The sun has not caught me in bed for 50 years. – Thomas Jefferson
Travel And Morning Routine
If having a morning routine is hard enough, try having a morning routine on the road.
Sometimes you don’t know where you’ll be waking up, let alone what your routine will be when you open your eyes.
The truth is I found it difficult to build a healthy morning routine while I was travelling. I was moving from place to place every few days. The environment, food and people were continuously changing and I could never get into a good rhythm that served me.
After much frustration, I decided to find a permanent base for a while.
By stopping moving, I’ve managed to find a lot more consistency in my life, and slowly but surely, I’ve managed to build up a routine that works for me and helps kick-start my day in the best possible way.
I want to use the rest of the article as an opportunity to explore morning routine and provide some helpful tips on creating your own.
A Little Bit About My Routine
Luckily, I’ve always been a morning person, and enjoy waking before sunrise.
My routine always starts the night before. I’ll get into bed around 10pm, turn off all technology and use this time to journal and write down 3 actionable goals that I want to achieve for the next day.
I won’t set an alarm and I’ll fall to sleep no later than 11pm, making sure I get 7 hours of sleep at least (this is my body’s optimal).
I rise between 5 30 – 6 00AM and start the day with a glass of lemon water. After that I’ll spend an hour exercising. That could involve going to the gym, doing yoga or going for a 5-10km run.
I’ll come back, shower and have breakfast, then read something inspiring for the next 30 minutes.
My routine usually takes around 2 hours in total, and by 8am I am in the zone and ready to start working on the day’s hardest and most important task first.
Advice For Maximising Your Morning Routine
1 – Your morning routine starts the night before – Yes, before you go to bed start planning for the next day. Spend 10 minutes writing out the 3 most important actionable goals for the day and consciously visualise yourself achieving these goals. This is an incredibly useful exercise because your brain will process the information as you sleep. It’s also a good idea to get the menial tasks out the way in the evening: make your breakfast/lunch, get your clothes ready for the gym, reply to emails.
2 – Don’t set an alarm – I’ve been practicing not setting an alarm for the last 6 months and I feel a lot more energised because of it. Setting an alarm can knock you out of your natural sleep pattern, especially if it rings while you are in a deep sleep. Instead, log your sleep for a week then work out on average how much you need and minus that from the time you want to wake up. This will indicate, approximately, the time you need to work on conditioning yourself to go to bed each night. It won’t come easy, and you might fear oversleeping and missing appointments, but trust me, with practice this works.
3 – Join the 5AM Club – Most people rise at 8AM, but get ahead of the rest of the pack by joining the 5AM club. 3 hours a day, 7 days a week, works out at over 1000 hours per year. For me the morning hours are the golden hours because there’s much less distractions when everybody else is sleeping. If you’re not a “morning person” and find it difficult to get up early, then perhaps something at the other end isn’t right and needs changing. You need to start going to bed earlier, and if you want to get up at 5am, that might mean going to bed at 10pm at the latest.
4 – Drink Lemon Water – Lemon water is a really refreshing way to start the day. I tend to mix 2 lemons into a litre of water, and take it to the gym with me. If you don’t have lemons, water is fine by itself. Try to avoid coffee though. It’s a stimulant and will leave you feeling groggy by the afternoon.
5 – Start With Exercise – It’s crucial to get the blood pumping first thing in the morning. I like to start the day with exercise because it shocks my body, wakes me up and gives me that alertness for the rest of the day. Whether it’s a yoga session, a 5km run or a session at the gym, it’s said that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise in the morning is sufficient to get the body working. If exercise in the morning is new to you, even a 5-minute walk around the block is useful. To start with, it’s creating the habit that’s important, not the intensity.
6 – Read/Watch Something Inspiring – Read something or watch something that inspires you for about 30 minutes. I like to watch motivational speeches or read adventurous travel books. You could also do “morning pages” and free write for 30 minutes with the first thoughts that come into your head.
7 – Ice Cold Shower – I have tried this once, and admittedly it was extremely hard. Famously, this is a morning ritual of Tony Robbins. Apparently, he takes a cold shower to shock his system and give him that much needed alertness as quickly as possible. So here’s the challenge, can you bear 5 minutes a day in a freezing cold shower?
8 – Don’t check emails or social media – It can be tempting to check emails and social media first thing, but refrain from doing so. If it’s urgent, you won’t be contacted by email or social media. The messages can wait until you’ve completed your routine. It takes around 24 minutes to find full concentration on a particular task. Perhaps allocate one 30-minute block where you check your emails and social media. Check and send. Then turn of notifications for the rest of the day. Bulk check once more in the evening if you desire.
9 – Have an accountability partner – Having someone to rely on for my morning routine was crucial for turning my morning routine into a habit. If you go by yourself, you’ll find it very easy to convince yourself out of doing the morning routine. However, having someone else there creates accountability. That could be a friend who wants to build a similar morning routine, or it could also be this website, where you pay a predetermined amount of money for not sticking to what you say you would do.
10 – Kill The Hardest And Most Important Tasks First – As Mark Twain famously said, eat the frog first thing in the morning. When you sit down at your desk to start the day, always start with the hardest task that falls at the top of your priority list. Don’t ease into you day, because your brain power diminishes as the day goes on.
Don’t take the ideas here as fact. The most important thing is that you create a personalised morning routine that works for you. It’s not going to be perfect straight away. Experiment and adjust as you go.
The most crucial thing is that you consistently turn up each morning. This is vital for turning your morning routine into a habit that sticks.
Record your progress and don’t forget to reward yourself for all the small wins along the way.
And last of all, if you can’t find an accountability partner, I’ll be your partner. Get in touch here.
Thanks for reading!
All the best, Daniel Beaumont, 9th February 2017
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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