A day begun [hastily], on the plane of self-indulgence, will continue on that plane. Weakness in little things is a moral gangrene, which slowly destroys the will. – William Muldoon
The morning is the best time for everything. If you really want to get your exercise in, and a healthy start to the day, begin first thing in the morning.
The morning is a renewal. You’ve restored yourself through sleep, and in the morning the entire day is in front of you. You can choose which plane you begin on: are you going to take care of yourself or not?
Typically I give myself between 1 and 2 hours in the morning. The basic template is:
- Some breathing or physical movement for 5-15 minutes
- Writing for 30-50 minutes and if there’s more time
- Meditation for 5-10 minutes
- Planning for and spreadsheet work for 15-30 minutes
After that starts the household duties, mainly getting myself and the kids ready and out the door.
Joint mobility is a restorative exercise that improves body mobility, relieves pain, and improves joint function. Taken to more advanced levels it can be cardiovascular and offer exercise benefits. Further, it improves coordination, is a great recovery agent the day following a workout, and can be meditative when combined with proper breathing. Joint mobility requires no equipment, no fancy clothes, no exercise supplements, no setup, and very little time. Here’s one video and I have a more advanced one on my YouTube page.
The morning air is of supreme quality. Take advantage of it by doing these George Jowett breathing exercises. While the video shows me in my basement (logistics), I do these 5-6 days per week out on my deck. The other advantage of these is that they open the chest.
Breathing is life. Check out the Systema Breathing synopses I wrote up and start practicing.
I interviewed Gene and Virginia, a couple in their 80’s who have done some amazing things, and they told me about their “Coffee with Christ.” Every morning they would read the Bible or something spiritual—and have coffee. They used decaf.
It’s a great routine. Many mornings I read something by Emmet Fox from his Power Through Constructive Thinking book. This book is full of improved thought patterns and makes you aware of your negative ones.
I also do my writing during this time. The reading is like ingesting something positive to prepare you for your day.
I have two morning meditations I like. Either a standing meditation I learned from Steve Cotter and a book called The Way of Energy, or a seated meditation I learned from a book called Keys to Higher Consciousness. It’s called the Good Will Witness. The instructions are basic and available online here: https://www.yogaworld.org/enter/form_or_formless.htm
The advantage of hitting the gym in the morning is you’re finished for the day and it’s pretty invigorating. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to warm up. The other disadvantage is (at least for me) I have to be quiet as the sounds carry through the house thanks to the heating/cooling ducts.
Some other stuff
At 7 AM I get in the shower and take no more than 15 minutes to complete all hygienic activities. This I learned from Robert Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity. William Muldoon suggests a snappy shower and not too hot of water, which I also follow except Saturdays where I linger and abuse the water heater.
Finally, as with any routine, the key is to have flexibility so you don’t feel constrained or feel like a robot. And, to monitor the emotions to feel calm and not constricted or effortful while going through the routine. If you can’t muster the right psychological energy, you need to work on that first.
This is the key. You can switch some things around, but staying consistent with doing something productive in the morning is good. Breathing, I think, is key. I also like writing and journaling, because that is preparatory for the day. Gets me in the groove. You’ll find your own things that work best for you but I would always do some sort of movement combined with breathing and fresh air.
What not to do
Perhaps you don’t do anything suggested here. Fine! But definitely don’t do these things: check email, use your smart phone, read the news. Those things are very poor choices for your mind and can get you going off in the wrong direction.
Ideas for help
If you need help staying consistent, create a spreadsheet that lists what you intend to do and how you intend to eat. This is just basic stuff, that’s simple to implement and helps keep you on track. Ideally you don’t need the spreadsheet long. Just the threat of having to do it is sometimes enough to get me on the right track.
Come up with a good morning routine and follow it, and ride it easily into health and strength.