If there’s one thing we’ve learned having helped thousands of people develop better habits at Pavlok it’s this:
To get the most out of habit change, you should focus all your efforts on just one or two keystone habits, which will send positive ripples throughout all areas of your life.
Here are a few examples of keystone habits:
- Quitting smoking
- Going to the gym
- Cutting back on your sugar intake
- Drinking more water
- Having an evening or morning routine
One popular keystone habit that many Pavlok users have had success with is implementing a morning routine. In this post, we’ll teach you how to have a morning routine of your own, even if you’re not a “morning person.”
Morning Routine As a Keystone Habit
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wake up at 4 AM every morning to reap the benefits of a morning routine. In fact, in our experience, even just waking up 20-30 minutes earlier than normal is a perfect amount of time to start.
The truth is, one of the biggest reasons most people fail at implementing the morning routine isn’t because they are lazy, or don’t have enough willpower.
The biggest reason most people can’t build a morning routine is because of the night before.
Step 1: A Good Morning Routine Starts The Night Before
If you toss and turn all night, and don’t stop watching Netflix until 3 AM, no reasonable person can expect to greet the day with a smile on their face at 7 AM. And while there are certainly valid conditions that may prevent you from getting some quality sleep, most people just have poor pre-sleep habits.
As noted on the Swanwick Sleep blog, the shocking effects of undersleeping are real. So before you can even start thinking of having a productive and energy-filled morning, you have to take care of the night before.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Use Swannies blue-light blocking glasses to block the bad light that keeps you awake.
- Also, use a program such as Flux or the built-in app on your iPhone.
- Do some form of meditation, prayer, or light yoga. This calms your mind and helps avoid the
- Supplement with some melatonin if necessary
- Cut out electronics ideally 30-45 minutes before bed.
- Do some journaling to relax and reflect on your day.
- Purchase some blackout curtains.
- Put your phone in the other room.
- Write out your 2-3 most important tasks for the next day (so you aren’t stressing about them.)
- Take a warm bath before sleeping.
While you shouldn’t expect to do all of the above each night, just adding one or two of these tasks to your pre-night ritual can make all the difference in getting better quality sleep.
Step 2: Have A Clear Reason To Wake Up
The second and final step in implementing a morning routine successfully involves having a plan for your morning.
The mistake most people make is they try to rely on pure willpower to get them up in the morning, which virtually never works.
Instead of relying purely on willpower, you structure your morning to work on your most pressing goals.
Think about what having 30 minutes to an hour each morning can do for the following:
- Your relationships: Could you spend more time with your significant other or kids? Could you call your parents and catch up before you head out the door?
- Your finances: Could you use the extra time in the morning to create extra income?
- Your career: Could you use the extra time in the morning to improve your career track? Tweak your presentation? Network on Linkedin?
- Your health: What would just 7 minutes of exercise do for your mind and body? How would the extra endorphins make you feel throughout the day?
- Your spirituality: Would spending just 5-10 minutes in prayer or meditation help you feel more centered? Would it help you take on the the many stresses throughout the day?
- Your personal growth: Could you benefit from reading 20 minutes in the morning your favorite business book before anything gets in the way?
Once you’ve mapped out what your big focus is right now (and it’s personal to you), you’ll be better equipped to begin building habits that will help you progress.
While it may be tempting to skip the above step, in our research, we’ve found it to be incredibly helpful in increasing motivation to consistently stick with your morning routine.
Once you’ve become clear on your why, you can start your morning with a few small but manage habits.
Again, you’ll probably want to try ten different things in the morning on day one, but that’s ultimately going to hinder your progress.
Begin with 1-2, get those “small wins” to boost your motivation, and then once they are habit you can begin to add others.
If you need an additional boost, the Rise App included with Pavlok 2 will actually help you choose the right habits for your current goals and keep track of everything in a simple app.
The key for long term success, is to start small and build your routine up over time.
For example, if you want to start running, start by putting out your running shoes the night before, then when you wake up, commit to just putting your shoes on.
The next day you can go for a light jog, and continue to build up from there.
After just a few months of having a morning routine, you’ll be able to successfully add even more positive habits!
If you’ve always wanted a morning routine but have struggled to get one going, give the above two steps a try. You might be surprised what just a few small changes can help you accomplish.
This is a guest post from our habit changing friends at Pavlok. Check out their latest product the Pavlok 2 on Indiegogo.