How about instead of hitting the snooze button every morning and just about dealing with the day ahead, rushing around in a scramble to beat the morning commute to work, you change a habit of a life time and get your day off to an effective start.
The biggest challenge is to make that effort and get up an hour earlier. By changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can change your life, have more motivation, energy and be more productive.
You know the old saying “The early bird gets the worm”. It’s not just about getting up early; it’s about setting up a routine that gives you the motivation and mind set for the day. The most efficient and effective people I know get up early and complete routines that help tackle the day ahead. From writers who get up at 4 in the morning to write before the family gets up, to professionals who have most of their work prepared and planned before the rest of us are at our desks for the 9am push.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey speaks about the prioritising of activities from important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important and urgent to finally not important and not urgent. He describes important activities as those that are vital to your long-term goals but are easy to put off, and replace with more urgent and less important tasks.
The tasks you complete as part of your new morning routine are not urgent, but they are nontheless important. These include reading, exercising, planning the day ahead etc. New habits eventually grow into daily practice.
In The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod recommends following what he calls his life S.A.V.E.R.S. which are;
Silence – In other words beginning your day with the practice of mindfulness or meditation. It can be five minutes initially, increasing to twenty minutes when you get the hang of it. This can also come in the form of prayer, deep breathing and giving gratitude for all that you have. There are many apps and guided meditations out there to help you.
Affirmations – Louise L Hay was the grandmother of affirmations. Again, there are lots of resources out there for effective affirmations. They should be in the present, not the past or the future. For example, “I am a source of infinite abundance, opportunities flow to me” or “I experience infinite peace and joy in all that I do” or “Every day in every way, I am getting better and better”. These are just a few examples. Repeat them with conviction!
Visualisation – For five to ten minutes visualise the day ahead, specific actions that you need to take for short and long-term goals to be a reality. Visualise yourself completing tasks with ease.
Exercise – This doesn’t have to be completing a 5k run each morning (although you can if you want!). It can be simple stretching or daily yoga moves such as sun salutations. A little exercise each morning can increase your metabolism and your energy levels.
Reading – Read something inspirational, on self-development or well-being. Some people will take this time to read the bible or other holy book, just a few passages.
Scribing – This refers to writing in a journal, putting your thoughts and ideas down on paper. It helps to give focus and clarity, and may give you valuable insights. It’s also good to go back and review your journal to reflect on how you’ve progressed.
If you take ten minutes for each part you’ve used your hour or you can devote five minutes to certain parts and longer to others such as silence and exercise. They can also be completed with just a minute or two on each part, that’s six to twelve minutes. Play around with it!!
My Daily Rituals:
Twenty minutes of meditation, focussing on the breath. At the end of this I visualise my day ahead and “see” it as everything going smoothly. I visualise what tasks I need to complete. I complete an affirmation. I read a passage from an inspirational book for a few minutes, then I journal briefly. Sometimes I read from an app on my phone. Currently I also watch Doreen Virtue’s “Mornings with the Lord” fifteen-minute podcasts which she records daily, these are Christian based and I know are not for everyone. Other times, I watch inspirational short videos online from Eckhart Tolle, Donald Neale Walsh, Wayne Dyer or Oprah Winfrey etc.
All my tasks are completed in my bedroom where I’m most comfortable. My books and journal are by the side of the bed ready to reach for. I complete five minutes of gentle stretching and yoga. All this takes around an hour and is completed before 7 am. I then go shower etc. and get ready for work.
I also tend to repeat affirmations and at times mantras whilst driving to work (making sure I keep focus on the road ahead!).
Although it may seem daunting completing such tasks in the morning it’s well worth the effort. My life has greatly improved through following this routine, I start my day less stressed, motivated and focussed, and somehow my day is made easier.
It could just take your life to the next level – try it!
Notes and further reading:
Covey S., The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989), Free Press, USA
Elrod, H. & Petrini, P., The Miracle Morning (2015), Hal Elrod International USA