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5 - Take Control of Your Morning - Health Fit Biz


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This week on the Health Fit Business Podcast, we are talking about morning routines.

Taking control of your day starts as soon as you wake up. Having a morning routine is critical to your success and taking ownership and control of your life. If you don’t have a morning routine, life is going to pull you around and you’ll never have a good command over it.

First and foremost, you absolutely have to do something with your phone so that you don’t wake up, check your phone, and get pulled into it by notifications.

Turning off notifications is something we advocate strongly for, but if that is too much for you right now, just put your phone into airplane mode during the night and don’t take it out until you’ve completed your morning routine.

This will allow you to start the day off in control without being pulled into multiple directions by seemingly important tasks that really can wait. You’ll also be better off by putting those things off and learning that they aren’t as important as they seem.

Everyone has a different morning routine. We both share a bit about ours in the audio of this episode, but generally it looks like this:

  • Wake up
  • Immediately get up out of bed
  • Go to the bathroom
  • Go make coffee
  • Drink Coffee
  • Spend 10 minutes doing some mindfulness or meditation
  • Read for 10 or so minutes
  • Do some movement for 10 minutes
  • Get on with the day

You can add to this, subtract from it, whatever you need. This is a great starting point. If you follow this for a week, you will see some pretty quick changes.

Get after it!

This Episode’s Challenge

Start doing a morning routine and stick with it all week!


Podcast Transcript

Ryan: I’m Dr. Ryan Debell. Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. This episode, what Anthony and I are going to talk about is the power of morning routines, how we use them, what each of our morning routines looks like as well as why you should be doing it. We started each doing morning routines, maybe one or two years ago, and the power that starting your day off like that has on the rest of your life is incredible. If you are not using morning routines and setting aside time in the morning to go through a structured series of events, you are seriously missing out on one of the most effective things you could be doing for yourself. So, without further ado please enjoy this episode on morning routines.

Anthony: Ryan welcome!

Ryan: Hey Anthony! How’s it going? Good to see you again!

Anthony: Yes, you as well.

Ryan: We’re here in a… are we downtown?

Anthony: Kind of. Mid-market San Francisco. Hanging out.

Ryan:   I’m back in town because I was doing class in Santa Cruz and so I stayed the extra day here, so we can hang out and record more podcast. What are we going to talk about this episode?

Anthony: Today is all about the power of routines.

Ryan: Specifically, morning, right?

Anthony: Morning, right. I think we’ll talk about afternoon and nighttime as well but just setting the day up for success, how that looks like and how do we each do it.

Ryan: So, I think it’s important that… It is easy to kind of let the day get away from you if you don’t start it a specific way each day. What I’ve been doing over the last several months is I will do the same thing every single morning and I know you do that too because we’ve talked about it. What we want to do is give you guys a glimpse of what a morning routine looks like and talk about why it is helpful. Why you would want to spend time developing them. So, I think the first things that we should do is kind of talk about our own morning routines to give examples of what that actually looks like.

Anthony: Yeah. And just to give you a frame of reference I know, I used to wake up especially when I was in school, when I first got up, every morning kind of in a rush, stress out, I’ll get to work. My whole day will be awful. You know when those mornings when nothing is going right. There is a way to head against that and be able to have the most amount of success for the rest of the day.

Ryan: You can wake up at the right side of the bed every time.  I’ve been asking a lot of people, like patients I know, a lot of people I work with “What is their morning look like?” and a lot of people will wake up, roll out of bed, drink coffee and then immediately leave to go to their job. I think that is not how to set your day up for success both like productivity wise as well as mentally. What I do is I actually is I try to wake up at least 2 hours before I have any sort of commitment where I have to be somewhere.  So, let’s say for example that I start seeing people in my clinic at like 9am, I’ll wake up at least, I’ll wake up before seven  because I need time to do my morning routine, to wake up, to start my day up right, so that the rest of my day is much better. That is just a very intentional thing. Do you do something like that?

