Inspirational Morning Routines

If you’ve been on Instagram recently, chances are you have seen one of those ‘morning routine’ videos. A montage of short clips showing what any go-getting ambitious 21st century person does every morning – make coffee (iced), work-out, meditate, read a book and buckle up for a long (and satisfying day) of hustling. It is, what I feel, a glamourised version of what most of us do every morning. With a peppy background score of course. Sometimes they even put in time-stamps to make you feel worse, as if to confirm that, yes, in fact, I do get up every day at 4 am and finish my morning self-care-grind routine before my work day, so don’t make excuses if you’re not one of us. This is possible, and the only reason you aren’t eating veggies or working out or drinking these super-healthy looking (and aesthetically pleasing) drinks are because you don’t have the will and the determination to succeed. I can only assume these videos are made with the intention of getting everyone hyped for their day, to get everyone going and to show people who might not be ‘feeling it’ on any given day that if the anonymous person on the internet behind the Instagram reel can do it – so can you !

At first, I didn’t really have an issue with these videos. I saw them mindlessly, sometimes even appreciating the kind of effort I’m sure goes into making the videos (and one can only assume, the kind of effort these people put into their lives when the cameras aren’t on). But overtime, I’ve come to resent these faux motivational / go-get-it-girl videos.

The first thing that really gets to me is that I come across these ‘motivational’ videos all the time. Earlier, you had to actively look for these. You had to make up your mind to look for something to inspire you, go online and search for it. You’d probably find one of those on YouTube. Now, it is everywhere. It feels inescapable. If you’re a social media user (with any amount of regularity), then it probably is inescapable too. Don’t get me wrong. I know, and appreciate the value of hard work. I mean, I went to law school. I also appreciate when people I look up to talk about their work ethic, the way they make sure they stay about their business and their fundamentals for success. In fact, there are a couple of people I love listening to when I feel I am in the need for some inspiration. Jay Z for one, I always think he has something valuable to add to the conversation and I love listening to him. Nowadays though, you don’t even need to be looking for this stuff to find it. It is all over the place. Really. And I can’t help but wonder if the overall effect of such videos isn’t more negative than positive. There are some days you feel like taking on the world, and some days when you, well, just don’t. To have this constant reminder of how people – normal people, people like you – are going at life with such enthusiasm and ferocity every single day can really make you feel like you aren’t doing enough.

I also, and this is a little mean, doubt the veracity of their claims. I like making reels. They’re easy to make and can be quite fun too sometimes. But I also know how easy it is to project something on social media that isn’t true at all. I’ve done it, and I’m sure everyone I know has done it. But knowing logically that something is exaggerated or not true does not mean that we can distinguish how it makes us feel. I recently read a book by Dr. Joe Dispenza called ‘Supernatural’. In it, he talks about how our subconscious brain will, and does, believe anything our conscious brain tells it, regardless of whether this is true or not. You could, for example, wake up everyday and tell yourself that you’re the laziest person you know, and whether or not that is true, over time your subconscious brain will absorb it and it will become your new reality. You will become lazy. There is a lot of good stuff out there on re-programming our subconscious and what not, and the purpose of this post is not to talk about that. I just want to point out that even though we know (in our conscious mind) that people lie about their lives online, it becomes hard to believe that over time (because our subconscious mind may have internalised it). So, even though I know that I may present an edited picture or a carefully curated version of my life online – I will always tend to believe that what other people say about their lives online is true, including their obnoxious and suspiciously aesthetic morning routines. Being bombarded with those images always leaves me feeling lazier and less motivated to change anything about my life.

I understand that the lust for productivity is a by-product of the capitalist society we live in. We’ve all heard variations of this before – you’re not valuable if you’re not productive. And as much as it pains me to admit this, I have internalised this idea. I can never relax. Even when I do relax I feel guilty. It used to be much worse when I was working. When I think about the feeling of superiority I would get when comparing myself to people who weren’t as overworked as me, or worse, actually had free time to spend on the things they enjoy, I feel disgusted with myself. It truly is scary how normalised this has become – to the point where even being healthier and having a good lifestyle (as I am sure these motivational videos intend) is taken as a competition. We have to be constantly occupied in order to feel important and worthwhile. These motivational videos are just an extension of this dangerous internalisation . You don’t need to be constantly grinding or hustling or working on something – none of us do. It is absolutely, one hundred percent, alright if we don’t wake up at 4 am and work till midnight every single day. One of these days, all of us are going to die, and you won’t remember the cheat days or the days you slept in. In the larger scheme of things, none of these things matter. I’m still trying to figure out what does matter – I’ll definitely keep you posted if I get to the bottom of it.

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