Master your morning = Master your life

I’ve heard it from many different people in different forms, from Navy drill Sergeants to motivational speakers, celebrities like the Rock and even our positivity superstar, Hal Elrod in his Miracle Morning series.

But the gist is always the same: he (or she) who masters their morning masters their day. 

If you’re a late riser, “not a morning person”, or tend to stumble around the in AM hours but stay up late into the night, you may cringe to hear this. But everything from cutting edge neurological studies to ancient wisdom dictates that all hours are not created equal. In fact, those who wake up early and keep a consistent, positive routine see huge changes in their lives.

I know I have. 

For years now, I’ve been following the exact routine I’m going to share with you below. Sure, I’ve missed a day or two here or there, and it’s easy to get derailed – even with good intentions. 

In the routinely crazy scramble we call life, it’s all about priorities, and sometimes you have to take care of a sick child, work early or late, or even hit pause and support others. And once I get rolling with those priorities, I have a hard time stepping away and returning to taking care of myself or making myself the priority. That’s something you may experience, too.

So, this morning regiment isn’t perfect, but a north star to help me keep walking in the direction of the best version of my life. It’s also so ingrained in my existence that I’d be completely lost without it. 

Since focusing on starting each and every day the right way, I’ve experienced a transformative shift in mind, body, and soul…as well as my career, relationships, and more.

But before we even get into the nuts and bolts of my daily habits, I want to mention that God is always my top priority, and I choose to honor that with everything I do.

My morning method actually starts the evening before. I often exercise in the evening, which is a perfect way to end the day with a healthy activity, literally sweating out the stress while reflecting as I walk, cycle, or lift.

Prior to bedtime, I also quickly review the next day’s schedule, mentally preparing so my head can hit the pillow with the knowledge that I’m organized and ready for the next day. 

This is also my time to linger in gratitude a bit, feeling thankful for anything great that happened that day. 

And if I have evening events that preclude me from exercising (like they often do), I make sure to schedule a workout or brisk walk in the morning.

My morning ritual:

1.         I always wake up at least two hours before my first appointment or when I need to be in the office. That allows me one hour just for me so I can engage in my morning steps without feeling rushed. 

2. Once I rise (after taking out my puppies and making my tea), the first thing I do is make my bed. This may seem like a trivial chore, but it serves a fundamental purpose. Making my bed allows me to gain momentum by accomplishing my first task of the day, as well as helping me feel mentally organized.

If you don’t believe me that a small thing like making your bed can make a difference, listen to this speech by a US Navy Admiral William McRaven, entitled “If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed.”

3. One important aspect of my early morning program is that I never pick up my phone, check social media, or turn on the TV. Studies show that checking our smartphone and scrolling through social first thing in the morning sets the stage for increased levels of anxiety, stress, depression, and negative thoughts throughout the day.

If I pick up my phone, I’ll inevitably start checking emails or answering calls and texts, and pretty soon, I’m in full work mode. So, I make sure my phone is off or in a different room during my cherished morning time.

4. I mentioned that my faith is a priority in my life, and that’s why I read a devotional and my bible every morning. It’s become one of the bright spots in my life, and I look forward to it every day. 

5.         An extension of that morning study is reviewing my affirmations, which I do next. I set goals, go over my Bucket List, and actually visualize as if I’ve already achieved those items.

6.         I end this segment of my morning by journaling, documenting my feelings, observations, and hopes from everything I’ve just read and thought. From bible study to journaling takes me about 30 minutes. 

Putting pen to paper is crucial, and studies show that just writing down your goals allows people to achieve them at a 78% higher rate.

7. At this point in my morning, I meditate for about 5- 20 minutes. There’s no one “right” way to meditate, although most people sit quietly and focus on their breathing as they clear their mind. For me, watching meditation-inspired videos on YouTube or Abide is my favorite. 

Research shows that meditating even for 15 minutes helps promote mental clarity, emotional health, soothes anxiety, and improves the quality of sleep. I know it works like a charm for me!

8.         From quieting introspection to fast-paced cardio activity, I take a walk or hit the weights at this point of my morning. I absolutely love the feeling of getting a great workout in before preparing for work, and if I don’t have time to do it in the morning, I will exercise the night before or that same evening. 

As long as I get a great workout in, it’s a victory!

9.         My morning ritual concludes with a healthy breakfast to fuel my busy day, and I definitely include a hot cup of coffee or tea – which is well earned by this time!

10. The last thing I do before I leave the house or start work is to set my attitude to gratitude and service because that’s the mindset I want throughout the day.  

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I encourage you to try this morning routine for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. Even better, adapt it to create your own daily ritual that works best for you. 

I can’t wait to hear about the results!