When you change the way you wake up in the morning, you change your entire life. – Hal Elrod
Find Instant Morning Motivation
Have you ever dreaded waking up first thing in the morning? Have you ever pressed that snooze button multiple times to delay the inevitable morning stomp to the bathroom? Have you ever wished that it was the weekend today… how about every day? 🙁
Many of us have no doubt been there. Waking up first thing in the morning feeling groggy and tired certainly doesn’t bring to mind thoughts of a pleasant experience. In fact, for some people getting up bright and early translates into a form of torture. And of course, in order to avoid this torturous experience, we try to rationalize why staying in bed is actually a good idea.
The bed just feels soooo comfortable…
It’s just soooo warm in here…
I’m just soooo relaxed…
I’ve found the perfect resting position and absolutely nothing is going to move me…
I want to get back to that amazing dream I was having…
At one point or another, we have all probably felt this way. However, despite feeling tempted to stay in bed, some people still manage to immediately get themselves out of bed feeling energized, motivated and inspired. Yes, of course, the bed was extremely comfortable, and it would’ve been easy to just lie there and rest a little longer, however, these people don’t allow themselves to get caught up within these fleeting moments of pleasure because for them there is more pleasure to be found within their daily activities. And that pleasure, of course, begins the moment they jump out of bed and launch into their morning routine.
We’ve already discussed the tremendous power of building empowering rituals. And part of that discussion was, of course, focused on the value of developing morning rituals that can get your day started on the right track.
Morning rituals are probably the most important because they help put you into an optimal state-of-mind that can help keep you energized, focused, inspired and motivated throughout the day.
With an empowered morning routine in place, you will no longer hesitate to get out of bed. You will instead get up with passion and a sense of purpose, ready to tackle anything that lies ahead.
What is a Morning Routine?
To have a morning routine in place essentially means dedicating your time every morning to a regular routine where you perform certain activities that help motivate and energize you. These activities could, of course, come in the form of reading a book, exercising, meditation, self-reflection, a brisk walk, listening to music or a podcast, stretching, journaling, and more.
At a deeper level, a morning routine means dedicating yourself to constant improvement and to daily growth and development. It means becoming more purposeful with your morning actions so that those actions can help build the momentum you need to help you achieve your goals as you move through your day.
The purpose of a morning routine is to essentially help you become the person you need to be in order to create the life you want by attaining your desired goals and objectives.
What a morning routine does very well is it helps you to develop the habit of consistency. This is all about taking daily consistent purposeful action toward a desired aim. This objective could, of course, be toward a specific goal you are wanting to achieve, and/or toward the kind of person you would like to become. In essence, these two objectives are one and the same because in order to achieve your goals you need to become the kind of person that deserves to attain these goals in the first place.
Secret to Success
Now, it is no secret that successful people the world over have a morning routine. In fact, for many of these people, their day begins before 6am, and for others even earlier. However, these people might not start work until 8am or later. So why in the world do they get up so early?
They get up early in order to partake in a series of morning rituals that make up their morning routine. This period of solitude first thing in the morning gives them time to be with themselves and with their own thoughts. Moreover, it gives them the freedom to focus on the things that bring forth passion and inspiration into their lives.
They hold themselves accountable to partake in this morning routine every single day consistently over time. And of course, as we know, when we do something consistently over time incredible things eventually begin to happen. In fact, it helps us build some serious momentum toward the attainment of our goals.
The Value of Having a Morning Routine
There are of course tremendous benefits to having a morning routine. For starters, an empowered morning routine will leave you feeling motivated and energized. It can also help enhance your productivity and wellbeing. Moreover, it can provide you with a clearer sense of direction, which of course comes from a deeper understanding you have of yourself on a mental, physical spiritual and emotional level. And then in culmination, all this helps you live with a higher sense of purpose.
Given this, it’s clear that having a morning routine can certainly be of tremendous value. But how do we do it? How do we develop an empowered morning routine that can help us in so many beneficial ways? Moreover, how long should this routine even be? And of course, how in the world do we even get started?
When it comes to time factors, for some people this morning routine goes for less than half an hour, while for others it can stretch out for several hours. However, the length of the routine isn’t of most significance here. What is significant is what you choose to focus on during that time. Focusing on the right things will dramatically help shape the course of the remainder of your day. On the other hand, focusing on the wrong things will just waste your time and could even distract you from the main objectives and goals you have in mind.
