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How Can I Create a Better Morning Routine?

Rich shares a simple approach for creating powerful morning routines.

Hi, it's Rich here. I've been asked to answer the question, how can I create a better morning routine? So look, while morning routines are personal, for most of us, it's the only time in the day that we have an opportunity to be fully with ourselves and focus on ourselves, be that your first 10 or 20 or 30 minutes of the day. This is really true for me as life is so full as a leader of an organization, a husband, a father mindfulness teacher, and so on, on, and on. My days are filled with meetings, calls, emails, deadlines, and so forth. And I'm sure many of you can relate.

But as the saying goes, if you win the morning, you win the day. So I'd like to share a couple of tips on establishing a good morning routine. It's really three tips. The first one is don't negotiate with yourself. The second one is to create a very simple routine.

And the third one is to try something called habit stacking. So let me explain each of these. So first the idea of not negotiating with yourself. That really means skipping the narrative. In other words, if there's a story or dialogue running in your head about the do or not do, about the way you feel about doing a routine, what I often try to do is I just try to skip that.

To not negotiate with myself, but just to go straight to the routine. It's kind of like brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth can happen in many, many different states of awakeness, I found. So for example, I've brushed my teeth when I'm half falling asleep, but the point is I did it. I didn't tell myself a story about doing it being half asleep.

And so what I'd invite you to do is to try not negotiating with yourself, not necessarily going with a dialogue or story about whether it's a good thing to do or not to do, whether you feel like doing it or not feel like doing it. But simply moving in and doing it. That is, doing your routine, which brings me to the second point, which is to really create a very simple routine. For me, it's the first 20 to 30 minutes of my day when I really try to make time for my mind, my heart and my body. So what does that look like? It means when I wake up, the first thing I do is I go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and splash water on my face.

And then I literally go and make time for my mindfulness practice, where I really try to cultivate qualities of mindfulness and also heartfulness. So I do some meditation and then I try to do something called the loving kindness practice, which is to invite thoughts and intentions of kindness and goodwill towards myself and others. Other days I may do a gratitude practice or an intention setting practice. But it's really a way to kind of orient around the heart and perhaps cultivate a positive emotional state. And after a number of minutes of doing that, I transition to a little bit of body-centered work.

And for me that means some stretching and light yoga. So this is now the first 10 20, maybe 30 minutes of my day. And then I reward myself with having breakfast and coffee. So that's sort of my second point there, which is create a very simple routine that you can follow. Again for me, it's brush teeth, wash face, sit and meditate, do a heartfulness practice, do body focused practice.

And finally, the third thing that I wanted to share with you in terms of developing a good morning routine is to try habit stacking. Habit stacking means that you stack a new habit or a behavior on top of a pre-existing one. I have a few things that kind of fit in a sequence as I've shared with you and help me sustain the habit of mindfulness, for example. It's the meditation, the heartfulness, the body centered practice. But then if I want to build on top of that, I can add other behaviors or habits on to it.

So, as I mentioned to you, I also have a yoga and stretching routine that I do. And honestly, that is something that's new for me. I've really brought that in because honestly my back's been bothering me lately. So I really wanted to kind of emphasize the stretching and the yoga after my meditation and heartfulness practice. And so I added that onto the mindfulness practice.

So that's an example of habit stacking. And if you're trying to build a new behavior into your morning routine, don't try to shake up your routine all at once. Rather I'd encourage you to do what you normally do, that is to follow your normal routine. For example, wake up, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, have coffee, et cetera. Then you can consider the aspects you want to integrate as part of a new routine or adding a habit.

For example, perhaps a working out or prepping a meal or some other behavior that you may want to bring into your morning routine. Choose just one aspect of what you'd like to integrate into your current routine and commit to making just one behavior change until it becomes habitual. Be very clear as to when and where you'll insert your new behavior. So for example, for myself, after I brushed my teeth and before I have my morning coffee, I will do five minutes of a guided meditation in my armchair. That's an example.

So this is habit stacking. Finally, I'd invite you to consider that an effective morning routine can actually start the night before. Preparation for your morning or team can make a big difference. For example, spending five minutes the night before setting up for the morning can go a long way. Let's say you want to integrate 10 minutes of yoga into your daily routine.

The night before, what can you do to increase the likelihood of following through? Perhaps setting out your yoga mat or laying out your yoga gear, so that in the morning you won't have to make the decision to practice yoga. You won't have to negotiate with yourself. You won't have to find your gear or your mat. It's already been set out for you. That's what I do.

In fact, as we speak, it's likely that I left my yoga mat on the floor in the living room to the chagrin of my wife. Normally I'd put it away. I think I rushed out of the house this morning. So these are the tiny decisions which left until morning, you're less likely to get to, or are more likely to drain your vital mental energy before you even step out the door. This is something known as decision fatigue, which leaves you with less mental resources available when you have those really important decisions to make.

For example, in my life I sometimes have to decide on one budget versus another, or to email this person about an important issue or to not email them. And then if I do choose to email them, what to say. Those are really the important decisions and it's better to approach them without having this decision fatigue. So just to conclude things and to tie off my suggestions for a better morning routine are number one, don't negotiate with yourself. Skip the narrative.

Number two, create a very simple routine. And number three, stack your habits. Finally, consider starting the night before. So I want to thank you for considering these ways to create a better morning routine. And I wish you well, as you work towards that.

And most importantly, I'd invite you to be kind and understanding with yourself as you try this. There'll be days where you succeed at installing a new morning routine, and there'll be days in which you fall off. It's really natural. It's something that happens to me all the time. And you always have the opportunity to start again.

So I'd invite you to just hold the whole approach, the whole attempt at starting a morning routine with kindness and goodwill towards yourself. Thanks for your practice. Talk to you again soon.

