“The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, thought and act”
You awake and look around you, perhaps feeling a joyful expectation, or perhaps an awful dread.
Have you ever wondered how some people wake up happy, vibrant and full of life?
You know the people I’m talking about – they’re bubbling with energy, productive, confident, and passionate. They move about the day with grace and peace. And no matter what happens, nothing seems to derail them. They’re a beacon of joy and energy, and as a result, people are naturally drawn to their radiance.
What makes these people different from everyone else has nothing to do with a “natural ability” or an inherent talent that they were born with. They possess no clear advantage over anyone else. The difference is that they have made a choice to be this way.
These people have decided to live their life the way they want and have cultivated a consistent, daily ritual that makes them the way that they are.
At the start of every day, this is when your mind is most open to receiving new impressions or ideas. And one of the most important things you can do is to take full responsibility for the power of the morning.
What you do first thing in the morning, the quality of your habits and rituals… sets the quality for the rest of your day and evening.
You are what you do repeatedly everyday.
If you want to have a non-miraculous day, I suggest email, the newspaper and a doughnut form the essence of your morning ritual. Read the morning headlines, listen to the news while driving to work… make sure you’re keeping on top of everything – the economy, gossip, natural disasters, wars and the emails you received the night before.
But if you want the day ahead to be full of miracles, where you become that beacon of joy and energy, learn to capture the power of the morning.
Most of us wouldn’t think of beginning our day without a shower… washing away the accumulated dirt from the day before. Yet far too often we set out into the day without similarly cleansing our minds. And our minds carry more dirt than our bodies. They carry not only our own toxicity but that of the entire world. We carry the anxiety, fear, stress and pain not just of our own lives, but of our families, our friends and of what’s going on in the world.
Our greatest weakness is the weakness of an undisciplined mind.
If you want to change your patterns and achieve extraordinary results and fulfillment you need more than a time management system… you need a whole new way of thinking.
We need not let fear steal the morning. We can consciously choose not to allow our minds to be programmed by the worldly viewpoint that dominates our planet. You can set your day on another course.
You are defined by the habits and rituals you create – what you do on a consistent basis.
The crux behind creating a morning ritual is to gift yourself the most scarce resource you have… time. To make “You” the most important thing in your life, and to ensure that you are at your best. It creates a powerful momentum and allows you to start the day with energy, to be productive, focused, healthy, and happy.
Over time, we have adopted certain habits and mindsets we put into action the first thing everyday. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that if they just did a few simple things each morning their days would start off on a much higher level.
Here are some very quick and actionable strategies to get each day started off on the right foot. They don’t take much time, and they will support you in living an awesome life.
A word of caution though…
Do not mistake their simplicity, nor their quickness, for effectiveness. This is one example where the fastest and simplest possibilities will create tremendous results in your life.
If you commit to doing these things each day for the next 30 days, I am confident you’ll see meaningful and surprising results.
1. Drink a Glass of Water First Thing When You Wake Up
For most of us, our bodies are severely dehydrated the moment we wake up. Your cells not only need oxygen, but water as well. 70% of your body is made up of water so it only makes sense to fully hydrate your body so that it can be start off the day at a peak level.
I personally drink bottled water. At least make sure you’re drinking filtered, purified water. Sometimes I’ll add in some lemon to further alkalize the water.
And don’t just drink a sip of water – literally down the entire bottle.. You have no idea how much your body needs it.
Throughout the night we expel water with every breath and literally become dehydrated. The negative effects of dehydration on the brain are well documented and impair both short-term and long-term memory. When we’re dehydrated, our head feels foggy and we feel tired. In fact, it sometimes feels like a hangover even if we haven’t been drinking alcohol at all.
There is a popular health-culture that circulates mistaken ideas about nutrition, and coffee drinking has been a perennial target of this culture. It is commonly said that coffee is a drug, not a food, and that its drug action is harmful, and that this harm is not compensated by any nutritional benefit. Most physicians subscribe to most of these “common sense” ideas about coffee, and form an authoritative barrier against the assimilation of scientific information about coffee.
Caffeine actually protects the liver from alcohol and other toxins, and coffee drinkers are less likely than people who do not use coffee to have elevated serum enzymes and other indications of liver damage.
