Jim Kwik is a New York Times bestselling author and memory and brain coach to Alex Rodriguez, Will Smith, and many others.
Why is your morning routine so important? I firmly believe that if you start your day by stimulating your brain with a series of simple activities, you have a huge advantage. Additionally, if you establish winning routines from the start of the day, you can benefit from what Tony Robbins calls “the science of momentum”: the idea that once you set achievement in motion , you can keep it moving with much less effort than if you were trying to accomplish something from scratch.
I have a carefully crafted morning routine to help me win the day and that involves preparing my mind. I don’t do each of these things every day, especially when traveling, but I still do most of them, and I know for sure that it prepares me mentally and prepares me for performance, productivity, and positivity. as soon as I get up.
Let me tell you about a typical morning.
Before I even get out of bed, I spend time thinking about my dreams. Dreams are an expression of the work your subconscious does while you sleep, and there is gold to be mined there. Many geniuses throughout history have regularly consulted and often gleaned their best ideas and made their greatest discoveries from their dreams. Mary Shelley had the idea of Frankenstein in his dreams. A dream is the origin of Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
So the first thing I do every morning, before I even lift my head from the pillow, is think back to my dreams to see if there’s an idea or a perception or a new way of seeing something which can be useful for what I do. I’m trying to accomplish. I know some of you have trouble remembering your dreams, so I’m going to offer you a quick mnemonic technique designed to help you do so. Just think of the word DREAMS:
- D is for deciding: The night before, make a conscious decision to remember your dreams. If you set the intention, your chances improve dramatically.
- R is for Record: Keep a pen and paper by your bedside, or even have a recording app available on your phone. As soon as you wake up, record any lingering memories of your dreams.
- E is for the eyes: Keep your eyes closed right after you wake up. Dreams can disappear within minutes, and keeping your eyes closed will help you think.
- A for Affirm: Before going to bed, affirm that you will remember your dreams, because affirmation is an essential tool for achieving them.
- M is for Manage: For many reasons, but especially here to remember your dreams, it is important to manage your sleep and establish good sleep routines.
- S is for Share: Talk about your dreams with others. When you do this, you bring them to the surface more and more and you develop the routine of tapping into your dreams so you can discuss them later.
The first thing I do after getting out of bed is make the bed. It’s a success habit, my first accomplishment of the day. It’s an easy win, and it has the added benefit of making my bedtime more enjoyable, because it’s always nicer to return that evening to a made bed. This is why in the military they train you to make your bed first thing in the morning, because it prepares you to be great at everything you do.
After that, I drink a large glass of water. Hydration is very important first thing in the morning because our body loses a lot of water while we sleep through the simple act of breathing. Remember: our brain is made up of about 75% water, so if we want to make it work, we need to be well hydrated. I also drink a glass of celery juice, which boosts the immune system, helps flush toxins from the liver, and helps restore the adrenal glands (hats off to Anthony William, the Medical Medium, for this idea). Right after, I’ll take my probiotics to make sure my gut, called the second brain, gets what it needs.
Then I brush my teeth with the opposite hand. I do this to train my brain to do difficult things, because it stimulates a different part of your brain and because it forces me to be present. There’s nothing else I can do to do this well.
Then I do a three-minute workout. This isn’t my full workout, but I want to get my heart rate up first thing in the morning because it helps with sleep and weight management, as well as oxygenation to the brain.
Once I’m done, I take a cold shower. I’m sure some of you will cringe at the thought of starting the day by pummeling yourself with cold water, but cold therapies of this type do a great job of resetting the nervous system and have the added benefit of helping manage any inflammation.
When I get out of the shower, I do a series of breathing exercises to fully oxygenate my body. Then I do about 20 minutes of meditation to get a clear mind at the start of the day. The process I use, Ziva Meditation, was developed by my meditation coach, Emily Fletcher, a three-step process that involves mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation. To watch a video, go to www.LimitlessBook.com/resources.
Then I make my “brain tea”, a combination of gotu kola, ginkgo, lion’s mane, MCT oil and a few other things. Then I’ll sit down to spend some time journaling, putting my first thoughts of the day onto the page. My goal in any given day is to accomplish three things for work and three things personally, and I’ve set that agenda now. I followed this with about half an hour of reading. I made it a goal to read at least one book a week and make it part of my morning routine to stay on track.
Finally, I drink my “brain smoothie,” a combination of many brain foods.
However, it is true that this routine takes a lot of time. As I mentioned, I can’t access all of this every day, and I can appreciate if it seems like more than you can handle, especially if you need to help others start their day . But if your goal in reading this is to improve your brain, then some variation of a morning routine like this is an integral part of the process. Here are the keys :
- Record your dreams before getting out of bed. There is so much gold to mine here, so I highly recommend not skipping this step.
- Hydrate and oxygenate yourself.
- Nourish yourself with some of the brain foods mentioned in this chapter.
- Make a plan for the day.
If you do at least these four things, you’ll be well on your way to stimulating your brain to operate at a high octane level. Incorporate as many of these things as possible into the start of your day. The most important thing is to have a productive morning routine. I can’t stress enough the impact that starting your day off right has on the overall flow of your day.
Extract of UNLIMITED EXPANDED EDITION by Jim Kwik published by Hay House, Inc. Copyright © 2023.