I am a night owl, or so I thought. Reading productivity hacks in and out I realized that I was a lost cause. Waking up at 5 am was as foreign to me as going into space.
On my quest for personal growth and freedom from expectations I ended up in a retreat on a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal. This included starting a daily meditation at 6:45 am, which I thought to myself, was already hard.
On the second day of the course we were asked if anyone was up for volunteering. They wanted people to help out on a mourning routine to give offerings to Buddha which they called water bowls.
This meant adding a new layer of waking up at 5am, by dawn, and to do at least 1h30 of clearing glass bowls, cleaning and making the offerings. They had around 300 water bowls and they would do this ritual everything single day – holidays an Sundays included.
I set that challenge for only one day because I truly wanted to see how it was and after all one day wasn’t going to hurt my sleeping schedule that much. In order to be faster I planned what clothes to wear by nighttime as well as all the minutes between waking up and leaving my room.
I also planned to go back to sleep after the meditation because I had 2 hours free between the sessions.
So the day the alarm clock rang I woke up and quickly went through my motions. During the water bowls ceremony I felt a bit sleepy but was so engaged into doing it the right way that the hour and a half quickly went through.
Alter finishing my task I didn’t go back to sleep because I was hiper aware of everything around me. I was excited about creating something and my going was making every second count.
By 9:30 pm I went to bed and not once did I feel tired or anxious or sad or ready to lay down.
We were requested to do it one day. Guess what I signed up to do the rest of the time I was at the Monastery?
Water bowls every morning. This daily routine was one of the most amazing energy power banks that I have tried in my life.
Either was the gratitude, the offering of all good things to the World or just a system that helped me flip the night owl creature in me.
The five things I learned about morning routines:
#1 – Find a system that works for you. Write it down and follow everything step by step.
#2 – Define your bigger motivation. I did it because I wanted to help, I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to stick to it, more than I wanted to go to sleep.
#3 – Stick to it regardless the outside solicitations. Most of the time there is always something going on, either is dinner or friends, or late night drinks or workout routines. The reality is that if you decide on pursuing a different lifestyle you should make sure you follow through.
#4 – Don’t think about it. Once the alarm clock rings just wake up. If you think about it you will give up for sure because our mind tends to trick us. Just do the tasks you defined without questioning or trying to find alternative solutions.
#5 – If you need a break don’t push it. Once in a while we need a break, just because we are humans. In case you need a day off do it. But know that it’s only that day and you should make that part of the process and not a habit of skipping just because you are tired.
I changed my morning routines with this 5 steps and it has been an amazing ride after that.
Let me know how it went for you.