Raise your hand if you feel like you’re not getting anywhere towards your goals.
Like you’re working on it but nothing seems to stick.
Let’s face it,you don’t have a morning routine because you barely have a routine at all!
It’s daunting enough getting up in the morning sometimes – never mind doing all the stuff you know you need to get where you want this time next year.
Feels bad right?
Well, there’s good news!
Creating an effective system to tackle your goals doesn’t have to be that daunting. With the right plan and tools, you can easily crush any goal.
It all starts with an effective morning routine.
How to Create a Kick-Ass Morning Routine
I knew about the importance of a morning routine for years, but it seemed like something only super-organised people did. It wasn’t for the likes of me, the girl who barely manages to roll out of bed in the mornings.
But that all changed when I read the amazing Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod back in 2015. It combined aspects of all the things I was interested in, like meditation, visualisation, planning, and goal setting, as well as exercise and some other cool stuff.
In addition.. you could do it in under 10 minutes if you wanted to!
I’ve changed a lot of his system to better suit my needs and I cannot tell you just how much my life has changed for the better by doing these following seven steps every day.
There is nothing better than waking up and spending the first part of your day in total silence, centering and grounding your energy and aligning your focus to the world around you.
Just 10 – 30 minutes meditation or mindfulness practice every day has major short and long term benefits, from reducing stress and improving immune function, to actually helping us live longer!Just 10 - 30 minutes meditation or mindfulness practice every day has major short and long-term benefits, from reducing stress and improving immune function, to actually helping us live longer!Click To Tweet
Use this time in your morning routine to either sit quietly outside at the base of a tree being mindful of your breath and the sounds around you or meditate if you prefer.
If you’re sceptical, check out 10% Happier, by Dan Harris. The no-nonsense ABC news anchor wrote a whole science-backed book on the subject after famously suffering a panic attack live on air.
2. Read a Book
Well maybe not a whole book, this is a morning routine not an entire day routine after all!
You should aim to spend 10 – 30 minutes reading something you can really take away from. A lot of my own goals right now are based on entrepreneurship and creating passive income.
I am concentrating on books which teach me methods I can use to bring me closer to these aspirations. Therefore I have now on my nightstand Tim Ferris’ new book Tribe of Mentors and Carrie Green’s She Means Business.
Warren Buffet credits reading with being the key to his success:'Read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.' - Warren BuffettClick To Tweet
We might not all have time to read 500 pages a day, but research shows that even 5 minutes reading per day will be massively beneficial.
Reading expands your vocabulary, helps your brain identify themes and patterns in information. Most importantly it exposes you to new ideas, a key ingredient in developing a healthy mindset.
Time to take some exercise. You don’t have to do a full hour-long run, and you don’t need any equipment. Just pick 2 – 3 simple exercises and do a few sets of each. You could even do jumping jacks on the spot, or walk up and down the stairs.
Personally, I always go for a brisk walk as part of my morning routine. Being outdoors adds the extra benefit of boosting your mental health.
What specific exercise you do is not important, just make sure you get the heart pumping. Exercise helps the body to release endorphins – serotonin which makes you feel good, and dopamine which makes you more focused and boosts your productivity.
I don’t know about you but after exercise, I have to take a shower. This isn’t just to get clean but to boost your mood and fight off depression.
The benefits of cold water bathing have been known for centuries, going right back to Hippocrates. People are still talking about it now, but how many of us do it?
If you’re struggling with the concept of stepping under freezing water every day, start out slowly.
Most research done on the subject has shown there isn’t much of a difference in the effects of being immersed in cold water for 30 seconds, 60, or 90. To take advantage of this, alternate between warm and cold water, with 30-second blasts of cold.
Visualisation is an incredibly powerful tool for transformation. Simply by seeing ourselves doing something, the brain quite literally feels as though we have done it.
It doesn’t distinguish between real memories and vividly imagined ones, and goes right ahead forming new neural pathways which then act as a map for the future action.
