About 10 years ago, I read Julia Cameron’s seminal work called The Artist’s Way. The introduction began with her assignment to do something called Morning Pages, where you hand write three pages each morning. I did it for the six weeks of the program and beyond. In fact, since that time, there have been maybe less than 10 days that I haven’t gotten up to do morning pages.
Morning pages are definitely a habit for me now. But they take a good bit of effort, when I really think about it. I have to get up early sometimes to catch a flight or to drive to a client appointment. On vacation, I may want to get up early and have breakfast in whatever city we find ourselves visiting. But for some reason, morning pages are the way I operate now and they can’t be skipped. So I adjust my waking time to make sure that it happens – three pages, with my coffee, in the same seat every day.
After all this time, morning pages help me wake up properly. They are a definite part of my self care routine. And one of my ten daily habits that I don’t often break. Why? Because I can’t. I just know that I can’t. It’s become so ingrained in my daily routine that I can’t let it go.
What parts of your daily routine are so ingrained that you can’t skip them? For some people I know, it’s a morning walk, a devotional or motivational reading. Maybe it’s quiet time catching up with your spouse, partner or child. Maybe sitting on your porch watching the sunset or the moon rise.
Or maybe you don’t have a habit like this but are already thinking about what that might look like. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time – it can be very quick but it could be very meaningful.
I served in leadership and mentoring role once with a man who was a nonprofit executive. He spent 20 minutes every day without fail reading something that helped him to do his work more effectively or efficiently. I realized recently that my clients who are feeling the most successful are those who can point to daily habits that help them start the day off in a ritualistic and satisfying way.
I saw this quote recently and realized it really describes how I feel about my morning routine. Warren Buffet said,
“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”
I guess that’s really why I continue to spend time on my morning pages.
I do it because I like this kind of life.