Wow - this is a big question coming from me (the proud morning routine aficionado that I am...)
But recently I've been trying to question all the beliefs I have - or as many as I can stomach.
Morning routines are called to the stand...
One problem I've found with my own morning routine, and hearing about others, is how potentially limiting it can be.
Because it takes me so long, I sometimes force myself to go to bed just so I can get in enough sleep and still get up to plough through my routine.
Like an addict, I become cranky if I don't get to check off all my little habits.
Now, one thing that happens as soon as I'm off my usual schedule, whether I'm travelling or staying at someone else's house is that EVERYTHING flies out the window.
In theory, I could still do plenty of the things I usually do in the morning in a different environment (bar yoga - most hotel rooms I stay in don't have the floor space! One day...)
But I don't.
Not only does my morning routine fall to pieces: my whole day follows suit.
I've become dependent on this routine.
Now, dependency is not something I value in myself or others. So... I realised this is something I need to work on.
What I've done to break the pattern of my morning routine
The first step was assessing how many of the individual habits that made up my routine were actually helping me in a significant way.
I decided to pare it back to what I considered the bare essentials.
If I could add more in? I could. It would be a bonus.
But having my minimum effective dose would allow me to chill out if I wanted to hit snooze, or have something I could practise from anywhere in the world.
To do this, I looked at each part of my routine.
I asked myself if any of them could be reduced, or sped up, or dropped entirely.
At the time, part of my routine was drawing mandalas - but this had also lost some of its magic. I decided it had run its course, so I dropped it.
I was also practising 30-40 mins of yoga, which is a fair amount given it was every morning. So I tried limiting it to 10, to see if I still felt the energising and grounding benefits.
Morning pages is something that genuinely felt like it had been making a difference in clearing my crazy brain before I started work.
I knew it was one I wanted to hold onto, but three full pages, as Julia Cameron prescribed? I told myself just try one. Ok one half page, minimum, and see how that goes.
Now, I always write something - but it could just be a few muddled sentences about the dream I had last night, or what I'm hoping to get done that day.
So... are morning pages worth it?
Well, I'm an early bird who loves those quiet wee hours of the morning. I DO feel the difference in my day, if I don't do something like a morning routine first thing.
But does it have to be this elaborate ritual? Nope.
We're organic creatures and our routines can ebb and flow like the seasons, like our natural rhythms.
What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
My takeaway? Just do you every. single. morning.
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