My morning routine has changed a lot over the years. For most of my life, I did not have one at all. At least, nothing conscious or intentional beyond showering, getting dressed, and having breakfast before school. Even the shower and breakfast parts became optional in college, especially before the days when I had an early morning statistics class.
Things changed when I started working full-time in San Francisco during the summer of 2017. I became more conscious and intentional about my morning routine. I have still had many months since then without any morning routine, and I typically do not practice the same routine on weekends, but for the majority of the time over the last two and a half years, I have had at least one morning practice beyond general human hygiene that in my book qualifies as a morning routine. Below is the morning routine that I am beginning with in 2020:
1. Wake up, get out of bed, turn off phone alarm across the room
2. Breathing exercise (4/7/8 second inhale/hold/exhale x 10 reps)
3. Chug a large bottle of water
4. Shower and brush teeth
5. Back stretches (5 minutes)
6. Journal (1 page or 2-3 minutes, be overly positive and grateful)
7. Vitamin Drink
9. Breakfast (Green Smoothie)
This whole routine (excluding the blog) should not take any longer than about 30 minutes without distraction. The blog can take longer than everything else combined depending on the post and so for that reason some days I will skip it to write later in the day. Everything else is relatively quick and easy and I believe each item adds to the sum of a great way to start the day.
This is the most extensive morning routine I have tried in terms of the number of items, and it includes most of the individual morning practices that I have tried to date. Others that I have tried include cold showers in the summer, meditation, working out / running, and walking (usually to work as the last step of the routine). The 2 or 3 minute positivity / gratitude journal has been the stickiest practice for me and while I have taken multi-month breaks I have probably journaled on about 75% of weekdays over the last two and half years. In future posts, I will likely explain my rationale for the inclusion of some of these practices above, and describe them in greater detail to the extent that may be helpful as well. I have found that a key to maintaining the routine is to not beat myself up when I miss days, and to give myself periods of time without any routine at all. I encourage you to follow the simple mantra I got from a venture capitalist named Brad Feld who I was fortunate to connect with several months ago through one of my cold emails. When you miss a day or lose the habit of your routine, “Simply begin again.”