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Win The Morning, Win The Day

Why a morning routine matters

How do you wake up in the morning? Are you shocked into your day by an alarm? Maybe you’re a serial snooze button-presser? Or maybe you’re a morning person and you can jump out of bed full of beans?

I read an article recently which asked:

“If you repeated today every day for the next year, realistically, where would you end up?

If you are to really accomplish your goals and dreams, how much differently would your regular day need to be than today was?”

The article went on to say we live our lives in 24-hour periods and how we choose to spend these 24-hour periods determines who we become and how successful we will be. So, if we learn to master these 24-hour periods, we will learn to master weeks, month, years and ultimately…our lives. This begins with how we start our day.

Take a look at some of the morning routines of successful celebrities and entrepreneurs:

Oprah Winfrey’s morning ritual consists of at least 20 minutes of meditation to give clarity and “a sense of contentment and deep joy.”

Tony Robbins starts his day with a 10 minute ‘priming’ exercise consisting of a breathing exercise, a gratitude diary, visualisation and then 15 minutes of intense exercise.

Arianna Huffington’s morning routine begins every morning with 30 minutes of meditation and a session on a stationary bike or some yoga stretches.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson says he likes to wake up around 5am, do some form of exercise (tennis, walking, running, kitesurfing) followed by a healthy breakfast and time with his family. “Exercise and family time put me in a great mind frame before getting down to business”.

Every morning, Steve Jobs would look in the mirror and ask himself, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” If he responded ‘no’ on too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change.

It got me really thinking about my own morning routine and whether I am setting myself up for success. What goals and actions am I putting in place to move towards the life I want to live? Am I spending time visualising what this life looks like? What intentions do I put in place to move towards my higher purpose? How about your morning routine?

“Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused. We’re able to have some strong contributions in terms of planning, in terms of thinking, in terms of speaking well,” —  Dr. Rod Friedman

These three hours relate to the first three hours of the day. Productivity is higher, so are energy levels and our willpower is stronger following a good night’s sleep. A great time to start setting intentions, goals and visualising the life you want to live.

My morning routine at the moment (and it’s work in progress) consists of a meditation and journalling but as a starter, here are a few ideas to experiment with for your own morning routine. Do some research and see what works for you:

Meditation – It doesn’t matter how long. Carving out the time to sit in quiet, observe thoughts and feelings can really help to get clarity of mind for the day ahead. There are plenty of tools available and some great apps to get started including Calm and Headspace both of which have guided meditations.

Journaling – Taking time to get thoughts, feelings and emotions out of your head and onto paper can help to get clarity and encourage reflection which can in turn lead to gaining valuable self-knowledge and discovery. Personally, I use The Happiness Planner, I like the structured questioning and reflection and there’s a nice daily quote too!

Exercise – Ok kitesurfing might not be doable unless you are Sir Richard(!) but it could be a HIIT session in your home or finding some yoga or pilates classes on YouTube to follow or even having your own early morning dance party with music that makes you groove. The idea being to get moving and energise the body and mind first thing. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and try it out for a week and see how you feel for the rest of the day.

Breathing exercises “Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” —  Andrew Weil, M.D.

Sounds crazy, we all breathe right! But what is the quality of your breath? I certainly know I hold my breath when stressed or engrossed in a task. Taking a moment to engage in a few deep, slow inhales and long exhales definitely helps me to re-centre and reduce stress levels. You could even try inhaling for a count of 4, holding for 4-7 secs and exhaling for 8 (the 4-7-8 breathing exercise).

How you spend each beautiful day of your life really matters.

“You are what you repeatedly do” – Will Durant

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