Good morning, routine

I’ve always been fascinated by morning routines. Whether it’s intentional or not, we all have one. It might be series of rituals and preparation or just a last minute wake-up call and a quick pot of coffee. It might start at 4:30 am or it might start at noon.

No matter what, something starts somewhere. And humans are creatures of habit.

Articles that claim “THIS IS THE BEST MORNING ROUTINE TO BE SUCCESSFUL” make me cringe. That’s like saying “7 is the best shoe size to have to be successful”. Nothing fits everyone.

These (week)days, my mornings usually start like this:

An alarm sounds around 6:30, some water is drunk, some leggings are slipped on, hair is pulled into a messy pony tail, and I’m out the door to the gym. I’m sleepy at first, but eventually grateful for the early morning sunrise over the ocean, or the gym’s energizing shelter from the cold dark (depending on the season).

Once I’ve met my end, it’s back home to a hot shower, a few moments of silence, and then a glance at my journal. In it, I quickly remind myself of three things. What is my big, “ha, yeah right” goal? What am I grateful for? What do I have to get done today?

Next it’s oatmeal bubbling on the stove, topped with creamy nut butter, kefir, and all the hippy-dippy fixings, a podcast in the background. The dog is fed and watered while she stays dozing in bed (she likes a slow start for her morning routine).

Then, coffee–drip or Vietnamese style (sans the condensed milk, unfortunately).

Coffee in hand, I sit at my second-hand desk and pry open my laptop to let the to-do list unfold.

This routine is what makes me feel energized and focused. While the first moments after my alarm goes off can be a little moan-inducing, it’s what I crave day after day.

It serves as temporary protection from all the other big hungry questions, thoughts, and ideas that tend to bounce around when you have free time. In the best case scenario, it also helps provide some guidance to answering those questions.

You know the ones. The ones that look at the giant buffet that is life and wonder, “Am I getting my money’s worth? Am I eating the right things? What should I eat next? Why is everyone eating that but I’m eating this?”

That isn’t to say it’s a fool-proof system. Once in a while I wake up with a question nagging like a hangover. I’ll go through the usual actions but they lack their focus–I might run into barbells, forget to open my journal, burn the oatmeal. Or something else unexpected might happen, throwing the routine off it’s tracks.

Sometimes, that thing is just accidentally sleeping too long.

It’s all good.

The great thing about a routine, however big or small, is it’s always there to return to the next day. Likewise, it can be fun to intentionally disrupt it once in a while–be it for a trip or a special occasion–and then bask in the feeling of home when you eventually return.

Big dreams and bigger adventures are great. But so are oatmeal and dog walks. So are crossing items off your to-do list, stretching after a workout, and rainy days working inside. They all go hand in hand, really.

As a wise man once said, “You can’t start a fire without a spark”.

Anyway, what’s your morning routine? Maybe you totally debunk my routine theory? I’d love to know.