Do you start your day in reaction or action?
Starting your morning in the right foot is important as it sets the tone for the entire day.
If you google "Morning Rituals", results will flood you with good sources of information and how leaders and successful entrepreneurs have their own morning rituals that help them boost productivity and achieve greatness. For example, Tony Robbins spends 15 minutes feeling grateful for everything positive in his life. In a 2005 commencement address that Steve Jobs gave at Standford, he revealed that:
Does morning rituals guarantee you absolute success? Probably not. But you will feel more energetic and be more productive, if you do it right. Your thoughts become clear, increased ability to focus and look ahead. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. Did you know that more than 40% of our daily actions are habits? Habits are actions, thoughts and emotions that we perform and possess without conscious thoughts or resistance.
How To Do It Right
Successful people have successful habits -- they can be things as simple as their posture, all the way to their ways of building healthy relationships and the habits of continued self-improvement. There are many successful habits you could develop, and morning rituals are definitely one of them. Starting your day in the right way is important. You need to wake up with determination and go to bed with satisfaction. Starting your day with small good actions help build momentum, setting the right tone for the day ahead.
Like I mentioned before, there are endless resources and information on good morning rituals. But in reality, it's not what you do but how you do it that matters. You have to do it right to have results. So what is the best way to do your morning rituals?
The answer is that morning rituals must be systemised and habitualised.
In today's hectic lifestyle, we are bombarded with situations which require our active reactions and decisions to certain matters. They can be the mundane things such as deciding whether to reply the text message you just received, all the way to much more sophisticated matters such as, deciding to buy or sell certain stocks. Decision making is burdening and we as humans experience decision fatigue. That's why morning rituals are best performed if it's a habit -- an automated set of actions and protocols on autopilot. You will be much more motivated to wake up early in the morning for your rituals and enjoy them.
If you start the morning right, you feel much more energized, be productive and your stress tolerance levels will be higher than usual. If you start the morning in a rush, you can't afford the time to make yourself look good, be forced to miss out on that morning coffee you desperately need, then everything will seem to go wrong that day. You feel fatigued and become agitated.
Examples And Benefits Of Some Morning Rituals
I exercise deep breathing for 10 minutes every morning. Most of us are shallow breathers and without even knowing it, we miss out on its abundant health benefits. Some of the known benefits of deep breathing are:
- Reversing anxiety
- Improved concentration levels and observation skills
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased creativity and problem-solving skills
- Promotes tissue regeneration and healing
- Increased oxygen to heart, brain and eyes
I am an avid fan of writing journals. I physically write with a pen in my moleskine notebook and also have a private journaling platform online that I have been adding content to for a long time. The emotion and feelings when I read older entries are so gratifying, that it motivates me to write more and more. I write about many things: the day ahead, my feelings, the good and the unfortunate events or problems that I am facing. Journaling is known to have the following benefits:
- Clarify thoughts and emotions
- Understand about yourself more in a deeper level
- Reduce stress
- Solve problems more effectively
- Raise awareness of your situation and time
To date, I have been religiously reciting my self-affirmation over 8 months. Not only do all successful leaders and entrepreneurs self-affirm, it is also a great tool to constantly remind yourself of your purpose in life and the reasons why you do what you do. If you haven't been affirming, you should definitely check it out.
I love drinking coffee. I don't drink coffee for the sake of it but there are so many proven health benefits for drinking coffee that makes it a plus. Other than making you alert in the morning and its delicious taste and smell, coffee is known for the following benefits:
- Improve energy levels
- Help to burn fat
- Improve physical performance
- Lower risks of diabetes
- Lower risks of Alzheimer's disease
- Makes you happier!
To Do Lists
While I'm drinking my coffee in the morning, I check my to do lists to remind myself of my both short term and long term goals. It is said that relying on to do lists is not recommendable as it may lead to self doubt and helplessness whenever you fail to check off the tasks you had ready for that day. It's true - brief moments of small failures and mediocrity will eventually add up to crush your self-esteem and confidence. This is why it's not what you do, but how you do it, that matters. When using to do lists, it's very important to specifically categorise each tasks; using a GTD system by David Allen is my best recommendation. Your goals should not be impossibly far-fetched, group your tasks into projects and break them down into small actionable steps. As you read over your lists of goals in the morning, you feel good about having your life so well organised, and at the same time, boost your creativity and productivity to tackle your day ahead.
Update and Revised 15 March 2017: This article has been one of the most shared and read articles on Transforming Adjustments - Success. Since then, I've added new sets of morning rituals and habits. For example, I started to make my bed first thing in the morning and take cold showers. I will update the list but for the mean time, read: 5 Life-Transforming Teachings Of Stoicism: And how I implement them in my life.