- Horaz -
"Carpe Diem". How many times have you heard these words? The Roman poet Horaz wrote them in an ode around 23 BC. They literally mean "gather the day ", which could be interpreted as "use or seize your day".
But no matter how often you've heard these words, I want to show you today the principles of a successful morning routine. With such a routine you will definitely use your day and have already finished most of your ToDo's in the morning.
Why a morning routine
Why a morning routine? You'd rather sleep longer. I know that. And you should sleep enough. Sleep deprivation is probably quite contradictory to a successful and productive start in the day. So, sleep at least 7 hours and then start the day with a morning routine.
The advantage is, that you can start some things or even get them done in the morning. After work, in the evening or when all the other house members are buzzing around, you may be too tired or exhausted for that. Others can distract you or even stop you. You can be more productive in the morning in one hour than in a whole day if you do it right. There were some, who prefer to do this routine late, before going to bed. This is also a possibility. Just try not to get interrupted by others.
For example, if you would get up only 30 minutes earlier, preferably before the other family members are awake, then these 30 minutes belong only to you. That's how it should be. A successful morning routine, whether it lasts 15 minutes or 2 hours, should be for you only. You do what you think is important.
This is your goal:
Put together a suitable morning routine and do it every morning.
Of course this can look different during the week than at the weekend. There are no rules here. You make the rules. The advantage is that you are more awake after this routine, your brain is already working at full speed. Like cycling, when you start pedaling, it still feels very hard. The faster you go, the easier it will be to ride.
So you are already boosting your productivity in the morning and it will last a long time into the day. Or you're already completing a few tasks, so you have less to do in the evening and more leisure. It's a great feeling to come home after work and have nothing to do anymore. You can also succeed in this, if you do important things in the morning and small/easy things during the rest of the day.
A regular morning routine is or has been part of the tools of most successful people, such as Steve Jobs, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Ferris, Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin or Barack Obama. To name just a few. If you want to be successful, then it' s an essential part of your repertoire. If you really want to change something in your life, start in the morning. When others get up sleepy, you have already done most of the work.
Getting up early in the morning (...and how I struggled)
You might think at this point: "Hey, that doesn't sound so bad, but I'm not a morning person. How am I supposed to get up any earlier?" It really doesn't have to be torture.
I chose a morning routine when I started training several times a week. I usually got up around 7am, got ready, dawdled a bit and was at work at 8:30am. When I had finished work at 5pm, I already had my sports bag with me. I went to the gym, but after a whole day I often lacked the necessary strength or rather the motivation.
There's nothing I hate more, than standing in the gym and working out without energy. One less repetition here, one less set there. If I'm already there, then I want to train effectively. Everything else is just a waste of time.
But that wasn't the only reason. What bothered me the most was that I wasn't home until 7-8pm. Totally exhausted and without great desire to do anything else. It actually made itself noticeable with a lack of life quality. Of course life doesn't always look bright, but I noticed that I could change something here. I wanted more time for myself, hobbies, friends or family.
So I started setting the alarm early, to go training in the morning. But somehow it didn't work so well. I was always totally overtired and I realized that I wouldn't last long if it was so exhausting and I didn't enjoy it so much. Torturing yourself totally sleepy out of bed is no fun in the long run.
I started researching and found some methods of sleep scientists, such as sleeping exactly 8 hours every night for example. But this didn't really convince me. The human being is not a machine. Sometimes you fall asleep immediately and sometimes not. And if you know that the alarm clock rings in 3 hours and you haven't closed your eyes yet, because you've only been rolling from side to side for 5 hours, it even causes stress. No, that's not the way it should be. The following method helped me back then and was also the solution to the topic "perfect sleep rhythm". And I really wasn't an early riser.
How to become an early riser?
How do you defeat the every-morning-monster called "Alarm Clock"? You don't have to. It's much
The easiest way is always to get up at the same time. Even on weekends. The advantage is obvious: the body gets used to the regular rhythm and you almost don't need an alarm clock anymore. "But I want to sleep late at the weekend," I hear the first screams. Sleep when you're tired! Then lie down in the afternoon for another hour.
