GAME CHANGER: Morning Rituals
Those of you that know me (or follow me on snapchat) know that I am a morning person. Yes, I have become that annoying person that actually ENJOYS waking up at least an hour before I need to leave the house (which usually means sometime between 4am and 5am).
Let's be honest, this whole “I love the morning” business was definitely not always the case. I used to sleep until the absolute latest second that I could. Hitting the snooze button three or four times and then rushing out the door with some kind of sugary breakfast bar hanging out of my mouth. This was also a time in my life when I had been feeling stuck and unfulfilled. I felt like I had no direction, was always exhausted yet I was accomplishing nothing. Something clearly needed to change.
In the process of getting out of this funk I began to examine what successful people did to have a more fulfilling, productive day. One thing they all had in common (Mad props to Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo, Jonathan Fields, and Gabby Bernstein) was they each had some kind of morning ritual. So through much trial and error, I took strategies from my mentors and slowly began to implement a morning routine that has greatly changed my life. I have seen such a difference that now I am officially a morning person!
There has been many examinations of morning rituals and which ones work the best. Everyone you speak to will have a different opinion, but one thing that all of the research will agree with is that a structured morning routine will set you up for a successful day. In this post I will share with you exactly how I start my morning. I hope you can use some of these strategies to create your own kick ass morning routine!
Full disclosure: I am not perfect (not even close!) so there are days when the morning routine gets a little screwed up or doesn't happen at all. However, I find that my happiest, healthiest and most productive days are the ones that I begin like this…
1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (2 minutes)
The very first thing I do upon opening my eyes is spread my arms and legs out wide in my bed and try to take up as much space as possible. I stretch as far as I can in every direction and then whisper “thank you”. I try to feel gratitude with every ounce of my body. Showing and feeling gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks, to the abundance that is all around you. Would you believe it if I told you that saying thank you has literally been scientifically proven to make you happier? Well it does. Research has shown that giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, improves health, and it reduces stress. It is literally impossible to feel grumpy while showing gratitude.
2. Magic potion (5 minutes)
My next step involves making my way to the kitchen to prepare my magical morning elixir: a cup of hot water with lemon and 1tbs of raw apple cider vinegar. I am telling you this stuff is clutch! Drinking this in the morning on an empty stomach helps to kick start the digestive system and get “things moving” if you know what I mean. It also has loads of other fab benefits:
boosts mood and energy levels
Aids in weight loss by fighting cravings
Hydrates the lymph system
Boots immune system
Lowers blood sugar levels
If you decide to make this part of your morning ritual, make sure you get the kind of ACV that is raw, unfiltered and includes “the Mother”. The brand I like is Braggs.
3. Fuel up! (15 minutes)
This is my favorite part! I always eat breakfast within 15 minutes of opening my eyes. Partially because I’m starving, but mostly because having a healthy breakfast kick starts my metabolism after having fasted all night. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard that eating breakfast is one of the most beneficial habits you can create. Believe me, it’s true! Consuming a well balanced breakfast within 2 hours of waking can make a difference in the way you metabolize glucose all day. This helps to prevent energy slumps and sugar cravings. Since I don't have time during the week to cook in the morning, I have been making over-night oats or protein pancakes the night before that are in the fridge waiting for me in the am.
4. Get Ready (15 minutes)
This is the point in time when I do the normal “getting ready” things like brushing my teeth and getting dressed. (There is no fun little phrase or paragraph for this part. I think it's self explanitory).
5. Dump list, and morning journal (10 minutes)
I don't know about you, but when I wake up my brain is totally frazzled. The monkey in my mind is it’s loudest and I have a thousand thoughts racing through my brain. Things to do, people to email, even “genius” ideas that I dreamt up that night. These thoughts need a place to go, so I grab my journal and purge them all out onto the page. I have found this to be extremely helpful in quieting my mind and organizing my thoughts. After I am done I will usually circle the 3 to 5 tasks that are most important and turn those into that day’s to do list.
My 5 minute morning journal comes next. This consists of listing 3 things I am grateful for, 3 reasons why this day will be amazing and 3 self love affirmations. An affirmation usually begins with “I am”. An example would be “I am loved” or “I am limitless”. I promise, even if you are in the crappiest mood, writing out these words can completely shift your state of mind and change the path of your day. It literally takes 5 minutes, sometimes less.
6. Meditation (10 minutes)
The final step before I walk out the door is my meditation practice. I usually use the Headspace app and do their 10 minute guided meditation. This clears my mind and gets me centered. Check out my blog on meditating to learn more about the benefits of quieting the mind. Once my meditation ends, my mind is it’s clearest and I can set an intention for the day. Out of all of the steps, this has by far been the most beneficial. On the days that I meditate, I find myself to be more productive, less anxious, more energized and less impulsive.
And there you have it! I know it may look like a lot, but if you add up the time it equals 57 minutes. The benefits of this process have definitely been worth loosing that 1 hour of sleep. Do you guys have any cool strategies for starting your day off on the right foot? Would you agree that a morning ritual has changed the game for you?I would love to hear them in he comments below!