There are of course many types of activities that one could focus on as part of an empowered morning routine. However, for the purpose of this discussion, we are just going to focus on six of the most valuable activities that can profoundly impact your life in a positive way. These activities include:
Now, of course, it’s important to keep in mind that performing these activities for a few days or weeks will probably not bring about significantly noticeable results. However, by partaking in your morning routine consistently over time for many months and years, will significantly transform your life in accordance with the law of consistency.
Within the remainder of this article, we’ll focus our attention on breaking down the six components of an empowered morning routine. Finding time for these activities first thing in the morning will help put you into an optimal state-of-mind that will allow you to generate the positive energy and momentum you need to get you through the remainder of your day.
Now of course, you don’t necessarily need to integrate all these activities into your morning routine. You can pick and choose the activities that resonate most with you and also add your own work or goal related activities into the mix as well. The key here is to develop a morning routine that works for you and helps you become the person you desire to be to achieve the goals you want to achieve. As such, you might need to test things out for a few weeks to get a sense of what resonates best with you and your desired objectives.
The remainder of this article has been adapted from the work of Hal Elrod and his best selling book: The Miracle Morning. A highly recommended read if you are searching for more information about this topic. Hal has not only made the book available but has also put together a vast amount of resources that can help you develop an empowered morning routine.
Morning Ritual 1: Meditation
Meditation was once one of those things that your hippie next door neighbor did first thing in the morning on their balcony. Instead of birds waking you up, you were awoken by a mesmerizing hum coming from the adjacent apartment. Back then many people regarded meditation as some sort of wacky thing that wasn’t very well understood and certainly not widely practiced.
However, over the years, meditation has taken a foothold in our society. It’s no longer something only practiced by those engrossed in the New Age movement. It’s actually become something that is practiced by people from all walks of life.
Incorporating meditation into your morning routine involves finding a comfortable spot where you sit in a relaxed state in complete silence.
There are of course many different ways to meditate, and we will explore all of them within a different article. However, for now, it’s important to note that you can use your period of meditation in a number of helpful ways. You can for instance just sit there in silence and observe your thoughts. Alternatively, you can concentrate on your breathing in order to center and ground yourself. Meditation can also be used as a time for prayer, for self-reflection or for gratitude.
Spending 5 to 20 minutes meditating first thing in the morning can help promote better sleep and can calm your body, mind, and spirit. This subsequently alleviates stress, promotes mindfulness, and allows for better concentration and focus throughout the day.
Morning Ritual 2: Learning
Learning something new is another valuable use of your time first thing in the morning. Whether that means spending time reading a book, listening to an audiobook or podcast, or maybe going through several blog posts in your favorite mobile app, makes no difference. As long as the information you are going through is immediately actionable, applicable and relevant to your current life, career, business, relationships, and/or circumstances, then it is certainly something you should focus on.
According to Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, some 76 percent of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. Almost seven in ten adults (69%) read a book in print in the past 12 months, while 28 percent read an eBook, and 14 percent listened to an audiobook.
What this essentially reveals is that 24 percent of adults haven’t even read a single book in the past year, and the majority of others have read or listened to less than a handful of books. However, what this study doesn’t reveal is what kind of books people are reading.
The top fiction books typically sell over one million copies each calendar year. In fact, if we are to take a look at the top-selling books of all time, what we find is that the vast majority of books that people read are fiction books. Therefore most people read purely for pleasure and not with a purpose to help them better their lives.
In another study conducted by YouGov Poll, 28 percent of respondents did not read a book at all in the past year, while 25 percent read between one and five books, 15 percent read between six and ten books, 20 percent read between 11 and 50 books, and 8 percent read more than 50 books.
Interestingly this poll also reveals that 42 percent of people indicated that they have not read a nonfiction book within the past 12 months. That’s almost half the population. Only 17 percent of respondents indicated that they have read 6 or more nonfiction books throughout the year. That’s less than 1 in 5 people.
Now of course, if you committed yourself to reading just 10 pages or let’s say 20 minutes per day each morning of a nonfiction book that is readily applicable to your life, you could, therefore, get through reading an entire book every couple of weeks. Spread that over the course of 12 months and you would essentially have read 26 books that are relevant to you and to your life.
Taking a look back at the survey results, that would put you within the top 7 percent of people who have read 11+ nonfiction books per year. In fact, I would say that reading 26 books per year would probably put you into the top 3 percent of the population.
Reading a nonfiction book that is immediately actionable and applicable to your life helps you gather valuable insights and new perspectives. Moreover, it allows you to develop new skills, gain critical knowledge, and gather ideas that can help improve your life, career, business, relationships, and even solve problems.
Just 20 minutes or 10 pages per day of reading can dramatically change the course of your life if you take into consideration the law of consistency.
