I’ve tested various morning routines and am constantly switching my approach to find the best morning routine for emotional momentum. After several attempts, this 6 step morning routine has helped me the most. The reason this is so effective is because it is VERY easy to do.
Your brain is constantly looking to conserve energy. Morning routines that require 100 jumping jacks as you roll out of bed are hardly sustainable. A large energy expenditure like that is better suited when momentum has been built toward it. That’s where this morning routine comes in. It is intended to build momentum and set the emotional tone for the day allowing you to create emotional momentum to take on any task required of you.
1. Make Your Bed
I’m borrowing this tip from a University of Texas commencement speech delivered by U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven. You want to know what all Navy Seals do every morning? They make their bed. Making your bed each morning is a seemingly inconsequential task, but it holds enormous potential in the momentum it provides you.
It’s a small task but it will give you the momentum to do another small task and then another and then another. Before you know it, you’ll have completed massive accomplishments throughout the day. Each accomplishment will lay foundation for the next, and soon you’ll start to realize that integrity isn’t an idealistic character trait, but a definition of self.
2. Tell Yourself You Slept Well
Researchers at Colorado College studied the strange placebo effect of telling participants that they slept well. What happened when they told participants that they had above-average REM sleep? Voila! They performed better on cognitive tests. What about the reverse? They tested that too. Participants led to believe that they didn’t sleep well performed worse, even when they actually did sleep well! I’ve tried this for a year as well and can empirically state that this is true. When I told myself that I slept well with full belief, I was more alert in my work tasks for the day (even if I had only slept 3-6 hours).
3. Be Grateful
Find a moment to say thank you. Thank the universe. Thank every cell in your body. Thank nature. Thank your God or Gods. Thank whatever you believe in. You woke up today. Today, you are once again alive. You were given this amazing opportunity to experience Earth. This is your day. No challenge can be greater than the nearly insurmountable obstacles that took place for your genes to be here. Thank the complex functioning that your body is performing to stay alive beyond your level of conscious control. You are breathing. Your heart is beating. Be grateful.
4. Ask One Very Powerful Question
A powerful question lays the foundation for the rest of the day. If you started the day with “Today is going to suck”, guess what is going to happen? Your mind is directed by the questions that you ask of it. If you were to ask one powerful question to direct the day, what would it be? I like to use, “How can I make this day amazing?”. My mind starts racing to answer the question.
Maybe it’s eating a salad. Maybe it’s saying hello to a stranger. Maybe it’s writing, or reading, or snowboarding, or calling my parents, or any other possible answer. But I trust that my brain has the right answer. After this, I’ll repeat “Today is going to be amazing” over and over and over again. I will say it with full conviction until I feel it. I don’t care to know it logically; I need the visceral reaction of feeling it. At that point, nobody can take it away.
5. Love Yourself
Seriously. You need to start the day by filling yourself up. Too many people wake up with an emotional vacuum they try to fill with other people’s emotions. They seek attention because they haven’t given themselves attention. They become needy for connection and love because they haven’t given themselves connection and love. You need to find a way to fill yourself up with your own happiness and love so much that you become an abundant source of happiness for other people. Your happiness is no one’s responsibility other than your own.
I like to do this by partying in my room or creating a party in my head. Again, trust your subconscious on this one. Love yourself in whichever way feels right for you. Don’t worry if people give you weird looks or comments when you say that you love yourself. Those are the ones that are in pain. Love yourself enough that you don’t need their acceptance. Ask yourself, “If I wanted to love myself even more, how would I feel it right now?” If you make loving yourself a habit, you will not only change yourself; you will change the world.
6. Insert X
This is the blank slate where you decide what comes next. This is where you start building your day out. Is the next step writing? Is it reading? Is it a portuguese lesson? Is it pushups or the gym? Is it getting to work? Is it drinking two glasses of water (recommended)? You decide what you’d like to do next. It’s your life. If at any point in the day, your emotions start dropping down, repeat steps 3, 4 or 5 as needed. The more you practice them, the more you become them.
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