The best thing about creating my perfect morning ritual was that it happened by accident.
Last August, when I freed myself from corporate shackles, life became a blank canvas; I could do whatever the hell I wanted, whenever the hell I wanted. And so if I’d fancied staying up late every night and lying in bed all morning, then I guess that would have been okay.
But my mission was, and still is, to ‘do good stuff to be a better me’ – and I was so in love with the idea of life being a hazy mist of opportunity, that I couldn’t help but rise with the dawn. Every single day was an adventure.
I was interested in everything and committed to nothing.
When you’re focused on being happy, you start by looking inwards for the answers and I’ve come to know that introspection is by far the most powerful tool in that box inside our heads.
You start to listen to your thoughts and how your body reacts to them. You start taking notice of what actions reap what results. And you start to quickly distinguish, intuitively rather than intellectually, between the good stuff and the bad stuff.
It became more apparent than ever that late nights felt so completely unnatural. Blue lights in my face, racing thoughts and prolonged mental stimulation (a borderline serious addiction to Ted Talks) all resulted in a groggy wake-up feeling and bags under my eyes.
Whereas early mornings felt like magic. It was like I’d pressed pause on time and everybody else in the whole wide world was asleep except for me.
My head was full of dreams and ideas and words would flow from my fingertips at lightning speed. There was no rush to get dressed and go to work and so I began eating my breakfast more mindfully, enjoying every bite.
I’d have time for all of the things I love to do and it would still only be nine o’clock by the time I’d finished. And I realised that by giving myself those three whole hours of ‘me’ time in the morning I became super productive and super positive throughout the rest of my day.
It was only then that I started intellectualising it all and reading up on morning routines of the world’s greatest leaders and most successful people; everybody from Tony Robbins to Richard Branson to the Dali Lama.
I added those learnings to everything I knew worked for me along with various other things I’d learned about getting the most out of your mind, body and soul.
And I created my perfect morning.
On a perfect day I wake up without an alarm clock at 5.45am… that’s enough time for my eyes to peel themselves open and for the first thoughts of the day to flood my mind before I take control of them.
I quickly scan my emails and messages for anything urgent.
At six am precisely – because I pedantically like to start things on the hour or on the half hour – I start my morning routine.
I lie on my bedroom floor and the first thing I do is 100 sit ups, then 100 squats and maybe 20 press-ups, but I’m not very good at those. I by no means have a six pack yet, in fact I don’t even want one, but this gets my body burning and my heart rate up.
I sit on my large rainbow meditation cushion facing the mirror and do a focused ten to fifteen minute meditation, usually on gratitude for a new day.
When that’s finished, I’ll do a few minutes of Kapalabhati breathing – a recent discovery of mine that injects my veins with explosive natural energy.
It’s then half past six and I’m about to do something I never thought I’d do.
According to the book I’m reading, Think And Grow Rich, a morning mantra is a key ingredient in the Law of Success. That book was published almost one hundred years ago and yet the greatest leaders of today also adopt this practice. And I figured if Steve Jobs could do it, then so can I.
So I’ve written down my two biggest ambitions and every morning, I say them out loud to myself.
Then, things get a little bit weirder.
I brush my teeth listening to a Moby meditation I’ve found on Insight Timer. With his chilled out beats counting me in, I hold my electric toothbrush against each tooth for four breaths in and the next for four breaths out.
Next I body brush from toe to head, always brushing towards the heart, then I’ll rub myself up with a homemade concoction of jojoba, lavender and rose oil.
I jump in the shower and blast myself with ice cold water for five minutes. Wim Hof and Tony Robbins are big fans of ice cold temperatures to kick start your metabolism and boost your immune system whereas for me, I just seem to sadistically enjoy the pain.
Okay, I’m officially awake.
I head downstairs and take a shot of apple cider vinegar with a drop of hot lemon which is supposed to be really good for gut health and balancing your pH levels. I like the tang and feel proud that I can no longer do this with sambucas.
Next I sledgehammer a slab of raw cacao, making sure it weighs no more than 30g or I’ll feel sick and dizzy. I throw it into the blender along with a cup of hot water and let it whizz around for a minute or two.
I’ll pour it into my favourite cup – the one with a map of the world on it – and sit in the garden, facing the sun. I sip it slowly. My head starts to feel lighter and my heart genuinely feels more open somehow. It’s such a different feeling to coffee – so much more pure.
I fetch my journals.
I’ve recently promised myself to do three minutes of real Morning Pages, Julia Cameron style, so I do those first. Then I get out my second journal and scribble out my vision, my goals, my plans or anything else that’s in my head. And finally, I write a blog post.
It’s seven thirty and I’ve drained my brain enough and it’s time to move my feet.
I run 5km, no more no less – up around the golf course and around the park, through my favourite rose gardens and the Dingly Dell. And when I’m home it’s time yoga with Adrienne.
I take my mat to the patio at the back of the garden, next to the vegetable plot and I face the sun. There’s something about yoga that makes me feel so peaceful inside and grounded. It makes me love my body too.
And finally, after a namasté and another shower, I get some fuel down my neck in the form of something delicious- avocado on toast, a fruit bowl with yogurt or a banana and peanut butter smoothie.
Morning routine complete, it’s nine o’clock and I’m ready for my day.