Caffeine has been shown to protects against cancer caused by radiation, chemical carcinogens, viruses, and estrogens. Coffee also provides very significant quantities of magnesium, as well as other nutrients including vitamin B1.
So go ahead and have that cup of morning coffee… just don’t forget the glass of water.
Drink one glass of water first thing in the morning. Do this for 30 days consecutively. Then try going a day without it.
Most of us have impaired breathing while we sleep. Taking the time to consciously take in deep breaths from your diaphragm will begin to fully oxygenate your cells and help your body eliminate the waste that has accumulated while your were asleep.
Not only that, but your brain needs oxygen – lot’s of it. So you’re instantly providing more oxygen rich blood to your brain. You instantly feel more alert and energetic.
I like to start the day with a certain breathing pattern, where I inhale at a count of 5 seconds, hold for the count of 20 seconds, and then exhale at a count of 10 seconds. Alternatively, I’ll immediately get out of bed and go for a walk outside, in which case I’ll do something called breathwalking.
3. Smile and Do Something That Makes You Feel Good
Each morning upon waking, do something for enjoyment. Chemically, this causes each of our bodies to release good feeling endorphins – oxytocin and others, just like dark chocolate and exercise do.
For each of us, this “feel good” something will be different.
Maybe for you it’s writing down or thinking about a few things you are grateful for. What a great way to start the day. For another, it might be watching the sunrise. Or a hug from a loved one. Or perhaps some form of meditation. I have found meditation to bring about clarity and calmness first thing in the morning.
Silence is golden. I wake up 30 minutes before I need to do anything and completely Zen out. I go to my special place, a place of peace and stillness where I can listen to my heart, meditate and surrender my mind to a higher power. Medittion transforms my mind, relaxes me compleetely, and keeps me in the moment. It has helped me develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm view of the true nature of things in my life. I savor my meditation practice because it is a way for me to step out of myself and turn everything off.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Just engage in something that makes you feel good each day.
Doing something that feels emotionally and physically good – that releases positive endorphins – and you’ll instantly start your day off on the right foot.
4. Move Your Body
The fastest way to change your state is through movement. When you change the way you move, it immediately begins to change how you feel. Emotion is created by motion. And the word E-MOTION really just means “Energy in Motion”.
The way you use your physiology biochemically changes how you feel.
It’s important to engage your physiology immediately. I enjoy Tai Chi. Originally developed for self-defense, Tai Chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, Tai Chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements. It gets your metabolism going, you start to feel energetic immediately, and it boosts your state.
Any form of exercise or movement will do. During summertime, I’ll step outside and immediately go for an early morning walk.
5. Avoid Hearing the News
It’s no mystery that most of our news and media is filled with negative stories. Unfortunately, many peoples’ first inclination in the morning is to watch the news or read the paper (physical, online, or on the radio while driving to work) so they can know what’s happening in the world.
Are you better off, more enlightened or feel calmer after hearing the news?
It is a spiritual challenge to hear the news and still keep your faith.
So much for miracles, right?
While I personally avoid as much news as possible, at the very least I suggest you grant yourself a morning break from the news. Starting your day off with negativity, even if you don’t consciously notice it, does impact your consciousness and the quality of your day.
And if you absolutely must “stay informed” then just wait an hour or two before you check it out. Give yourself a chance to actually wake up and enjoy your day before you expose yourself to the harshness of our world.
Or you can just subscribe to something like the “Good News Network” and make sure that if you’re going to be reading news first thing in the morning, it’s good news.
If you engage in these simple things for just 30 days you will experience big shifts in how your days unfolds. The way you wake up each day is what sets the momentum for the rest of your day. It’s always your choice – but my hope is that these quick ideas will help you jumpstart your day right and create positive momentum that helps you live an optimal life.
The truth is, you already have a morning ritual that you may not even be aware of. It could be you wake up, turn on the news, check your e-mail, or visit Facebook. But, are those things really empowering you? Are they nurturing your body, making you happier, reducing stress or bringing you closer towards the vision you have for your life?
With so little “free” time,” the only way to achieve your most important goals is to make the most of what you have.
How do you like to start your day?