A few weeks ago, I wrote about the incredible freedom of having a routine. In it, I explored how most creatives actually thrive when they have a routine to tame the chaos of life, and unleash their productivity.
The path to success lies in putting the right things on autopilot. In other words, to create and sustain the level of success you want, you have to create the right habits. Success can be summarised in a very simple flow.
- Decide what you want to achieve.
- Figure out what you need to do consistently to achieve it.
- Make that thing into a habit or routine.
Of course, just because it is simple, doesn’t mean it is easy.
One of the most highly leveraged thingsyou can do to change your life is to adopt a winning morning routine. If we win the morning, we will win the day. If we lose the morning, we are left scrambling to catch up.
I am a self professed night owl and frequently start the day late, but there is something magical about the morning, or at least about your first few waking hours (whenever that is). You are at your clearest, your freshest, and your most susceptible. Provided that you actually did get a good night sleep.
And that gives us our first clue to an effective morning routine.
A successful morning starts the night before.
Effective sleep and rest is important to winning the morning and winning the day.
In his book ‘The Miracle Morning‘, Hal Elrod breaks down his life story, recovering from a near fatal accident in his 20s and surviving the 2008 economic meltdown that wiped out his livelihood. He attributed his miraculous recoveries to one thing – focusing his attention on his personal development and making the commitment to investing in himself every day.
And when was the best time of the day to do so? In the evenings, we are usually too tired. In the afternoon, we are right in the thick of the day’s demands. That leaves with the morning, that magical time.
There are 6 things Hal recommends that you do every day to invest in yourself, centre yourself and put you in the best possible position to win the day.
Start off the day with mindfulness and silence. Like I said earlier, your waking brain is very susceptible. Reaching for your phone first thingand getting sucked down a black hole of distraction and anxiety is a big no-no. The world can wait. This is time for you.
There are many ways to meditate and various teachings and great books on the topic. But they all boil down to essential elements. Sit still. Focus on your breath. Clear your mind. When you realise your mind has wandered, bring it back to your breath. Do that for 10 minutes and you will see your heart rate drop, your breathing deepen and a deep sense of calm come over you.
It is important to quiet the mind and centre yourself before you rush off into the business of the day ahead. I use meditation to resolve emotions and anxiety, to clear my mind, to get in touch with my highest intentions and desires and as a way to connect to the boundless it that holds the universe together.
This is also a fantastic time to pray.
Affirmations are something I do not do enough of yet. But they are a powerful reminder of the unlimited potential that is within you. Speaking and saying things out loud have a way of activating the spirit within and bringing things into fruition.
They allow you to design and build the mindsets you need to take any area of your life to the next level. If you don’t consciously design and choose your affirmations, you will most likely just keep on repeating and reliving the fears, insecurities and limitations of your past.
And that is an interesting thing. Because we all have a base level of feelings, anxieties and expectations that we carry around with us. Meditations, affirmations and visualisations allow us to be aware of these default feelings and begin to change them to the ones that empower us and deliver us to new levels.
For maximum effectiveness, your affirmations must clearly articulate exactly what you want, they must also connect to your compelling why, describe who you are committed to being in order to create it, as well as what you are committed to doing to attain it. In fact, you can go ahead and make your goal statements your affirmations.
So, what you want, why you want it, who you must be and what you must do to get it.
Speak out your affirmations with emotion and feeling. They will go to work in your subconscious, rewiring your expectations, beliefs
We are often so great at visualising the worst possible scenarios. We can imagine all the ways things can go bad and not work. We have experienced failure too many times to embrace the possibility of happy outcomes.
Visualisation is a great way to break past these previous programming and open your future up. Vision is essential, and is a muscle and skill that can be developed.
Athletes are notorious for doing this, creating clear mental images and mentally rehearsing their activities before they do them. Try it out for yourself. Imagine exactly what you want to achieve or attain during the day, and then mentally rehearse doing what you need to do to attain it.
Constantly work at imagining a powerful compelling future that pulls you forward harder and faster than your past, insecurities and experiences.
Visualising what you want creates it. Combine this with your affirmations and mentally see yourself living in alignment with your affirmations, being who you need to do and doing what you need to do.
If you are to move beyond your past and transcend your limitations, you must stop living out of your rear-view mirror and start imagining a life of limitless possibilities. – Hal (The Miracle Morning)
I’ve written about the power of this habit. Journaling regularly allows you to document your insights, ideas breakthroughs, realisations, successes and lessons learned, as well as any areas of opportunity, personal growth or improvement.
They help us mark time, they help us create the future, and they help us create ourselves.
As I said before:
The act of writing somehow, encodes the desire deep into your being, and releases the intention to the universe, so that subconsciously and super consciously, you are working towards your goal.
The habit of journaling helps to crystallise our thoughts, and express our true feelings. It helps us realise what we want, allowing us to clear the fog of confusion, and showing us paths and solutions to take.
Journaling provide the records you can use to supercharge your growth by revisiting lessons learned and making new commitments to implementing them.
All you have to do is write, and there are many ways to do this. You can write in a free flow form like Julia’s Morning Pages, or you can journal with specific prompts like ‘What are you grateful for today’ ‘What would you like to achieve today’, etc. This is one habit that could really change your life.
We consume an incredible amount of information on a daily basis. From messages, to notifications, emails, and feeds, we are endlessly barraged. It can feel overwhelming and crowd out of the most important sources of information and wisdom – books.
For every problem under the sun, someone, somewhere at some point in human history has written about it. You do not have to flail around struggling without success, you can simply learn from the experience of others. That is what books are for. They open up our minds to new worlds. They give us empathy for the experiences of others. They teach us things, about the world and about ourselves. They hold the keys to vastly improving our health, our relationships, our finances, and anything we want really.
But most people avoid them. Don’t be that way. It can be as simple as just reading a few pages every day. A pro tip from Hal is to read 10 pages each morning and record a few ideas you want to implement that day. That way you put what you have learned to practice and extract maximum value from it.
Sleep helps your body rest and recover. Exercise activates it. Putting your body under physical strain allows it to reach its potential. It gets stronger, it improves blood flow, especially to the brain and gives you a body strong enough to handle the demands you put on it on a day to day basis.
Even a simple stretch, brisk walk, short yoga session, couple of pushups. Whatever you can manage is a good first step to activating your body in the morning, clearing your mind and giving you that bolt of energy to get the day cracking.
If you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness. Robin Sharma
So, there you have it. Doing these 6 things every morning allows you to invest in yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Centring and aligning yourself for maximum effectiveness and living intentionally towards your goals and purpose.
You are a unique being, feel free to tailor these to your personal preferences. But as long as you are able to enjoy some silence, visualise and affirm what you want, record and learn new things, on a daily basis, you will soon become unstoppable.