I admit I’ve never been much of a morning person. Looking back on my K-12 years, I have no idea how my mom managed to get me out of bed every day.
When I made it to college, my true self began to flourish. Take a look for yourself:
Since every other post on the internet (much like this one) lauds morning routines as a critical factor in predicting the rest of your day, I decided that was going to be my 80/20 focus. Rather than try to completely overhaul my habit of sleeping in, I embraced it and chose to tweak what I did within the hour after waking up.
Crafting my routine
First, I looked at what was most important to me. My guiding values in life lead off with health, playfulness, and growth. These I had defined a few years back while going through some medical issues, realizing my sarcasm and will to mess with people was never going to go away, and the depression I sank into if I wasn’t making progress in life. Ergo: health, playfulness, and growth.
With my values understood, onto crafting a routine that supported them. It was a strategic effort, to say the least, to incorporate specific habits that aligned with those guiding values. I didn’t come up with a masterpiece all at once – not by any means. I focused on adding one habit at a time. Tried some things here and there, experimented, found what worked for me, and then shifted my energy on fitting the next habit in.
As a result, I now have a core morning routine that I go through every day. I still sleep in on most days, but after waking up I get right to it. The routine was beautifully crafted so that regardless of my waking time, it still sets me up for a day focused on health, playfulness, and growth.
Now as with most things in life, I don’t have the time or willpower to do a full hour long routine every freaking morning. Instead, I keep a core routine that takes no more than 10-15 minutes. It’s perfect for me.
Also, if there’s something else I need for any particularly day, I can make a few simple adjustments, without changing the core, to prepare for whatever else is coming my way.
Without any further ado, I present to you my morning routine.
- I fill up a giant glass of water, add in some Athletic Greens, and chug it first thing after waking up. Guiding value: health.
This has been one of the absolute best things I’ve ever done for my health. Let me start by saying that I love fruits and vegetables. My problem is I’m often too lazy to cut and prepare them on a consistent basis. If I don’t eat out and order some veggies, chances are they got left out that day. Drinking this greens drink every morning does two main things for me:
- It cures my partial morning anxiety from waking up slightly dehydrated
- It’s my vegetable insurance policy for the day
As a bonus, it’s also the reason I haven’t had a full blown cold in over a year and a half. Any time I feel something coming on, I double the dosage for a few days and it thwarts off the disease.
- I practice gratitude by writing in a gratitude journal. Guiding value: playfulness.
Practicing gratitude helps me focus on the positive and appreciate the things I already have in life. This boosts happiness, which fuels the playful mood I try to maintain throughout my days. Easy peasy.
- Immediately after practicing gratitude, I write down my three Mission Critical Tasks (MCTs). Guiding value: growth.
Because gratitude helps me focus on the positive, by definition, that means I’m not stuck dwelling on the negative. Positive thoughts make me feel incredibly motivated, almost like anything is possible. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too at some point. This surge of positivity is what drives my productivity to get things done and continue my growth as a human. The only thing I have to be careful of is making sure I’m not too ambitious with my tasks for the day.
- Practice mindfulness by either meditating for a few minutes, or doing some deep breathing. Guiding values: health and growth.
The key here is just doing something to focus on the self for a few minutes. My only goal is to clear some headspace by noticing my thoughts instead of being consumed by them. I practice this with hopes of someday being able to levitate like the Buddhist monks. OK, maybe not, but this is the icing on the cake before I go out and tackle the day.
So there you have it – my morning routine that I’ve come to love oh so much. What’s yours look like?
Jason Gutierrez is a 26-year-old engineer, entrepreneur, and sushi-lover. He is the creator of letsmakeyouasuccess.com, a website he uses to write about cultivating good habits and finding meaningful work, while helping others do just that.