It’s such an easy thing to do, but many people won’t do it, and this is of course to your benefit. If others won’t do it, but you do, then you have a clear advantage that can help you gain a valuable edge in life.
Morning Ritual 3: Exercise
Exercise is another important morning ritual that can help boost your energy, enhance your concentration, promote emotional wellbeing as well as better health and mental alertness.
I, of course, do acknowledge from personal experience that exercise is one of the most difficult things to do first thing in the morning. You’ve been relaxing and resting all night, and the last thing you want to do is to vigorously shake your body out of its relaxed state and slumber. 🙁 However, exercise first thing in the morning (compared to the evening) is actually quite valuable for one main reason.
Exercising first thing in the morning means that you no longer need to think about doing it later during the day. We’ve all of course been there. We make plans to exercise after work but life just kind of gets in the way, or we just feel so tired after work that exercising is the last thing we want to do.
When you get your exercise done in the morning, that means there is one less thing you need to think about during the day. You kind of free yourself from the burden of planning an exercise session during the evening. It’s as though a weight is suddenly lifted off your shoulders and you can just go with the flow of your day.
Now, of course, there are plenty of additional reasons to exercise first thing in the morning. It’s something that all of us should be doing as it sets into motion numerous factors that can help improve how you feel and subsequently the quality of your day.
You might, of course, say that you’re very short on time in the morning and just can’t fit exercise into your routine. In such an instance you could, of course, get up earlier, or maybe we just need to start thinking about exercise a little differently.
Exercise doesn’t need to feel like a burden. It can involve simple stretches, yoga, and/or some form of anaerobic and aerobic training. Moreover, you don’t need to spend a considerable amount of time exercising. A brisk five-minute workout on the bike, treadmill or cross trainer can do wonders for your body and mental state-of-mind. As long as you’re consistent, that’s all that matters.
Morning Ritual 4: Journaling
Journaling is something that some people absolutely love to do, while others absolutely dread trying to put words on paper. However, just like with exercise, journaling is something that many people typically resist in the beginning, but with consistent effort over time, it’s something that you can grow to love and appreciate.
The process of journaling can mean various things to different people. For some, it translates into a process of jotting down thoughts and reflections of the day. Other people could use journaling as a goal-setting activity, or maybe to jot down daily ideas on how to improve their lives and circumstances.
The process of journaling can be whatever you make it out to be. And you don’t even need to write. You could for instance just spend time doodling your thoughts or cut out pictures and words from a magazine that you collect into a scrapbook that helps keep you motivated and inspired throughout the day.
Journaling can become a very important part of your morning routine because it can naturally help stimulate your mind, thoughts, and ideas. Moreover, it can help you refocus on what’s most important, while also allowing you to review lessons learned so that you can make better decisions in the future.
There are of course plenty of ready-made journals available to purchase. These journals help guide your thoughts in various ways. One of my favorites is the five-minute journal, that of course literally takes only about five minutes to fill out partly in the morning and partly later in the day.
Each double page of the journal contains an inspiring quote, a hypothetical question about what would make today great, a list of amazing things that happened today (or yesterday), a weekly challenge, a section for some gratitude, an affirmation, and ideas on how you could have made today (yesterday) better.
It’s all simple stuff, right? It’s kind of so simple that it’s easy to overlook the positive impact that filling out a guided journal can have on your life. But this is essentially what journaling does very well. It helps to reinforce what’s most important while keeping you focused on your highest priority activities. As such, you can then go about your day with more self-assurance that you’re on the right track.
Five minutes is all it takes to reap the rewards of this positive morning ritual.
Morning Ritual 5: Visualization
Visualization involves the process of visualizing something in your mind’s eye that you would like to have or be able to work through successfully.
You could, for instance, visualize the process of achieving your goal or of working through a problem. This is of course all well and good, however, this kind of visualization often misses the mark. It misses the mark because it doesn’t take into account real-life scenarios.
While visualizing a goal, most people will translate the process of achieving this goal into a straight line moving from point A to point B. However, as we all know, in real life the process of achieving any goal doesn’t follow a straight line. In fact, this line curves and loops over itself many times before the destination is reached. Given this, visualizing the goal using the straight-line method is not going to help you because the moment you hit an obstacle or face a setback, the visualization will become null and void.
The key here, therefore, is to not only visualize the process of achieving your goal but to also visualize the various obstacles and setbacks you will face along the way and how you will potentially deal with these challenges when they arise.
In addition to this, be sure to visualize everything using all your senses. The more compelling you make your visualizations the more motivating they will be and the more likely you are to take the necessary actions to bring your goal to fruition.
