Why You Need an Inspiring Morning Routine STAT!
Whether you know it or not, we all have a morning routine. It may start with hitting the snooze button two or three times. Then, it may progress by sluggishly grabbing a morning coffee and watching depressing news reels while munching on soggy cheerios. The routine may continue with jumping into the shower and dressing as a response to daily hygienic obligation. To complete the morning, getting into a car and going through the Starbucks drive-thru for a fancier pick-me-up, is necessary. The end result? To finally arrive to the job either liked or dreaded, highly caffeinated, clean and complacently ready to respond to the pressures of the day. Sounds really inspiring and uplifting, huh?
But what if you could start each and every day with excitement? What if you actually smiled each morning you awaken? What if you moved your body in such a way that made you feel alive and prepared to take on the day's challenges? What if you spent time getting to know - and hear from, your Creator each day? What if you felt inspired by your future and what you will accomplish? What if - by the time you arrived to work - you felt you had accomplished a healthy, happy and energetic mindset that drove you to perform more efficiently and effectively in all of your daily tasks? What if this mindset fueled you to achieve great things and to inspire those around you to see the world differently?
Over the last year, after leaving my corporate job in search of "something more", I began researching the daily habits of the most successful people on the planet. I specifically looked for those individuals that not only were financially successful; but, those that are truly content in in their life, maintain successful relationships and are making a positive impact in the world with their contributions. Interestingly enough, after watching many YouTube videos, reading biographies and many books, I found multiple patterns and similarities with each successful individual who outlined how they knit together their ideal life. The common thread that most stood out to me: the practice of a morning ritual.
Before this, I had never thought of a morning ritual as having a significant impact on one's day - or one's future, for that matter. However, the more I read, the stronger the association became between the importance of this daily practice in the lives of the most influential people and the movement toward living a fruitful life. And, after many such connections, I recognized that there must be something special about this daily practice.
You see, if you are to define "success" as the ability to first identify your gifts; to serve others daily with your contributions and to glorify your Creator by utilizing your gifts, then each day you experience this, is a success. So, how do you achieve this if you are not creating an environment that propels you through your day with energizing joy; if you are not improving the quality of your life or developing a sense of fulfillment? The answer is: you can't. However, you can move in the right direction by adopting a beneficial, daily morning ritual. It will change your life...
So where do you start? You start by identifying all of the areas you wish to improve upon; the areas you wish to transform into your best self . Ideally, these areas include your spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional self. There are many ways you can tailor a morning ritual to fit your specific needs. You can create a morning ritual that is 10 minutes or an hour long. It is truly up to you to decide what you wish to accomplish and what outcome you wish to have, over time.
Let me outline my morning ritual for you so that you can get an idea, if you you are stuck. Now, I don't do everything, every day; but, I touch on each area (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, etc.) every day, if only for one minute. Here is a rough outline of my morning:
My ideal morning starts with me waking at 5:58, two minutes prior to my alarm going off. I have been able to achieve this simply by telling myself what time I wish to awaken, the night before.
Once awake, I smile. Whether or not I feel happy, I train my body to feel happiness as a response to the physical motion physiologic response that smiling generates.
Then, I perform 30 rounds of quick nostril breaths (four quick breaths in and four quick breaths out is one round). This propels oxygen immediately to the brain and I feel wide awake by the conclusion of 30 rounds.
After my breathing exercise, I put on athletic clothes and jump on a mini-trampoline or "rebounder" for 10 minutes while saying, out loud, what I am grateful for. I say what I am currently grateful for, including the things I take for granted (i.e. the sunrise, my phone, my car, the ability to walk, my healthful relationships, etc.). Rebounding has been proven by NASA scientist to be the greatest exercise for improving lymphatic flow, detoxification, building bone density, cardiovascular strength and muscular strength. And for those a bit more vain, it is the best treatment for cellulite as a result of the increased pumping of the sluggish lymphatic system.
After I jump, I take in a full liter (yes 4 cups) of water and drink it within 5 minutes. Drinking this much water helps to rehydrate the body after many hours of fasting, further enhances the detoxification of the body and gets the digestive system in full working order.
In addition, I make a cup of hot lemon water with juice from 1/2 to 1 full lemon. This increases the diuresis in the kidneys, supports the livers ability to detoxify and aids the stomach and small intestine with more efficient digestion.
As I sip on my hot water and lemon, I read from an inspirational book. My personal favorite is the bible. I read at least one chapter. Once my lemon water is finished, I like to have a cup of my favorite black coffee. In addition, the Good Book, I pick an inspirational book related to a topic that motivates me to continually move in a forward and positive direction. My current favorites are from Brandon Bruchard or Napoleon Hill. I read from the current inspirational book for about 15 minutes.
I pick one verse or thought that stood out to me and I meditate for 10 minutes while listening to music (I like binaural beats music to synchronize with brainwaves and - as a result, the brain can focus more easily). Another method for meditation is using breath to help focus on the verse or thought I have chosen. This breathing practice utilizes four breaths in, a five count breath hold and a six count breath release. I like to apply this breathing technique when there is a thought, habit or issue that I need to release. For example, if I am angry with someone or something, I take four breaths in to receive God's peace, compassion and forgiveness, with palms up. I hold the breath for 5 counts and "listen" for any direction or guidance. Sometimes during this holding pattern, I am given an action or thought to assist me in letting go. For the six counts of releasing the breath with palms down, I give my anger to God. I repeat this process for the 10 minutes. This process of meditation has proven very effective for "letting go and letting God", so to speak.
I then take just a few minutes to visualize - first my day and what I want to accomplish, then, my ideal life. Again, I utilize binaural beats music to help me focus and to reinforce my positive and productive thoughts into subliminal belief and action.
Next, I read through my personalized affirmations for every area of my life. These areas include personal goals; physical goals; work goals; financial goals; relationship goals; spiritual goals; etc. I say each one in the present tense, out loud and with strong emotion and conviction (see my post on affirmations here).
I end my morning ritual by reviewing my goals I've written down for the year and then review the top three items that I have given as "to do's " for the day to support the most important result-driven goals. I have already written these "to do's" ahead of time, the night before. As a side note: in preparation for the week, I like to outline a rough sketch of my schedule on Sunday nights.
Lastly, it is time for a 20 minute to 60 minute workout, depending on the day. This is a non-negotiatiable action item for the morning as physical exercise provides a wealth of mental, emotional and physical benefits.
Excluding the 20-60 minutes of exercise, my personal morning ritual is roughly an hour long. Now, of course, the morning ritual you choose to create does not necessarily need to be this lengthy; but, you can see from the amount of life-enriching terrain covered in just one hour, that it is very difficult to have a "bad" day. On the contrary, over time, my actions throughout the day, start to naturally align with the inspiring goals I have set for myself. My spirit feels more connected to God. My soul is more connected to those I care about. My work becomes more productive and more inspiring. My energy is increased and bountiful throughout the day. In essence, just one hour sets the foundational mindset for success in every area of my life. Now, imagine what may potentially happen to your day, if it started out this way each morning!
Now, it is your turn. Let me know what daily rituals you have - or wish to have, in your morning routine!
Supercharge your health. Satisfy your soul. Simplify your lifestyle.
All the best to you,