Jim Rohn once said “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” If that is true, the question is, “How can I get more discipline in my life?” Here is one way: Develop and use a morning routine.
Thanks to my mom, I have been using a morning routine since I can remember. In fact, the majority of my childhood was based on routine. However, now that I am in my late teens, I have control over my day and over how I spend my time. Let me tell you, it is far too easy to lose track of the time while watching YouTube before bed. And then I wake up and want to watch the next episode! It can be the same way with TV, social media, or video games. The way to fix this is with a plan – you have to know what you are going to do as soon as you get up.
Here are the five steps to creating that plan, also known as a morning routine:
My routine evolves every couple of months to serve my goals and to fit my schedule, but essentially, it serves the same purpose – to set me up for success in every one of my core values. It also helps me start my day feeling electrified, void of excuses, and wired to accomplish everything on my list. To show you what I mean, here’s a breakdown of my current, ideal morning routine. My core values are in parentheses.
- Identify your core values. You can learn how in my article here: Core Values: Prioritizing the Values You are Made of at Your Core.
- Set a reasonable bedtime and wake-up time for yourself based on your personal preferences and needs. (If you want tips on creating an evening routine, read this article: Evening Routines. Keep in mind that you will probably need 1-2 hours for your morning routine before work or whatever commitments you have for the day begin. The main thing here is to determine what times you can be consistent with, because consistency is key.
- Incorporate something to do with each of your core values into your morning routine. See my example below.
- Don’t expect perfection – sometimes we have to be flexible. However, if you can’t follow your routine at least eight to nine times out of ten, you might need to change it to better serve you (see step 5).
- If your routine isn’t working for you, change it. Your schedule is here to serve you, not you to serve it.
To give you an idea of what that schedule could look like, here is my current, ideal morning routine:
5 am Wake, water, Bible, scripture memory (faith)
5:30 am Get ready for the gym, and leave for the gym.
6 am 1 hour workout (fitness)
7:15 am Home, shower, and ready for the day.
7:30 am Make and eat breakfast. Phone out of airplane mode (my goal is to put it in airplane mode before 9 pm at night – ensures that texts, calls, etc. wait until morning, and also ensures that I’m not using any internet when I’m supposed to be sleeping. I don’t turn my phone completely off since I use the alarm on my phone to wake me up in the morning). Reply to texts, calls, and Instagram. (family & friends)
8:20 Take Abby (the girl I babysit) to school. (function)
And my day is off to a running start. I have essentially accomplished a part of each of my core values and I am a little better in each of my core values – I am closer to realizing my goals! As Jim Rohn said, by having the discipline to accomplish this every morning, I am bridging the gap between my goals and the accomplishment of them. The little bit I do each morning quickly adds up. And how do you think I feel about the rest of my day? I feel ready to accomplish everything! The momentum I’ve built up carries me throughout the day, and I accomplish way more than I otherwise would.
Also, in case you are wondering, I don’t go to bed at 9 pm and wake up at 5 am everyday. Sometimes I have volleyball games at 10 pm or later (what I get for playing in an adult recreational league). Sometimes I haven’t had time to write during the day, so I write at night and get up later. But I still try to keep the essentials in my morning routine, regardless of the time I get up. It’s unreasonable to expect perfection, and it’s important to be flexible. However, having a morning routine that you follow eight to nine times out of ten, is invaluable. Try it for yourself, and you will see what I mean.
Until next time, stay healthy, happy, and fit!