Personal experience and simple advice.
Morning rituals are a popular topic among those interested in self-development. Usually, everyone either already has a ritual or is trying to start it or dream that they have enough endurance.
Productivity gurus promise life-changing. Sounds too good to be true, you say. I decided to share my story and my own ritual because I have been following it for over half a year.
This is what my morning looks like:
- 5:00 – I wake up and write in my diary.
- 5:30 am – shower and brush my teeth.
- 5:40 am – moisturize my skin, dress, make my bed, put on sunscreen.
- 5:50 am – meditate.
- 6:00 – I’m writing.
- 8:00 am driving to work.
Yes, I have a three hour morning ritual. I follow it every day, only on weekends. Instead of going to work, I continue to write, read, or do sports. On weekdays, I have breakfast at work, and although I am hungry earlier, I don’t because fasting a little is good.
I didn’t create this ritual because I wanted to be more productive. It’s just that my life was complete chaos. I needed stability, and I forced myself to write in my diary right after waking up. Then I decided that I would write a little. Then I wanted to do more and started waking up at five. Gradually, the ritual turned into the current three-hour monster.
I did not plan to constantly live in this mode, but after a few months I did not want to return to the previous chaotic version.
I used to go to bed and get up when I wanted to and ran to work. I wrote little, telling myself that I was in crisis. Now I write every day, regardless of fatigue or lack of inspiration. I do it just by following my routine.
Why is it needed at all
This will teach you to control your decisions.
In my opinion, the most important part of the morning rituals is not the actual actions you perform. There is hardly anything in my ritual that can drastically change my life, except perhaps meditation. What is important is the fact that I decided to do them in this order. And I do it every morning.
The morning ritual forces you to be disciplined. By repeating it over and over again, you train your ability to follow the decisions you make.
I’m used to living with a type of thinking in which you only react to emerging events. For example, you put off the alarm, and then you jump up and rush to work. And with the morning ritual, you start thinking proactively: you decide how to spend your time, and you realize it. And this new thinking for me began to manifest itself not only in the morning.
Now I rarely get stuck on Netflix, YouTube, or Twitch like I used to. Of course, I still watch the videos. I don’t fall through them for hours anymore. Now I watch one or two twenty-minute episodes of some comedy a day, that’s all. It took me six months to watch The Big Bang Theory. I spent my time on something else and am grateful for that.
This will reduce the number of decisions made.
If you repeat the actions from the morning ritual long enough, they will become automatic. I used to be an author with a chronic writing crisis. It was difficult for me to “decide” to write something. I often put it off and go passively consume content. Now, as soon as the clock shows six in the morning, I write.
I don’t decide whether to write or not write — I write because it’s part of my routine. And I don’t stop until eight.
This approach saves energy for more important tasks. It helps me tune in too deep thought, rather than wasting my mental energy on trifles like doing in the morning.
How to create your own morning ritual
Structure what you already do
I didn’t do the three-hour morning ritual in one go but started small. Organized what I used to do in the morning. Basically, all I need to do is get up on time, brush my teeth, get dressed, make my bed, and leave the house.
Think back to what you usually do, and arrange these tasks in some order. In which one, it doesn’t matter if only one case does not depend on another. For example, first, have breakfast, then brush your teeth. The main thing now is to make a decision and follow it.
Start getting up earlier.
If you don’t want to rush in the morning, you will have to wake up early. How much depends on how fast you are going and what you want to do. Even 10 minutes is enough for a start. That’s where I started. Before the introduction of the ritual, I got up at 7:50. In 10 minutes, I got ready and ran to work. I did well, but every time I was stressed. It was necessary to constantly look at the clock so as not to hesitate – life is so-so.
Consider what you are going to add to your routine.
Let’s say you want to meditate. Decide if you will do this with an instructor or sit in silence, use the timer or not. Think about what position you will sit in and how much time you will spend on meditation.
If you’ve never tried before, don’t try to meditate for long periods of time right away. Choose a length of time that will be easy for you day after day. Let it be 3 minutes, no big deal. Gradually add a couple of minutes until you get to a time that is comfortable for you.
How to make it take root
Don’t just change the order
And certainly, never change it out of laziness. Remember, your routine is a disciplined exercise. Find the optimal sequence of things and stick to it. Exception – you realized that something needs to be swapped for convenience.
Add one new case at a time.
Some will advise you to do stretching in the morning. Others will say to write down your thoughts in a diary. Others will suggest meditating. Don’t add it all at once. You became interested in morning rituals because your usual morning did not suit you in some way. Think about what exactly you are missing and add that first.
