How to Make Your Morning Matter
We live in a go-go culture and I’m not talking about wearing dancing boots! Most of us crawl out of bed each morning, hit the shower, dress and fix our hair/makeup then run out the door on our way to work. If we’re lucky, we’ve factored in just enough time for a Starbucks on the way!
We rush to get to work on time, battle traffic, weather, and parking to arrive half-cocked and anxious. No wonder we feel pressed for time and overwhelmed. We regularly fail to leave time in our busy schedule for the most important person in our lives!
We say to ourselves, I’ll make time for myself later, when the work is done. But by the time we’ve logged in eight hours on the job, we’re physically, mentally and usually emotionally spent. When it comes to who we are and why we’re here, we give it little thought until we land in bed at night feeling weary, worn out, and perhaps confused about why our lives aren’t all we’d hoped for.
And then the next morning, we get up and do it all over again!
What if tomorrow morning, you could change the way you feel about your life ten-fold? What if you were to take the first precious minutes of each day and give them to the most important person in your life…YOU?
There are three important reasons why you should put yourself first on your to-do list:
- Taking personal time each morning sends a clear message to yourself that you, and what you want from your life, come first. When you put yourself first in your day, you put your needs front and center in your awareness and in your decision-making. You stop saying yes to people out of guilt. You start making choices that serve you rather than deplete you. Even though other people’s needs will definitely pop up and you may choose to help with those, you’ll do so with more self awareness and without the tendency to always put your own needs on the back burner.
- Taking time in the morning to reconnect and affirm your intentions for positive change and personal growth produces greater end results. Maybe you’re committed to eating more healthy, or getting more exercise. Maybe you want to stay more organized during your day. Maybe you want to find a better paying job or get a raise at the one you have. God knows, we all want to improve in some way. So before the day even gets started, take time to remind yourself what you want to create in your life and more importantly why! First thing in the morning, set yourself up to act in accordance with your goals and desired outcomes rather than to react to external stimuli with your default settings. Get on a winning horse in the starting gate and you’re more likely to finish in the money.
- Without the distractions and influence of the outside world, the morning hours are the easiest time to connect with spirit and your purpose here at this time. It’s the perfect time to create a positive mental state, to calibrate your being toward your highest purpose and what that means to you specifically. It’s a time for gaining clarity and self awareness. It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else wants of and for us. Knowing full well who you are before encountering the world will go a long way in making sure you stay true to yourself.
I know that getting started on a morning that matters can be difficult given work and family life schedules, but going out into the day without one is the perfect setup for creating a life that matters little to you in the long run. Below, I’ve outlined a few suggestions about how to create a three-part morning ritual of: movement, mindset, and making a plan.
Decide how much time you want to give yourself in the morning: one hour, a half hour, even fifteen minutes will be better than nothing! In my experience, a half hour is perfect for starting out – it’s long enough to get something done, but so long you feel stressed to fill it. Plan to get up a bit earlier (go to bed earlier if that’s what you need to do – remember, this is your decision between you, and you). When you’re up, divide your time into equal thirds. Use a timer to stick to your time frames (a situation like being late to work will make you want to give it up, so we want to avoid that).
Make a promise to yourself that you will not allow technology of any kind to interfere with your time. Technology is really about other people’s needs, not your own.
Movement: (For 5, 10, or 20 minutes) Get your body up and moving! Try walking, yoga, or just a series of stretches – anything to wake up the body and increase the blood flow to your organs and your brain. Don’t be too rigid; the point isn’t to get in a full workout (though eventually you might). The point is to treat your body with kindness and love first thing in the morning. Movement provokes adrenaline, which is a feel good drug for our brain making it easier to develop a positive mindset for the day.
Mindset: Then (for 5, 10 or 20 minutes) sit upright in a comfortable chair or on the floor and just try to still your mind and let go of any thoughts trying to take over your day already. If you have an affirmation to work with, whisper it to yourself as you breath deeply. The goal is to relax with yourself and release the thoughts that tend to unconsciously drive your actions. Plant instead the thoughts you want to think, carefully, like seeds in a garden, because you can be certain they will grow and reproduce!
Make a Plan: During your final (5, 10, or 20 minutes) Take some time to set out the three most important things that you want to accomplish during the day. Keep it simple, don’t over think how you’ll do what you intend to do. Simply get clear about how you’ll make the day matter. Write these in a notebook or journal you can take with you. Maybe you’ll work on being more patient, listening and responding to people more fully. Maybe you’ll be the healthiest version of you, just for today. Maybe you’ll make one important phone call seeking advice on how to take your life dream to the next level.
With a simple plan, you’re ready to start your day, primed and on purpose!
Now, don’t worry if the day doesn’t go exactly as you planned (it never will). Just remember, each day is a new opportunity to remind yourself why you’re here. Each day you devote to being aware brings you closer to the realization of your dreams. If you continually set your course in the morning, your ship will find the harbor on the other side eventually. Even if you go off course a little each day, you’ll find your way back more quickly than if you simply drift about with no direction at all.