“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha
Every morning, nature gently opens the curtains to welcome a brand new day. The sun pierces through the dark veil of night. The birds begin to sing. Sunlight floods the cascading landscapes. Each morning symbolizes a new chapter of life – another chance to get it right.
According to various indigenous tribes and religions, such as the Advaita philosophy of Hindu tradition, mornings are considered auspicious. It has a unique, energetic element to it which makes it a powerful time to delve to the inner self and attend to any heart-centered goals. It is also seen as an opportune time to get centered and connect with our purpose.
How many of us grasp the sacredness of this time of the day? According to the life expectancy reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), you’ll wake up on about 25,000 mornings. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably spend most of those mornings on mundane things like brushing your teeth, grabbing a coffee and a quick bite to eat, reading or watching the news, and getting dressed up for work. This is the modus operandi for the majority of people in our contemporary times.
With each passing day, those habits are cemented into our way of being, and we stop questioning whether or not there are smarter or healthier ways to do things. The results that we experience in life are seldom due to one single act, but the amalgamation of consistent daily routines that we choose to adhere to. Most people don’t realize the impact that their morning routine has on the rest of their day, and subsequently, on their life.
But if we want to achieve exceptional outcomes during our lifespan, whether that be mastering a craft, achieving material success, or boosting the quality of our relationships, we need set up a morning game-plan that will put us ahead of the pack. As motivational guru, Jim Rohn, once said, “success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.”
The highest achievers and influencers in the world like CEO’s, entertainers, athletes, and entrepreneurs, have rigorous and structured morning routines that require them to wake up early in the morning, often at the crack of dawn, well before their workday starts. As one becomes more successful, there are more priorities to juggle, and time becomes a precious commodity. A disciplined start to the day becomes a necessity, as it simplifies tasks and reduces disharmony, allowing one to focus on the essentials.
If you consider yourself to be a night owl, a person whose energy level peaks later in the day, you might need to take a modified approach to your mornings. I’ve always been a morning person, so I don’t understand the energy cycles of a night person, but what I know for sure is that it’s still better to structure your day in a way that works best for you and your lifestyle. It should make your life easier and fit in with other areas of your situation. For example, a new mother or a college student would have a more haphazard routine than a C-suite executive.
Even if you are a night person, I would still recommend waking up earlier than most people, but instead of doing mentally demanding jobs and rigorous physical activities in the morning, work on more straightforward and relaxing activities. Reserve your evenings for those tougher tasks that require extra effort and concentration. In this way, you synchronize with your natural body rhythms instead of resisting it, thereby maximizing your overall productivity.
If you aspire to make the most of your mornings with a preset routine that will set you up for success, here are four powerful rituals that you can incorporate into your life:
1. Engage in physical activity and eat healthily: Given the indisputable connection between the mind and the body, we know how we treat our bodies can affect our mental and emotional state. Adjusting your physiological state is vital when it comes to getting into the right frame of mind. It makes sense that a significant part of our morning routine should involve prepping our bodies for the day. Participate in some form of physical activity such as running, walking, weight lifting, yoga, or stretching – anything that gets your blood flowing, jumpstarts your metabolism, and releases some feel-good endorphins. Supplement your workouts with a nourishing breakfast that fulfills your nutritional needs and balances your blood sugar levels.
2. Learning: Just as your body needs a healthy food diet, your mind needs a wholesome information diet. To evolve as an individual and increase your edge, feeding your mind with new ideas and information is essential. Every morning, dedicate at least 15-30 minutes to reading material that enlightens and enhances your knowledge. Don’t read just to be entertained, read to stay informed and broaden your horizons. Consume content that is actionable and directly relates to your goals and aspirations. Your reading material could include books, magazines, newspapers, journals, and online publications. You may also listen to podcasts and audiobooks if you prefer to learn aurally, rather than visually.
3. Quiet time: In addition to learning, reserve extra quiet time for spiritually-oriented and/or mindfulness related activities. Engage in activities that get you into a state of balance, focus, and centeredness, away from technology and the noise of everyday life. There are numerous rituals that you could engage in, depending on which ones resonate most with you: meditation, prayer, breathwork, journaling, present moment awareness, visualization, goal setting, and repeating affirmations. Get into a state of positivity by seeing your day from a place of hope and positive anticipation. Allow yourself to be immersed in a space of gratitude – be thankful for the promise of another day and a chance to give back. Former US president, Benjamin Franklin, began his mornings by asking himself, “what good shall I do this day?”
4. Work on important projects or your side hustle: If you have any projects that you consider to be high-priority and require your full attention, you can work on them during the morning. It could be a special assignment for your day job, such as a sales pitch or a competitive strategy plan, a course that you signed up for, or a creative side hustle such as writing, painting, singing, or even a sport. I find that completing important assignments in the morning boosts momentum and stimulates my mind, making it easier for me to breeze through the rest of the day, with plenty of cushion time.
Every morning inspires a renewed sense of hope and an opportunity to evolve into a better person. The fact that we are conscious and alive signifies that we get yet another chance to revel in all the beauty and wonder of our incredible planet. As the teacher, John Keating, from the movie Dead Poets Society said, “Carpe Diem! Seize the day and make your lives extraordinary!”
All my best on your journey,
Reflection Question: What is your typical morning like? Are there are any changes that you would like to make to your routine?