How To Build Yourself A Rock-Solid Morning Ritual

It feels good to be back.

I took last month off from the blog so that I could be more flexible during my big move from Washington DC to West Virginia.

And I have to say…

My plan totally backfired.

In an attempt to create a new foundation in West Virginia, I pretty much abandoned my own personal foundation: my morning ritual. Without the consistency of getting up each morning and writing, it was a lot harder to stay grounded.

A morning ritual is a set of practices or habits (like writing) that you do first thing in the morning. Without my ritual, I wasn't very easy to be around. It reminded me of how important that ritual is to my happiness and success.

In this week’s video, I talk about why morning rituals are so important (especially for entrepreneurs), and how to create your own. I also talk about the three key components of a good morning ritual. Check it out below:

My Morning Ritual (In Painstaking Detail)

I don't do my morning ritual every day. I take weekends and vacations off. Here’s what I do Monday-Friday:

6:00 - Wake up, drink water. Your body gets really dehydrated overnight, so make sure you have a big glass of water waiting for you when you wake up.

6:05 - Meditate. Nothing too complex. I just sit in a chair with my back straight, take deep breaths, and tune into my body. There are lots of free apps you can download if you’re just getting started (I like Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer).

6:30 - Eat breakfast, make tea. The first meal of the day is crucial. I try to choose something healthy (some good fats and protein) and eat it consciously (no distractions). Then I take my tea upstairs to read.

7:00 - Read. For me it’s usually nonfiction. Reading for 15 minutes in the morning and evening typically allows me to get through 1–2 books per month. It also gets me in the zone for writing.

7:15 - Write. This is when I work on my blog. Since I release a new post every Thursday, I know approximately how much progress I need to make each day in order to have something ready (though I’m definitely not perfect). I use an app called SelfControl to block my internet access so that I don't get distracted.

8:30 - Workout. I don’t like working out right when I get up or on an empty stomach. So I do it a bit later once I’ve digested. Working out at this time also acts as a buffer between writing and the rest of my work day.

9:15 - Shower and smoothie. I take cold showers most days. It's energizing and gets me out of my comfort zone. My current smoothie consists of berries, almond milk, hemp protein, chia seeds, flax, and psyllium husk.

9:45 - Check email, phone and Facebook. Now that I’ve created a solid foundation physically, mentally, and emotionally, I let the rest of the world in. This is a also a time when I listen to podcasts, or finish ones I started while working out.

10:00 - Private clients or MITs. I reserve time for my private coaching clients before noon because that’s when I have the most creative energy. If I don’t have a client scheduled, I use that chunk to bang out my Most Important Task.

After noon, I work with my small group coaching program, manage logistics, and talk with potential clients. The later in the day it gets, the less I want to rely on willpower. I typically end work by 6:00pm and spend time with my girlfriend.

I tweak my morning ritual once or twice a year as my life changes. So don’t feel like you have to copy my exact routine (if you have kids or work for somebody else, you probably won’t be able to anyway). Make it your own.

Where To Start With Your Morning Ritual

If you are looking at the above outline and feeling overwhelmed, I don’t blame you. This ritual took a lot of trail and error to develop.

Don’t try to implement everything at once. If you do, you’ll likely fail and get discouraged. Instead, try to put practices in place one at a time. Don’t add the next practice until you’re comfortable with the first.

For most people, developing a morning ritual is probably going to mean waking up earlier. In order to wake up earlier, you’ll probably need to go the bed earlier. So the first step to a good morning ritual may actually be changing what you do the night before.

I recommend setting an evening alarm. Most of us have morning alarms, but it’s just as important to start winding down on time the night before. I’m try to go to bed before 10:30pm every night so that I can get 7.5 hours.

I also set two different alarms for the exact same time in the morning and place them away from my bed. I use both a watch and a clock so that I can keep my phone in another room.

Once you are getting enough sleep, start adding 15 minutes at a time to your morning ritual until you have all three key components covered: your mind, body, and emotions.

Do You Really Need A Morning Ritual?

The truth is, you probably already have one. You just haven’t constructed it intentionally.

Rolling over, checking your phone, and running out the door is technically a morning ritual. I try to point this out to people who say that they don’t like the idea of having overly structured mornings.

We’re creatures of habit. It’s up to us whether we make those habits positive or negative. 

What one thing will you do tomorrow morning to take control of your day?