The term “morning routine” is a buzzword and you may be expecting me to tell you about ice baths, meditation and keeping your phone in another room while you sleep. But those things are not part of my routines. “And why is the word ‘routines’ plural in that last sentence”, you ask? Because the one critical change to make right now for your morning routine is to create and follow an EVENING routine!
Maybe I am an anomaly in the world of people who follow these strict routines in that I do not formally meditate. Sitting in silence makes me antsy. But the goal with meditation is to focus on the present. Oneness. And I can do that. Whether one achieves oneness through meditation, exercise or pretending that they’re flying… it is the benefit of that process that matters, not the vehicle.
And for those that do meditate and take ice baths and all of that, good for you. A lot of people who follow those routines are super successful. Some of them are my friends! I am just saying that my life hasn’t required those practices to be successful and, if those things don’t work for you either, it’s okay. Find the regimen that has a positive measurable impact on your life, track it and adjust to improve as necessary.
I also need to communicate that I am not a doctor. Before you make any big changes involving your health, do lots of research and talk to a smart doctor. I was pretty hard on my body in my early days and I have researched, read and worked hard to improve since then. Below is the current iteration and the rewards over the years have been huge for me.
My Evening Routine
3 Hours Before Sleep – Food is done for the day. No alcohol. I recently started taking 400mg of Magnesium Glycinate after dinner and it has helped me sleep better. My heart beats more smoothly. Tidy up. Make things as organized and as relaxing as possible. I feel very relaxed in hotels and I think it is because they are (visually) immaculate and smell clean.
2 Hours Before Sleep – Have a decaf tea. My favorite is this Douglas Fir tea. How can one not enjoy winding down while drinking Xmas trees? This window of time is when I will review social media, (avoiding the news or anything controversial), update my goals and glance at my calendar so there are no surprises the next day, week or month. On that subject, my phone is on and next to me at all times. I am not one who turns my phone off or needs to be away from it. I like to be connected. When it’s time to leave my phone alone, I have no problem doing that.
1 Hour Before Sleep – Brush teeth. I read physical non-fiction, philosophy and history books; sometimes Wikipedia on my phone. If my phone is on at this stage, I will have “Night Shift” mode turned on so that it removes the blue light. It is critical for me to turn off my brain as much as I can. Any ideas that pop into my head I will add to the Notes app in my phone to avoid getting too far into them before bed. This works really well for me. Say good night to my phone.
Sleep – This is 10pm. Say three things I am grateful for. Lights out and I go to sleep. If I cannot sleep quickly, I close my eyes and pretend to be floating over my bed. I will then fly, smoothly through walls, to the nearest body of water and continue flying about ten feet above the water. This is my version of meditation. I find that once I get near a cold climate, I fall asleep pretty quickly. There are nights when I struggle to fall asleep and those are usually nights when I didn’t closely follow my morning routine that day. Or I traded my evening routine for a bottle of Malbec. Bad Jim.
My Morning Routine
End Sleep – For me this is 6am and hopefully I clocked 7-8 hours of quality sleep. I set an alarm, but rarely does my alarm wake before I do. I grab my phone and do a quick email and social media scan to see if anything major is going on. Next, I will review my goals and schedule for the day.
15 Minutes After Sleep – Sit up, stretch my neck, stand up and brush teeth. Slam a glass of cold water and get moving. Walk, ride a bike, do something more intense. Most mornings I choose to do a 45-minute wog (walk + jog) and listen to a podcast. Some days I will do a 25 minute HIIT workout at home on an app. Mostly body weight, but sometimes a pull-up bar or an exercise band. I am not a believer in lengthy exercise practices.
1 Hour After Sleep – Cool shower, get dressed. Drink a low-carb protein shake and take a shot of extra virgin olive oil with a multi-vitamin. Save the other multi-vitamin serving for lunch time. Two drops of vitamins D3/K2. I don’t eat solid food in the morning, but I don’t skip the consumption of nutrients completely. I consider myself a 16:8 intermittent faster, although that’s probably inaccurate, since I do have a low-carb protein shake and EVO. Solid foods only between 11:30am and 7:30pm.
2 Hours After Sleep – Usually sit at the table while my son takes way too long to eat his breakfast. In this window, I glance at my Mint app to make sure my finances are in order and check how the markets are moving. Will review my websites and stat’s. I am not a coffee drinker. Caffeine hasn’t been my friend for several years. I actually enjoy the smell of coffee, but usually feel bad after I consume it. I have a similar relationship with fried chicken.
2.5 Hours After Sleep – Go outside to take a few deep breaths and then launch confidently into the day. All the calendars and goal lists in the world cannot prepare you for what the day might bring, because there is always the unexpected. By having strong routines, your mind and body will be equipped to deal with whatever happens.
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Photo Credit: New Year’s Eve Sunset (12/31/2019) from Jim Miller’s Instagram