I come across morning routines a lot in my internet wanderings. Some are small, like starting the day making your bed. Some start before 5 am with an intense workout. Almost all talk about using morning routines for getting in the right mindset fueled by ‘wins’ to start the day.
There can be a certain degree of obsession to figuring out what morning habits famous and successful people have or have had with the hopes that if we can incorporate those habits into our lives, it will make our life more like theirs. If you want a glance at the routines (not just in the morning) of well-known people throughout history, Daily Rituals by Mason Currey is an interesting read. While the cocaine addictions may be less healthy for you, it is interesting to see the minutia of many famous lives. For example, many have heard the Ben Franklin adage, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” but here it is in a bit more detail.
I like the morning and evening question part as it is part of the reflection that I’m trying to cultivate in my own life.
It has been a while since I read the book, but the two main things I remember taking away are:
- Lots of well-known thinkers and creative types enjoyed taking long walks.
- There is no set framework of daily rituals that works for everyone.
Some people wake up very early, others are night owls. Some had very regimented diets, others grazed on anything. Some required isolation and complete silence, others would go crazy without wild nights on the town. In short, like the rest of us, they are all a bit different.
Personally, I’ve developed a few habits in the last year that I try to do every morning: specifically, some push-ups (the number has changed with time but right now it is 50) and journaling with a cup of coffee. I am fortunate to have both flexibility in my start time each day as well as few external obligations, so my mornings tend to be more relaxed and can carry on for a while. If I’m feeling motivated or my body decides to wake up before 5:30am like it has this week, then I’ll add on a few other things. Lately, that has been a ‘7-minute workout‘ (which nicely also includes the pushups), Wim Hof breathing, yoga, meditation, and/or hand-weight training. I try to get in what I can, but it really depends upon the week. Sometimes I’m not sure if I get more energy from the activity or the dopamine hit of checking it off in Todoist or a habit tracker, but I’ll take what I can get.
For those looking to start a more concise routine, Thomas Frank put out a good one a couple months ago to do in one hour:
And if you don’t have time for any of those, I hear that going for long walks during the day is a good idea.