Good Morning! Every day begins with a Good Morning! At least I hope it does. There has always been a lot of talk about what a good morning routine looks like and why it is important. Like the argument for breakfast, it is often said that a good morning routine gets the rest of the day in productive momentum. And there seems to be a bit of science to back this up. According to research a solid morning routine can create lower stress because it sets expectations. It helps busy people feel more in control. It can also help people develop healthier habits and boost energy levels all day. Afterall, if you get a good start it can help you get to a strong finish.
But here is the scenario. Routines can fall victim to life. You are on your way to work and get a deflated tire, you walk into the office and your boss calls with an absolute deadline assignment. Your kid is sick and needs to stay home, or you forgot to buy tea for the office kettle! The fact is despite our best intentions for a hearty morning routine the changes of life and the ebbs and flows of our existence makes keeping a routine hard to do.
And it can be stressful. The need to keep a routine can have just as much a stress impact in the negative as it can enhance well-being in the positive. As humans we often don’t want to let our routines down, especially if we perceive it to be working. We get scared that if we don’t meet the standards of our morning routine, we have started the day off poorly and now we threaten to fail. I tend to fall into this category. What we want to avoid is being Patrick Bateman. The main character in the movie American Psycho. His routine, shown in this clip is a legendary scene but also is pretty creepy.
As a person who loves a good routine, I am also a person who hates to fall off of that good routine. For example, last October I purchased an Apple Watch and I love it. But boy am I addicted to those dang rings! The exercise, calories, and stand rings basically guide my life. I have been known to just march in place in the evening to close those rings. And the endorphins I get when I see the fireworks rings is real! I am now going on 129 straight days of closing those rings. But is that healthy? The data says, maybe not. While the health benefits of consistent exercise are clear, exercising when not feeling well or injured is not. But for many routine junkies we may not be able to see the difference.
So, I think it serves to mention that I am not a good judge on if your routine is good or not. I am not even sure if there is any data that proves out a routine works. I looked and while there are tons of think pieces like this there is scant verifiable evidence to prove this. I have found a few pieces of advice have really helped me:
- Keep my morning routine short and simple – Many of the blog posts I read seem to have morning routines that are rather complicated and last hours at times. I have only three things I make sure I do every morning and then I leave the rest to the vibes of the day – Workout at my 5:50AM fitness class, drink my morning wellness tonic with protein and 25 ounces of water, and write down three goals for the day. That is it. Everything else can be left up to chance.
- I take the Meatloaf approach to life. I believe that 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. While my goal is to do this every day I figure if I get it right two out of every three days I am well ahead of my goals.
- The third item is I try to do one personal thing every day to boost my mood. Like message a friend, grab a Diet Mtn. Dew, or checking in on ESPN to see if LeBron won last night. I think that enjoying a moment for personal privilege is important.
So here is the point, routines are great, they can be helpful, they will not likely make or break you. Afterall, we don’t want to end up like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. You can take this too far. So, remember Meatloaf and know 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.