Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.
If you’re as keen on Instagram as I am, there’s a high chance you’ve come across this in a meme or two.
It’s one of my favorite, simple mantras because it embodies the idea of waking up with a strong sense of purpose.
Or something that Cheryl Strayed calls, “Motherfuckitude”.
Motherfuckitude is about finding the perfect balance between humility and fierceness to crush every single one of your goals.
It’s about being humble enough to know and accept that you might fail, but still go after what you want with everything you have; it’s about knowing that you’re only human and just as likely to make mistakes as anyone else, but still harness an unstoppable strength and resilience; and it’s about following your passion and doing the work, not for fortune or fame, but because you believe in it and want to share something meaningful with the world.
That’s a post for another time, but I bring this up because establishing your motherfuckitude first thing in the morning, will set your tone for the rest of the day.
The Miracle Morning
I also noticed a trend popping up repeatedly in my podcasts, books, and blogs I follow about the power of having a solid morning routine.
I’m a bit ADD when it comes to reading, so I use “Blinkist
” – an app that breaks down all the key concepts of a book into a 15-20 minute read. Since we only retain a small portion of what we read anyway, these “Blinks
” ensure that we’re taking in the most important information of a book. Which I find much more productive and efficient, plus easier to reflect on and apply to my own life without all the extra fluff that a full-length book entails.
Anyway, I decided to read the Blink version of Hal Elrod’s “The Miracle Morning” to cut straight to the chase of the 6 steps he takes to master the morning and set himself up for success.
The 6 steps of the Miracle Morning are:
- Practice purposeful silence to clear and calm your headspace (2-10 minutes)
- Use affirmations -to change your perspective (less than 5 minutes)
- Visualize achieving your goals for motivation (less than 5 minutes)
- Exercise to start the day with a healthy body (20-60 minutes)
- Read for personal growth and learning (10-20 minutes)
- Write for reflection and clarity (5-10 minutes)
As I read this I realized I was actually already doing a handful of these things, but my morning routine is far from perfect and in definite need of some fine-tuning.
For starters, I was spending way too much time on social media in the morning, and way too much time letting my thoughts run wild without putting any of it into action.
So here are a couple of strategies I started implementing this week to tackle those little pitfalls that were holding me back from totally dominating my morning:
- Schedule my morning Instagram posts the night before so that I can quickly publish it and then hide social media until I finish the rest of my morning routine.
Sticking with a consistent posting schedule is an important part of my marketing strategy for growing my business, which is why I won’t cut it out completely. If you don’t use social media for business I suggest avoiding the scroller’s temptation altogether by not checking your notifications until after you finish your morning routine.
- Stick to doing my morning routine in a specific order so that it becomes an unbreakable habit.
Since it’s still fairly new to me and a work in progress, I have it written down on a sticky note next to where I drink my morning coffee and glance over it frequently just to keep it at the top of my mind.
- Give myself a time limit for how long I can spend on each morning activity.
I spend about 20 minutes reading in the morning while I drink my coffee, as soon as my coffee is gone, my reading time is up.
I spend 10 minutes or less writing down whatever’s on my mind after that. Sometimes it’s a full journal entry, sometimes it’s just a sticky note. I don’t put much expectation on this part because I spend the majority of my day writing, and am already an avid journaler.
I spend 10-15 minutes stretching, then an hour working out.
On the way back from my workout I stop at the farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce for my meals for the day (the farmer’s market part is a Split-exclusive part of my routine because it’s right by my apartment and open every day, when I move on to somewhere new I’ll have to revise this part of my routine).
When I get back to my apartment I spend 10 minutes on my affirmations and visualization, which I have written down in my journal and pre-recorded on my iPhone.
The Morning Workout
The NUMBER ONE change I’m currently making to my morning routine…and actually my daily routine…is when I work out.
I’ve always been an afternoon exerciser, usually getting my workout in just before lunch. The main reason I did this was so that I could get some sunshine on my skin while working out, and give my brain a break from work for a bit.
The PROBLEM with my afternoon workout strategy is that it felt like a burden. It was messing with my productivity. I didn’t want to get into too much of a work flow only to interrupt it so I could get my workout in. Sometimes that made me resent my workouts for being such a burden and disruption.
The biggest flaw of all though with this system was that by the time the afternoon rolled around, it was far too easy to come up with excuses for reasons to skip the workout altogether. Because by then I’m smack dab in the middle of my “To Do” list and wondering how the hell I’m going to get it all done in time.
So this week, I decided to take a page from Hal Elrod’s book (haha get it?) and workout first thing in the morning.
I shit you not…I think my life is forever changed.
I’m well aware that working out in the morning is not a groundbreaking concept. Most people I know work out in the morning. But it was new to me.
And even if it’s not a new concept for you, your perception of the morning workout and approach might still need some fine-tuning.
Each day this week, I’ve been paying VERY close attention to how I feel before, during, and after my morning workout, as well as for the rest of the day.
Here’s what I’ve noticed.
By working out BEFORE I start my work day, not only do I feel WAY more energized and awake, but I enjoy my workout more because it’s the only thing I need to focus on at that particular time.
I go into my day already feeling super productive and accomplished, and it doesn’t give my mind enough time to come with any excuses.
Also, and this one is kind of weird…I swear my breakfast tastes better! The entire experience of eating my breakfast is just generally more satisfying because I know that I earned it and my body is craving to be refueled after it’s hard work.
I also noticed that my energy levels stay high throughout the WHOLE day rather than in spikes. And most importantly, it eliminates the time I was wasting in the morning with useless activities and my wandering mind.
If you’re new to the morning workout thing too, or just need some inspiration for following through more consistently…here’s my advice:
- Decide the night before that you will work out first thing in the morning. Give yourself a specific time frame.
- Set out your workout clothes the night before as well, so that it’s one less thing you have to think about in the morning.
- Immediately upon waking up, chug a glass of water. I keep a full glass of water next to my bed so that I don’t forget. You lose a lot of water in your body during the night, so it’s important to rehydrate. Plus, it helps wake your body up quickly and start gearing up for the workout.
- Don’t compromise. Never say to yourself, “I’ll see how I feel in the morning”. Or when the morning rolls around, never say, “I’ll work out tomorrow instead”. Commit to it being a non-negotiable part of your morning. Just like brushing your teeth or going to work.
I’m not suggesting you should work out EVERY morning, but figure out what’s a realistic schedule for you and commit to it.
I personally am committed to working out every week day morning. On Saturday and Sunday mornings I stay flexible. I tend to do a lot more exploring and trekking on the weekends so a workout isn’t necessary if I’m going to be on my feet all day. Plus, recovery days are important!
Also note, that working out doesn’t have to be the VERY first thing you do in the morning, but it should be done before you even start THINKING about work or your “To Do” list for the day.
For example, I can’t even function before I’ve had coffee. And honestly, that little cuppa magic is the first and only reason I jump out of bed so early in the morning. So first things first, I drink my coffee and read a Blink to start activating my brain. Then, I eat a banana for a little pre-workout fuel, drink another glass of water, get my workout clothes on, do my stretches, and then head out the door to start my workout.
I’ll share more about the specifics of my workout routine and some different WOD (Work Out of the Day) options while traveling
in my next post! So if you’re looking for some specific workout guides then check back next Friday.