If you’re anything like me, you’re an information junkie. You scroll through social media not to stalk others (okay, maybe occasionally), but to find new stuff to read or watch.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve also read dozens of articles like “How to be successful before 25”, “10 things great people do in the morning”, and “How becoming a morning person will change your life”.
Well, I plead guilty to binge-reading hundreds and hundreds of similar articles, every time firmly resolving to start new habits and change my life.
With that in mind, let me talk you through my current morning routine.
Stage 1: I wake up around 7am and hate life.
Yes, sometimes I wake up jolly and excited to start the day, but most times my first thought is how I hate getting up. I hate leaving my warm and cosy bed. I hate having a job. I hate the London weather. I hate 8-hour working days. I hate the entire economic system.
Once I’m past the indiscriminate hate towards everything that exists, I will slowly move towards the bathroom to take a shower.
Now, don’t think I haven’t tried ways to avoid this wave of hate. Morning runs, morning yoga, going to bed early, meditating with positive thoughts. Nothing worked.
In the end, I realised I need to let the morning “fog” drift away. And that’s okay.
Stage 2: I struggle with information addiction.
See the start of the article. My “article reading” frenzy can start as early as 7:30, just after I have taken my shower. I have to “fight the itch” and try not to read news about the newest conflict in Azerbaijan and Armenia or banning circus animals in Iran first thing in the morning.
On good days, I’ll read or just enjoy listening to music before breakfast.
Stage 3: I have breakfast with my partner.
We make point to eat breakfast together every day. Seeing that I am the grumpiest person alive when hungry, having some food means I finally get to smile. We start our day with delicious porridge with approximately 20 toppings and a smoothie. That’s the only thing we don’t get lazy about.
On REALLY great days we’ll talk about our goals and intentions for the day. This time is very important for me because I don’t like rushed mornings when I just get dressed and leave.
I’ll sometimes take time to answer to messages from friends and family, all dispersed across the globe.
Stage 4: I will leave trying not to think about the way to the station.
I don’t do much else in the morning. I’ll leave the house trying not to think about the busy street I need to go through elbowing people out of the way to get to the station. I’ll usually read for 20 minutes on the tube.
In December, I designed a “perfect” morning routine I wanted to stick to in 2016.
I would wake up at 6:30 and drink warm water with lemon (after all, I read so many articles about the benefits of doing that first thing in the morning). I would then do yoga or exercise for 30 minutes. After that, I would meditate and journal, writing down things I am grateful for. Finally, I would shower, have breakfast and leave.
As you can see, I’m sticking to only half of the routine. For the past three months, I judged myself for not being able to do more. I was pretty harsh on myself, as all of us are. I struggled to understand why I couldn’t follow my “perfect” routine. Was I lazy? Was I not destined for success? Was I not good enough?
The thing is, I still don’t know why. All I know is I am not judging myself for it anymore.
Now, my morning routine isn’t all that inspiring. And it also won’t turn me into a super human Mark Zuckerberg Richard Branson productivity trans human machine. But it works for me at the moment. It doesn’t mean it won’t change. It doesn’t mean I won’t start doing more exercise in the morning or meditate. It also doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve.
Just…do life on your own terms. Find what works best for you. Make small positive changes every day.
You don’t have to try to “hack your mornings”, “hack your life”, spend all the time being efficient and productive. You don’t have to go through tons of self-help porn. Life isn’t meant to be “hacked”, it’s meant to be lived.
In the age of 12-year-old entrepreneurs and 30-year-old billionaires, success is often portrayed as within reach to anyone (which is a fundamentally flawed concept in our deeply unequal world), and as something you can achieve by mimicking successful people. After all, Mark Zuckerberg and Beyonce also have 24 hours every day, so if they can do it, I can too, right?
All I’m saying is: be you. Discover morning rituals that make you happy and fulfilled. That enable you to be present. If that’s a morning filled with productive activities, then great. But if it’s not, don’t force yourself.
Enjoy our fleeting moment of existence as a unique part of universe that you are. Occupy the full size of humanity that you’re given. You don’t need to build yourself. You don’t need to find yourself. You were never lost.