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4 Easy Steps to Becoming a Morning Person (And Making It Stick)

4 Easy Steps to Becoming a Morning Person (And Making It Stick)

On what felt like just another Sunday morning, it finally hit me. In the five minutes I spent trying to make out the outline of my take-away coffee, my girlfriend at the time had changed out of her running clothes, bounced up next to me and finished listing her favourite moments of the morning.

She had proudly completed a personal best run, the rose bushes were now blooming, she’d picked up some fruit for breakfast and the new girl at the cafe had finally remembered her name. As she recalled the memories, her skin glowing in the warm morning light, it all finally clicked.

At that exact moment it suddenly hit me how much life I was missing out on.

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There’s a common myth that we are born a night owl or an early bird, but as I soon realised, this is simply not true. Drawing on techniques from visualisation, fitness and mindfulness you can teach your body to wake up early and transform your schedule in the space of a few weeks.

If you follow these 4 easy steps you will soon be feeling like a brand new person and have more energy than you ever thought possible.

1. Write Down Why You Want To Become a Morning Person

Maybe you would love to be more productive, have time for a nutritious breakfast or simply feel more alive during the day. Whatever it is, write it all down on a piece of paper. How would having these things make you feel? Healthy? Full of energy? More fulfilled? Get everything down. When it’s finished, place the paper next to your bed or pin it where you can see it easily when waking up.

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2. Choose a Morning Routine

Next you need to choose some activities to kick start your morning. Studies show that repeating physical and mental tasks help strengthen the habit-forming part of your brain. In other words, the more you repeat the same tasks in the same order, the better you will get at doing it without thinking!

I start my mornings with a gym session or a morning walk, meditation and preparing a healthy breakfast. You could try things like writing in a journal, brewing coffee, reading or even studying. Make sure you choose 1-3 activities that you find uplifting or useful, that take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to complete. It’s completely up to you.

Don’t worry too much about getting it ‘right’ the first time – as long as you have a pre-decided routine, that’s half the battle won.

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3. Visualise Your Morning Routine At Night

In the final moments before drifting off to sleep, imagine yourself waking up the next morning and performing your routine in the right order. To make it more effective, focus on the little things – the feeling of dragging yourself off your mattress, how your coffee smells, or the cool fabric of gym clothes on your skin. Breathe in the air, and remind yourself that you’re becoming a morning person (and nothing will stop you!).

Run through this several times before you go to sleep, until it feels comfortable. After one or two weeks, your body will actually remember your routine as a habit and you won’t even have to put effort into getting up.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Every morning, as you’re going through your routine, try to stay present and focus on how alive (or un-alive) your body feels. When your mind starts telling you things like ‘it’s too cold!’ or ‘it’s way too early for this!’ try to focus back on your body’s sensations. If you catch yourself deep in thought, accept that it’s a thought, and reconnect your concentration on your current activity, or your breath.

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When you’ve completed your routine each morning, take a moment to smile and congratulate yourself. As the days and weeks go past, remember to savour all of those feelings you wrote down on that paper, so when you have a difficult morning it will be easy to get back on track.

Try it And You Won’t Go Back

I challenge you to give it a shot and experience the difference. It might seem hard at first, but you’re stronger than that. If you keep at it for a week your brain will have already made it up to three times easier than day 1.

Then you will look back on all those years of wallowing under the sheets that could have been spent enjoying the serenity, energy and vitality that comes from truly becoming a morning person.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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