Hi there. This is my first post in 2020 and I thought to share these 6 steps to start off your day positively this year.
This is me also wishing you, my beloved readers a happy and prosperous New Year. You make this worthwhile.
Many times, we wake up exhausted.
We feel overwhelmed by what the day holds, or maybe we start out the day optimistic for what we’ll get done but find that by afternoon our plans have fallen apart and we can’t wait to get home and collapse on the couch.
I’m here to tell you there’s a better solution. Heck, a terrific solution. But you have to agree to do two things.
You have to agree to read this post from top to bottom (it is lengthy) and then put it into practice for at least 14 days to establish these new habits.
The second is to keep an open mind, whether you know what I’m going to tell you, or that you’ve heard it before.
Because if you think you know all the answers, you’re not going to go out and venture new things.
You’re not going to learn, and you’re not going to grow. If you had all the answers, you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.
One last thing before we go in: Success isn’t everything. Success can’t be everything if you don’t include personal development in your life strategy.
Success in your work, without personal growth, won’t lead to happiness.
Be Brave Enough To Change
Years ago, I went through a phase. I was unhappy and there was no logical reason for it. I wasn’t motivated to do anything. I just felt stuck.
What I discovered was that I had to rethink how I approached happiness, and I had to focus on personal development.
Somewhere along the way, that had become neglected, and I was reaping the consequences. I had to admit that I needed to change. And anyone else going through a similar situation must do the same.
Whether it’s making money, losing weight, becoming a better person — whatever your goal — it’s not enough to just wish that you could change your life. You have to be brave enough to actually do it.
Say this: For things to change, first I must change.
Your circumstances may feel beyond your control, but you can always control what’s going on inside your mind. And to do that, it’s going to take some work on yourself.
Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.”
So what’s that one thing you can change? That thing that would have the greatest positive impact on your life?
Keep that goal at the forefront of your mind as you begin to practice these six steps and establish the habits that will propel you toward that goal.
Keep this important bit in mind: The time of day you practice makes a difference. And the night owls aren’t going to like this, but that time is the morning.
Yes, even if you think you do your best work after the sun goes down. It’s so important that you start the day in a positive way.Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
By doing so, you’re programming your mind as to how to approach the rest of the day, and you’re creating a positive expectation for what comes after.
How you start the day changes the quality of the entire day.
Some people argue that how you start the morning is the biggest, most important thing you can do to change your life.
And if you do these steps first thing in the morning (or second thing, after that cup of coffee), then you’re also guaranteeing that you’ll actually do them.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll get around to doing these steps in the afternoon or evening.
Most people come home from work, turn on the TV and their day is done. So it’s much better to start it with a positive morning ritual.
If you aren’t a morning person (like I used to be), you’re going to have to change that.
It may be a challenge at first, but when you start seeing dividends from the morning ritual, you’re going to start sincerely embracing the early hours.
Now I’m not saying you have to spend an hour on each step every morning and wake up long before dawn.
Do you only have 15 minutes on a certain day to do all six steps? Then that’s as long as your morning ritual is going to take.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; every bit helps. So fit these steps into the time you have. This is about starting the day better, not necessarily earlier.
Now, let’s get into those steps. Many of the world’s most successful people swear by one or two of these six steps.
But an amazing thing will happen when you combine all of them — even if it’s for a short duration.
1. Clear Your Mind
We live in a world of noise. Sometimes it’s audible, and other times it’s the “noise” of constantly checking our phones and the news. You’ve got to give your mind times of calm and silence.
You’ve got to shut out the world for a little while and let your brain rest and recover.
Remember when I said you can’t say you already know all this? You’ve got to keep an open mind and give this a try. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, it’s time to try something new!
Calming your mind can lower your blood pressure, help you find focus and give you energy. It helps center you before the chaos of the rest of your day arrives.
But such a simple thing — being quiet — can be really hard for many people, myself included.
Because it feels like you’re not doing anything, but simply being. And many people don’t have the balance and mindset that allows them to naturally do this.
Set the timer for two minutes and see if you can do that. Can’t? Okay, do one minute. Complete one minute and move on to the next step.
Tomorrow, try for two minutes. Keep building until you can shut out the noise for five to 10 minutes in the morning.
2. Say it
The way affirmations have been taught over the years hasn’t helped. Too often, people use self-lies as affirmations, or statements that are too general — “I attract wealth,” or “I weigh 120 pounds.”
These simply aren’t true, and saying them to yourself doesn’t make them happen. Things don’t happen by magic simply by saying or wishing them so.
The best affirmations are those that incorporate specific actions. These affirmations program your mind to do things that will bring about the results you want.
We have to train our mind — both the conscious and the subconscious — to get into the habits that will achieve our goals.
Here’s an example: Instead of saying something like, “Money come to me now” — which only results in someone waiting for money to show up (which isn’t going to happen) — say an affirmation like, “I’m committed to earning this cash by doing that action every day by so so date.”
Now that’s an actionable plan.
And by repeating this to yourself, you’re creating the expectation in your mind that you’re actually going to take that action. Your brain is being reprogrammed positively.
