How can I make a habit of waking up early in the morning?
This is how I made myself a morning person.
A morning routine is something I find makes my day undeniably better. Besides increasing productivity, I find a morning routine is essential for me to spend quality time with myself and the things I find important before the demands of the day start rolling in.
Over the years I have tinkered with a number of morning routines to try and make my morning as effective and energising as possible to help me get a head start on the day. To save you the hassle of all the trial and error, here is what I have refined it down to and what seems to be the best for me so far.
To save on clutter and me having to write about biological mechanisms that are above my pay grade I have included links to articles and literature that support and explain some of the points below. Feel free to explore to whatever depths you want. Or just take my word that this shit works. Enjoy.
#1: Wake up (Circa 5:00 AM)
#2: Hydrate (2 mins) – I try and get about 1 L of water in me as soon as I can from waking up. Hydration is key to getting your body and brain into functioning form in the mornings. I find that a lot of the grogginess disappears once my body has sufficient fluid.
#3: Raise your heart rate (1 min) – I know exercise isn’t what you want to do immediately upon waking, but this involves nothing crazy just something that raises your heart rate enough to know you’re alive. I normally do about 15 push-ups or 20 air squats.
#4: Get some sun (1 min) – If you can couple this with #2 and #3 even better! Our bodies internal clock is sensitive to light and darkness and getting some immediate sunlight exposure will boost your energy level and let your body know the day has started.
#5: Turn on the kettle and chop up a clove of garlic (4 mins) – I will explain the garlic shortly.
#6: Cold exposure (3 mins) – If I were to choose one thing alone that really kick starts my day it would be this without doubt. Start your day with a cold shower – the colder the better. At first it may be extremely uncomfortable, but your body will adapt to it as the days pass and you may even find it enjoyable eventually.
In addition to cold showers having a number of benefits on your metabolism and immune system the rapid breathing will oxygenate your body and combined with the temperature will have the effects of about 3 cups of coffee. And if all that is not enough reason to, the fact that you don’t want to should be a good indication that you should. If you can start your day with something tough the rest of the day will be a lot easier.
#7: Steep my coffee and eat the chopped garlic (4 mins) – I eat raw garlic each morning to boost my immune system and give me energy. Allowing the garlic to sit for a bit (15 mins ideally) after cutting triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.
#8: Meditate (20 mins) – Meditation is something I recommend to everyone, if you aren’t aware of the benefits google is your friend, there are lots of resources out there. I do about 15 minutes of guided meditation in the morning and try do another 15 minutes sometime before bed. Meditation seems to have a compounding effect on happiness and self-awareness and has improved my life immensely.
After meditating the long-anticipated coffee is ready and is consumed over the next three phases of my morning.
#9: Read the Daily Stoic (5 mins) – Stoic philosophy is something I try to live by. Each morning I read the daily edition of the Daily Stoic and set the philosophy in my mind and try to carry it through the day with me. For those interested I highly recommend looking into and studying stoic philosophy. Unlike traditional philosophy it doesn’t deal with esoteric questions and topics and is intended to be more of a practical and effective guidance for life. I see it as the ideal operating system to live by.
#10: Journal (10 mins) – I try to journal twice per day, in the morning to set the foundation for the day and at night to reflect on how they day went.
I see journaling as an essential tool to living a great life and it is vital to my daily practice. I journal for a number of reasons, the most important however is probably the same as that of Tim Ferriss: “to trap my monkey mind on paper.”
I am still perfecting the template of how I carry out this process, but I feel I am close. I will eventually post an article here about all my thoughts on journaling and how I go about the practice.
#11: Yoga (60 mins) – As someone who has traditionally pumped iron for the past decade and constantly pushed their body in sports this shift in focus has induced an immense positive change on my body. I am moving in ways I didn’t think I could and have alleviated pain I thought was permanent. I am still very much a novice to the philosophy of yoga, but I intend on carrying it with me for life.
So, that is my morning. The above 10 daily practices help me have a killer morning and an even better day. When I get on a roll of achieving all these things in the morning after a week or so the compounding effects are particularly noticeable.