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Why a routine can be your number 1 tool.
Do research on any successful individual and you will find that they start their day with some sort of morning
Lets take a look at two different scenarios to see if I can get you onboard.
Your alarm rings, you look at your phone and realize that you have hit snooze one too many times. You roll out of
bed stressed. Today is your practical exam and you can not be late.
You toss on some clothes lying beside the bed and hustle it. You make some coffee and grab a granola bar to eat.
Your mind is feeling stressed and scattered.
You can’t find your keys, your wallet, somehow you’ve lost your phone in the two minutes since you looked at it.
Finally you are out the door, but now you realize you’ve forgotten your keys, coffee, wallet etc.
You drive to school yelling at everyone to get out of the way. Don’t they realize that you have to be at school in the next ten minutes?
You arrive at school ten minutes late. Your instructor is not impressed but lets you in the class to write the test.
How do you think you’re going to do?
You knew that you had an important test so you set yourself up for success.
You set a couple of alarms because you know you’re prone to hitting the snooze. You set out some clothes the night before.
The alarm goes off. You look at your phone and see that you have an hour and a half before you have to leave.
You get up, grab a glass of water.
You then spend a few minutes in silence just being mindful. You grab your journal and fill out some things you are
grateful for and that you want to accomplish for the day.
You go for a quick run, grab a quick shower, and eat your breakfast.
You get to school with plenty of time to spare. You’re able to review and feel like you’re really ready to
take this test.
Do you see the difference between the two?
Scenario #1 was completely reactive while scenario #2 was 100% proactive.
That is the goal of this post. To help you put some things in place to help you set yourself up for a successful
This post will be broken into sections:
- Your morning starts the night before.
- Meditation is not just for monks.
- Journaling is not a diary.
- Exercise both your body and mind.
Your morning starts the night before.
Planning is bringing the future into the present so you
can do something about it now.
This is a discipline that I wish I had started years ago. Before I go to bed each night I do the following:
- Make my lunch.
- Get the coffee ready.
- Get my backpack ready to go (laptop, notes, books etc.)
- Clothes figured out (both exercise and work).
- Locate my wallet and car keys.
Doing the following only takes half an hour, at the most, but sets me up to not having to rush around stressed out
the next morning.
If you keep at it, it will become a habit that you don’t even have to think about.
That’s why it’s called a routine.
Meditation is not just for monks.
In meditation you are not unconscious, you are conscious,
more conscious than ever.
I used to think of meditation as something that buddhist monks or weird hippies did. I was brought up that it was a
weird spiritual practice that involved emptying the mind of all thoughts and self.
I could not have been more wrong.
Meditation Is Not:
- A spiritual new age practice .
- Only for the enlightened.
- Really difficult.
- Only for hippies.
- A waste of time.
- Only for creepy bald kids.
- A way to quiet your mind and gain insight into your thought process.
- Good for your brain.
- A practice of most successful business people.
- A way to get a good jump on the day.
Meditation is a vast topic and discipline that can not be covered in just one small section of a post.
However it is worth your time to do some research on the topic. It only takes a short amount of time and gives a
lifetime of benefits.
There are some great apps that can help get you started. These are the few that I have used:
Calm– This is a subscription based app but offers a free portion for new users to try out.
Headspace (My personal favorite)- A free app that also has some paid content if you wish to go deeper. They do a great job of explaining meditation through some pretty entertaining videos.
Simply being– This is a completely free app and the one that I used to use everyday until upgrading to headspace.
Journaling is not a diary.
I write because I don’t know what I think until I read
what I say.
– Flannery O’Connor
Who am I kidding. Of course journaling is just like keeping a diary. It is just a cooler way of saying it.
Journaling is a great way to gain perspective on what is going on in your head. So often we get caught up in our own
thoughts and emotions that it is really hard to take a step back and see what we are really dealing with.
The nice thing about writing all these thoughts down on paper is that it is just for you. It doesn’t have to be long, brilliant
or eloquent. It can be 3 sentences or 3 pages, it doesn’t matter.
A journal is for you and by you, and you alone.
So where do you start if you’ve never journaled before?
I follow what is called a “gratitude” journal format. It is quite simple, and goes like this:
• Write down three things that you are grateful for that day.
• Write down three goals for the day.
• Write down one daily affirmation.
Then in the evening I write:
• Three things that were awesome about the day.
• One thing that could have been better.
That’s it. It doesn’t take long and it helps start the day in a good head space.
There are a couple apps for journaling that I would recommend.
I use an app called Day one for IOS and Mac.
Another app that comes highly recommended for both IOS and android is the 5 minute journal.
Exercise both your mind and body.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body
– Sir Richard Steele
This should really go without having to say too much on the topic.
We all know it, exercise is good for you. You feel better, have more energy, have a clearer mind, age slower,
I could go on and on about the benefits.
You don’t have to run 5 K every day. It can be a short walk, sit ups and push ups, jumping jacks, something, anything.
Just make sure that you are doing something every day.
Start small and manageable, a 5 minute run/walk, 10 sit ups, 5 push ups, whatever.
When you are ready, build on what you have already accomplished.
Just as important as exercising your body is exercising your mind.
Would it kill you to read a book once in awhile?
Your brain needs to be exercised as well, make sure you are not
I’m not saying don’t take some veg out time. I am saying is let your mind enjoy something other than Netflix or Halo.
You hate reading? Down load an audio book. Almost any book you can think of is available in audio form.
Try audible.com as a source of audio books.
Another great place to exercise your mind is in the form of podcasts. Pick any topic you want and I can guarantee
that there is a podcast on it.
So how do I incorporate all this into my morning?
Here is how it looks:
• 5:00 – Alarm goes off. Rise and shine and drink a large
glass of water.
• 5:10 – Meditate for 15 minutes using the headspace app.
• 5:20 – Journal for 10 minutes using the day one app.
• 5:30 – Head out the door for a 30 minute run.
• 6:00 – Read for 15 minutes.
• 6:15 – Have breakfast and start the day.
Look at how much you can accomplish before most people get up.
A morning routine helps you get ready for the day before most peoples days actually begin.
Super action plan!
• Be proactive the night before. Make sure your lunch and morning coffee are ready the night before. Get your
clothes ready and make sure you know where your wallet and keys are.
• Meditate/pray/quiet time.Take 5-10 minutes and just sit quietly alone with your thoughts first thing in the
• Write in a journal. Take a few minutes and write down a few things you are thankful for and want to
accomplish for the day. At the end of the day, write down a few awesome things that happened as well as one
thing you could have done better.
• Exercise. Go for a walk/run. Start small and build up from there.
• Read/listen to a book. Check out a podcast. If you don’t like to read then look into audio books or listen to
podcasts. Make sure you are exercising your mind.
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