Why a Morning Routine is so Important
We are on Yellowhammer Radio on the 2nd and 4th Thursday's of the month at noon. The segment is called Time to Thrive and here is the first episode in which we talked about having a morning routine and why it is so important.
Here is the transcription from that episode on Time to Thrive
Ford Brown: Welcome in to "Time to Thrive" with Thomas Cox from MealFit.Co. Thomas, thank you for joining me again.
Thomas Cox: Happy to be here, happy to be here.
Ford Brown: Thank you again. It's good. Any time I get to see you on a Thursday is always the best time.
Thomas Cox: Wonderful day.
Ford Brown: After we got to introduce you two weeks ago, and we got to bring you in and really talk about what makes Thomas Cox, and what makes MealFit, whether it be the catering, the meal plans or the meal-prepped food, it was so interesting. I wanna kind of take this time and dive in a little bit deeper segment by segment and figure out what really makes you tick. So, I think one of things is ... and you mentioned it to me when we first met ... was, "Hey, do you have a morning routine?"
I thought to myself, "I brush my teeth and take a shower," but does your morning routine mean going to run an iron man race, or does it mean just making sure I put both socks on? What does that mean? What is a morning routine?
Thomas Cox: So if you Google that, what you're gonna find is you're gonna find that a lot of successful people ... millionaires, billionaires ... people that are at the highest level of success have a routine on a daily basis that is mindless. Okay? Let's just give a great example: Mark Zuckerburg. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. All of these ... you've got Steve Jobs ... all of these guys have morning routines. All of these guys have a plan where what they wear is mindless. What they do is mindless.
Here's the thing. It's been scientifically proven that you can only make so many good decisions in a day.
Ford Brown: Do you know what number is?
Thomas Cox: I do not know, because it's different for everybody.
Ford Brown: It's different for everybody. That's what I thought.
Thomas Cox: It's different for everybody. And so ...
Ford Brown: I know mine's about five.
Thomas Cox: About five or six, yeah.
Ford Brown: Mine can't be much.
Thomas Cox: But here's the thing, you waste calories mentally on what you're gonna wear the next day. That's a decision that you have to make. We talked about it. Wear shorts and t-shirts and ... I wear pretty much the same things every day. Zuckerburg, wears the same things every day. Steve Jobs wore the same things every day. Obama, Trump ... they wear ... if you look, they're wearing the same things every day.
So, with a morning routine, what people do is some people's are very, very long and very, very detailed. Some are very, very small and very, very short and concise. Everybody's is different. There are a lot of patterns and a lot of same things in a lot of these successful people, but what it usually consists of is it consists of a time of reflection, whether it be prayer, reading your Bible, whatever. Meditation, yoga. Everybody's got something like that, from the super-spiritual to the not-super-spiritual. Most of them consist of some sort of education, most of them consist of some sort of exercise. Obviously you've got some sort of meal or food thrown in there.
I think those things are very, very important because what they do is they help us get started with our day. I had a coach in high school say, "If your first step is wrong, then none of your other steps can be right." Okay? If my first step is correct, if my first step is consistent every day, I'm more likely to be successful throughout my day.
Ford Brown: It's kind of like running on a ladder, like when you're doing the foot drill on the ladder.
Thomas Cox: Yeah, high school. Yeah.
Ford Brown: It's tough to catch back up.
Thomas Cox: Absolutely. So, if we can get started in the right direction, I think what happens is is we get into that routine ... here's the thing. Think about this. There's nothing worse than waking up forty-five minutes to an hour late from your alarm and you're scrambling to get out of the door, then all of a sudden, the rest of your day is screwed up. Am I not right?
Ford Brown: You can't even tie your shoes. You're brushing your teeth in the car.
Thomas Cox: You're thinking about, "Oh, what did I not do this morning?" So, what happens is you get frazzled. But if you can get up and have a consistent routine, then what you can do is you can get on with the rest of your day and be in a rhythm, because we are creatures of habit. If we can get in a rhythm and stay in a rhythm throughout our day, we are more likely succeed and more likely to get more things done.
Ford Brown: So, when you think about a morning routine, I think about my morning routine that's very light ... maybe half of the stuff you mentioned, right?
Thomas Cox: Right.
Ford Brown: Then I think about Thomas Cox's morning routine.
Thomas Cox: Right.
Ford Brown: Detailed morning routine. First thing you do, to the last.
Thomas Cox: Got it. Okay, wake up time is between four and four-ten. I have to have time by myself.
Ford Brown: Now, the wake up time's different for everybody, too?
Thomas Cox: Wake up ... yeah, exactly. The wake up time is different for everybody else ... for everybody. But I need to be at work early, okay? I've got three kids, and so I have to have time by myself. So, wake up time is between four and four-ten. Mel Robbins, I think it's the "five-second rule": don't hit the snooze. Don't hit the fricking snooze. Get ...
Ford Brown: I'm so good at hitting the snooze. Rolling my phone over and hitting the orange button.