This typical cliché of constantly crawling out of bed totally tired during the week is now over. Get used to the rhythm of an early riser and sleep well even during the week. When you get used to it, you will know, when you have to go to bed. Then there is no need to catch up on the weekend. The weekend is rather meant for staying up longer and having fun.
The next tip is to go to bed only when you are really tired. If your body is used to getting up at a certain time after a few days, it will get its sleep when needed. Never take sleep away. Under 6.5 - 7 hours of sleep is clearly too little for a healthy body. Even if you are used to sleep only 4 hours every night, you do yourself and your body no favor in many health aspects.
Of course there are exceptions, as when you want to go out and stay awake longer. That is completely normal. But try to get up at the same time. The body will get tired earlier in the evening. So listen to your body and lie down. On the other side going to bed at exactly the same time is not always beneficial, because our body sometimes needs more sleep and sometimes less. You can tell by the fact, that you need much longer to fall asleep.
I do it this way: I go to bed at about 10pm. because I get up at 6am every morning. Sometimes I get so tired that I fall into bed at half past nine and sometimes I sit in bed and am fully awake. Then I read. Sometimes I fall asleep after 3 pages and sometimes after 60. At least I haven't wasted my time with meaningless rolling from side to side. But my body is used to the alarm at 6am. Often I wake up before it rings.
I'm sure you've been already advised to read before going to bed. Of course, it doesn't only support you mentally, but also helps you to fall asleep. It usually only takes 2-4 days to get used to a new sleep rhythm.
Here's how to do it:
- Always set the alarm at the same time.
- Go to sleep when you feel tired
- Read till you almost fall asleep
- When the alarm clock rings, get up and stretch
- If you are tired during the day, lay down for 20-30 minutes
Exactly. When the alarm clock rings, don't stop and hammer the snooze button on your alarm clock. Get up, stretch your limbs and go drink a glass of water. The more you think about how warm and cuddly it is in bed, the harder it will be for you. Outsmart your mind by getting out of bed with your body. On weekends or holidays, of course, you make exceptions, you stay a little longer and start the day more comfortably. But I wouldn't put the alarm clock off. Turn it off, after it rings and continue to sleep. This way your body always remembers the time to wake up.
Another tip that can help you is not to eat so heavy in the evening. You can do this by actually eating lighter meals without many carbs as dinner, such as vegetables, soups, salads and no fried food. If your stomach has less work to do, you'll sleep better and more rested. And of course this promotes the fact that it's easier to get out of bed in the morning.
What does a successful morning routine look like?
Now you know how to get up earlier and that a morning routine might be beneficial for you. But how do you start?
A good morning routine takes about 30 - 60 minutes. However, this is completely individual. The only important thing is that you always follow the same routine. This has the advantage that every move you make over time flows into your subconscious mind and you start to do everything automatically. So you don't have to think about it much longer and know exactly every next step.
Let's say your kids get up at 7:00. Then it would be optimal, if you could get up at 6 o'clock, because then you have the full hour just for yourself. In the morning you are usually more concentrated or more effective than in the evening. A routine is exactly what fits perfectly into the morning. In the evening you would probably not do this so perfectly. The alarm clock is your starting signal here. Ready, set, go!
Of course I know that there are people among us who have to get up at 4am or earlier. So the subject of the morning routine is more difficult, but not impossible. If you need 8 hours of sleep, then you have to go to bed at 7:30pm in order to get up at 3:30am and have half an hour for your routine. Another possibility would of course be, to perform the routine shortly before going to bed, like a to-bed-ritual. Either way, a good routine can make things easier for you and automate processes.
We now start again from the person who was supposed to get up at 7 o'clock. If you are one of those people who simply can't get up in the morning, then start to implement a morning routine in your life immediately. You will see how it will help you.
As an example, I will first introduce my own routine so that you have a clear idea of what it can look like. The focus is on "can", because everyone has different preferences:
- 6 o'clock: Alarm clock rings
- Get up, pouring cold water in the face.
