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How a Daily Morning Routine Energizes and Enhances Your Day [30DHC]

A daily morning routine can have a huge impact on your ability to get things done.

Do you feel groggy in the morning and slowly build momentum?  Or do you hop out of bed, ready to attack the world? 

To be honest, many people aren’t morning people. We’ll often get out of bed, eat food, watch television, take care of the kids and commute to work.  This slow-moving routine can sabotage the rest of the day because you’ve wasted the first few hours.

During my study of successful entrepreneurs, I’ve learned most follow a specific routine in the morning.  Instead of “puttering around” for the first hour, they complete a set list of actions that energizes and enhances the rest of their day.

For the first post of my 30 Day Habit Challenge (30DHC), I decided to add a morning ritual into my life.

Here’s what happened…

30DHC for January 2013 – Follow a Morning Ritual

As I mentioned in the 30 Day Habit Challenge overview, it’s important to keep a journal for developing a new habit (Here’s one I recommend.)  In this journal, you’ll track a new ritual in five sections.

Here is what I entered for this habit change:

#1 – Reason Why

Mornings suck.  I wake up cranky, tired and not willing to work.  Usually it takes over an hour to get going with my day.  Most of this time is spent on wasteful activities like: checking stats, reading (but not answering) emails and scanning news headlines.  These activities add zero value to my day.

My goal was to develop a morning ritual that builds positive momentum for the rest of the day.  In theory, I’d begin the morning with a series of small wins, which would create an energized state.

#2 – Description

I wanted to start my first 30DHC with a keystone habit.  Instead of addressing one area, I hoped to do something that would improve my productivity, relationship, health and business.

So I came up with this step-by-step daily checklist:

I. Get out of bed and make it.

II. Walk into my bathroom and weigh myself.

III. Wash my face with hot water and a facial cleanser.

IV. Walk into the kitchen – pour a 16 ounce glass of ice cold water with lemon.

V. Lightly stretch my four major leg muscles for 10 minutes.

VI. Take my daily vitamins.

VII. Eat a small breakfast (fruit, cereal, granola bar or a salad).

VIII. Write in a food journal and track my food intake from the day before.

IX. Review my three month (ie: quarterly) goals.

X. Text my girlfriend with a loving message.

XI. Update the Habits Pro app with the results of each 30DHC

XII. Look at the “top 100 free” list in the Children’s eBook and Business & Investing on Amazon.com to generate book ideas and monitor my competition.

XIII. Start my working day with a solid hour of writing.

This keystone habit takes 30 minutes to complete.  Follow it correctly and you’ll do many things that can improve your life.  At the end, you should feel ready to attack the world!

#3 – Obstacles

It was actually pretty easy to follow this daily ritual.

The biggest obstacle happened during an Internet business conference.  I found it was hard to adhere to this habit while staying in an unfamiliar hotel.  I had to find time to squeeze in my daily run and still be ready to go at 8:00 am.  So I had to skip one day.

The good news is this obstacle helped me create a “travel version” of my morning ritual. So now I’ll follow a new routine when I’m on the road and need to rush out the door.

#4 – Results

30 days out of 31.

Not bad at all.

True, I missed one day.  But this lapse helped me rethink what to do when I have to squeeze in a morning run.

The daily morning routine challenge taught me a few important lessons:

Lesson 1: It saves time.  I didn’t lose 30 minutes each day.  Instead I eliminated wasteful activities and completed a dozen positive actions.  This increases the time that I can spend on my business.

Lesson 2: It increases energy. Your mood can have a huge impact on your productivity.  Feeling good helps you think clearer and able to do more things in a day.

For many years, I struggled with the first hour of writing.  Now I can produce more words per hour and I can think clearer.  Both benefits can be attributed to following a morning ritual.

Lesson 3: It creates a habit framework.  Most people don’t realize this important truth:

An important part of habit development is to have a framework for completing these daily routines.  Most people fail because they don’t bother to track new rituals on a daily basis.

The daily routine creates a framework that helps with the development of future habits.  All you have to do is add some form of accountability.  Then you can track your success every single morning.

#5 – Verdict

Keep it!

What I do during the morning routine might change moving forward.  But I think this half-hour of activity helps me in a variety of ways.  Now I start every day feeling healthier, productive and more energized.

The Five-Step Plan for Creating a Daily Morning Routine

Now it’s time to begin your morning ritual.

You can do it in five easy steps:

1. Figure out what areas need improving (ie: Health, relationship, spirituality, work).

2. Identify small tasks that take less than five minutes to complete.  (Check out this list of 203 habits to get a few ideas, or this list of 22 morning habits tailored JUST for your morning routines)

3. Create a logical order that matches where you go and what you do in the morning.

4. Write a step-by-step list that matches this order and refer to it every day.

5. Tweak this list as you learn what works and doesn’t work with your morning routine.

One of my favorite quotes is:

None of your actions have to be monumental.  But combine them together and you’ll have a 30 minute ritual that can bring many positive things into your life.

EDIT [2014-15]: This daily morning routine habit has such a positive impact on my life that I not only kept it up, but I wrote a book about it including all of the information I learned about daily morning routines and how they can help build a successful lifestyle.

This book is called Wake Up Successful. If you are interesting in making your own daily morning routine, why not give it a look.

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