I originally wrote this blog in 2018 for another website, but it is still relevant today, so I am sharing it again.
I will share my morning routine, the things that I do to ensure my mind is right for the day ahead. The time I get up is irrelevant, there are those that advocate getting up at 4am (they go to bed very early), while others focus on the number of hours sleep you should get, but it isn’t WHEN you get up, but HOW you get up that is important. Set yourself a routine, your body will soon recognise it and wake you up — usually 5 minutes before the alarm was due to go off anyway.
Learn to breathe
The first thing I do in the morning is breathe, my mind switches on as soon as I am awake and starts thinking through all the actions I need to take, what is causing me stress, what I don’t want to do etc. My thoughts are a jumble and I like to quieten my mind. I don’t stay in bed to do this as I am likely to just fall back to sleep again, and that is not the mission.
Instead, I find a quiet spot to sit or stand with my feet on the floor, and my hands and arms relaxed. I have a vision of my life, what it will be like when I achieve my goals, a place where I can sit and be peaceful. I hold that thought in my head and just breathe for 5 minutes. The noise in my head quietens down and I gain focus. Everything that I do today will be towards achieving that goal.
I am grateful. It doesn’t matter how you do it — write a list of 5 things you are grateful for — meditate on who and what you are grateful for — recite a list of things that you are grateful for. Having an attitude of gratitude contributes to having a more positive attitude to life, which in turn helps us sleep better, which in turn helps us perform better.
I review the day before and make a note of three positive things that happened that day, this is so much better than watching the news — it is never positive and can often put us in a bad mood. We are not in a position to change what has happened in the past, change is happening and will happen with or without you. If you focus on negative events that you can’t effect it impacts your mindset in a negative way. Instead focus on the positive change that you have seen around you, whether it is something you have done, or something you have noticed in others.
Write down your goals
I write down my goals. Not a to-do list, but my goals. These goals remind me of what I want to achieve and once I have reminded myself of these I write down three actions that I will take today that will move me towards those goals. You can keep it simple and start with only one action, but make sure that this action will drive you towards your goal, if it doesn’t — don’t do it.
Become a Timelord
I block my time and share it with my family, there are a few handy apps that everyone can sink to their calendars, this allows me the time and space to focus on what needs to be done. It also sets me deadlines, it makes me complete tasks (even those that are not enjoyable, but are necessary).
Change takes time, but by developing a routine that effects this change and you will soon see the difference. Why do I do these things?
Mindfulness and meditation allow you to avoid being caught up in your thoughts and there is evidence building that it has a positive impact on those that are stressed or have a range of mental health conditions.
Gratitude has been heavily researched by Robert Emmons, his findings showed that people are 25% happier if they express gratitude every day. If you are happier, you are more successful.
By reflecting on positive changes, you see the improvements in your life, you stop thinking “I am not good enough, I made these mistakes, I should have done this better.” The evidence of what we have achieved can get hidden by the volume of things we haven’t done (yet). The positive changes that we have made or see in others helps to inspire, motivate and empower us to greater things in the future.
Goal setting is important, it is our goals that give us purpose in life, when we don’t have goals we drift, we are distracted and float in a sea of mediocrity and reality TV. By setting our goals everyday we remind ourselves of our purpose, they move us forwards and encourage us to take actions, they are the first steps we take on any journey.
Time is our most valuable resource, yet we treat it as though it was nothing, we waste it, we kill it, we spend it frivolously. If instead of just giving it away, we consider it more valuable than the money we have, we would spend it wisely achieving the things we want to achieve. The quote, “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” rings true — as long as the action is purposeful.
How do you prepare yourself for your day ahead?