Here’s SPIRE part 1 if you missed it.
My Morning Routine Solution:
I don’t want to take away from what I’ve gotten from the Miracle Morning, Morning Pages, the Daily Practice, or anything else. I have benefited tremendously from my exposure to these practices. But this concept that Reinhard Engels discusses on his Everyday Systems site began to resonate with me:
14 minutes a weekday for the rest of your life will keep you fit. There will be progress, slow and maybe even imperceptible.
So how do we get slow, consistent, even imperceptible progress in these five areas? I wanted to take out the stuff that didn’t work for me, or I thought wasn’t backed by solid science. I wanted to take all of these influences and boil them down into something I could take care of in…well, 14 minutes. Preferably 90 minutes in total.
The Specifics: Here’s exactly what I do on a daily basis. It has evolved over the last two years or so into this current incarnation. I encourage you to find something that works for you and would note that this is a baseline and not the final word.
Spiritual: mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is one of the best-studied versions of meditation and has many benefits. Mostly it reduces stress and pain signals and helps you to use the parts of the brain that make us human–the prefrontal cortex.
Physical: HFT and foam rolling.
Match what you are doing, physically, with both where you are now and what your goals are. Be sensible. If you weigh 300lbs, start with a daily 20 minute walk. The most important workout is tomorrow’s workout, and you won’t do tomorrow’s workout if you destroy yourself today. Even daily walking has a ton of benefits. For me, I need the muscle maintenance of the HFT as well as working out the kinks mobility-wise.
Intellectual: 10 ideas
Some people have very logical, rational thinking in their daily work or jobs. These people would benefit from more creativity. Artists, musicians, and other people might benefit more from a logical SPIRE practice. Alternately, you could learn or hone a skill.
Resources: Morning Pages from “The Artist’s Way”
Relationships are your relationships with other people, resources are your internal resources and environment. If you are an extrovert, working on your relationships is natural, but developing internal resources may be difficult. The opposite is the case for an introvert. An ambivert (both intro- and extroverted) could alternate or do both. I think that working against your natural grain will bear fruit in this area.
Daily journaling has been studied by science, too. Journaling is like a cheap version of therapy: it can help you manage stress, anxiety, and improve your mood. I learned about Morning Pages from Oliver Burkeman (who wrote the tremendous book The Antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking) and Tim Ferriss.
Emotional: A simple gratitude practice.
I write down at least three things that I’m grateful for. I try to write new things every day, going beyond the usual things like “family”. I’ve written “sunshine” and “coffee” more than once though. Gratitude has been studied quite a bit and has tons of benefits.
Write down two things you will accomplish today that relate back to your main goal, then write down one reason why you will achieve those two things.
All in all, this morning routine takes less than 90 minutes to complete (although it would be faster if I did a briefer workout). I believe it’s adaptable to anyone in nearly any situation. It gives you a way to win the morning and hopefully win the day.