Thanksgiving Every Morning

Photo by Johannes Plenio

One of the criticisms I sometimes hear of my book is of what they (often people commenting on social media about an article I’ve written) believe to be a chosen lack of responsibilities surrounding some of the people we interviewed in the book. It’s all very well, they say, spending your mornings working out, meditating, and doing what’s most important to you, but where do your kids fit into all of this? Or your partner? Or even your own down time?

The truth is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The vast majority of the people we spoke to for the book place a lot of weight on the importance of spending time with their loved ones in the morning; especially if they have kids.

As an example, the attorney general of Washington State, Bob Ferguson, noted of his morning routine, “First, I have a little personal time—breakfast, coffee, the morning news… Then I wake up our nine-year-old twins, Jack and Katie—and my wife, Colleen—and I get them ready and out the door for school.” Ferguson continued, “I’m a big believer that how your day starts is really important. It’s easy for meetings to go late at work, or for other events to come up, and I’m not always guaranteed much time with them later in the day, so I like to lock in that morning time.”

He isn’t alone. Behavioral designer and author Nir Eyal told us regarding his family’s joint morning routine, “We’re big fans of the habit of showing appreciation to each other throughout the day, so we have a routine of every morning giving each other a big hug, kiss, and saying good morning and that we love each other.”

When I’m asked about my own morning routine during interviews I always relay the importance I place on keeping my mind uncluttered from the upcoming stresses of the day (this generally means not checking email or my social media feeds first thing, if I can help it) so I can have a relaxing breakfast with my wife in which we discuss our plans and challenges for the day ahead, without having a worrying email in the back of my mind that I know I’ll need to deal with as soon as I get to work.

None of us are without our flaws, of course. I fall down in this regard as often as anyone. But giving thanks for the ones we love should be a part of all of our mornings, bringing thanksgiving into our day, every day. ∎

Benjamin Spall

Benjamin Spall

Benjamin Spall is the co-author of My Morning Routine (Portfolio). He has written for outlets including the New York Times, New York Observer, Quartz, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, CNBC, and more.