Morning and Evening Routines That Will Set You Up for Daily Success
You wake up an hour before work and then spend that hour rushing to get ready. You shower as fast as you can, get the kids ready, grab some breakfast, say goodbye to everyone before running out the door.
You get to work and feel overwhelmed from the trip on public transport and before the week is over, you’re burned out and your goals slip.
So, how do you pull yourself out of this? It’s actually quite simple, a routine.
A morning and evening routine sets you up for success. They help you achieve more, think clearly, and complete the work that actually matters.
They also keep you from stumbling through your day.
It takes discipline.
Here are 12 morning and evening routines you can do to create your “perfect ideal day”.
Habits and Creating Routines
A routine is a sequence of actions that you do repeatedly.
Brushing your teeth before going to bed each night is a routine. Waking up at 5:00 AM every morning and doing some exercise is a routine. Checking your Facebook page whilst travelling to work every morning is a routine. They’re all actions that happen again and again, a rhythm in your daily life.
Helpful or not, every routine is powerful.
Routines Put You on Autopilot
We are all creatures of habit and can use that to accomplish whatever we want.
In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, Charles Duhigg details how habits put our brains into an automatic state where little or no willpower is required.
It works like this:
Something happens that serves as a cue to your brain, putting it into “automatic” mode. A simple example is waking up. When I wake up, my brain immediately knows to get out of bed and drink a glass of water. This habit is ingrained in my brain.
Execute the routine. This is where I open the fridge, locate the 1-litre bottle of water that I filled the night before, pour the water into my favourite glass, sit at the dining table in my favourite position and drink the water.
Reap the rewards of the routine. The act of drinking the cold water reinforces the routine so that the next morning I repeat it again.
The small repeated actions can have an exponential effect. By implementing routines in the morning and evening, you can prime yourself for maximum productivity each day.
Morning Routines to Help You Start the Day Off Right
Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins have morning routines that include meditation, while the routines of others include starting the day off with a fresh cup of coffee.
Here are some of the best ways to start your day and prepare for success.
1. Rise Early
Many high achievers rise early to prepare for the day. In those early hours, they can execute their routines while the rest of the world is asleep.
Consider these examples:
- Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wakes at 5:45 to exercise and eat a proper breakfast.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 4:30 so he can send emails and be at the gym by 5:00.
They’ve trained themselves to wake up early for the benefits an early morning rise can bring.
This includes an increase in productivity with fewer distractions, greater creativity because you can work when your mind is fresh, and less stress if you use that extra time for meditation.
2. Make Your Bed
If there’s one habit you should adopt to improve your life, it’s making your bed every day. That, at least, is the advice from Navy Seal Admiral William H. McCraven:
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.
Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
3. Recite Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements. They are a way of visualizing the good things that will come to you that day and helps you to overcome negative self-talk.
In his book The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) , Hal Elrod says:
When you actively design and write out your affirmations to be in alignment with what you want to accomplish and who you need to be to accomplish it and commit to repeating them daily (ideally out loud) they immediately make an impression on your subconscious mind. Your affirmations go to work to transform the way you think and feel so you can overcome your limiting beliefs and behaviors and replace them with those you need to succeed.
Some simple affirmations you could use are:
- I will meet great people today
- I am the best business coach
- I am achieving my “big hairy goal”
Your aim is to affirm and visualize the things you want to happen. As you focus on these things, you begin to believe that you can and will achieve them, which then enables you to take action on them.
Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement.
Exercising in the morning increases blood flow, releases endorphins, and strengthens your body. It prepares you for the coming day, increases your overall energy levels, and helps you remain in optimal health.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise is key in fighting depression and anxiety, and a Finnish study suggested that exercise is even correlated with increased wealth.
Implementing a daily routine of exercise will prepare you for maximum success throughout the day. A brisk walk or a quick yoga session can get you going.
The food you consume in the morning has a significant effect on your ongoing performance and it should be the best food possible.
Stay away from high-sugar, high-fat breakfasts and instead eat a healthier choice low-fat smoothie.
6. Have a Cold Shower
Take a cold shower each morning.
Why a cold shower? Because it can increase blood flow, burn away unhealthy fat, and release dopamine into your body.
This is why Tony Robbins plunges into 57 degree water every morning. He’s convinced that it is essential for maximum productivity.
A morning routine takes the stress out of the start of the day and puts you on the best path.
You should customize your morning routine for your own preferences. I personally use Hal Elrod’s SAVERS method: silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing.
7. Evening Routines That Set the Tone for the Next Day
The close of each day is just as important as the start. Implementing an evening routine, you prepare yourself for the next morning, recharge with a restful night, and minimize the resistance you encounter in getting things done.
8. Prepare your goals for the next day
Determining your objectives for the coming day does two things.
First, it allows you to identify your most important tasks in advance before all the pressures begin. The first few hours of each day should be spent completing your most challenging task. This idea has been given various names, such as ” eating the frog ” and ” slaying the dragon
Second, it allows your brain to begin thinking about those tasks as you fall asleep. In their book Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life , authors Jason Selk, Tom Bartow, and Rudy Matthew say:
Identifying daily priorities might seem like an obvious or insignificant step to take, but writing your most important tasks down the previous night turns your subconscious mind loose while you sleep and frees you from worrying about being unprepared. You’ll probably find that you wake up with great ideas related to the tasks or conversations that you hadn’t even considered!
9. Reflect on the day’s achievements
It can be easy to lose sight of small victories after a long day. Take a few moments at the end of each day to reflect on and celebrate your wins puts things into the proper perspective and gives you encouragement for the coming day. It helps you overcome the discouragement that often comes with setbacks.
In addition to asking at the start of his day “What good shall I do this day?”, Benjamin Franklin asked every evening “What good have I done today?”.
You can do this in a variety of ways, including writing things down in a notebook or an app on your phone.
10. Clear your head
It’s easy to take your work to bed, making it difficult to fall asleep as you work through job-related problems. Clearing your head before sleep allows you to put aside the challenges of the day and ready your mind to shut down.
There are numerous ways to do this, including:
- Light reading
- Play Tetris ( for productivity!
Do a “brain dump” of all the thoughts in your head in a journal before you go to bed.
Your goal is to engage your mind in something completely non-work-related.
11. Prepare for the next morning
To minimize the amount of thinking you need to do in the morning, take time to prepare things. Pick out the clothes you’ll wear, prepare the food you’ll eat, and organize any work-related materials you need to bring. If you’ll be going to the gym, lay out your workout clothes and water.
The less time and mental energy you expend on inconsequential things, the more you’ll have for the things that matter.
12. Tidy up
Waking up to a messy home isn’t the most motivating way to start your day. Without regular sessions cleaning up and putting things away, you’ll find your place quickly in disarray.
Spend just 10 to 20 minutes a night tidying up will help reduce stress in the mornings and help you avoid lengthy cleaning sessions on the weekends.
If there’s only one thing you do,clean and shine your sink. Like making your bed in the morning, this one task will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Also, if you have children, you know the importance of setting up solid routines with them. They can help out too!
Very few people practice proper sleep hygiene and their sleep suffers as a result.
- Stick to the same sleep and wake schedule
- Minimize blue light from screens (this can be done using F.lux on your computer and “Night Mode” on your mobile device).
- Set the temperature in your room to between 15-18°C
Make your room as dark as possible It can be easy to minimize the importance of sleep, but it’s absolutely essential for optimum performance. I
The good thing about routines and habits is that the more you do them, the easier they become. They become ingrained in your day to the point where you find it harder to not do them.
So stick with it.
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