God, can we please stop accusing people of morning pages, journaling, meditation, drinking 18 gallons of mint-infused water, and yoga?
If that’s what you want to do, GREAT! But you don’t have to.
My rules for the perfect morning:
- No, you don’t have to meditate to be successful!
- No, you don’t have to write a journal or do yoga.
- It’s okay to check Instagram first thing in the morning. (I do.)
- If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist
- You determine your rich life, including your morning routine.
Why we take bad advice about morning routines
There is a new homework of people telling you every morning everything you “should” do. But the more absurd it becomes, the more performative it becomes. Have a glass of water No! Make sure you top it up with turmeric and mint.
If you like mint, great. But just adding mint doesn’t help. The real win here is from deliberately thinking about what you want to do – and how you want to do it.
This is much harder than making an esoteric recommendation like drinking 6 ounces of yak tea. People love these recommendations because we all want a magic bullet or “mystery” that magically changes everything for us. We know deep down that this is all nonsense.
I talked about this a few years ago in his podcast with Tim Ferriss – you can watch the interview here:
This is how you create the right morning routine for you
Real happiness and real productivity come from much deeper changes.
- If you like to wake up without an alarm clock, then how can you fall asleep at a time when you can make it happen?
- If you want to prepare breakfast for your kids every morning, how can you prepare things the night before?
- If you want to have a leisurely morning taking 2 hours of television time, what do you need to make it happen?
This is a lot harder than taking a magic pill. It means a major restructuring of your lifestyle, including the way you work (maybe even Where You work), how you relax, when you go to sleep, and even what you think of yourself (“I’m not a morning person” is an identity that you can rewrite).
Real morning routines are set the week before, the month before, and the year before
I love the idea of creating a meaningful morning for your personal rich life. I don’t love the cargo cult fanaticism about arbitrary tactics. The best morning routine is determined the day before, the week before, and the year before by mastering the basics.
What I mean by that: When I wake up and have a comfortable morning, then run to work, I open my calendar. What I see was decided weeks and months beforehand:
- I know what I’m working on because every Monday looks the same, every Tuesday looks the same, etc.
- I’ve adapted my work to what works for me. For example, I’m more creative in the mornings, so I plan on writing time. I usually phone in the afternoons.
- I keep my own commitments. If it’s on the calendar, it’ll be ready. If it’s not on the calendar, it isn’t. Do you know that we don’t “try” to brush our teeth every morning? We just do it. The same goes for a schedule: once it’s planned, I’ll honor it. It’s become a habit – and you can build the same habit!
It is much better to be conscious about what your morning will be like. If you want to turn around and check out Instagram (like me) this is great. The first thing I read is that a 17 year old tells me that I am wrong about investing. Good morning, @ crypt0_4_lyfe7291. Thank you for your contributions to the investment literature.
Be realistic about your time and energy
Check your calendar for tomorrow. Have you thought about how your energy fluctuates throughout the day? Does your calendar have the 3 most important things to do? Is it realistic – does it include the time to use the bathroom and eat and just get out?
These are far more important than decisions like how many ounces of water you will drink. They are also tougher, which is why we avoid them. I believe in tackling the big wins in life and not chasing small decisions that are ultimately meaningless.
3 questions to ask yourself when designing your morning routine
- What would your perfect morning look like? Think broadly. You could take your dog for a walk in the park, brew the perfect cup of coffee, or watch TV for an hour. You decide!
- What are all the reasons this will never work? Put them down on paper. I know, I know. You are not a morning person. Your boss won’t let you start work at 9:30 a.m. Your kitchen is too cluttered. You don’t have the right equipment to make an espresso. Write down all the reasons.
- What are all the reasons for you could so that it works? Now turn back: if you absolutely have to, what? could Do you do anything to create your perfect morning? Maybe you can come to an agreement with your boss about your start time. You could buy an espresso machine. You could even get closer to a park. Think big and don’t limit yourself.
As you ask yourself these questions, you may find that your perfect tomorrow is a lot closer than you thought.