“Every goal we have is preceded by a process. The secret to success is to be committed to the daily process, without being emotionally attached to your results.” – Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a morning ritual. The way you wake up and start your day is part of your daily ritual. Maybe that means you always make your bed. And, maybe you don’t, yet.
However you choose to spend your time when you begin your day sets the tone for everything that follows. Your ritual is crucial for a successful day.
With that in mind, I put together this list of 8 habits you can incorporate into your daily ritual to ensure you set yourself up for personal and professional success every day.
Make your bed
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.” – William McRaven, retired four-star Admiral in the United States Navy.
We can’t state it much better. There is a soothing feeling that comes with starting your day with a tidy bedroom. It creates a more visually appealing scene, and the sense of accomplishment makes it easier to move through each subsequent task you face every day.
You bought the nice pillows, right? Make sure they look nice.
Phone on airplane mode
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… even yourself.” – Anne Lamott, novelist.
You should be in control of where your day heads. Why begin your morning with a barrage of emails or texts that allow others to control the course of your first few precious morning hours.
There are few things more important than maintaining professional boundaries while investing in yourself. You need the space to plan your day and get into your day before anyone else has the opportunity to knock you off course.
This is just science. Water is necessary for survival. Period. Did you see the period? Drinking water when you wake up helps flush out the stomach and balance the lymphatic system, which keeps your immune system strong, so you don’t get sick as often. Again, science.
Make coffee/tea/whatever makes you joyful.
“I can’t stop drinking the coffee. I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing, and the walking, and the words-putting-into-sentences doing.” – Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls.
For the second time in this post, we think it’s best to point to the science on this topic. When you drink coffee in the morning, your body is flooded with natural antioxidants, which repair DNA and help ease stress-related inflammation, among other benefits.
There is also the visceral reaction to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. And, let’s be honest, that first cup of coffee before the sun rises provides a few extra minutes for us to be alone with our thoughts, that is, assuming the kids, cats, other humans are still in bed and your phone is either in airplane mode or the other room.
“The single most efficient strategy for completing the stress response cycle is physical activity. And it doesn’t have to be running, your body isn’t that specific. It can be going for a walk, it can be just when you get out of your car after you commute, you jump up and down, you shake your body real hard, you huff a big sigh and you go, ugh!” – Emily Nagoski, who co-wrote Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle with her twin sister, Amelia
This is an important part of my daily routine. Whether it’s yoga, a morning workout or just taking a walk, finding ways to move for 20-30 minutes in the morning creates the conditions for a successful day. It is vital for mental health, helping to prevent burnout, building energy and working through the stress cycles.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
By practicing morning meditation or mindful moments, we can focus our awareness on the present moment. We can acknowledge and accept thoughts, feelings and the sensations we experience in our body.
This is important because it allows us to soothe our nervous system. By tuning into our thoughts and emotions, we can increase our capacity for managing our emotions, which makes us better leaders (and humans!)
Have you ever been so overwhelmed emotionally you snapped at a colleague or one of your children only to immediately regret it? Yikes! Me too. It happens. Daily life, both personal and professional, can be overwhelming, so it is important we are focused on managing, and processing, our emotions, so we can increase our capacity and ensure we are showing up each day and presenting the best possible versions of ourselves.
Compassion and consistency
“Empathy is a connection; it’s a ladder out of the shame hole.” – Brené Brown
Compassion creates meaningful connections. Not only does it make us feel good, but it shows others that we can show up, listen and build lasting relationships.
When compassion is paired with consistency it builds trust. It creates repeatable behaviors that yourself and others can depend on and those routines, maintained over time, build momentum for individuals, the teams they work on and the people they work with.
BONUS: Start the night before
You can’t expect yourself to start the day strong if you were up all night glued to your phone or TV. A successful daily morning ritual requires setting yourself up for success the night before.
Here are a few tips.
No. 1, Remember when we asked you to put your phone in airplane mode, try to do that an hour to 30 minutes before bed. Give yourself time to unwind at the end of the day.
No. 2, No screens in bed. Your body needs time to ease its way into restful sleep, so keep that TV turned off.
No. 3, Get enough sleep. A full night of sleep, aiming for 7-8 hours, at least, will make every other ritual more easily attainable.
As Hal Elrod said, every goal is preceded by a process. We’ve provided potential guideposts to help you find a consistent routine that works for you. Everyone is different, so each person has to incorporate healthy habits that are sustainable. Maybe pick one to start with and add along the way.
Micro investments in your morning routine can lead to long-term growth. And, maybe you’ll need a little help along the way. A coach can help you implement a plan to establish your morning routine. Let’s talk! Book a synergy assessment today.
You deserve to become your most extraordinary self. Let’s get there together.