020: 3 Habits You Should Do Every Morning [Podcast]

There is nothing better than starting off your day right. There is nothing worse than starting your day off wrong. You have the power to choose. Are you strategic about your mornings?

3 Habits You Should Do Every Morning

If you want to be intentional, you have to do it first thing in the morning. Bottom line. Let’s use exercise as an example. I personally hate working out in the morning. However, it is the only time in my day when I have the fewest interruptions.

My ideal time to workout is lunchtime. I like dividing up my workday. Since I work behind the desk most of the day, it is nice to divide up my time. Yet, there is not a single week that goes by that my lunch plans don’t change.

Plans don’t change first thing in the morning.

The point I am trying to make is for you to strongly consider doing your most important stuff first thing in the morning. You will be more intentional and have fewer interruptions.

What are the best habits to do first thing in the morning?

Well, you can choose to do anything you want with your time. I personally like to do anything that has to do with sharpening the saw. My day flows better when I have given time for the physical, mental and spiritual.

3 Habits You Should Do Every Morning


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The concept of sharpening the saw was first introduced to me in the book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.

When you take care of yourself first, you have the ability to be more productive. The analogy of an axe and a tree is a good example.

With a dull blade you have to work twice as hard to cut down that same tree with a sharp blade. Here are a few habits that help you sharpen the saw.

Habit #1: Give Time for Exercise (Physical)

While working out in the morning is not my favorite, I love the feeling of having checked it off my list. I start my workday with a spring in my step feeling good that I have taken care of myself.

Another good reason to try and workout in the morning is to create a buffer. If for some reason I am unable to exercise in the morning, I still have a few available slots in my day. I usually try to target lunchtime as a backup if I miss my morning exercise time. I didn’t have that buffer when I was focused on exercising in the evenings.

Habit #2: Allow Time for Thinking (Mental)

You will be amazed at how much stuff is swirling around in that brain of yours. You have ideas, thoughts, and to dos that need to be nurtured. The first step is to get it out of your head. I have a morning habit known as Morning Pages. It is unstructured writing or journaling. The goal is to write at least 750 words first thing in the morning.

You can write about anything. Let your mind wonder and write down whatever comes to mind. Once I get it all out, I go back over it and look for:

  • Items I need to add to my to do list
  • Reoccurring themes I need to deal with
  • Ideas I need to nurture
  • People I need to reach out to

It really is amazing how much stuff comes bubbling to the surface when you just sit down and write. It is good for the mental side of you. You can also choose to read a good book as a way to feed your mental side as well. Another option is to listen to a podcast while exercising in order to do something for both the physical and the mental. 

Habit #3: Offer Time for Devotions (Spiritual)

The spiritual side of me is extremely important. It is a reminder to me that I am a part of a bigger story that just my little world. There is a God that has created me. He desires to spend time with me.

I do this by reading Scripture, praying, and spending time just being thankful. This also helps me to not only start my day off right, but to have the right attitude, perspective, and thought as I go throughout my day.

Like I said before, you will need to determine the right habits for you. My encouragement is for you to choose things that sharpen your saw. All of these habits recharge my batteries so that I have the capacity to give to others the rest of the day. Never forget the principle that you have to lead yourself before you can lead others. You can’t give out of what you don’t possess.

Question: What habits/rituals do you do first thing in the morning that sharpen your saw? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    14 thoughts on “020: 3 Habits You Should Do Every Morning [Podcast]

    1. Jonathan, I’ve found mornings to be a great time to get things done like exercise as well.

      My morning routine normally follows this path –

      20-30 minutes of running
      Reading something from the Bible
      and then reading blog posts to sharpen my mind

      It’s been an easy habit to form once I began to rise a bit earlier than I used to.

      • Great Joe. There is something energizing about starting your day off right. Too many people wake up late, rush through their mornings, and never catch up during their work day.

    2. Hmmm, I’ll have to consider that second idea. I’m already doing #1 & #3. Although, with #3 I also journal. After thinking about it, my journaling looks somewhat like #2 but is structured more as a prayer.

      I also set aside an hour each morning to write a blog post (or at least part of one).

      Without my morning routine, everything falls apart.

    3. Good post John.
      My habit is read and meditate of God’s word before morning exercise with prayer. It’s a slight change in what I used to do before – I recently added the morning walk to the mix. This makes such as difference to my day – how I feel physically and spiritually.

      • Thanks Pamela. I’m like you. When I accomplish those things first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is a bonus!

    4. I definitely agree that it’s important to have a morning routine. Unfortunately, for me, exercising in the morning tends to throw off the rest of my day. I’ve tried it, and when I get back from the gym, rather than getting right into work, I tend to do a bunch of other things. So on days when I go to the gym in the morning, exercise is one of the few things I actually get done that day. Because of that, I have to schedule gym time for around 3:00 PM — when I’ve already worked a ton, and need a physical and mental break away from my desk. You are right, though, that things can come up that cause me to, in spite of my best intentions, miss the afternoon gym time.

      The bottom line I think is to figure out your own rhythms and base routines on those to be as effective as you possible can be. Morning routines definitely set the pace for the rest of the day.

    5. Yeah Jonathan starting your day off the right way has its advantages. I need to get a better routine. I love to start my day off with a cup of joe watching news, I need to incorporate workout times.

    6. I definitely stand by having great morning habits that allow you to get in touch with your mental and spiritual side (meditation, journaling, etc). However, lately I’ve been much more concerned with checking the analysis stats on my site, making sure everything is working, all of that, the moment I wake up. This leaves me no time for any of my old habits. Sadly, I can see the effects already and it’s killing me.

      • Vincent. You are so right. I had a period of time when I got in the habit of checking facebook and email first thing in the morning. That always started off my day in many rabbit trails I didn’t want to go down!

    7. Does drinking coffee count as sharpening the saw? In fact, without coffee I can’t even find my saw. Great article Jon, had no idea you were writing, will be on lookout for further posts……..after I’ve had coffee. -Tim

    8. Great post. I do I and three, The second one I never thought of writing the words down.