A specific type of visualisation called mental rehearsal is particularly beneficial in reducing anxiety about events, increasing focus, and even improving accuracy in sports!
Start out by closing your eyes, or look at your vision board to help you focus. See from a first-person perspective, the day ahead (or your goal) going well. Mentally ‘walk through’ the entire day or situation, even the most mundane parts.
Try to see, feel, hear, and smell as though you are actually there in every step.
Rather than simply seeing something with the mind’s eye, this is a full sensory experience. Thus, the better you can utilise all of the senses during your mental imagery the more powerful it will be.Simply by seeing ourselves doing something, the brain feels as though we have done it. It doesn't distinguish between real memories and vividly imagined ones.Click To Tweet
6. Affirm Your Goals
We often have negative thoughts, you know the nagging inner voice that says things like “WHY did you do that, that was so stupid”?
Or that goes over and over that difficult conversation you had earlier, trying to come up with a ‘better’ way you could have responded (yep, been there!) These thoughts are damaging to our well-being and resilience.
But guess what? By deliberately doing the opposite, and using positive self-talk, we can not only make ourselves mentally healthier but also ‘hack’ our goal-crushing ability.
Affirmations are basically exercises for the brain. They work brilliantly when paired with visualisation and goal-setting techniques, so are a great habit to add to your morning routine.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start by noting down your goals. Think about those areas in your life you’d like to change. For example, do you wish you were more productive at work? Do you want to lose that last 20lbs?
- Make sure these goals are aligned with the things that matter most to you, so you will feel a genuine motivation to achieve them.
- Ensure your goal is achievable. Wanting to raise your income is one thing, but expecting to double your salary overnight probably isn’t feasible! So remember to take small steps.
- From your notes, write down 2 – 10 short, impactful statements that encapsulate what you want to achieve
- Write in the present tense. This helps the brain to believe something is happening right now
- Change the negative talk. Turn a persistent negative thought around to a positive one and use that as your affirmation. For example, if you find yourself thinking ‘I’m not smart enough to pass this test’, try replacing that statement with ‘I am well-prepared and revised, and I can pass this test.
- Spend a few minutes saying each affirmation out loud as part of your morning routine (or you may choose to focus on just one for example). Try an app like ThinkUp, because it helps you create your affirmations and work with them daily.
Learn more about how to set achievable goals.
After an hour or so of getting myself into a great, focused headspace with all the above steps, I sit down to use my journal. This is the single most effective way to clarify and solidify all of the insights gained from meditative introspection, learning, goal-setting, and planning.
Look at it like this: meditation, affirmations, reading, nourishing the body, are all ways to put fuel in the car. Journaling is starting the car and driving it somewhere. It helps you to get into a peak or ‘flow’ state so you can operate from a position of directed focus and act with intention.
You can use a bullet Journal, or any other method you prefer. The actual content can be broken down into:
- Gratitude – what are you thankful for right now?
- What changes do you want to make?
- What are your big-picture goals (yearly, or 3 – 5 year)? This step reconnects you with and strengthens your ‘why’, so helping you to stay motivated, and operating with the end goal in mind.
- What do you need to do today to get you closer to those goals?
Your journal is the ideal place to keep track of creative ideas, things you need to look into, moments of inspiration that come to you, and anything else you like. In addition, it keeps you on track with your goals. So do it every day and you’ll be better able to see the road ahead and how far you have come.
Staying on track
I’ve compiled a handy checklist for you to keep on track with your morning routine. Do it every day and all your progress and knowledge takeaways will be preserved and ready for you to pick up again tomorrow.
Here’s a little youtube video inspiration:
Then, you’re ready to ace your goals for today and start making this your most productive and fulfilling year yet. And you know what the best part is? Next time, those goals you set won’t feel quite as daunting – your own kick-ass morning routine will give you all the tools you need to crush them!
Do you have a morning routine? Tell us about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear how you start your day for success!