Morning Routines: Day 4 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH

From Friday 19th January, everyday for 40 days, I will be sharing something each day that has either (1) changed my way of thinking or perspective, (2) helped me get through a challenging period of transition, change or growth, or (3) changed my life for the better. I've called it '40 Days of Growth'. I'd love it if you followed along with me on this journey - contributing what has also helped you to learn, grow and change. And, if I can support you on your own learning journey, please do let me know :)

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Day 4 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH

Morning routines

Over the past few years of reading about leaders through autobiographies and blogs, learning about the consistent habits of successful people and learning from senior leaders and mentors there have been only a few of them who do not prioritise their self-care by having some form of a morning routine (click the link for a good science-backed article). They know that to lead others they need to 'lead themselves first' and 'walk the talk'. They balance their intensive professional lives by ensuring their personal and self-care time is most conducive to them.


What is a morning routine?

Some call it self-care, others call it morning routines, others still call it Non-Negotiable Time (like the inspirational online business woman Marie Forleo). I like to think of it as 'healthy selfishness' or 'putting on my life jacket first'. For many, including myself, it involves carving out a certain amount of time during the morning on a regular basis to warm-up for the day and get into a good mindset. For me, my morning routine involves me getting up an hour and a half before I need to leave the house so I have time to meditate, do a little journalling ('morning pages'), exercise, stretch, shower (I'm no stinky cat!) and eat breakfast.


Examples of morning routines

Numerous routines that I've learned about and tried involve:

  • some form of 'innercise'/mind workout - this could be in the form of meditation, a mindfulness practice such as yoga, or morning pages (writing in a journal for 3 pages about whatever is going on in the mind - this helps to cut through some of the fogginess that is often present first thing in the morning)
  • moving the body (some use this as an opportunity to catch up with friends or colleagues before the day begins, e.g. one of my senior managers last year would go and do a boxing workout with a friend of his three times a week before work with a friend)
  • eating breakfast (shock, I know!)

If you're interested in learning more about morning routines I recommend checking out Hal Elrod's 'The Miracle Morning' (even if it's just  video or book summary of it - it's worthwhile learning about the concept). A funny blog post about a blogger trying 5 successful people's morning routines, including Oprah Winfrey and Obama's routines is here.

A benefit of waking up early and exercising? Watching the sunrise, catching up with a friend for a walk and having cuddles with dogs! So, so much goodness in the one morning :)

A benefit of waking up early and exercising? Watching the sunrise, catching up with a friend for a walk and having cuddles with dogs! So, so much goodness in the one morning :)


The value of being proactive and creative in the morning

Another thing to note is that numerous thought leaders talk about the value of not checking the phone, social media or emails within the first hour of the day. Why is this? Because doing this first thing in the morning means that we're being REACTIVE first thing in the morning rather than being proactive or creative. We're also starting off the day being distracted, which can influence the rest of the day.

An experiment to try:

Unless it's an emergency: put your phone on silent or turn it off an hour before you need to sleep, use something else instead of your phone as an alarm clock and try not checking your phone for the first hour of each day for a week and note down what you notice.


If you'd like to know more about morning routines or would like suggestions about how to start one up I'm always happy to help :)

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Jen Y