First Five Things: How to Create a Morning Routine
It has been said that the morning hours hold the most potential and the things that you do in the morning set you up for success or failure throughout the day. In other words, you set the tone of the day. Have you ever had the alarm go off and you find yourself angry at the alarm for doing what you set it up to do? You snatch the covers off and schlep to the bathroom mumbling expletives under your breath, only to stub your toe on the door frame. It just continues from there: you burn the toast, traffic is bad, you are late for a meeting, and so on and so on. That energy follows you through the day. On the other hand, there are days when you wake up feeling refreshed and happy. Your hair curls the right way, you sing at the top of your lungs in the shower, a clear lane of traffic seems to just open right before your eyes, and you make the best presentation ever to the client. That energy also follows you.
I find that those people who are living their best life, all have one thing in common, and that is a solid morning routine. They intimately understand that if you can master your morning, you can master the day, and if you master the day, you can master your life. Their days start with a regimen that sets their mind, body, and soul in the right direction and builds a strong foundation for the rest of the day. I have found that there are 5 themes that are the foundation of each routine, and that is: Gratitude, Mindset, Affirmations, Exercise, and Nourishment.
Gratitude: Give thanks
Oprah Winfrey, a definite champion in my eyes, says that the first thing she does when she opens her eyes is give thanks to God. Gratitude plays a huge role in her life, and if you know her story then you also know that she has a lot to be thankful for. Most people who have accomplished great feats and hurdles understand that there is something bigger than them helping them to thrive. Some call it God, while others call it Allah, Buddha, Shiva, and the universe, but all believe that there is a higher power moving on their behalf throughout the day. They understand their connection to the “God Force” and make sure to start their day by giving thanks for the little and big things. They never take for granted the gift of life, health, community, prosperity, and the host of other blessings that surround them, and neither should you.
Mindset: Pump it Up
In 2017, I attended a Tony Robbins event in Newark, NJ. The event began at the crack of dawn and didn’t stop until folks were done walking over hot coals under the starry sky. After “Day One” of a four-day event, I was ready to give up and go home. I was tired, hungry, and needed a good dose of “me time” after spending the day with 14,000 souls. The alarm rang, and I lay in bed almost in tears when I heard Robbins telling me, “Get in peak state!” over and over. Ugh!!! The day before, we learned how our physical state directly affects our mental state. Something as simple as standing up and breathing deeply can change the way you feel. So I rolled out of bed, turned on some booty-shaking music, and danced around the hotel room. Within moments my attitude had changed, and I was dressed, out of the door, and ready for “Day Two”. It worked for me, and it’ll work for you! Now get up, click on my Spotify playlist, and “shake that ass”.
Affirmations: Set the Course
Champions plan their achievements. Every win is by design, not coincidence. They know that the win first takes place in the mind and then manifests in their actions, and so they practice affirmations. They start their day with the end game in mind, affirming who they are. “I AM a winner; I AM resilient; I AM a champion.” Biblical scholars have long acknowledged the words “I Am” as being some of the most powerful words ever spoken, and Champions know this. The mind believes whatever you tell it, whatever you affirm. So why not choose words that breathe life and inch you closer to who you desire to be? “I AM…love. I AM…successful. I AM…tolerant. “As you think, so shall you be”.
Exercise: Move It or Lose It
I’ve never been big on exercise. I hate to run, don’t like squats, and abhor muggy gyms. I can think of at least two hundred other things to do rather than sit-ups. However, something crazy happens when you reach your 50’s. Stuff starts hurting for no reason. I consider it the first warning your body sends to propel you off of the couch and onto the walking trail. Those who are excelling at Life 101 understand the importance of exercise. They are at the gym at 5:30 am grunting it out, while most of us are catching another cycle of REM. Exercise is good for the body, mind, and soul. It kicks your systems into gear. Something as simple as stretching gets the blood pumping, which then transports more oxygen to a sleepy brain, who shakes off the morning fog and sounds the alarm to the various organs and systems, who proceed to “do what they do” to keep us alive and healthy. I don’t know about you, but I dig “alive and healthy”. Let’s get movin’!
Nourishment: Nom, Nom, Nom!
They say Wheaties ™ are the “Breakfast of Champions” and perhaps they are right, but this champion needs a little bit more variety in her meals. I mix it up, baby! One day it’s yogurt, nuts, and a drizzle of honey; another day avocado toast, a banana, and a Cup of Joe. I start my day with a glass of greens and fill a 16 oz water bottle for the drive to work. By the time I arrive, I am ready to take on the day. My head is clear, my body feels good, and my attitude is straight. Simply put…your body needs fuel to run effectively, and we get fuel from the calories in our food. Without the proper fuel, you are running on fumes, and we all know how that works out, right? Don’t stall out on the side of the road, eat your breakfast!
There you have it folks!! A solid plan to help you seize the day and take the first step in creating a fabulous life. Mix it up a little until you find a sequence that works for you but try to accomplish everything within the first two hours of awakening. You will find that your mind is more alert and able to ebb and flow with the day, your body feels strong, your energy is high, and your soul is rested and happy. What a great way to start the day! Much more, once you master controlling your morning, you’ll be ready to master other areas of your life and start living like the Champion you are. “Win the morning, win the day.”
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