I am of the notion that if it has to happen, it has to happen FIRST. Yes, I made this a rule.
The most important things in life for me, those that will take my life to the next level, have to happen in the first half of the day. Otherwise, I have realized, they won’t happen at all!
The only exception to this rule for me is my weight training workouts, which I do in the late afternoons. Other things—my yoga sessions, HIITs, and other calisthenics—happen first thing in the morning.
You know, your body is primed to burn fat first thing in the morning, so and it makes sense to get exercise out of the way when your will power is at its peak. In the evening, other priorities and responsibilities usually take over, and getting fit takes a back seat.
To start off your morning ritual, always wake up early before anyone else does. You don’t want doorbells or your phone ringing or your infant child climbing your back when you are meditating. This is your personal time; protect it fiercely.
This is the time to self-reflect and prioritize how you will spend that day and the weeks and months to come. Say grace, and become strong so you can face the world. On average, you’ll need roughly an hour for the whole process (a minimum of half an hour is required). Strive to get at least seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep so that you are fresh for your morning ritual.
Then, start your day with these six exceptional steps:
-Exercise before it falls off the list.
As I mentioned before, doing an activity that raises your heart rate first thing in the morning is the most productive task you can perform. Studies prove that fasting and exercise combined can benefit the body in various ways. Check out these studies here, here, here and here. Further, exercising in a fasted state leads to more fat oxidation and improved whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.
–Meditate. According to Swami Vivekananda, “The greatest thing is meditation.”
Meditation is the highest state of human consciousness. It can really help you focus and quiet your mind. Usually we try to do more than one thing at the same time, but when you start to mediate, you can concentrate better on a given task and become more productive. I recommend starting with even five minutes of sitting still and taking deep breaths, then build it to 20 minutes daily. With meditation, I can promise you ONE thing: It will be by far the best decision you will ever make in your life.
–Be Grateful. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.” These words are none other than Oprah Winfrey’s.
What a profound thought. She recommends keeping a gratitude journal and writing down everything you are grateful for. She further states that you will radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you are aware of all you have and not focused on your “have-nots.”
-Visualize your short-term and long-term goals.
In your mind, go through your top three short-term and long-term goals. The best way to do that is to visualize that you have already achieved them, and then start working backwards. This helps to set priorities. Anyone can stay busy, but being productive is totally different. Accomplishing small and big projects that take you towards your goals is the key.
–Visualize the day ahead.
Since I can decide what I want to do with my day, I choose to pace myself and visualize what every hour of my current day will look like. I know lots of things can get in the way of my plan, but that doesn’t mean I should not plan. I firmly believe what gets scheduled gets done. I only visualize positive outcomes and usually positive feelings follow.
When I am done with my visualizations, I drink more water. (I drink water before and during my exercise as well.) I aim to drink at least one liter of clean, pure water by this time each morning. Seventy percent of your body is water, and seven to eight hours of fasting overnight dehydrates you and makes your stomach lining very sensitive. Then, instead of immediately drinking sugary coffee or tea, I start off with something more alkaline like ginger tea, green tea or even a tall glass of juiced greens. This prepares my stomach for any acid attack. Then of course if you want your favorite cup of coffee, go ahead. You deserve it.
A Few Things to Remember
If you are traveling or have had a late night, just make sure you do your best with this ritual. It’s okay to skip steps occasionally, but do some part of the routine every day. The idea is to solidify your morning ritual into a strong habit, and once you do, it will be as easy as brushing your teeth; that is my promise to you.
If you perform your main workout in the morning, treat it as separate from this ritual. Ideally you can perform the ritual before you leave for your gym.
Key Note on Willpower
Your willpower is finite. Consider this experiment by Roy Baumeister: He brought subjects into a room filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. The table before them held a plate of the cookies and a bowl of radishes. Some subjects were asked to sample the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes.
Afterward, they were given 30 minutes to complete a difficult geometric puzzle. Baumeister and his colleagues found that people who ate radishes (and resisted the enticing cookies) gave up on the puzzle after about 8 minutes, while the lucky cookie eaters persevered for nearly 19 minutes on average. Drawing on willpower to resist the cookies, it seemed, drained the subjects’ self-control for subsequent situations.
What does this imply? The study suggests that humans should make sure to do all the tasks that are high priority: working out, meditating, visualizing goals, writing an article, making that important phone call, taking an important meeting, eating healthily, or whatever it is that you consider important, before the sun sets, because chances of these things happening diminishes as the day progresses!
Let me wrap up this article with a quote by Mark Twain: “Eat a frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Do you have morning ritual that you follow? Would you like to share anything? Let me know in the comments below!