Morning rituals have become all the rage. But you don’t need a super elaborate 2 hour routine to reap the positive benefits of a morning ritual.
Morning rituals have become are suddenly trendy. Every CEO from Zuckerberg to Sandberg’s 2 hour morning ritual is listed in detail on the cover of magazines, in blogs, and splashed across social media.
I have to be honest, most of these that I’ve seen are entirely unrealistic for the average person. I would love the privilege to wake up two hours before work for ample time to complete some of these awesome tasks.
You can read more about these elaborate morning rituals performed by CEOs and millionaires in this Forbes article.
But, like most things in life, there is a lesson to be learned here. Maybe it is not the exact actions, but the building of a personalized ritual and the consistency over time that makes a difference.
It may not make you a high-powered CEO or millionaire entrepeneur, but it may help you keep your calm when dealing with your kids, or remember your appointment that afternoon. And staying consistent will help you build self confidence and self determination which will reflect throughout your entire life.
Morning Ritual’s Purpose
The purpose of a morning ritual is to start your day with the right mindset. Too many times we allow our attention to be stolen by others’ intentions before we even have a chance in the morning.
An example of this would be grabbing your phone and checking emails or social media immediately. You may not realize, but you’re valuable time will be swiftly stolen by an issue, need, or frustration.
You have now switched into reaction mode, and will most likely remain this way for the remainder of the day.
Instead, invest a few moments into yourself before allowing external pressures, intentions, and influences push you elsewhere. You owe it to yourself to be the number one priority upon waking. Pour into your own cup, or put on your oxygen mask first (whichever metaphor you prefer).
Anatomy of a Morning Ritual
The key to a good morning ritual is customizing it to your own needs. What exactly do you need to be your best for the day.
Don’t worry about what CEOs do, or what your best friend does. And don’t feel the need to make it long, the shorter the task the better and more likely you’ll be consistent.
This is a long practice, and will require modification or reworking throughout your life. But ultimately the framework should remain the same, and the intention is the most important.
Set yourself up for success by taking care of your physical health, your mental health, preparing for the day and giving yourself an easy win.
Task One: Physical Health
Start by choosing a habit that benefits your physical health and body. Choosing to wake up your body first will make everything go smoother.
You can choose from so many options like: stretching, drinking a glass of water, oil pulling, handstands, bouncing on a rebounder, dry brushing, going for a walk, body weight exercises, prepping your meals, or even just washing your face. Keep it simple, and most importantly something you enjoy.
Task Two: Mental Health
Next on the agenda is something to benefit your mental health and to wake up your mind. Investing in your piece of mind will bring you peace throughout the rest of your day.
Once again, there are countless activities to choose from, try out as many as you need to: singing, meditating, journaling, repeating affirmations, sudoku puzzles, reading, calling a friend or loved one, writing, listening to music, painting, or drawing.
This doesn’t need to take forever, just a few minutes of something fun to stimulate and wake up your brain. Make sure it’s not work, and prioritize tasks that inspire your creativity.
Task Three: Prepare for the day
Now this task may take some finessing and thinking outside the box. I draw inspiration from Dr. Peterson and his suggestion to ask yourself honestly to contribute some task for the day that will make tomorrow better. I know it seems daunting, but choosing 1 or 2 tasks for the day that must happen and then ensuring that they do, can be powerful.
Holding yourself accountable to a few simple non-negotiables builds your self-determinism and flexes that motivation muscle. Keep it clear and purposeful.
Break larger goals into small bite size chunks that you can accomplish each day. Even if you spend one minute working on it, that is better than nothing.
I recommend writing one to two activities, tasks, appointments, events, or to-do’s down in your phone, journal, or simply a notepad. Check them off when you’re done. But do not overwhelm yourself, if need be keep it to one item per day. And let yourself feel accomplished for getting that one thing done.
Task Four: Easy Win
I can’t make this any clearer, give yourself an easy win. That’s right, the smallest, most simple task you can complete for the day. Do it, and feel the rush of accomplishment. The Harvard Business Review published a famous article back in 2011 called, The Power of Small Wins. The principle is that even the smallest achievement will build momentum and motivation that can lead to huge accomplishments.
You can do simple tasks like: making your bed, opening the windows, taking out the trash, checking the mail, wiping down the counters, watering your plants, picking up your clothes, or just wiping off your desk. Pick something accessible for your lifestyle, and takes just a few minutes. Remember, the easier the better, and the more likely you will stay consistent. The quicker this becomes a habit, the easier it is.
A simple 5 to 30 minute routine will start to ad up over time and your investment will reap you massive rewards. And make sure to choose tasks that benefit you and only you. There’s no reason to workout for an hour if that doesn’t wake up your mind, and set you on the right path for the day.