Do you have a morning ritual to start your day out on a high?
You do it because:
a) It centers you
b) It focuses you
c) It energizes you
d) It gives you a great confidence boost right out of the gate
e) It is one of the few parts to your day that you can control
f) It is a well-documented high achiever best practice for a reason
(The only exception to this is I found I could not do it when my children were infants and toddlers because of all the bad nights’ sleep and middle-of-the-night wake ups. So don’t feel guilty if you’re at this stage of life. Having said that, I regret not having re-started it sooner and found tiny ways to do something.)
Make up your own ‘recipe’ for a morning ritual.
I don’t think it matters what you do so long as it empowers you and gets your day off to great start. I’ve tried numerous things over the decades and they all felt beneficial.
Pick one or more of these ingredients to experiment with until you have a routine that fits with you and however much time is reasonable. It’s always best to start small and work up:
Some kind of movement. In his book The 5am Club, Robin Sharma recommends intense activity that breaks a sweat because of the physiological benefits. Other people are more than inspired by yoga or stretching. Right now, I ride my bike around a lagoon. I don’t cycle that hard. My inspiration comes from nature (hence of the picture of the deer)
Breathing exercises can also be powerful. Useful resources for this include Wim Hof and The Oxygen Advantage programs.
2. Meditation or prayer
The best benefit to meditation seems to be increased focus: slowing down the brain and quieting the chatter. On its deepest level it connects you with pure consciousness, a time to state your intentions for the day. All great things start out as ideas and this is your opportunity to drop in the first ripple in the lake. And it discards the unhelpful self-talk.
For the spiritual, prayer is grounding like nothing else. It can provide clarity, calm, guidance and reconnect people to their purpose.
The best use of journaling is to increase your self-awareness so you don’t just busy your way through life never knowing your best self or deepest self or living the life best suited for you. It can be a great way to explore ideas and solve problems.
4. Reading an inspiring passage – your voice
I’d urge you all to read something inspiring first thing in the morning. In the past I’ve written out and read my goals every day at the kitchen table. I’ve worked out on exercise machines and listened to recordings of my voice reading through my ideal life. Currently I stop halfway on my bike ride by the shore of the lagoon and read my Inner Hero story out loud. Do whatever works for you. It could be an inspiring passage, inspiring music or a religious text.
Make it easy by starting small: Even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes, do something empowering to start your day. Even if it’s 10 leg squats and reading through your top 5 goals. This is where tiny habits can be very helpful as they are brief and easy and some can be scaled over time.
The most important part of a morning routine is it puts your head in a positive place rather than feeling flat, routine or worse.
Do you have to get up earlier? I think it helps and it’s gratifying to know you’re accomplishing great things while others sleep. However, sleep deprivation isn’t smart for long-term health and some people truly do their best work later in the day and even at night – get to know yourself better. I go to bed earlier but that’s annoyed my wife – this part isn’t easy.
Have realistic expectations: I will not claim it makes your entire day great because you can’t control for every outcome. How you manage the rest of your day is also on you. But it is far and away the best competitive advantage you could possibly have to start out the day powerfully. And you can always make it better!
So, if you don’t have a morning routine, create one that fits you and if you do have one, ask yourself: how could I make it more energizing or inspiring?
Have fun with it!
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121