5 Keystone Morning Rituals to Adopt
Making Success a Ritual
♛ 6 minute read ♛
The profound effects that morning routines bare on our lives is rapidly becoming more prominent.
Observed through studying the lives of highly successful individuals who all share a mission towards personal development and self-mastery, the common denominator unbeknownst to many—their morning routine.
Yet, that’s no coincidence. The world’s most prominent minds and successful leaders have been reporting to daily, and sometimes uncomfortable rituals in the hopes to see the fruits of their labour in the long run.
Oprah Winfrey—awake at 5:30am, centers her mind with 20 minutes of meditation, followed by moving her body.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square—awake at 5:00am, performs 30 minutes of meditation, followed by a 7-minute workout.
Jocko Willink, retired U.S Navy Seal commander of Team 3 Task Unit Bruiser, business owner, author of various books including Extreme Ownership, Dichotomy of Leadership, Discipline Equals Freedom—awake at 4:30am, works out in his garage gym and begins the work day around 6:00am.
Tony Robbins—awakes at 7:00am, performs breathing exercises, practices gratitude, experiences connection and visualizes success. This all attributes to what Tony refers to as “priming” intended to invigorate positivity and energy.
And of course, it’s no secret that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kicks off his day at 3:45am, cardio by 4:45am, lifting by 6:15 am, and in his pickup truck by 7:15am. In the words of The Rock, “There’s no substitute for hard work. I’m going to make something of myself and it’s going to be so good it’s bad”.
In contrast, the reality for most look like this
Awake at 8:00am, rush to prepare, eat, and leave for work while potentially arriving late. See the difference?
Highly successful individuals design and live in proactive states versus reactive states. They govern their lives around success habits which cultivate long term success and thus are able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
I want to introduce you to 5 key morning habits I practice religiously, and although can be sometimes repetitive amongst other articles, they have been quite profound and transformative in my life.
“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”
Wake at the same time daily ~ *even on weekends*
At first, I picked up the habit of waking up at 4:30am from retired Navy Seal commander, Jocko Willink. I personally find it is most cohesive with my lifestyle, as well as acts as a success habit through reinforcing discipline first thing in the morning, and naturally permeating throughout the day. I found that awaking that early allows me to selfishly complete tasks within my day free of interruption and distraction [see points 2 onward].
I can certainly recognize that setting an alarm early isn’t ideal or sustainable for everyone, and that’s okay. It is important to pick a time that best suits your lifestyle. The main point I’d like to make however, is the positive impacts consistently waking up at the same time has one your circadian rhythm.
Simply put, the circadian rhythm is a function of the brain (your hypothalamus) which impacts every cell in your body and controls the bodies internal clock. To learn more about that, head over here, but in essence, maintaining a constant sleep/wake cycle promotes a plethora of functions, a few of which include;
- less morning sleep inertia
- easier to fall asleep
- less irritability
- better immune system
- sharper focus and memory
Begin the day with meditation and mindfulness
I don’t mean sitting on the floor cross legged with your fingers and thumbs touching (although it could, I’m not judging) … what I mean is, create stillness in your mind and body. Visualize your intentions, your goals, and compose a sense of stillness to be present with your thoughts, emotions, and breath.
For those who have never cultivated that level of stillness it can certainly sound voodoo-like and an easy thing to discount with our busy days ahead. Yet, countless articles outline that through meditation and deep breathing practices a variety of key benefits surface separate from oxygenating our body. A transformation begins to occur in the body surrounding the reduction of stress and anxiety, improved concentration, improved lymphatic system circulation, improved immunity, and lower blood pressure.
I perform some flexible and always changing version of meditation on my 15-20-minute drive to the gym, which is certainly grounding in the absence of the sun. In my meditation practice, I may explore what areas of my life I’m particular grateful for, zero in and manifest a desired outcome, or just be present and soak in my surroundings.
On to the next point…
Move your body
5 minutes of burpees, CrossFit, Zumba, swimming, rock climbing, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, cycling, yoga, Pilates, dance, gymnastics, martial arts and on and on and on.
I don’t think I need to link any scientific journals outlining the specific benefits of physical activity, but to name off a few overarching benefits despite what modality you choose;
- Mood enhancement
- Healthier bones
- Greater lymphatic circulation
- Enhanced brain health
- Improved sexual arousal
Personally, my passion lies in the competitive sport of powerlifting, that’s what excites me. I’m confident it would be unrealistic to say everyone would love it, it’s certainly not for everyone, so make it a goal to try a different modality every few weeks until you find the one that excites you, and stick with it.
In the words of my chiropractor—motion is lotion.
Cold Shower Therapy
This one may be the most challenging and certainly the most uncomfortable. At first, it gets exponentially less uncomfortable the more reps you get in (notice how I said “less uncomfortable, rather than, more comfortable”).
The name Whim Hoff (also known as “The Iceman”) is quickly becoming more of a household name in respect to his accomplishments and accolades in the world of cold therapy. If you’ve never heard of him before, here’s a synopsis. Wim has submerged himself in ice water for nearly two hours without change to his body temperature, climbed Mount Everest in just shorts, finished a marathon in the Namibian Desert without water, as well, self-suppressed his immune response after being injected by scientists with a bacterial endotoxin—which would normally cause fever, headaches, and chills.
Pulled from his website, the Wim Hoff method and cold exposure therapy is accompanied with scientific underpinning claiming to produce the following results amongst many others:
- Immune system boost
- Improves mental health
- Increase lymphatic circulation
- Stress relief
- Improved workout recovery
At this point in the day is where I typically carve out a few moments to write in my journal. The thing about journaling, it doesn’t have to be about anything elaborate or exceedingly sophisticated—it can be as simple as expressing gratitude, recounting a moment of stillness and compassion experienced, or something that’s been chipping at our over saturated brains—it’s whatever you make of it.
The simplicity that accompanies the act of cleansing the mind and transmitting thoughts on paper, can be incredibly healing. It takes on the role of inspiring creativity, acts as a means of confession, and assumes the role of a neatly polished mirror—all while simultaneously honing your writing skills. Needless to say, I’m a big believer in journaling.
As such, we don’t have to look too far back to recognize some of the greatest thinkers of our time and in history recorded in their journals and diaries often- Edison, Einstein, Da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, Nietzsche, Seneca and many other brilliant minds to name a few.
The beauty behind the art of journaling is just that, it’s an art. You don’t have to be a New York Times bestseller to express your thoughts, the same way your journal doesn’t have to be a New York Times bestseller. I treat my journal as an expression of gratitude. Sifting through its pages you’ll find a culmination of things I’m grateful for, thoughts that sprout in my mind, worries that have made their home for far too long, and plans I have for the future—it’s one big cauldron.
These daily rituals and routines aren’t commonplace habits, they’re keystone habits. They profoundly impact the way we think, live, prosper, and connect in life.
They’re a practical and transformative way to stay connected with your inner self, your body, aspirations, and environment in which we maneuver.
Before you go…
If you enjoyed this post, you will love D-Cubed (my free weekly newsletter of the best thoughts, quotes and questions I share every Monday). Spice up your inbox to get 1% better every Monday. Head on here to receive my emails every Monday