I love my life, and I love mornings. There were times when I couldn’t say those two statements with any real conviction.
Mornings used to be something I dreaded with my entire soul and body. Yet, through personal growth, maturity and the recognition that I can actually create my own life and affect real change, I began to fall in love with my life – and even mornings.
So dedicated was I to this practice of picking up habits of the highly successful that I spent months waking up at 4:30am or 5:30 for the sole purpose of creating my life just a couple of short years ago. Solitude, meditation, planning, health.
I took on the ‘miracle morning’ approach based on the book by Hal Elrod, “The Miracle Morning.” But something shifted me out of that. Family. And I had to find a way to honor my family, the needs of my body, my emotional well-being AND still take time to create my life consciously during the morning hours.
While I still subscribe to the value and teachings of that book, I’m also at at time in my life where family rules.
With a small child whose sleep was consistently and significantly disturbed by my early morning risings, and now the addition of much disrupted sleep during pregnancy (newborn on the way) it is just not in the best interest of my mental, emotional and physical well-being to get up at 5am to have some solitude.
What I have found that works for me currently is a morning routine that both honors my family and my path of success. Every morning I engage in certain activities that I had purposefully structured in my life, and have found to be most effective – providing me with clarity, sustenance and focus.
After rising with my joyful 5 year old climbing on top of me wanting to play, I begin a series of activities that help me to have a successful day, week and ultimately – life.
In the podcast, I talk about how I never work the first hour of every workday. I dedicate that time to personal and spiritual growth. But there are also a few things I do reliably before I ever enter the office.
Here are 10 things are currently in my morning routine that set me up for success.
Plus a few more I’ll be adding back in when the time is right.
1. Love & Gratitude: First thing I do is express love, gratitude or joy towards my family. I feel sincere thanks for the day before I ever get out of bed.
2. Make my bed: Believe it or not, this small act makes a big impact on your day – especially if you work from home. Take a few extra minutes to make your corner of the world nice & orderly. It will give you a sense of satisfaction every time you glance at it during the day and is a good lesson for children to learn as well.
3. Shower & Affirmations: If you work from home, you may be tempted to work in pjs, yoga pants or to delay your shower. Don’t. Getting a shower invigorates you and wakes you up. It’s also the perfect time to begin your affirmations. Yes – talk to yourself. It’s positively awesome.
4. Water: It’s good to drink at least one full glass of water upon rising before any food. Your body needs it and will thank you.
5. Oil Supplement: I take an oil supplement that I learned about from a Tony Robbins seminar. It’s called Udo’s 3-6-9 Omega Fatty Acids Blend Oil and I take it by the spoonful.
(What I’d like to add back that I have done in the past: Juicing, Deep breathing exercises, Yoga or Early Morning walk. I’d also like to try out a rebounder for exercise and overall health.)
Upon entering my office:
6. Sunlight: I have my desk positioned beside two large windows. I make sure that my blinds are up and my curtains are open. I so appreciate the natural light and have learned how good sunshine makes me feel.
7. Meditation: Typically, I do TM (Transcendental Meditation) for about 20 mins. (Listen to podcast episode #26 for Why I Love TM here) But occasionally I’ll do a different meditation (guided, breathing, gratitude, etc.)
8. Visualization: I’ll often add 2-5 minutes of visualization to the end of my meditations. Sometimes it is pictures of my life in great detail, with the sensory experience of it all. Sometimes they are snapshots in my mind of what I would love to unfold next in my life. Some visualization experiences are highly emotional and intense. It just depends on the day.
9. “I am” Statements: I wrote my list of “I am” Statements about 4 months ago. I wrote down what I truly want to have, do and be. This list is taped to the wall next to my mirror in my office. Every day I say them out loud in the mirror.
I have said them so many times that I know them by heart, so sometimes I’ll say them in other situations as well (on a walk for example). I love, love, love these statements. Once a week, I also write them down.
10. Journal/Planning: I’m not a big fan of hand-writing long form. I love to type/write/blog. And I love to use my journal to highlight certain things. I’ve tried a variety of planners over the years. Currently, what I am using is a blank book. Yep, blank.
I use it as a place to write an occasional new daily prayer, a list of a few key things I need to accomplish that day, affirmations, business planning, brainstorming, etc. It sets me up with a clear focus for work.
It is only after I’ve done all of these things that I first crack open my computer. Can you imagine? Going to work and not opening your computer until 45 minutes or an hour after arriving?
Can you imagine not checking email first thing? Facebook? Sales?
I can imagine it. I live it. It fuels me to fuel myself first.
And when I begin work, it is RARE that I begin by responding to emails.
I want my day to be PRO-ACTIVE. I want to be the creator of my day, rather than being reactive.
What happens when the first thing you do is check your email?
Well, you start by responding to other people’s requests and needs from you. Whether it’s social or work-related, you are reacting. You are distracted from your real work objectives. You are not making progress on your goals. You are not taking action towards what YOU WANT TO CREATE.
There is a time for email. I hardly think any of us go too, too long without checking it. Give it a rest first thing in the morning.
Choose what’s most important to you, or discover your Highest Purpose for the Day and then get to work on THAT.
Most other things can wait.
Set yourself up for success in more ways than one. Sculpt your life. Don’t just fall out of bed and let the day take over for you. Be a conscious creator. Define your purpose. Create habits that serve you.
Make your best morning routine ever – whether it’s at 5am for you or at 9am.