Dreams come true when you pursue them with passion, planning and a kick a** morning routine. Really! What you do in the morning will determine your entire day. And believe me, trying to redeem that time later in the day is nearly impossible! So do yourself a favor today: commit to a morning routine that will set you up for whatever life is going to throw at you when you jump into reality.
There are vast numbers of videos, books, articles and studies on the efficacy of the habits we practice each morning (aka our morning routine). TheSleepJudge surveyed over 1,000 people and found that those that had a morning routine earned on average $12,500 more annually compare to those that took a more casual approach to the morning hours.
Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander, co-authored “My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired” and run an ongoing study on mymorningroutine.com. In a recent Forbes interview, Spall was asked why morning routines are so important. He said, “When you start your morning with intention you can bring your morning “wins” with you into the rest of the day.” After “practicing” a morning routine for the past several years, I could not agree with Spall more.
My morning routine has grown to a lengthy 3 hours that begins at 5:00 a.m. But, I’m just sharing the following 5 elements that have become my non-negotiables. In other words, these are the key players that keep me on my game, although I do accomplish more than these 5 things each morning.
Stretch (5 minutes)
Watch a dog when it first wakes up. They stretch. They always stretch. So, I do as the dogs do. I stretch for 5 minutes: beginning with my neck and shoulders. Then I work my way downward until I reach my toes. I set this apart from my regular exercise program. This movement has a different purpose: to get my body in tune with my mind and spirit. I can literally get this done before I leave the bathroom. Simple!
Mind Dump (5 minutes)
For most of us, the first thing we do in the morning is head to the potty. If not, you’re not drinking enough water. But for the rest of us normal folks, eliminating waste physically is step one. Eliminating mental waste is step two. I grab a journal set my timer for 5 minutes. I write in complete stream of thought, trying to capture the first thing I had on my mind when I opened my eyes and let it stream from there. I don’t bother with punctuation or format. I just dump my thoughts out on paper.
This turned out to be the game changer for me. Of course, I didn’t realize it until after I had skipped it a few times and my head was a jumbled mess. Also, going back and finding patterns of what I’m thinking about is very helpful for me to recognize areas that I need to pay closer attention to.
Read The Bible (5 minutes)
I try to protect this time with everything I have because these words are the most powerful words ever to be put to paper. Scripture is the living marrow to our spirit and apart from it we can do nothing. I approach this in several different ways: a reading schedule, a bible study, an app that helps keep me on task, or my favorite is when I just flip open my Bible and blindly point and begin reading. Sometimes I just need the Holy Spirit to lead me in this.
It’s amazing what 5 minutes in God’s word does for me. One, it gives my mind a place to return to during the day and think upon the things from above and not below. That alone elevates my daily experience and alters my state of mind. Two, this is the nuclear power that makes possible, the impossible. It’s the primer to the real deal that comes next.
Be Still (5 minutes)
When I close my Bible, I sit still for 5 minutes. No joke, this is the hardest part of my routine! So I practice…daily! I allow my spirit to be open to the presence of the Lord. Offering Him all of the thoughts I dumped, all of the thoughts the scriptures inspired and all of the hopes I have for the day and days to come. This time is priceless and words are not sufficient to explain the powerful effect it has on my day after having fellowshipped with the maker of the universe. He literally lives for this moment and He blows my mind more days than not. Add this to your morning routine for one month. I dare ya!
Touch My Dream (10 minutes)
The moment you’ve been waiting for. The title of this article makes a promise that dreams come to life when you level up your morning routine with these 5 things. If you are in the beginning phases of considering bringing a dream you have inside of you into reality, it begins with 10 minutes a day. When I say “touch your dream” I mean do something, anything that is directly related to the topic of your dream.
If you want to be a writer, then you can read an article about how to begin writing in the genre you’re considering. If you want to open a retail store, then begin research on small business loans. If you want to go back to school, spend 10 minutes researching possible schools/degrees.
Give your dreams just 10 minutes to start with. As momentum begins to build and your dream begins to take shape, you’ll naturally invest more time in the vision. The key is to keep touching it every single day.
This is where I land and spend most of my time until I have to start real life. Starting with 10 minutes a day and now I’m up to 2.5 hours per day. No, I don’t take weekends off. Because this is the stuff that brings me to life. It’s not like a job that I should rest from. It’s the fire that makes me get up every morning. Every. Single. Morning.
Free Printable Below to help get you started.
Bonus: Game Changer Habit!
The hardest part about mornings is getting started. 35% of those surveyed on mymorningroutine.com hit the snooze! The habit that changed that for me was putting my phone in the next room and using it as my alarm. I use the app Alarmy which has several ways to help you NOT go back to bed. The setting I chose is a math equation. So in order to turn off the alarm, I have to solve an equation. This wakes my brain up.
Before I sit down with my coffee, I’ve already completed my stretching and my body is waking up. I grab my water and coffee and jump right in to dumping in my journal. This wakes up my mind. The Bible reading and Stillness wakes my spirit. Then I touch my dream and these days it’s for several hours in the morning (not just 10 minutes).
What if You’re Not a Morning Person
Don’t knock it ’til ya try it. And just try one thing. If I had to choose that one thing, it would be NOT to hit the snooze. If that’s not hard for you then move on to making your bed. Once you master that, add a gratitude journal. Build up slowly. Consistency is more important than anything.
How To Get Your Routine Started
Keep it simple and short to start with. Jumping in with a 2 hour ritual is a sure fire way to fail by day 3. Start with one or two things that you will commit to do for a week and see how it goes. Here are some ideas to get you started: a gratitude practice, read a book, power breakfast, brainstorm project ideas, make your bed, do 10 push-ups or a short self-care activity (teeth whitening, paint your nails, do a face mask or deep hair conditioning). Have fun with it.
I believe everyone has a gift to offer this world. I also believe that the worries of life have a way of burying those dreams under a heavy pile of debris and a lot of us will forget about them. For me, my morning routine gave space and time to resurrect those passions and desires that God Himself placed inside of me. The ultimate tragedy is when people live their whole lives and never offer their gift(s). Don’t be a tragedy.