How to Master the Morning Routine Like a Professional
Even if you are a late-riser, the first activities you do after waking are crucial to the success of the rest of your day.
It can be the most dreadful part of the day and the killer of Monday dreams. It takes the fun out of the evening hours of the day before. Not only do we despise the idea of it, it ruins the start and the evening of our lives.
However, those who master this beast seem to master life. That is a fact we cannot deny. The professionals who blaze by us at work, that spartan-looking fellow who needs no coffee and has unlimited energy, all have one thing in common: they have beaten and befriended our arch-nemesis, the morning...
Here is how they do it.
Take advantage of Alpha State
We all know the relationship our behavior has with our subconscious mind:
- Ninety percent of our behavior is residual from yesterday
- Limiting beliefs can take a person who wishes for change and forces them to remain stagnant.
- Issues we have in adulthood that make no sense could be programmed from childhood through trauma, authority figure, and repetition
In other words, in order to not be a slave to what and who you were yesterday, you need to understand the power of your subconscious mind and how to work with it in order to create the success you desire.
The powerhouses of the world do this by harnessing the potential of the alpha state of consciousness. While in alpha state (you can read about this in Jon Gordon's book The Positive Dog) the directives given to the subconscious mind are clearer than in the beta state. This is drowsy vs. the alert states of consciousness.
So while you're in bed reading and journaling, be aware of your thoughts and constantly guide them towards what you want for yourself tomorrow, including a wonderfully alert and easy morning. With repetition, those affirmations will become your practical experience. Make sure to combine those beliefs you have planted with solid action, as there is no imagination powerful to paint a picture; you need a brush stroke as well!
Key Points: Subconscious beliefs make or sabotage you, changing the beliefs changes the natural tendencies of your physiology and mind.
Get Those 1st Few Successes!
I used to date a girl who was in the Israeli military. She was OBSESSED with making sure her bed was made. Everything was present in her process other than a protractor and a ruler. Now that I have inserted this technique into my routine, rather than leaving it messy, I see why. The military doesn't do anything without a reason. They are efficient machines, and everything they do serves a purpose.
I think that's enough said.
Kick-start your brain with morning contemplation.
We understand the gunk we carry over from the previous day. We have also discovered how to transform that gunk into repetitive streams of what we DO want to repeat during the current day.
However, this process can be gradual, and to lessen the effects of the nastiness of yesterday, it is important to fill our brains with the brilliant ideas of the morning masters who came before us. Not only this, but we must contemplate their wisdom ourselves.
Something I learned in the monastery was to have morning and evening periods where I would examine my goals for the day.
These were not items on my task list, but core goals for myself and who I wished to become. When you think about your best self, what does that person act like, how they speak, and how do they interact with others and their environment?
This is not about judging yourself. It is about serious contemplation of your daily progress. I keep a journal, muster up the courage, and see where I failed to measure up to who I truly wish to be.
This is a similar technique to using banking app on your phone to see how much money you are wasting on gas station food and all of those small purchases that add up significantly over time. Once you are face-to-face with the data it becomes difficult to ignore.
Secondly, morning and night, read the literature doled out by wise people. Be honest with yourself, you don't like philosophy? Then you might need it, friend.
What do you do each day? The things that make you happy, right?
How? With the knowledge of how to do them. That's why you are reading this post. You want a happier morning, so you sought out the knowledge by which you can accomplish that. Philosophers spend their lives doing this in a very focused way. Don't ignore your elders, we always regret it.
However, it does not need to be Seneca or Aristotle. It can be your favorite psychologist or scientist. It just needs to be non-fiction material that you read to make yourself better.
Think about whatever gives us our success in life. It sees you, wanting what you want, but sees that you want it so little that you are not even willing to do a bit of reading in order to make some changes in your life. Would you give such a gift, called happiness, to you? That's the real question. It's called deserving it.
You know how valuable what you want really is, and you know whether or not you are acting such that you deserve to have it. Nothing is free. Happiness is a process and a gift that is earned and preserved.Deserve it!
Meditation is your friend.
Don't roll your eyes at me. I'm serious. I've been meditating since college, and it's awesome. I tell people often that is better than coffee, and here is why:
- It strengthens the nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic part of your brain. In other words, it helps you rejuvenate, repair, and rebuild your body.
- Gives you better control over your breath, which we know is crucial to maintaining composure in stressful times. (See Simon Sinek on controlling the breath)
- Meditation is good for your exercise! Cortisol competes with testosterone in the body: checkmate. All of the other reasons for desiring low cortisol levels apply here as well.
- I am quite proud of this one because it was something I have discovered personally that blows people's minds when I tell them. There is a space between calm and reaction that allows one to respond. For those with anger, impulsive and reaction issues, meditation can help you widen the gap where you are capable of making wise decisions. Actually, there was a study done in an Indian prison that associated, positively, meditation and control one's impulsivity.
- When you start to meditate, the mind will revolt and become tumultuous. This allows you to see how many of your thoughts and judgments during the day are simply the minds motor running. You will happier by being less attached to its nonsense.
- Meditation allows one to consciously create their own future. Not in a magical "law of attraction" sense, but in a very mathematical sense. The present actions of a human being create the reactions they experience in the future. Therefore, consciously behaving relative to your desired outcome needs to happen now and you are better equipped for this with the mindfulness that comes from meditating.
Once the wheels of the mind stop spinning, you will experience a peaceful waking state where mindfulness is present and you can experience the natural beauty of your daily experiences. It prepares you for the rest of the day, as your consciousness in the morning carries through your later 20 hours.
It's not something hippies or sentimental religious people do anymore. It's a science, and if you eat healthily, dislike aspartame and MSG, you can safely add meditation to your arsenal of ubermensch activities, and that means you win. You're welcome, friends.