- Drink a glass of water (this will get your metabolism started).
- Meditate with a meditation pillow for about 10-20 minutes.
- Kitchen: Preparing breakfast shake (banana, protein powder, almond milk etc.)
- Write a to-do list for the day (While I drink my shake.)
- Brushing my teeth
- Dress up in sports clothes and pack up fresh stuff.
- approx. 7 am: hit the gym
My routine ends as soon as I leave the house. The difficulty for me wasn't training, but getting my ass up to go there. Now I come out of the bathroom, take the sports bag, pack my things and am already out of the house. Everything runs automatically. I do not check my phone until I'm done training. Also I don't want to check my mails 10 times a day, I do it once concentrated when I reach my desk.
So and now a few examples of elements you could include in your morning routine. You probably already have something on your mind, but here are some ideas:
Checking and answering emails (Just that and not just getting stuck to your mobile phone or PC. You can waste your time sometimes else).
Write down things that should be done on this day (ToDo list)
Doing sports (Whether a short round of jogging or 10 minutes of yoga. Exercises start the day optimally and activate your circulation and
News / Read newspaper
- Reading a chapter in an (inspiring) book
- Learn a new language
- Positive affirmations in front of the mirror ("Today will be a good day. What I am going to do today will succeed, because I am strong. I am satisfied with myself and am getting better and better. I have everything to be happy and deserve all the good that's coming.")
- Walking the dog
- Making the bed
- Preparing food
These are really just a few examples. Pack together all the things you normally don't have time or motivation for during the day, but would still like to do. If you have or want to start your own business, then you have the freshest thoughts and ideas in the morning. Sitting down and thinking about how to carry on with your business idea, is a very effective way to create your morning routine. It's up to you.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the whole day and maybe you are one of those who like to skip it. Reasons could be that you simply don't have time or too few ideas. If you need ideas for a few breakfast dishes, read the article 10 protein-rich and quick breakfast recipes.
I don't want to talk about the nutritional values of a healthy and well-balanced breakfast, but about the fact that you should take your time to have your breakfast. No matter if you train, go to work or clean up your apartment. The body needs energy for this.
If, for example, you had only 15 minutes for your breakfast in your morning routine, then you would have enough time to comfortably take your granola or breakfast cereals with a cup of coffee, without everything having to be hectically swallowed down. If you are looking for a bigger meal with eggs, pancakes and bacon, then of course you have to plan some more time in.
The mere thought of having breakfast with a hot drink in your hand brings up the image of a classic morning. Everything is still quiet, birds are chirping, no hectic rush and a long dreamy view from the window. Exactly! This is what your breakfast should look like.
I think you figured out what I'm trying to say. You should take time for yourself and only for yourself. No matter if you just make a cup of tea or a huge breakfast. The silence of the morning should be used effectively.
It doesn't matter if you're a morning person or not. Enjoy the morning calm when everyone is still asleep and the sun is just rising. Try to become an early riser. Usually it is enough to get up only 20 minutes earlier than usual.
The more complex your morning routine is, the more you can do before the start of the day. But it must not be a torture. You have to like it. Only then will you have fun. If you don't see any advantages in it, then you won't look forward to your routine in the morning when the alarm clock rings. Have fun and enjoy it. That's why you choose things for your morning routine that you think make sense and are right for you.
Especially if you are a person who, for example, works from home or generally doesn't get up easy in the morning, a morning routine is a true solution. You will always know exactly how to start your day. It feels good to have already finished many things before you sit there in the evening and know you still have so much to do. So you start the day and the to-do list has already shrunk.
I guarantee you, it will make you more positive and happy every day. And afterwards you will have more time for yourself and the things or people that are important to you. You really deserve to relax. I would never stop doing that again. It is one of the best habits I have learned. Give it some time. It can take a few weeks until the routine becomes fluent as water. Try it out and thank me later.
I hope the article was helpful for you. If so, then share it, so others like you can also benefit from it. I wish YOU the best.
- LdR -
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