Thomas Cox: One of the things I've done is I bought an alarm clock and took my phone out of the room. Okay?
Ford Brown: You're committed. You are committed.
Thomas Cox: So, I don't look at this thing for thirty minutes. I get up between four and four-ten. I walk into my closet, my clothes that are already laid out for the next day, I put my clothes on. I brush my teeth, and I put my clothes on. Here's the quirkiest thing I do. I always put my shoes on. Always.
Ford Brown: At four-ten?
Thomas Cox: For the next hour-and-a-half, I'm not doing anything active. But I put my shoes on. If my shoes are off, I'm in a relaxed mode. So I'm thinking, "Sit and watch TV. Relax." I don't want to have my shoes and socks ... I put my shoes on. I brush my teeth, put my clothes on with my shoes. I walk into my office in my house, and I read my Bible. I pray. That looks different a little bit every day. So, it's read my Bible, praying ... generally. I write a lot, because I like to write down prayers and things like that. Who I'm praying for, circle who I'm praying for. There's different types of things. I write down a lot, read a lot in my Bible and just have some time for prayer.
For me, that helps me get started. The Bible talks about tithing. It's not just your money, but it's the first of everything. They talked about in the Bible, in the Old Testament, "Give them the first fruits, the first cow, the first of your grain," whatever. I'm gonna give God the first of my day. It's just a principle to live by, okay? So, the first thing I do is I do some sort of prayer meditation reading. The next thing I do is I will do some sort of educational something, meaning I will read a book, I will read a blog of what's going on ... something that's gonna help me in my business, in my life, with my kids. Whatever. I'm gonna read something. Right now, I'm reading a book called "Everybody Always" by Bob Golf, and then there's another one that my neighbor recommended called, "The Gospel Comes with A House Key".
It's talking about hospitality. I'm in the hospitality business, but also, we have a home we wanna bring people in and love people, from a spiritual perspective, but also just form a love perspective.
Ford Brown: Yeah.
Thomas Cox: So, those are the two things I'm reading right now. The next thing is exercise. I move every day. I mean, I feel like I've got to move every day. It is my my ... it primes my body.
Ford Brown: Is it like your stimuli?
Thomas Cox: It really, really is.
Ford Brown: You know, "If I don't move today, I've really messed up." Is there ever a day where maybe you don't move and that kind of creeps into your brain and you start to feel bad about it?
Thomas Cox: Yes. So if I have to be at work before five, I typically don't move ... because that means I have a three o'clock wake up time. I don't try to wake up many times before four.
Ford Brown: I don't think many of us try to, either.
Thomas Cox: If I have to be at work before five or five, I typically don't. I'll do something later in the day. But I've gotta move in the morning. A lot of people do this ... what do you consume, like drink? Water. I typically, when I first get up, I try to consume some sort of water, probably eight to ten ounces, then I drink black coffee as I'm sitting there reading and do that stuff. I probably drink two cups of black coffee in the morning, nothing added to it. Then I move every day. After I move, I eat.
I eat the same thing every day. I eat four eggs, and the left over something of the night before. The left over vegetables, the left over rice. This morning, I ate rice. I ate about half a cup of rice with four eggs. I mean.
Ford Brown: How do you cook the eggs?
Thomas Cox: Fry it.
Ford Brown: Really?
Thomas Cox: Four fried eggs.
Ford Brown: About the only thing you ever fry?
Thomas Cox: No. I love fried okra.
Ford Brown: Really?
Thomas Cox: I love it.
Ford Brown: That is good. It's tough to pass up fried okra.
Thomas Cox: I freaking love fried okra.
Ford Brown: So, you eat whatever you had the night before and then you eat those four eggs, and then after that, is it go time?
Thomas Cox: It's go time.
Ford Brown: Golly. And your shoes are already on, so you're
Thomas Cox: Yeah. So that works for me. It's taken a while to get that thing dialed in, because you have to tinker with what you're doing. Sometimes, the things are shorter and longer. If I don't have to be at work until seven o'clock, and I've got a little more time ... if I have to be at work at six, that is compressed. So instead of reading my Bible for forty-five minutes or an hour, it comes down to thirty minutes. My workout goes from forty-five minutes to thirty minutes or even twenty minutes.
Here's the thing. If I've got twenty minutes to move or fifteen minutes to move, I will go out there and move.
Ford Brown: So, are you moving at home, are you moving at a gym?
Thomas Cox: At home.
Ford Brown: Really?
Thomas Cox: I love a gym. But I like home better, because it gives me ... ten minutes to get to the gym, ten minutes to get home ... it gives me more time. Time is the most valuable commodity we have. Warren Buffet and the homeless guy under 280 or under 459 has got the same amount of time. Time is the ultimate commodity. We all have the same amount. It's what you do with your time that is the most important thing, so I wanna be as condensed with my time as I can.
I've got a couple of buddies that come work out with me in the morning, and we work out together. There are varied levels of intensity. Obviously, mine is a little bit higher than theirs, just because they're wanting to move. One guy's not in very good shape, one guy's in average shape, and then I'm in better shape. So we just move and scale the thing to do what we can do, but those things are paramount to my day. They are paramount to my morning routine. Like I said, if I don't have those, I feel a little lost. It's very, very rare that I don't have that.
Ford Brown: So when going to find, say, a listener's morning routine or going to find your own morning routine out there ... whoever is consuming this ... what would say the first step to finding it would be? Would it be trying to just eat something in the morning, or trying to just read something in the morning, or just as easy as not hitting the snooze button?
Thomas Cox: I would say, "Let's turn the ship slow," okay? You can still get thrown off the ship. Let's turn the ship slow and try to get into something that's manageable and then add as we go. The first thing I would say is getting up consistently. Don't let your kids be your alarm clock. That's a hazard. No, it is. They're up, and then you get up ... you can't organize your kids, you've gotta lead your kids. They're kids. I don't care, from three to sixteen or seventeen, you need to lead your kids. You need to set a good example. Get up before your kids. Get a consistent time to wake up.
Let's add small things. Let's add some sort of reading. If you're spiritual ... pray, meditate, whatever. Have some sort of reflection, some sort of education. Again, it could be five minutes. Five minutes, it doesn't have to be long. Some people are gonna push back on the move and say, "Hey, I'm not a morning person." That's fine. But if you're gonna move, have something consistent in the afternoon when you're gonna move. [crosstalk 00:11:22]
Ford Brown: The afternoon to me, though, always feels so jumbled. Dinner plans could come up, or maybe I've gotta go to a practice or maybe, all of a sudden, I've got a meeting that ran over past five o'clock and I can't make it to the gym.
Thomas Cox: How many times do you have meetings scheduled at five, six or seven in the morning? How many times?
Ford Brown: Never, because no one else wants to be up that early. So, you've gotta push yourself.
Thomas Cox: You've gotta push yourself, but those are available windows. If that's always gonna be an available window, you've gotta leverage that time as much as you can. It's a discipline thing. I mean, it is. It's a discipline thing. It's something where, I'm not saying that you've gotta wake up at four o'clock, but you need to get up before you may think you need to.
If you've got, "Okay, it's gonna take me twenty-two minutes to get to work, it's gonna take me thirteen minutes to get in the shower and get dressed, it's gonna take me five minutes to pick out something to eat," you don't need to be waking up an hour before. No. You need to leave yourself margin, because stuff comes up. Also, give yourself to get things done and get processed. Another thing that I do the night before or if I fall asleep sitting there with my wife, is that I always take about five to ten minutes and look at my calendar and plan my day. I'm a list maker, like you can see. It's ...
Ford Brown: I can tell, yeah. It's a little jumbled.
Thomas Cox: I get down what I gotta do, because if I'm not organized in my thought process, the day doesn't go as well either. I wanna know that this is what I'm doing then so that I can be organized throughout the day.
Ford Brown: It gives you time to wake up, too, in the morning. Especially if you give yourself a lot of time. I think, you know, if we wake up two hours before we're about to do something, or we plan to do something, it gives your body a lot more time to wake up, get active and get ready to start the day. Whereas if you sleep in thirty minutes, I gotta be at work, I don't even shower and I just throw on a shirt and some khakis and I'm there ... and you know, we're all victim to it sometimes ... but every single day? That's a you problem, you know what I mean?
You discipline yourself into chipping away a little bit a day at that mountain, and before you know it, you're Thomas Cox. I don't know how it gets any easier than that, you know what I mean?
Thomas Cox: The thing is, those stresses that you're talking about, they build stress. You put stress on yourself. Discipline helps relieve stress ... when I can have a more discipline life and make decisions that I don't wanna do. People that are successful, they say that, "I love my job, but you know what? There's a lot of parts about my job that I don't love, but I do it freaking anyway." All of these guys that are ... I keep using Zuckerburg and Jobs and all of that ... these people do things that aren't comfortable. You've gotta do things you don't want to do in order to be not like everyone else.
Ford Brown: To do those, that means you're thriving, right?
Thomas Cox: Exactly. That's right.
Ford Brown: It's time to thrive. Thomas Cox joining us right here on the "Ford Faction". Thomas, thank you so much for coming on.
Thomas Cox: Yes, sir.
Ford Brown: Again, as always, morning routine ... if you missed any part of that, it'll obviously be on a podcast [inaudible 00:14:20] all over the place, but morning routine is one of the most important things to begin your journey to thrive, to find yourself, to start down the path to being successful. I don't mean like in your job, but I mean being successful. When you look back on your day and you put your head on the pillow, did you get better today?
Thomas Cox: Did you get better today? Did you get stuff done? Here's the thing. Did you get done what you wanted to get done? That's huge.
Ford Brown: I think it is, too. We'll be listening to you every other week here on Thursdays on the "Ford Faction", so I'm incredibly excited about it. Thomas, I can't thank you enough. We'll see you in a couple of weeks.
- Thomas Cox