Anthony: Yeah. Exactly, and a lot of people say even if you wake up earlier. The routine that people get up, they are super stressed, some coffee and some light breakfast, take a quick shower and go to work. That is super stressful. Even if you got up few hours earlier and didn’t use that time in a structured manner to get the most out of your day, well then you’re still at a loss, you are still in bed and flipping through social media or getting distracted by emails, or caught in YouTube rat hole.  So, having that structured routines before is super powerful. I did the same thing so..

Ryan: What’s your routine actually look like?

Anthony: So, my routine has been kind of honed over a course of a few years here and I’m still experimenting but it’s usually about 5:30, 5:45 wake up. From their I go straight to a little bit of journaling, (so that’s just, so we talked about journaling and the power of that in another episode), but setting up expectations of what I want to do that day.  Things that I’m grateful for, kind of like set a positive mindset. Going straight from there in to mindfulness which is kind of de-stress giving kind of a level playing field. From there, I do a little bit of movement and usually take a cold shower. Well, always happening, I have coffee going, and I think that is given obviously. Get cup of one of 19. And then from that, for my PM routine, I actually have a good set of priorities that after that morning routine is done, everything is set, I’m super focused, and I’m ready to dive into the deep work session in the morning in what I’m about to do.

Ryan: Nice. So, that’s actually interesting! That’s very different from mine. So, I think it’s good. Not everyone has the same morning routines.

Anthony: Exactly! And so, from yours, where did you start and where you at now?

Ryan: Me?

Anthony: Yes.

Ryan: So, let me kind of tell what it looks like now. I think it is just as important as the things that I do as the things that I don’t do. What I mean by that is one thing that I have to change in my morning routine was I don’t look at my phone and I don’t look at social media. I don’t do that kind of stuff. So, that has  totally eliminated from what I do right when I get off bed. Usually something that I did was I’ll be in bed, I’ll wake up, grab my phone, I would like look at you know, emails, Facebook or whatever and  I would just like end up doing that for 20 minutes.

Anthony: It’s the worst.

Ryan: It’s the worst thing you could be doing in your life and I mean that sincerely because it is just starting you off from this like very distracted day. So, what I do instead is this – first of all, I don’t have notifications on my phone -we’ll talk about that later – but I get up, I go to the bathroom, I go downstairs, I make coffee, I drink the coffee out on my deck while I just sit there. I just sit there and I drink my coffee, then what I do once I’m done with my coffee, I do. Did we talk about this last night? I don’t like using the term meditation because it sounds like woohoo new age, like some, is this some spiritual thing. Is this like a…

Anthony: Well, I tried to sidestep that by saying I do mindfulness.

Ryan: Yes, you said mindfulness. I know what you meant. So, I would do meditation but I need to put an asterisk by that. I think the general sense of what meditation is not like accurate. It essentially is I use an app. I use Headspace –  Headspace once in awhile. So, I use an app called Headspace, and what it is like a ten to  twenty-minute session depending on how far you are into it you are where it is basically clearing out your mind, focusing your attention. I just don’t know how I can start my day without it now because it primes your brain for the rest of the day. So, I’ll do this coffee drinking   or I just hang out, don’t do, no panicky stuff then I’ll do the mindfulness/meditation, then I do a basic like three to five-minute movement routine and I’ve made a video of this on my blog called my morning movement routines. I’ll do something similar to that and then I will get started with the rest of my day.  So, that’s essentially what it looks like. Sometimes depending on how I’m feeling I’ll also do gratefulness type of exercises where I will just think about things that I appreciate      and I’ll try to recreate the emotion of feeling of what that’s like so I start my day with sort of happy feelings I guess you could say.

Anthony: Yeah.

Ryan: That’s a totally different way of starting your day than like  getting in bed, looking on Facebook, looking at whatever thing is going wrong, looking at your email, and seeing all these… It is a complete 180 from that.

Anthony: So, like every day, when you wake up there are eventually going to be fires you need put out and stressful things that are going to pop out.  The power of having your routine is being able to control your mindset before you start attacking those things.   So, if you wake up and you immediately going to Facebook, social media, news stories, emails, whatever it may be or even straight into work, you have no frame of reference and no foundation of mental status to be able to approach that. And so, you are easily shaken, you are easily stressed, you are easily agitated. Having each of these morning routines for both of us has got a huge step in the right directions to be able to deal with things more effectively and with a kind of I guess better calmness.

