Your morning routine sets the tone for your whole day. In a commencement speech delivered by Admiral William H. McRaven at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. (Admiral McRaven was the commander of Seal Team Six when they took out Osama bin Laden in 2011). He said, “If you want to make a difference in the world, start by making your bed.” That quote highlights the importance of having a morning routine.
It appears that virtually every successful person has some kind of morning routine and that they stick to it religiously. Most have some form of meditation or mindfulness included but I believe there should be more to it. I’ll use my morning routine to explain the different parts of it and why I believe they are important.
Aaron Taylor, former NFL football player and recently College Football Hall of Fame inductee, was a guest instructor when I attended The Modern Elder Academy almost two years ago. He explained his morning routine succinctly as RPM: Rise, Pee, Meditate. That resonated with me and I incorporated it into my morning routine too.
So here’s my morning routine. I wake up at the same time every day at 6:45. I start by taking my dog for a quick walk in the backyard. Then comes my morning coffee and a five to ten-minute meditation. Next, I break out my journal and spend a few minutes writing down three things that I am grateful for that morning. I follow this with a walk with my wife and our two rescue dogs at the reservoir near our home. We walk about a mile every morning and it’s a great way to start the day. Fresh air and some time in nature help to set the mood and intention for the rest of the day. Then it’s back home for breakfast and the rest of my day. Oh, and of course, I make my bed.
Some thoughts on why each part of this morning routine is important. I’ve read countless articles about how important it is to get enough sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time is so beneficial to getting a good night’s sleep. Occasionally, if I know the weather will be bad and we won’t be able to get out for our walk, I’ll sleep in an extra hour, but that’s a rare exception.
Taking my dog out for her morning constitutional is pretty much a necessity to avoid an accident. The next few minutes are, I believe, the most important part of my morning routine. Meditating and my gratitude journal helps to put me in a positive frame of mind. Spending a few minutes being grateful and being thoughtful about it has multiple benefits. It improves physical and psychological health. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Just taking some time to realize the abundance in my life reminds me that I have everything I need and more.
Our morning walk gives my wife and I quiet time together with our two rescue dogs in nature and we walk almost every morning. Unless the weather is really bad we get our walk in. Not only does it provide time for us to connect first thing in the morning, but a dose of fresh air and exercise also sets the mood for the rest of the day.
As an entrepreneur, you can face lots of stress and challenges during your busy day. Starting with a walk in nature as part of your morning routine helps build resilience so you can manage stress and overcome your challenges. Maintaining your physical health is imperative if you want to be around to savor your success. So is a healthy diet, eating good, organic food can help boost your immune system to prevent you from getting sick. In this time of Covid, having a strong immune system is perhaps your best defense against the virus. I bolster my daily walks with yoga six days a week and strength training three times a week.
What all this has done for me is to get me into the best physical shape that I’ve been in my life. I have more stamina and a more positive outlook on life and, I’m happier and more content than I’ve ever been.
There are no perfect morning routines for everyone, but there is one that will be perfect for you. Take the time to experiment until you come up with one that resonates with you, then stick with it. It takes 30-days to establish a new habit. Once you’ve established this one you’ll feel better and be happier and more productive than ever. And don’t forget to make your bed.