Another important note here is to be careful not to just limit your visualizations into the far-off future. Visualizing the end goal is of course important. However, you also need to be very clear about what specifically you will need to do today, tomorrow and this week in order to reach that goal. As such, spend the majority of your time visualizing the tasks, projects, and challenges on the horizon and not so much all the things that are waiting for you beyond the horizon. Of course, take everything into account, but focus more on what is closer in the present moment rather than goals that are still months away from completion.
You can of course also use your visualization time in another very helpful way. I am of course referring to visualizing the person you seek to become in order to achieve your goals.
Every goal you set yourself requires certain things from you. It requires you develop certain habits and rituals, or it requires that you gain some type of knowledge or skills. Even more so, it requires that you mentally shift how you think about your life and circumstances. These are all factors that help you become the person you need to become in order to achieve your desired goal.
Visualizing yourself becoming this person each day can help direct you to make more optimal choices and decisions that eventually lead you toward the goal you are aiming for. For instance, consider:
- The habits you may need to develop.
- How you may need to think under pressure situations.
- What you will do in certain scenarios.
- How you will respond to setbacks and when dealing with difficult emotions.
- What knowledge you will need to gain and how you will acquire it.
- What skills and abilities you will need to develop and how you will learn them.
There are of course many possibilities here. The key is for you to figure out exactly the type of person you need to become in order to achieve your goal. Only in this way will your visualizations have a purpose in mind that will help keep you motivated, focused, and inspired throughout the day.
Now of course, your morning visualization doesn’t need to be extensive. Five minutes should often be enough to help you gain clarity about what needs to get done today to move you toward your desired goal.
But visualization can be tough at times. Visualizing the life you haven’t yet experienced is mentally taxing. As such, if you’re struggling with this process then alternatively what you can do is choose a random inspiring quote from a book or website, read it over and then close your eyes and reflect on its meaning and how it applies to your life. Moreover, consider how you can potentially live the lesson within this quote throughout the day.
Morning Ritual 6: Affirmations
The final morning ritual I want to discuss here comes in the form of affirmations. Affirmations involve repeating words and phrases to yourself throughout your morning routine that sends specific instructions to your body and mind. In other words, your affirmations must send commands that help direct your thoughts and actions throughout the day.
More specifically, affirmations are used to help support the daily habits and beliefs that build the foundations of your actions; allowing you to achieve your goals. And this all essentially comes down to talking to yourself with a sense of purpose.
You could for instance design your affirmations around how you would like to behave throughout the day in order to keep yourself focused on achieving the tasks that help you accomplish your goal. Consider for a moment:
What do I want to accomplish and why?
Whom do I need to “be” in order to accomplish my goal?
This is all about designing and developing the mindset required to enhance your life, to overcome limitations and problems, to develop empowering habits, beliefs, and the attitude that it will take to accomplish your goal. And all of these things, of course, come through the affirmations you set into motion.
Typically you will want to build your affirmations upon specific actions that you will take throughout the day to accomplish your goal. You could, for instance, take into account the frequency of the action, the quantity that must be achieved, and any timeframes that must be accounted for. Your affirmation could, therefore, evolve along the following lines:
I am confident in my skills and in my ability to get things done.
I am calling 5 prospects an hour and generating an average of $100 worth of sales per prospect.
Every call I make gets me closer to the $50,000 target I reach by December 31st of this year.
No matter what happens I will stay focused and on track; always moving forward in pursuit of my goal.
As you can see within this example, the first affirmation addresses the level of confidence (belief) I have in my ability to get things done; the second addresses what specific actions I will take to reach my target (habits); the third addresses the big picture time frame and target I am working toward (goal); while the final affirmation addresses the mindset required to follow through with my actions (attitude).
Repeating these affirmations to myself during my morning routine and then throughout the day can help me to stay focused and on target toward the attainment of my goal.
Initially, it’s helpful to get these affirmations in writing on paper so that you can see them laid out clearly before you. Once done, commit them to memory or put them onto a pocket card that you can keep in your wallet or purse and refer to throughout the day.
Typically the morning shower routine is a great place to get these affirmations going. While in the shower spend time repeating these affirmations to yourself. This will help you to direct your focus and attention on what’s most important on that specific day.
