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zen habits: Habit 4: My Morning Routine

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Habit 4: My Morning Routine

Today I start the fourth of my 12 Habits: my morning routine (to be honest, I started a couple days ago). All this month I will focus on making my morning routine a daily habit.

I've actually tried different versions of a morning routine in the past year, and have enjoyed them immensely. I just haven't stuck with one for a whole month or more, and that is the goal this month.

The reason I like having a morning routine is that not only does it instill a sense of purpose, peace and ritual to my day, but it ensures that I'm getting certain things done every morning ... namely, my goals. I'm setting aside morning time as a time of peace and quiet, and time to take small steps each day towards my goals.

Here's my morning routine, at the moment (subject to tweaking later):

Morning Routine

  1. Wake at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Drink water.
  3. Set 3 Most Important Things (MITs) for today.
  4. Fix lunches for kids and myself.
  5. Eat breakfast, read.
  6. Exercise (run, bike, swim, strength, or yardwork) or meditate.
  7. Shower.
  8. Wake wife & kids at 6:30 a.m.
A couple of explanations: The MITs that I set for the day concern at least one item towards one of my goals, and probably the 1-2 things I MUST complete at work. There will be more that I do during the day, but my focus will be to finish at least these three MITs.

As for the exercise and meditate item, I have a schedule where I do one exercise each morning (with the exception of Fridays, where I plan to meditate for at least 10-15 minutes). Actually, I also often exercise in the evenings too, so on some days I'll have two workouts - maybe a bike in the morning and swim in the evening, for example. My body is still getting used to this, so we'll see how it works out.

As for waking up at 4:30 a.m., I only started doing that within the last few months -- before that it was 5:00 or 5:30, and before last year I woke at 6:30, so I've really become an early riser just in the last year. I wrote more about that here.

Look for updates to my goal of sticking to my Morning Routine this month.

See also:


Anonymous said...

great stuff ... i've been looking to come up with something like this.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Leo ... you've been doing great with your goals. I'm sure this will be a success as well. I'll be checking back to see your progress.

Leo said...

Thanks guys ... I'll try to report my progress on this goal at least once a week.

Days of our slacking! said...

What time do you go to sleep to get up so early?

Leo said...

Hi Slacking ... I usually go to sleep sometime between 9:30 and 11 p.m. If I go to sleep at 11 p.m. or later, I'm usually pretty tired in the morning, so sometimes I'll sleep until 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., but I usually try to be in bed by 10:00 or 10:30. I've found that if I go to bed by 9:00 or 9:30, that's ideal for me, but sometimes I work on this blog late (or read other blogs) and end up staying up too late. The key for me is to allow myself to go to bed earlier if possible, even if I don't think I'll sleep, and just read myself to sleep. If I'm tired I'll usually fall asleep in a few minutes.

Anonymous said...

Nice page. Worth visiting often!
Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Quick question -- given you get up at 4:30 a.m., what time do you go to sleep? I've sometimes gone for getting up early -- going to sleep at the same time as my boy (8 p.m.) and then waking up at 4 a.m., but not with any mighty consistency.

Leo said...

Hi Anthony ... I usually go to bed between 9:30 and 10:30, as I don't usually need more than 6-7 hours sleep. If I go to bed after 10:30, it'll usually be too late for me, and I might not get up until 5:00 or 5:30.

As for being consistent about waking early, it's just a matter of trying to do it every day for a little while to make it a habit. Have a good reason to get up early (work on your goals!) and that'll make it easier. It's worth a try!