Talk

4.6

How Can I Create a Better Morning Routine?

Rich shares a simple approach for creating powerful morning routines.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, it's Rich here. I've been asked to answer the question, how can I create a better morning routine? So look, while morning routines are personal, for most of us, it's the only time in the day that we have an opportunity to be fully with ourselves and focus on ourselves, be that your first 10 or 20 or 30 minutes of the day. This is really true for me as life is so full as a leader of an organization, a husband, a father mindfulness teacher, and so on, on, and on. My days are filled with meetings, calls, emails, deadlines, and so forth. And I'm sure many of you can relate.

But as the saying goes, if you win the morning, you win the day. So I'd like to share a couple of tips on establishing a good morning routine. It's really three tips. The first one is don't negotiate with yourself. The second one is to create a very simple routine.

And the third one is to try something called habit stacking. So let me explain each of these. So first the idea of not negotiating with yourself. That really means skipping the narrative. In other words, if there's a story or dialogue running in your head about the do or not do, about the way you feel about doing a routine, what I often try to do is I just try to skip that.

To not negotiate with myself, but just to go straight to the routine. It's kind of like brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth can happen in many, many different states of awakeness, I found. So for example, I've brushed my teeth when I'm half falling asleep, but the point is I did it. I didn't tell myself a story about doing it being half asleep.

And so what I'd invite you to do is to try not negotiating with yourself, not necessarily going with a dialogue or story about whether it's a good thing to do or not to do, whether you feel like doing it or not feel like doing it. But simply moving in and doing it. That is, doing your routine, which brings me to the second point, which is to really create a very simple routine. For me, it's the first 20 to 30 minutes of my day when I really try to make time for my mind, my heart and my body. So what does that look like? It means when I wake up, the first thing I do is I go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and splash water on my face.

And then I literally go and make time for my mindfulness practice, where I really try to cultivate qualities of mindfulness and also heartfulness. So I do some meditation and then I try to do something called the loving kindness practice, which is to invite thoughts and intentions of kindness and goodwill towards myself and others. Other days I may do a gratitude practice or an intention setting practice. But it's really a way to kind of orient around the heart and perhaps cultivate a positive emotional state. And after a number of minutes of doing that, I transition to a little bit of body-centered work.

And for me that means some stretching and light yoga. So this is now the first 10 20, maybe 30 minutes of my day. And then I reward myself with having breakfast and coffee. So that's sort of my second point there, which is create a very simple routine that you can follow. Again for me, it's brush teeth, wash face, sit and meditate, do a heartfulness practice, do body focused practice.

And finally, the third thing that I wanted to share with you in terms of developing a good morning routine is to try habit stacking. Habit stacking means that you stack a new habit or a behavior on top of a pre-existing one. I have a few things that kind of fit in a sequence as I've shared with you and help me sustain the habit of mindfulness, for example. It's the meditation, the heartfulness, the body centered practice. But then if I want to build on top of that, I can add other behaviors or habits on to it.

So, as I mentioned to you, I also have a yoga and stretching routine that I do. And honestly, that is something that's new for me. I've really brought that in because honestly my back's been bothering me lately. So I really wanted to kind of emphasize the stretching and the yoga after my meditation and heartfulness practice. And so I added that onto the mindfulness practice.

So that's an example of habit stacking. And if you're trying to build a new behavior into your morning routine, don't try to shake up your routine all at once. Rather I'd encourage you to do what you normally do, that is to follow your normal routine. For example, wake up, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, have coffee, et cetera. Then you can consider the aspects you want to integrate as part of a new routine or adding a habit.

For example, perhaps a working out or prepping a meal or some other behavior that you may want to bring into your morning routine. Choose just one aspect of what you'd like to integrate into your current routine and commit to making just one behavior change until it becomes habitual. Be very clear as to when and where you'll insert your new behavior. So for example, for myself, after I brushed my teeth and before I have my morning coffee, I will do five minutes of a guided meditation in my armchair. That's an example.

So this is habit stacking. Finally, I'd invite you to consider that an effective morning routine can actually start the night before. Preparation for your morning or team can make a big difference. For example, spending five minutes the night before setting up for the morning can go a long way. Let's say you want to integrate 10 minutes of yoga into your daily routine.

The night before, what can you do to increase the likelihood of following through? Perhaps setting out your yoga mat or laying out your yoga gear, so that in the morning you won't have to make the decision to practice yoga. You won't have to negotiate with yourself. You won't have to find your gear or your mat. It's already been set out for you. That's what I do.

In fact, as we speak, it's likely that I left my yoga mat on the floor in the living room to the chagrin of my wife. Normally I'd put it away. I think I rushed out of the house this morning. So these are the tiny decisions which left until morning, you're less likely to get to, or are more likely to drain your vital mental energy before you even step out the door. This is something known as decision fatigue, which leaves you with less mental resources available when you have those really important decisions to make.

For example, in my life I sometimes have to decide on one budget versus another, or to email this person about an important issue or to not email them. And then if I do choose to email them, what to say. Those are really the important decisions and it's better to approach them without having this decision fatigue. So just to conclude things and to tie off my suggestions for a better morning routine are number one, don't negotiate with yourself. Skip the narrative.

Number two, create a very simple routine. And number three, stack your habits. Finally, consider starting the night before. So I want to thank you for considering these ways to create a better morning routine. And I wish you well, as you work towards that.

And most importantly, I'd invite you to be kind and understanding with yourself as you try this. There'll be days where you succeed at installing a new morning routine, and there'll be days in which you fall off. It's really natural. It's something that happens to me all the time. And you always have the opportunity to start again.

So I'd invite you to just hold the whole approach, the whole attempt at starting a morning routine with kindness and goodwill towards yourself. Thanks for your practice. Talk to you again soon.

Talk

4.6

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