"Mornings are opportunities to create the conditions and momentum for the day to unfold how you want it to." ~ Janine Rudder
The term ‘morning routine’ is used so often that it feels somewhat cliché. Since beginning my personal development journey, the significance of establishing a solid and intentional ‘morning routine’ has been one of the most pervasive messages I’ve encountered. The phrase “conquer the morning, conquer the day” shows up at least once per week in the motivational videos I peruse on Youtube. The issue is that the morning routine’s prevalence almost reduces it to a platitude that we’ve heard a hundred times and ultimately gloss over.
I'm here to encourage you to pause, think, and do something different with your morning. It may seem ironic that I’m writing a post about something that I just lamented as overdone; but my intention is to elevate the importance of the morning routine, express how grateful I am for mine, and urge you to either create or re-imagine yours.
“Start changing how you look at mornings, and sure enough people will start changing how they look at you.” -Jim Rohn
Mornings are a particularly critical time of day for me because of my sleep struggles. At least once per week I arise having been up for half of the night. Most other nights I get decent sleep, but seldom wake up feeling totally rested and eager to hop out of bed and get the day started. As a result, I have to prepare myself to have the kind of day that I want to have. I must be purposeful about my thoughts and actions in order to make sure that I am consciously creating the life I want and not merely managing life’s circumstances.
When preparing to write this piece, I teased out the three principles that ground my morning practice and have made it a transformative experience. I leave home in the morning feeling like I’ve loved myself, aligned myself with Spirit, and nurtured some of the relationships that are most important to me all before 7am. The three pillars of my morning routine are:
1.Live Your Values in the Morning
I think of values as whatever matters most to you; they define who you are and the impact you want to have. What you do in the morning should reflect this. I’m not saying that you need to wake up at 4am to volunteer at an animal shelter, read two books and run a half marathon by 6:30am. However, how you start your day should be a reflection of the direction you want your life to take.
If you’re not sure what your values are try answering the question: “If things were as good as they could get in my life, what would that look like?” When I answered that question for myself most of the responses were in the form of feelings. For example, I want to feel satisfied with my life, grateful for everything I have, and excited about the progress I’m making. I also want my body to feel healthy and vibrant.
Based on that I’ve designed a morning routine that includes prayer and / or meditation, making my bed (this is critical!), planks to strengthen my core, a fresh green smoothie made with my husband, and uplifting affirmations. Before I leave my house in the morning I’ve honored my primary values and set my intention to remain true to them.
2.Use Your Mornings to Create a Clean Slate
Mornings are opportunities to create the conditions and momentum for the day to unfold how you want it to. Checking social media before the sun rises or responding to emails before your feet touch the ground is likely keeping you stagnant. Instead of using the morning to respect the potential of that day, checking the news, email or social media first thing is dragging you back into yesterday's mindset. As opposed to intentionally opening yourself to new possibilities, you are unconsciously reliving what you already know. This puts you on a path to live a day that you’ve already lived; which is the definition of stuck.
In his book Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon, Dr. Joe Dispenza asserts that when you wake up and mindlessly engage in the same actions that aren’t serving you it thwarts your progress. Dispenza describes it this way: “You just switch on the autopilot and go unconscious…..In a very real sense, your body is dragging you into the same predictable future based on what you have been repeatedly doing in the same familiar past," pg. 31. You are essentially recreating the life you’ve already lived over and over again each day.
Each morning is a chance to start a new life; to begin imagining and becoming the person you want to be, doing the things you want to do, feeling the way you want to feel.
3. Start Your Day with the End in Mind
Most people are governed by the stories they tell themselves, which were created by other people’s ideas and opinions. So they tell themselves “I hate my Tuesday schedule. Tuesdays are the worst” or "I’m no good until I’ve had my coffee” and proceed to live their lives that way.
Instead, try using the morning to reframe your beliefs about yourself and your life. Think about the outcome and impact you want to produce today. Let that be the compass to guide you.
I often wake up groggy and wishing that I had another hour of rest. Complaining won’t improve how I feel, but it could make it worse. I take back control of my life by clearly stating my intentions and desires for the day. “Today I want to have a delightful encounter with a stranger” or “today, I want to feel compassion toward my colleague.” Sometimes I state goals such as completing a project or writing for a certain amount of time.
Using the first minutes of my day to create rather than complain or allow circumstances to distract me helps me feel powerful, hopeful and capable.
Janine Rudder is a coach and Co-Owner at Manifestara LLC - https://manifestara.com/