How to Move Forward When There’s No Going Back: My Morning Routine for this New Normal

Let me just begin by saying that I am not superhuman and sprightly first thing in the morning.

In my former life, I was a very early morning person who was able to scale large buildings in a single bound. Now, I choose to go a little easier on myself. What that means is given the choice, I will walk fast with an occasional jog mixed in, but I’m not running 10 miles before sunrise until my knees give.

I’m not one of those extremists who takes an ice bath before breakfast. In fact, I would never take an ice bath! I am finding, however, that the semblance of a routine, especially in such uncertain times, grounds me and makes things feel better. My morning routine isn’t set in stone, but I have a few things that always instill a sense of peace and purpose before I get rolling into the rest of my day.

The first few steps of my day are my favorites:

  • I wake up automatically at 6:15 AM (remnants from my single mother days).
  • Before my feet hit the floor, I silently look out at my garden and get present to the gifts of life, health and nature, and I state what I’m grateful for in my life. (That may sound corny, but it almost instantly calibrates my head space.)
  • I get up, take a bio-moment, put on my toasty, over sized robe, then go outside and walk barefoot in my backyard while my tea water is boiling.
  • I quietly speak my affirmation of the morning a few times, take a few sweet deep breaths, then head into the kitchen to prepare my cup of hot tea.
  • I take my tea to my sacred space (pictured) and enjoy the fire as I listen to the birds singing. (Really!)

All this happens in about 10 minutes.

In all candor, my compulsive inner-overachiever is ready to JUMP out of bed, check my computer, take a look at the news, call my sister, dictate a new blog idea, reorganize my bathroom cabinet, and do 20 push ups. I have to hold her back because that jacks up my nervous system. Right now, that’s the last thing I need!

By design, I have made the early morning the quietest and most gentle part of my day. It’s the time I take to stay even and grounded, to stay creative and proactive, versus reactive and unconscious in my compulsive inclinations.

It’s “self-care” time… the time I can take just for me to prepare for the new day, clear my mind of yesterday, and give myself the kind of start I want to set up my tomorrows.

Next comes the standard normal stuff, from brushing my teeth to taking an early morning walk in the hills overlooking my house. Breakfast is a maybe but writing in my virtual gratitude journal is a must. It helps to keep my spirits lifted, my joy bucket filled, and my dreams front and center.

In terms of my day’s organization, I pick a few key actions that I can easily get done. Then I create an outline of my day and week (knowing that I’m not yet organized enough to NOT have that change).

Admittedly, my approach is not the epitome of linear perfection. I know. So, in this new normal, I’ve made peace with sacrificing productivity and the pursuit of success with finding joy and keeping my sanity.

To be fair, I want to acknowledge Jim Rohn. When it comes to the power of routines, he said:

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

So, the purpose of my routine is to be in service to the person I wish to be. Optimized productivity as my focus can come later.

With regard to morning routines, Bob Pozen said we are better off embracing our scattered mornings and discovering ways we can simplify rather than copying someone else’s routine, no matter how productive it might look from the outside.

After I’ve navigated the morning, the day is in full swing. I’m writing, I’m on Zoom calls, I’m coaching, I’m being coached, I’m speaking with collaborators, working in the garden, hopping on a Facebook live broadcast, or connecting with my people online.

In this new normal, wherever the day takes me, the pace I’ve set that gives me the space to come to my day with peace and gratitude is a productive habit.

My loves, find what works for you, what feeds your joy. If your morning routine just isn’t falling into place yet, work on it again tomorrow. You can do it! You’re resilient! People are motivated by different things. Break it down and don’t get overwhelmed. Stay the course which, certainly, may need to be adjusted tomorrow.

Do you follow a morning routine to help you have a better day? How did you find the best morning routine for yourself?

3 Comments

  1. Slow time is so important in the morning! I have a highly structured morning routine (it’s choreographed to a playlist) but I don’t start with it immediately. I start with a slow shower, and then have coffee with my wife, and we chat. Having unstructured time first is a nice way to ease into the day.

  2. I’m working on a morning routine. I have just recently gotten back to the point where I wake up with energy, and celebrate that moment and feeling. I am going to need to work on a new pattern that goes with going to bed the night before with enough energy to set up for the new day.

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