Three years ago I made a gargantuan shift — the shift from a reactive morning to a proactive one.
I’d spent over a decade lodged in a pattern of staying up hours past when I was tired so I could crawl into bed so exhausted I didn’t have to face my anxiety. I’d scroll eBay for things I was never going to buy until my eyes couldn’t focus, then stumble my way to the bedroom and pass out.
In the morning, I’d snooze my alarms until the absolute last minute then jump out of bed, heart racing, and make a mad dash to get to work on time.
If there is only one thing you do to improve your life, please make it this — establish a morning routine.
And within that morning routine, if it accomplishes nothing else, make it to give yourself enough breathing room in the morning to get to work without stressing.
There are so many powerful aspects of a morning routine, but if you can just do this — wake up early enough that you can relax in the morning — the rest will start to fall into place naturally.
I had been waking up at 8:25 to get to work by 9. And I shifted to waking up at 6:30 and getting to work around 9:30.
My routine looked like this, and I got really good at it:
6:30: Wake up
6:35: Out the door to walk or run
9:00: Hop on the bike to ride to work
9:30: Arrive at work rested, alert, excited, and ready to hit the ground running
This routine eventually became fully automatic. I can do it without thinking, without effort, without stalling.
But I’m abandoning it.
And it’s scary. I have this routine that’s super solid and trustworthy and it’s tempting to hold onto it indefinitely. But that routine was created to solve a problem that no longer exists. Three years ago I was an anxious mess with shot adrenals, a bad back, and no sense of the future I wanted to create. I needed to get my physical and mental health in order, stat.
I’m in a different place now (literally and metaphorically) with different goals and desires. I would call that first morning routine my remedial routine.
I created it to get my basic health in order, although I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at the time. My basic health is in fantastic order now, so a three hour morning routine is no longer necessary, and more importantly it’s no longer serving my highest good.
So I’ve crafted a new routine, and I’m in the process of making it a habit now. I spend about an hour in the morning attending to my physical, mental, and spiritual well being before I start working for the day. Now that I work for myself, I wake up earlier and start working earlier than I ever did when I was collecting a paycheck. And I enjoy it.
There’s something magic about finishing all of the difficult and meaningful things you have on your list for the day before lunch.
But creating this new routine is proving to be a challenge. I’m back in the space of being a beginner and it’s uncomfortable.
This is the process as I understand it. You set out to master something, and at the beginning it’s uncomfortable and difficult. In the middle it tests your resolve, gets boring, frustrating, you question whether it’s worth it. And eventually you master it and it’s easy and effortless. Which is when it’s time to move on and pick something new and head back into the space of being an uncomfortable beginner again.
My long, supportive morning routine served its purpose well. And now it’s time for something new. As the saying goes “what got you here won’t get you there.”
What’s something in your life that was absolutely necessary when you first started doing it, and is now getting in the way of your next evolution?
I challenge you to dream up a big dream for what the next version is, and then step into action to make it real.
Ready for Nourishing Mornings? Maximum is the only business coach that combines systems engineering theory with emotional intelligence practices to help creative entrepreneurs achieve financial freedom in a world where it seems like you have to choose between happiness and security. Get the free Weekly Planning Checklist as the first step in creating the next version of you.