Ryan: And I think the biggest thing that has change for me is really two things – I am more patient throughout the day now because of this and I don’t get easily aggravated like when I didn’t have these routines in the morning and I didn’t really spend the time doing this, I will be easily agitated by the smallest things and just doesn’t happen to me anymore.

Anthony: Right and so you’re going to be able to step back and be able to process things as they pop up instead of reacting to them in a kind of annoyed way.

Ryan: Yeah exactly. So, do you want to add anything to that?

Anthony: I think when I started learning about this stuff, it was a common trend that everybody that was super successful and getting a lot of stuff done was mastering their own routine in the morning and I forgot where I heard this but daily rituals… I think in Amazon, it goes through a bunch by I think by Mason Currey and goes throughout history like Benjamin Franklin, what his morning routines was, what his daily rituals were. When I was reading this book, it was a common thing that the most successful people on there had their mornings on locked down. They protected them every single morning, every single day for years and years and years. So, I thought, there might be something to this morning routine. So that’s when I started experimenting on them and it kind of building and testing since then.

Ryan: I think different things work for different people and the idea is everyone is not going to do it the same. But you do, you experiment, you find out what works for you and be consistent with it because the effects don’t happen after day one or day two.  After couple of weeks, you really start to feel difference in your emotions and sort of how you think and how you react. It just does not happen right away.

Anthony: To see some… So, everyone is obviously individuals with what routines  make them successful and set them up for the best throughout the day, I think there’s some commonalities here. Both you and I we don’t check anything. I think that is the biggest thing.

Ryan: Don’t get people access through morning,

Anthony: Your routine can’t be –  first thing I do in the morning is check social media or email.

Ryan: It serves no purpose other than those apps are like turned into games because you want to see that little red notifications and it gives you this instant gratification but that really does not help you in anyway other than probably release some chemicals in your brain that make you like excited just like a game. I’m sure there are game developers that help them with their app that makes them addictive.

Anthony: So, clearly not dealing with manufactured emergencies or things that don’t set you up for success for the rest of the day. Like what I was saying earlier, I do a lot of journaling, setting up stage for my day. We both do kind of mental prep to get us in the right zone. And so, it’s all foundational stuff so that the rest of the day can be as intentional as possible and less reactionary. Does that make sense?

Ryan: It makes sense to me. So, what’s our weekly challenge?

Anthony: Our weekly challenge would be to make a routine for yourself and I think that this just could start with just one simple thing. It does not need to be super complex. Like I said I’ve refined mine in a kind of over course of the last few years.  We just take some time to get up, we just take some time to do something for yourself, and not reacting to something, at least huge and be able to stick to that for the next seven days.

Ryan: What I might want to add to that too is don’t worry about it being this perfect routine and don’t feel like you have to make it perfect before you do it.  Maybe you wake up thirty minutes before work right now, and for the next week that means just waking up an extra 45 minutes early so you don’t feel rushed and then you can start adding a thing or two. Make something over this next week and do it for seven days. And then start changing it, adding it, modifying it as needed but you can’t freestyle it until you have something sort of consistent to based off what you want to change.

Anthony: And don’t feel guilty if you fall off a routine. I know there’s a huge impact when I stick to my routine. That’s very very helpful. I know last year though when I was traveling, I would fall off then even when I return from traveling, I will be off for few days and I will be super anxious and aggravated and always feel like my days were not under control. So, I end up creating like a home away routine to stay on track but it is normal to fall off and get back on.  So, do not be worried of that. But for the next seven days like the good doctor here is saying, start small and then add to that each week to see and start noticing differences.

Ryan: Awesome! So, that’s what we got for you guys this episode. Let us know in the comments or email, how the week went for you, what the routine looks like. Any feedback you have is appreciated. Until next time. Is that the way to end this?

Anthony: Yeah. Until next time.

Ryan: Thank you guys for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. If you find it helpful, please share with someone that you think it would also help and leave us a five-star rating on iTunes, make sure also to go to healthfit.biz and sign up for the email notification to which you can find right on the homepage so that you get all the updated podcasts and blog post sent directly to you. Until then, we will see you next time.