start by sitting and doing some breathing. Did you know that breathing is one of the only body actions that you do both automatically (without thinking) and also by choice? It also can calm you down within a minute. It's pretty amazing. If you have anxiety, I highly suggest scheduling in breathing breaks. Here's what to do:
- Take a quick physical assessment/ scan. How do I feel right now? Scan from your head down. My head? My throat? My chest? My stomach? My arms? My legs? Where am I holding tension? On a scale of 1 to 10 where I am?
- Take 5-10 long deep breaths. There are tons of different breathing exercises (and if you have panic attacks, I highly suggest learning some) – but a simple counting in, holding your breath for 2 counts, and exhale counting out works. I like to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, but you do what works for your body.
- Take another quick check. How do you feel?
The scans are important to me because they are a reminder when I am panicked to breathe because I have evidence that it works. 🙂
ok. Back to my routine. I like to do at least 10 breaths, but I prefer 4 minutes. I do all kinds of different breathing exercises. From “breathe in for 5 through your nose, hold for 5, and breathe out through your mouth for 5” to some pretty freaky/funky breathing that I've learned through yoga. It's ALL good. Intentional deep breathing helps your cortisol reset and helps you tell your body it's safe. It's just a good thing to do during the day a few times. It's got to be good for your lungs, too, right?
Then, I do a quick mindfulness exercise, going through my senses. Sounds, check. Sights, check. Smells, check. Tastes, check. Touch, check.
Then I slip into the mediation. I am a person who gets bored super easily so I sometimes switch this up and listen to a guided meditation, but I usually do a silent one.
- If you're interested in meditation (this is a post about entrepreneurs who meditate).
- My favorites resources for busy people who want to meditate.
- And this is the class I would recommend if you're ready to learn more about meditation. I adore Emily and her voice is very soothing.
Here's my deal with meditation. Everyone asks which one to do. Do the one you'll do.
After the 20 minutes of that, I do about one minute of gratitude. This is not just thinking “I'm grateful for my daughter” but actually feeling how much I love her. Grabbing a moment from inside my head and bringing it back to life. Letting that love envelope me and fill me.
Then, after all of that, I do a minute of manifesting. Dreaming. What do I actually want? Sometimes things come up where I go “REALLY?! HOLY CRAP!” It's good stuff.
8. Put my Day in Writing.
During all of this time, you can imagine that I've had a lot of time to think. So I get out my iPad and do my daily “what do I want my day to look like today” list. Of course, I already have a basic idea since I know which projects I'm working on, but it's always helpful to put it into writing and have something to refer to throughout the day. I include things like “get some fresh air” or “take the dogs on a walk” – because it's what I want my full day to look like. Plus, I love crossing items off as I complete them. #oldschool
ok. ok. ok. So that's a lot right?
The “this is what I am committed to” short version.
In all things in life, I think we need to make promises to ourselves and keep them. It builds great habits plus self-esteem and confidence as we are able to be someone who does things. Right?
So, I have a quick and dirty habit stack that I am committed to do – if I have a day where I just can't, or I have other commitments. If my mental health is not great, then I know I can at least do the following and keep my commitment.
- Tongue scrape. (I mean really it takes 2 seconds and I've got to brush my teeth anyway, right?)
- Hot lemon water.
- One sun salutation (yoga) or 5 minutes of exercise (fasted before I have anything other than lemon water) or anything intentional like stretching for a few minutes.
- One minute of Meditation and breathing. Yes, it sounds silly but I am keeping my commitment and it's amazing how much you can chill in one minute.
- Check on today's goals. Is it still what I want to work on?
- Check FB messenger for emergencies. (I do this last if I'm doing the short version as I don't need as much patience to get through everything.)
Now what will your morning routine look like?
I suggest you choose from the areas that are most important to you right now. Don't try to do all of the things. Just do the ones that will have the biggest impact on your day.
For me, that is cleansing and hydrating (the hot water), exercise, and mindfulness with breathing to center myself for my day.
I've done other things like reading a bit or writing out my thoughts (both in journaling and in typing out everything in my head) and I really enjoyed that but in this season of my life, I am very happy with this routine that I've set. I may add that later, if I find a way to habit stack it in. (If you don't know about habit stacking, I suggest you read Atomic Habits.)
So let's picture three areas to tackle.
You'll notice that some things like yoga or green drinks are in more than one area. So if you are looking for a quick, efficient morning routine, you can do those.
Body – Getting Healthier
- Hot water
- Green drink of some sort
Brain – Getting Smarter, More Well-Rounded, More Productive
- Reading 10 pages of something awesome
- Listening to podcasts on a walk
- Green drink with added Brain Boosts
- Exercise (it makes you more focused)
Mindfulness – Staying Calm, Being Peaceful and Non-Reactive, Keeping out of Fight or Flight, Lowering Cortisol, Being Clear in What You Want
- Silent Meditation
- Guided Meditation
- Hypnosis (I really enjoy this.) I do the hypnosis audios from this training.
- Breathing (long slow deep breaths)
- Quiet walking / swimming (instead of listening to something)
- Reading something calming or inspiring (Bible, Affirmations, etc.)
My friend, Rayven, has this cool Morning Routines coloring pages package available if you want to dig deeper.
PS. I love reading this when I feel like I just can't do something or I feel intimidated or overwhelmed.
“No more excuses! Do it or don’t do it but don’t make excuses. Stop using your incredible brain to think up elaborate rationalizations and justifications for not taking action.
Do something. Do anything. Get on with it! Repeat to yourself:
‘If it’s to be, it’s up to me!’
Losers make excuses; winners make progress.
Now, how can you tell if your favorite excuse is valid or not? It’s simple. Look around and ask, ‘Is there anyone else who has my same excuse who is successful anyway?’ When you ask this question, if you are honest, you will have to admit that there are thousands and even millions of people who have had it far worse than you have who have gone on to do wonderful things with their lives. And what thousands and millions of others have done, you can do as well—if you try.”
~ Brian Tracy from No Excuses!