Win the Morning, Win the Day
The trouble with routines is that even if you don’t make them, you still have them. Sure, it’s possible that you just naturally gravitate toward yoga as the sun rises, a well-balanced breakfast, giving your loved one a passionate smooch on the way out the door, a brilliant brainstorm, and then diving into a diligently prioritized to-do list. Then again, maybe it’s slurping Fruit Loops while scanning email and showing up at work 10 minutes late.
In his latest book, Tools of Titans, Tim Ferris explores the habits of wildly successful people. Spanning nearly 200 interviews, Ferris pulls overlapping rituals and routines that seem universal. Though some are quirky or extreme, setting and abiding by intentional morning habits are one of those overarching themes among accomplished people.
“If you win the morning, you win the day” – Tim Ferris
He suggests several ways to start your day, but these two are too easy to ignore:
- Make your bed. Ferris argues that no matter how your day plays out, coming home to a made bed makes you feel more successful. In this famous commencement speech, Navy Seal, Admiral McRaven agrees: “If you want to change the world, start out by making your bed.”
- Meditate 10-15 minutes. Personally, 10 extra minutes in bed feeling like I’m accomplishing something is a no-brainer. I have been using the Buddhify app for years. It offers a variety of guided meditations and is a $5 investment in sanity.
This habit particularly intrigued me: Ask yourself some daily critical questions.
- In the morning ask: what three things you’re grateful for and what three things you can do to make today great
- In the evening ask: what amazing things happened today and what could have gone better
Rather than journal, I enlisted a buddy for an experiment in swapping morning/evening questions. I knew that having him on board would make me more accountable, but there were some additional benefits that I had not anticipated:
- His gratitude list made mine double. ‘Oh yeah!’ I’d think as I read “mobility” or “a cloudless sky”
- I really thought about what I could do to make the day great, because I felt like if I said it, I had better mean it.
- We became better at finding amazing occurrences in the day and formed a habit of looking for things to be excited about. Sometimes we had to share something mid-day because waiting until evening felt too long.
- “Amazing” became less grandiose. On our first day, we both booked flights to exotic locations. But a week in, our amazing things were as simple as thoughtful interactions, good meals, or mini breakthroughs. Their relative size didn’t make them feel any less celebrated though.
- Our friendship gained depth. He started to feel almost more like a teammate. We both became a little more vulnerable, and his wins, though I was not directly impacted, felt like they were mine as well.
One more thing to consider:
- Don’t copy and paste a routine. Borrow what inspires you and add activities that make you believe that your day more productive, or juicier because of it. If that means a Risky Business-style underwear dance through the living room, I certainly won’t stop you.
January 19, 2017
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