Now, of course, your priorities, tasks, and activities might change from day-to-day. As such your affirmations should change accordingly. And that’s of course okay. As long as your affirmations are tied to specific actions you take throughout the day and are built upon developing empowering beliefs, habits and an attitude that helps move you closer to your goal, then you will be fine. 🙂
It’s important to note that affirmations are however limited in that they don’t allow you to expand your understand and awareness of a situation. You might, for instance, suffer a setback and subsequently achieving your target might now seem impossible. In such instances, you must step back from blindly repeating affirmations and instead begin asking questions that can help you explore why things are the way they are and how you can get things back on track. Only in this way will you successfully move through the potential problems and challenges that arise.
Now of course for some people this might be a complicated way to view affirmations. If this kind of sounds a little overwhelming for you and you would like to ease yourself into this process, then a simpler way to go about this is to choose a few of your favorite inspiring quotes and just repeat them to yourself throughout the day. But do make sure that these quotes are inline with your goals and with the person you need to become to accomplish those goals.
Putting it All Together
So now that you understand what meditation, learning, exercise, journaling, visualization, and affirmations are all about, it’s now time to piece them together into an empowered morning routine that gets you out of bed excited and raring to get started. 🙂
To begin with, let’s first figure a few things out by asking yourself the following questions:
How much time will I allocate to my morning routine?
What time will I need to get up in order to fit it into my schedule?
What specific rituals/activities will I incorporate into my morning routine?
How will I order these rituals/activities?
How will I commit myself to following through with this morning routine consistently over time?
Who could I use as an accountability partner to make sure I follow through with this routine every morning?
What will I do if some mornings I just don’t have enough time to undertake my regular morning rituals? What’s my contingency plan?
These are just some of the questions you must keep in mind when building and then committing to your empowered morning routine.
All this, of course, might not be easy in the beginning; unless of course, you make your morning ritual so compelling that you literally can’t wait to wake up first thing in the morning. 🙂 That, of course, is the key. The more passion you infuse into your mornings the easier it will be for you to get out of bed with uncontrollable excitement and enthusiasm. 🙂
Now, even with this invigorating enthusiasm, excitement, and passion, it is, however, possible that during the early stages you might struggle somewhat at times to get yourself out of bed. You may even say to yourself that it’s simply not worth it because you’re not seeing any concrete results. And that’s of course very typical. You typically won’t see the results from your actions during the first few weeks of your routine. But because you’re not seeing them doesn’t mean that things aren’t progressively changing behind the scenes below your level of conscious awareness.
Every single time you undertake your empowered morning routine you are making subtle mental shifts in how you think about your life and circumstances. These shifts are subtle and therefore probably unnoticeable. However, over time these shifts eventually lead you to make a different set of choices and decisions that guide you down a vastly different path.
As you continue to persist with your morning ritual over many months and years, you will start seeing tremendous changes that affect the way you think about your life, goals, and circumstances. You just need to keep persisting. Maintaining consistency over time will progressively transform your life for the better in incredible and probably very unexpected ways.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I’m confident you will gain tremendous value from using the accompanying IQ Matrix for coaching or self-coaching purposes. This mind map provides you with a quick visual overview of the article you just read. The branches, interlinking ideas, and images model how the brain thinks and processes information. It’s kind of like implanting a thought into your brain – an upgrade of sorts that optimizes how you think about these concepts and ideas. 🙂
Recommended IQ Matrix Bundles
If you’re intrigued by the idea of using mind maps for self-improvement then I would like to invite you to become an IQ Matrix Member.
If you’re new to mind mapping or just want to check things out, then register for the Free 12 Month Membership Program. There you will gain access to over 90 mind maps, visual tools, and resources valued at over $500.
If, on the other hand, you want access to an ever-growing library of 100s of visual tools and resources, then check out our Premium Membership Packages. These packages provide you with the ultimate visual reference library for all your personal development needs.
Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Morning Rituals of Super Successful People @ Inc.
- 5 Morning Rituals to Start Your Day with Magic @ Mind Body Green
- 11 Inspiring Ideas for Your Morning Ritual @ The Huffington Post
- 11 Tweaks to Your Morning Routine Will Make Your Entire Day More Productive @ Forbes
- 12 Morning Routines that Top Entrepreneurs Execute Daily @ Inc.
- A 9-Step Framework for Creating a Morning Ritual @ Entrepreneur
- How to Finally Stuck to Your Morning Routine @ 99U
- Productivity Experts Share Their 10 Best Tips for a Morning Routine Makeover @ Fast Company
- Steal Richard Branson’s Morning Routine @ Inc.
- The Morning Routines of 12 Women Leaders @ Forbes
- This 7-Minute Morning Routine Will Change Your Life @ Inc.
- Tony Robbins Describes His Intense Morning Routine @ Business Insider
- Top 5 Morning Rituals for a Super Productive Day @ Inc.