Better morning routines

Jun 28, 2021

We wake up in the morning a bit too late. Alex gets the dogs for a morning walk, while I am left to my own devices, free to ritualize at my own pace. As any new-agey intellectual, I know all about the benefits of a good morning routine. If Tim Feriss does it, it must be good, right? So I start off with a cold shower, which, you will say, does not go well with my personality. Well, it doesn't, but I try nonetheless, and it really perks me up to start the day with something that requires so much willpower. Next up, sports, meditation, journaling, writing, the list could go on until noon! What could I integrate in my home design to accommodate this lengthy (and frankly, mostly imaginary) process of self betterment? Maybe make the uneasy parts a little easier, add new potential to parts that work?

Habits form by triggering. Take a look at Charles Duhigg. He says that the loop of habit formation is: cue, routine, reward. So a sequence of triggers that keep us on track would be a good starting point. Something inviting, than lures us into doing the routine. That would be reinforced by a space that makes the routine as pleasant as possible and finally by a soothing space to get your reward.

If it's morning showers, the trigger is just waking up, so that's easy. You might consider having a well-lit, large shower, with a view to the outside, like an inside garden filled with plants. I know, it sounds dorky and expensive at the same time, but trust me, thinking stuff ahead costs you less money, not more. Then comes the beauty of this: imagine getting out of that hell (you never get used to cold showers) and getting into a cosy towel and being zen...No! Taking a shower that is so cold wakes up every cell in your body! You are energized! You are lit! Now you need a place to express that energy! So a sunny place with plenty of space to move, maybe a yoga mat. If you like running, that's out of my jurisdiction. But when you get back, think of how you feel: sweaty, tired, hot. You take a shower and then... 

Meditation practice? Number one rule for a meditation space: no glare. If you have the Sun in your eyes, you will suffer. I learned it the hard way, with the only place I can use to meditate, on the bed facing the window. It's a fantastic spot, overlooking the whole valley, with the morning sun warming me up but... I need to wear a cap, to avoid the sun hitting me straight in the face. Either that, or plan your meditation practice in the afternoon, or whenever the sun is not low and ahead of you.

A nice view is always good, even when doing sports, but prioritize contemplation spaces like meditation or drinking tea, that's when you can really enjoy the scenery.

Then comes journaling. I would like to imagine a different place for journaling than your actual office, but if you don't, that's fine too. I actually start by journaling and setting up my schedule and plans and move on to writing in the same breath. Journaling is a moment of deep self exploration and you can easily get distracted from the hard work of introspection. So have that be a place where you feel sheltered, with no distractions, but also somewhere you can keep your back straight when you write, posture has such an influence on our mood. So if you want to be inspired and insightful all day, set up your environment to help you achieve just that.

That's it for thoughts about morning routines and how our home can help us, not work against us! Thanks for reading. Have fun and be wise!