Your reward quickly turns on its head, and typically goes like this instead.
- A friend posted photos of their holiday – you wish you were there.
- You read about world destruction and animal cruelty – now you’re angry and upset.
- A good friend has messaged you to relieve themselves of their previous days’ worries – you’re already emotionally drained.
You look at the clock and CRAP! You're running late.
The day is now well underway. The distraction has left you scrambling for time and running late for work. Focus = gone. Stress = high. Productivity = Nil.
The morning is a gift for us all. It’s a time to rise, face the day, and be thankful that we’ve been given the opportunity to share our cause with the world. It’s also the time when we need to prepare ourselves for daily success.
Why then, do so many mornings start out in a fluster?
My mornings were once similar, and it made me angry. In fact, I was so disturbed at the lack of purpose and productivity behind every one of my days that I decided to do something about it. I wanted to make a change so that my thoughts are as positive and motivating as possible, my distractions limited, and make sure I focus on what’s really important to propel my effectiveness forward.
Like me, I know you’re here because you want more time in your day, and realise that the key to unlocking effectiveness and doubling your effective time starts with what you do when your eyelids head north.
I’m here to tell you it’s possible. I’m doing it right now. No, there’s no time machine. It’s a special formula that I have researched, revised, and practiced myself. But here’s the deal:
"Action is the foundational key to all success." ~ Pablo Picasso
Say goodbye to hitting the snooze button, from this point forward, it’s all about taking action and sticking to a morning routine that has one focus - getting your day started the right way.
Follow these 8 steps, and watch the minute hand slow as you become a master of each and every day.
1. Mindful Awakening
Instead of bolting upright and charging into your day, take stock and breathe, becoming slowly mindful of your consciousness, your state, your position in bed, whom you are with, and how good it feels to lie in silence.
I find this simple act allows me to appreciate the morning for what it really is - a gift. Each day I awaken is another day I have the ability to serve the world with my unique gift. Make your awakening from sleep an awakening of your senses, and an appreciation of what you can achieve next.
Practice for as long as you need. I do this for 3-5 minutes before rising.
NOTE: If you are prone to falling asleep after an alarm sounds, it may be a good idea to use the ‘snooze’ function to be sure you don’t accidentally sleep in!
The body consists of almost 80% water, and during your sleep phase is when you become depleted. Sleep is the time your organs choose to repair, re-energize, and refuel your body, filling your water stores with toxins and waste.
To flush these toxins away and rehydrate, it’s important to consume adequate clean, filtered water BEFORE you ingest any further material. I aim to consume at least a litre of water within 30 minutes of rising, which frequently turns into 1.5 litres.
To replace my electrolytes and jump-start my body, I also consume a large glass of green drink. With many superfoods, alkaline-rich plants, and packed full of vitamins and minerals, this green drink not only aids in my hydration, but is the icing on the cake of my daily nutritional intake.
Incorporating this habit also aids in reducing your hunger level, and subsequently the amount of food you consume in the morning – a great tip for those looking to lose weight.
I recommend the following products (all of which I have tried and loved) to help you get the best results:
There are many ways to meditate, but I choose to follow a method similar to that outlined in the excellent book, The 8-minute meditation by Victor Davich, where I sit still for a period of 8 minutes or more, controlled using a stopwatch feature on my smartphone. However you choose to do it, you’ll find it’s a real game-changer for controlling stress and taking back ownership of your day.
For further information, you can read more about my daily meditation practice here.
4. Journal Writing
For those wanting a starting guide, I use a structured journal writing session which I complete immediately after meditating, while my mind is fresh and clear. I answer a specific set of questions each day which I find useful to track my thoughts (I can compare my answers), and to keep the session short and focused.
Below is the structure for my morning journal writing which I have used with great success. It’s separated into two sections, one which I complete in the morning, and one just before I go to bed in the evening.
- Three things I am grateful for:
- Three things that would make today great:
- Daily affirmations - I am:
- 3 things to accomplish today
- Three amazing things that happened today:
- How could I have made today better? What can I do different tomorrow?
- Plan for tomorrow.
I’ve tried writing a journal by hand on paper, however I prefer to keep all my ideas, thoughts, and even my journal, electronically on Evernote so I can access it at any time.
If you're the paper type, then I highly recommend the Five Minute Journal.
With focusing however, I deliberately walk myself through the actions and needs of the day which I have just made clear in my journal writing. It’s about trying to prioritize my day and lay out activities in chunks, not stick to a regime or calendar schedule. I’m focused on things like key business outcomes for the day and how I might achieve them, setting mental goals for my workouts, or planning how I am going to use my down time to get the most out of it.
I’m planning my day ahead of me, and setting myself up for success.
To ensure I don’t get carried away, I set my timer for anywhere from 3-5 minutes, depending how I feel before I begin. When the alarm goes off, I walk away and greet the day knowing what I need to do.
Ensure that hit of fresh air reaches your brain by moving your body every morning, releasing endorphins and elevating your self esteem. Sometimes I run, sometimes I yoga, but no matter what, I always perform a Sun Salutation sequence, combined with deep breathing throughout. It’s gentle, quick, and when using correct breathing technique, supercharges your brain with clutter-clearing oxygen.
What you choose to have for breakfast in the morning is a personal preference. Sometimes what works for me, won’t work for you, however there are some fundamentals I follow each and every day:
- A mostly plant-based breakfast with natural, unrefined fats and protein (avocado, eggs, spinach, beans, mixed vegetables, sweet potato, wholesome oils and seeds)
- No sugars (including fruit) or processed grains
- A cup of warm lemon and ginger water to aid in digestion, and boost my immune system.
What you eat is something that you’ll need to play around with. I’ve experimented with different diets over the years and have found the above works best for me.
8. Do creative tasks first
- Checking email
- Tweeting updates and social media surfing
- Ordering food online for your cat.
These are brain killer tasks.
Although they have the power to make you feel like you’re being productive, the reality is that when you’re wasting precious brain energy on (mostly) meaningless information, you're jeapordising your daily momentum.
I have my phone on airplane mode every night, and choose not to turn it on until after I complete my morning routine. When I open my computer to start work for the day, I get straight to the important tasks I outlined in my journal, leaving all else for my ‘mentally drained’ afternoon session.
Not only is it much more productive to work this way in the morning, it sets you up to win - giving you positive energy and momentum by completing tasks that you deem important.
Kickstart your day into gear… Every day
Don’t wait any longer. It’s time for you to take full control of your destiny, and here’s how you’re going to get there:
1. Commit to the morning routine for the next 30 days (the average time taken to master a new habit)
2. Leave a comment and tell me why you’re committed to kickstarting your day for the next 30 days. It'll act as a form of accountability to make sure you stay on track.
3. Download the KAC Morning Routine Cheat Sheet to help you build a morning routine habit that lasts.
I challenge you to share why you’re committed to a new start to your day. What will it enable you to achieve?
Leave a comment below and let’s inspire each other to wake up and kickstart each and every day.