Creating a Morning Ritual

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” 

-John C. Maxwell, bestselling author, coach and speaker

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Last week’s article highlighted the many health benefits of having a morning exercise routine: like jumpstarting metabolism, burning more fat and boosting physical and mental energy.

Spring represents new growth. Just as freshly planted Spring seeds require care and attention to establish healthy roots, the same is true when you want to experience growth in specific areas in your life. Healthy roots are the foundation for growth- both in your garden and for personal development. Just like a well-maintained garden, care and attention is required to experience growth in your relationships, health, career and spiritual life.

This week, lets discuss tips on how to establish a well-rounded morning ritual that will be the springboard for new life…or new habits

Add meaning. There is no “perfect” morning routine. What may work for one person may not work for another. There is, however, research to back up the physical and mental health benefits of certain morning rituals like journaling, meditation, visualization exercises, physical exercise, having a yoga practice, goal-setting, praying, creating affirmations and stretching, just to name a few.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost mood is backed by science. Research by Robert Emmons, psychologist and author of “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” explains that simply keeping a gratitude journal (writing down things/people you are grateful for) can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

Habit Stacking. I love this concept! Instead of trying to add a lot of new habits at once, identify a habit you already have (like brushing your teeth) and then attach one new thing to that habit. For example: do ten squats before you brush your teeth, have a glass of water while you read the newspaper, take your vitamins when you eat breakfast, say three gratitudes in your head when you let your dog out. Pretty soon you will have a NEW habit attached to your old habit.

Repetition is key.  If you miss a morning, no sweat! Try again tomorrow. At first it may seem overwhelming to add MORE things to your already busy morning. But you will be pleasantly surprised to find yourself LESS stressed and feel LESS rushed in the morning after you create and sustain a meaningful morning ritual. How can you help your children establish a morning routine? No matter how hectic our morning was, my mom would always say prayers with us on our way to school. She gave each child an opportunity to say any special intentions for the day or prayers for friends, family members, etc. As I look back, I realize how grounding that simple prayer was and hope to continue the tradition with my children.

Make it special. Adding a little something extra special in the morning can set a positive tone for the rest of the day. For example, I just splurged on an awesome facial serum to go under my everyday lotion and I really love putting it on every morning as a part of my self-care routine. Other ideas: Buy a daily inspirational book (I highly recommend “The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have” by Mark Nepo), get a new yoga mat for morning exercise, every once in a while splurge on gourmet coffee grounds or tea, buy a new pen or new notebook reserved for journaling in the mornings (www.fiveminutejournal.com), begin the day with a new perfume or cologne, serve breakfast on your favorite China… get creative!

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