5 Simple Morning Habits for Success
What Is Your Daily Success Plan?
I have one, but want to approach this with an honest voice, detailing a dread that creeps in most mornings, followed by how I fight it, move past it, and put it behind me.
To start, here’s a peek into my a.m. head space…
Immediately upon waking up this morning — as my stress-addled brain booted up for the day — I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. THIS, before I had finished my first cup of coffee.
The stress-addled part translates to my mind launching — first thing in the dark hours of the morning — into a dread-filled bender.
How to describe this flash of emotion?
It’s like someone ziplocked me in a space suit and told me in no uncertain terms, “you’re going to be expelled into the void in 10 seconds, ready? 10… 9… 8…”
A flash of dread, followed by panic, with a bolt of emotion. My head swimming in a sea of negativity.
The world we inhabit. People. Tasks. Bills. Need I go on?
Those rare, beautiful moments of contentment, elation, reward — seem beyond the realm of possibility.
Just the thought of the struggle immediately drains your energy. To get “there” you must cross a minefield. (A daunting task to envision while drinking your morning cup.)
And if we do summon up a bit of courage we’re soon overwhelmed, by indecision, worry, people. Life.
Those rare, beautiful moments mentioned above seem like a distant mirage.
Was your morning today like mine?
The dread of the day staring back at you with menacing eyes?
Okay, now you’re probably saying, gee thanks, Craig, sounds like the polar opposite of a daily success plan.
I know. Makes you want to jump right out of bed, eh?
Well, I’m just being honest about a recurring morning theme, and realize I’m not alone.
But are we destined to start each day like this?
The Honest Truth…
I have a wife and kids I love, a successful business, and the happy bits do come, but here’s the deep, dark, ugly secret…
Morning dread is an ever-present force my life. But getting past it motivates me.
The Daily Climb
I was recently listening to podcast and the host simply stated that “life is a mountain.”
Life is a Mountain, and a daily morning ritual is the only way I can take that first step.
People who say “life is easy” inhabit a distant planet you or I will never set foot on. Life is never easy, but each day you do have a choice…
1. Approach it with zeal, or…
2. Succumb to the enormity of it all.
Note: Life can cripple you but the majority of time it’s our head that gets us. I’m prone to solitude, manic states, and worry, especially first thing in the a.m. I must pause, reflect, then recalibrate to face the day. Some days are golden, but most often my morning ritual is the only way I can start.
Is your lizard brain greeting you every morning by whispering vile nothings in your ear?
Do you find it difficult to get out of bed? Move?
How can you fight this?
My way is simple — a consistent routine I use to start my day.
My Daily Success Plan:
This is not about being lost in pleasant thoughts, wasting the day in a lotus position, or repeating mantras of self love. Here goes…
1. Yoga. As soon as I get up, yoga is the first thing I do for 20–30 minutes, daily.
Yes, I’ve fully embraced the manliest of all exercises ;)
In fact, I practice something I call, “Average Joe Yoga.” I don’t want to spend money or time on a yoga class. So instead, I do my own routine, performing bendy, stretchy poses for 20+ minutes.
If you want to learn basic yoga, realize Google is your friend. Search, study the basic poses, and get started. My lower-back thanks me daily. (Note: if you’re a 40- or 50-something guy and complain about back pain etc., Yoga is your friend. (Don’t fear it ;))
Yoga Journal is a good start.
Check out Claudia Altucher’s take on it.
I’ve gone back and forth with this, but every time I stop my meditation practice, my days go off the rails. When I get back to daily meditation, I stay focused for at least the first half of the day (my most productive time).
I won’t blather on about this, but I will say the practice of daily meditation has saved me.
This is my favorite guided meditation (but there are a zillion on itunes).
Every a.m. I do a combination of push-ups, crunches, stretching and more. And you don’t need equipment to do this. In fact, when my family moved to an apartment I had to ditch my treadmill and weight machine… for walking, yoga and resistance training using my own body weight. And since I gave away the equipment I’ve never looked back.
Ever heard of hindu squats? Me neither until a few years ago. My office neighbor caught me doing this in the wee hours of the morning and thought it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen (I have to agree).
For years I was a man of lists, regimens and schedules. I also thought you needed heavy equipment to work out. Nope.
For tips and trick on this, visit this site.
4. I Walk, everywhere.
After driving to work, I park several blocks from my office and always use the steps to my fifth floor office. There’s a health club by by office I walk by every day
On weekends my wife and I go to the city, a town, a trail … and walk. We walk in our neighborhood, up and down our apartment steps, and on trails in and around Seattle. During summer I easily walk 3–5 miles a day, all while working an average of 10 hours a day.
Walking is the easiest exercise in the world. It’s meditative, restorative and so easy to weave into your day. (I do this every morning).
5. Find your sacred space. Then do your most important tasks
And by sacred space, I don’t mean physical space. This is about a head-space.
The silence of morning is sacrosanct to me (and it doesn’t stop with steps 1–4). The morning is where I find my flow and work on the tasks that require big thinking and creative effort.
From emails to site maintenance, distractions are unrelenting. Even worse? if you’re working in an office, the distractions arrive in the form of humans around 9:00 a.m. If so, arrive at 5:00 or 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. and train yourself to get busy. After steps 1–4, I focus on my most important work, which is most often between 7:00–10:00 a.m.
This is the power of habit, and how I fight that killer negativity.
My ritual bends fear to positivity. So what say you? Ready to change up your days?