Owning the beginning of your day and doing small things that are good for you—and bring you peace and happiness—will put you in the best mindset possible to have a successful, productive day. At least this approach works for me.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
I love mornings. It is my favorite time of day. Whether I am traveling for work or at home, I like to wake up around 4:30 a.m. because most people in my life are still sleeping so it is a quiet time when I can be alone with my thoughts without interruption. It seems to me that a day started off correctly cannot end badly no matter what happens later in the day.
At home I have a routine that brings me peace and happiness. It is simple. I’m certain many would find it silly but it works extremely well for me. It starts with coffee sitting with my dog Nephi (he participates in many aspects of the routine). I think he enjoys it as much as I do. After making the coffee I start some oatmeal (coffee, oatmeal with raw local honey and cinnamon, and a Granny Smith apple are significant aspects to the routine).
He who neglects the present moment throws away all he has.
Next I do the dishes and take out all the trash in the house (we have five children so sometimes that can be quite a bit). Nephi takes the trash out with me and does his own business. When we come back into the house he goes immediately to his food and water dishes because he knows that filling them both is the next step in the routine. He eats while I put liners in the trashcans. Nephi follows me around picking up the house for a few minutes then sits on the sofa and watches me do Yoga. Then he sits next to me for some mindfulness meditation, and during the part of my routine when I send a text to my wife, each child, and my parents to tell them I love them and am thinking of them. They’ve learned to keep their phone on “do not disturb.”
In the attitude of silence the soul finds a path to clearer light. What is elusive and deceptive becomes crystal clear.
When meditation is over my wife and kids are coming downstairs to start their day and we like to visit about any specific plans. After talking with them I’ll spend an hour running, biking, or lifting—usually with my wife. When we get back we make smoothies with a scoop of protein powder, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, kale, parsley, Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, and dandelion greens (that’s 8 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, already taken care of with one smoothie). Finally a shower and off to work!
The entire routine takes about two hours. I figure many people wake at 6:30 a.m. and miss out on the richest part of the day. I go to sleep earlier than most, but honestly in the evenings I’m usually tired and would have spent those two hours in front of some kind of screen (TV, computer, phone, tablet). I never feel like I missed out on much by going to bed early.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Traveling for work I often don’t have the luxury to follow the entire routine, but I do my best to include as many aspects as I can. Even a reduced version is wonderful and enough to invigorate my day.
With so many small successes in the morning, how can the day be bad? Customers can be upset, plans can go awry, but the day was successful before the rat race began!
We are all different. What works for me would not work for everyone I’m certain. And life changes and our needs change. This routine has evolved over many years and will surely continue to change. But a simple routine like this can include all of what I call the four pillars of health and happiness: Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, and Socialization. And all before your real day with all the stresses of work and obligation even begin.
I am so grateful for my morning routine!