Write the specific goal you want to achieve down – this works for me every time – and repeat them to yourself for five to 10 minutes each morning. As you do so, you will be lead naturally into the next step.
3. See it
Visualization runs into the same issues as affirmations. They’ve been taught as a magical, vague way to dream yourself to your goal.
Just as your affirmations need to be focused on specific steps, so do your visualizations.
You can’t simply visualize yourself sipping a margarita in Hawaii. Plan the steps that will get you there and visualize those.
Let’s say you want to get into shape. Don’t just visualize yourself sitting on the beach in your swimsuit.
Instead, visualize yourself packing your gym bag and making it to the gym that day with a positive attitude. Picture yourself using the machines at the gym and growing stronger.
If you’re imagining yourself preparing healthy food, don’t just vaguely see yourself at the market and then in the kitchen.
Visualize yourself selecting foodstuff — smelling it, feeling it — and buying it.
In the kitchen, see the cutting board and the pan you would use.
Specific visualizations like these prepare your mind to accomplish the steps that will lead to the goal you want. Just visualizing the goal won’t get you anywhere.
Spend a few minutes every morning visualizing the specific steps to your goal.
See yourself doing it in your mind, and it will be that much easier to accomplish in real life because you’ve already prepared your mind.
4. Move it
Up until now, we’ve focused on your mind. Now it’s time to get the blood flowing to the rest of your body.
Life really is a balance of health, wealth and happiness, and without keeping your health in the mix, the other areas of your life will suffer.Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash
There’s an immediate benefit to exercising in the morning: Getting the oxygen and blood flowing and releasing endorphins positively affects the quality of the rest of your day.
Now, if you like going to the gym after work, you can still do this.
The exercise in this step isn’t a replacement for a full-on workout. It’s five to 10 minutes of getting the body moving before you start the day.
Maybe you prefer to lift weights or run in the afternoon or evening. So use the morning session to do something like stretching, or a planking routine.
If you are a morning person who wants to do the full workout in the morning, that’s fine too.
The main thing to remember is that you need to move as part of your morning ritual.
5. Become a Bookworm
Reading is the next step. I’m not talking about trending news on Twitter or the latest historical romance by your favorite author.
This is about the kind of books that help you develop the skills, mindset and wisdom to improve different areas of your life.
This isn’t recreational reading, but empowerment for your mind. And it doesn’t matter what your goal is.
Just as the Internet is a great source for quick exercise routines for your morning ritual, the information age we’re living in means that no matter the area of your life you want to improve, odds are there are at least a dozen books that can teach you how to do so.
You know the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”? You could also say, “Negative in, negative out.” Whatever you’re feeding your mind will become what you send back into the world. You are what you read.
If you surround yourself with angry news, that’s how you’ll see life. But if you spend part of your morning feeding your brain positive knowledge and life skills, your general outlook will greatly improve.
Spend 10 minutes immersed in a book and then move on with the next step.
You’re not trying to change your life in one morning, but instead you are building the neural pathways to create the kind of habits that propel you towards your goals.
6. Write it Down
Find a book about an area you want to improve. It could be business-related, or relationships, or even a biography of someone whose life you’d like to emulate.
I for one enjoy Robert Kiyosaki’s books because he inspires me.
If you find yourself really struggling to get through a book, don’t discard this part or regard yourself a failure. Just find a different book.
Authors approach the same topic in different ways, so keep looking until you find the book that gives you that Eureka moment.
In addition, journaling your thoughts and intentions has a power — seeing something in ink makes it real.
As an example, writing down what you focused on in the affirmations and visualization exercises, propels you into action.
It helps you prioritize your actions and almost acts like a contract with yourself. It’s a way of cementing the thoughts you’ve had in the previous steps.
During your morning ritual, write what you want to accomplish and what you’re grateful for. Writing down what you’re grateful for also helps change your mindset.
There’s a lot of research that shows how focusing on what you’re grateful for actually trains your brain to start scanning for the positive.
If you do that every day, you’ll really start reprogramming your thoughts so that it starts happening without conscious effort.
Wrapping Things Up
There, you have it. I have not said anything ingenious. You’ve heard about these, but don’t let that stop you from listening.
The power within these steps is performing them in combination, every single day. Even if you can do each step for just a minute or two, do it. You’ll be reprogramming your brain.
Let’s review what these steps are again:
1. Clear your mind: Spend a few minutes meditating and being mindful of what is going on within your body. Tune out the world and yourself.
2. Say it: Create specific, action-based affirmations about the steps necessary to achieve your goal.
3. See it: Visualize those steps in vivid detail. Train your brain to accomplish them.
4. Move it: Get the oxygen and blood flowing; it not only helps energize your day, but those few minutes help you benefit your health.
5. Become a bookworm: Seek out books that can teach you knowledge and skills to accomplish your goals.
6. Write it down: Record specifics on what you’re grateful for, or use your journaling time to set your priorities for the day and create an action plan based on your affirmations and visualizations.
Not only will doing these help you improve your life, it will also help build the habits that will ginger you up when hard times hit — and they always hit.
Life is rarely perfect and easy, and building up a resiliency can make all the difference.
Start your morning off with these steps and get ready to achieve your goals. Try it for 14 days and see how your life changes.