Maybe you sit a lot and feel that your muscles need to work. Or you live in a constant rush, but you want to think and analyze your feelings calmly. Or you are stressed and want to restore your balance. Choose what you need most now.
Do not overestimate your capabilities, otherwise you will soon abandon a new ritual.
When I decided to write in the morning, I planned for two hours. However, going from zero to two hours was tough, almost impossible. I failed. Almost gave up in the beginning. Old, I would give up. But I decided to start again, only with less – 30 minutes. And then he tried to think not in minutes, but words and decided to write a thousand words. It was only necessary to reach this mark.
I usually did it in an hour, but what I wrote was not good for publication. The next goal was to write a thousand words, which are not ashamed to publish. I gradually came to what I am doing now – I write for two hours (now I have many more than a thousand words coming out).
Improve what doesn’t work
Repeating the same actions repeatedly, you will surely notice that some little things can be improved. Do this.
For example, at first, I meditated with an instructor but realized that this was not suitable for me. I didn’t like listening to the same recordings and having to choose from a variety of options. One thing caused me stress. Now I am meditating in silence. For someone else, it may be quite the opposite. Listen to yourself and consider your own characteristics.
Gradually begin to expand the ritual.
When it comes to rituals, longer doesn’t mean better. But if you feel like doing more in the morning or trying something new, expand your ritual. Add new habits one at a time and see how they affect your life.
I started by writing in my diary, then waking up at five, which allowed me to write. At first, I wrote in my pajamas, but I began to notice that I was worried if I could finish and get ready for work on time. So I rearranged the order and began to shower and dress, and only then write. This relieved me of unnecessary anxiety while writing.
Then he added meditation. I already meditated in the evenings, but I wanted to see if the morning meditation effect would be. It turned out that after it, I write even more calmly. To some, all these small permutations may seem nonsense, but such a gradual process of repetition and experimentation suits me.
Don’t be afraid of failure.
If you do something long enough, someday you will definitely fail. It simply cannot be otherwise.
Every morning is an opportunity to fail. This happens to me almost every day.
I don’t always get up at exactly five, and sometimes it turns out at 5:07 or 5:15. It takes me a few minutes to write. It seems to be a trifle, but I start to get angry with myself and think that, in this case, it is not worth writing at all.
I also want to not pick up my phone until eight in the morning for anything other than meditation. I don’t want to go to social media until I finish writing. But I go to bed at nine in the evening, and my friends write later, so by the morning, many notifications accumulate. And, naturally, there is a temptation to watch them immediately after meditation.
It seems that these are all minor failures, but for me, they are fundamental. One of my goals is to be more disciplined, but it turns out that I always fail. This makes you want to give up.
Do not give up
But I still don’t give up. Every morning, I try repeatedly, and when I get used to it, I raise the bar. I used to write for only 30 minutes, remember? And now for two hours.
Failure will take away your motivation. Lest they break you, accept the fact that they are inevitable, and keep moving forward. Perhaps at first, you will get only 50% of what you planned. For example, you might only be strong enough for half the workout you wanted to do. Consider this a new starting point. Tomorrow does 51%, then 52%, 53%, and so on.
I have a long morning ritual, but I am not a robot that does everything perfectly and does not feel emotion.
I wake up in the dark, and sometimes I am ready to cry from how I do not want to crawl out from under the covers. When I meditate, I have thoughts of getting up and climbing back into bed. Before I start writing, I panic, looking at a blank sheet. Words don’t always come to me, and I start thinking about giving up writing.
I often fail. And unless you are a Buddhist monk, they are waiting for you too. Even so, the morning ritual is worth it.
What will you end up with
My life has changed a lot since I began to practice the morning ritual. I will not say that she became better precisely from the actions that I perform. But I’m sure the ritual itself influenced me.
For the first time in my life, I became disciplined.
I didn’t grow up like that. I did what I want and when I want. He did not demand anything of himself and wasted a lot of time. I played computer games and watched YouTube videos every free minute. But I’ve written more in the past six months than in my entire life. Recently I finished draft versions of the novel and story. I have never created such great works before.
Also read: How to Live When You Don’t Want Anything.
Naturally, the morning ritual did not solve all my problems. I still have conflicts at work, difficult relationships, and days when I feel like wrapping myself in a blanket and doing nothing. But he created an environment for me in which I cope better with the rest of my life. He made me proactive.
I love my morning ritual, but I will definitely change something in it when my goals change. What I am doing now is helping me write. Perhaps one day I will give up on this and decide to play sports in the morning. In any case, the morning ritual will help me do what is important to me.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker