I am a night owl, or so I thought. Reading productivity hacks in and out I realized that I was a lost cause. Waking up at 5 am was so foreign to me.

On my quest for personal growth and freedom from expectations, I ended up in a retreat on a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal. This included starting a daily meditation at 6:45 am which I thought to myself was already hard.

On the second day, we were asked if anyone was up for volunteering. They wanted people to help out on a mourning routine – prepare Buddhas’ offerings to which they called water bowls.

This meant adding a new layer of waking up at 5 am, by dawn, and to do at least 1h30 of clearing glass bowls, cleaning and making the offerings. They had around 300 water bowls and they would do this ritual everything single day – holidays and Sundays included.

I set that challenge for only one day because I truly wanted to see how it was. One day wasn’t going to hurt my sleeping schedule that much. In order to be faster in the morning, I planned what clothes to wear at night, as well as all the minutes between waking up and leaving my room.

I also planned to go back to sleep after the meditation because I had 2 hours free between sessions.

So. the day the alarm clock rang I woke up and quickly went through my motions. During the water bowls ceremony, I felt a bit sleepy but was so engaged in doing it the right way that the hour and a half went through quickly .

Alter finishing my task I didn’t go back to sleep because I was so aware of everything around me. I was excited about creating something and making every second count.

By 9:30 pm I went to bed and not once did I feel tired or anxious or sad or ready to lay down.

We were requested to do it one day. Guess what, I signed up to do it for the remaining time I stayed at the Monastery?

Water bowls every morning. This daily routine was one of the most amazing energy power banks that I have tried in my life.

Either was the gratitude, the offering of all good things to the World or just a system that helped me flip the night owl creature in me. The five things I learned about morning routines were:

#1 – Find a system that works for you.

Write it down and follow everything step by step.

#2 – Define your biggest motivation.

I did it because I wanted to help, I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to stick to it, more than I wanted to go to sleep.

#3 – Stick to it regardless outside solicitations.

Most of the time, there is always something going on. Dinner or drinks with friends, late nights at work or workout routines. If you decide on pursuing a different lifestyle you should make sure you follow through.

#4 – Don’t think about it.

Once the alarm clock rings just get up. If you think about it you will give up for sure because our mind tends to trick us. Just do the tasks you defined without questioning or trying to find alternative solutions.

#5 – If you need a break don’t push it.

Once in a while, we need a break, just because we are humans. In case you need a day off, do it. But know that it’s only that day and you should make that part of the process and not a habit of skipping just because you are tired.

I changed my morning routines with these 5 steps and it has been an amazing ride after that.

Let me know how it went for you would love to hear about your experience.