I recently read a really great (and really short!!) book called What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam. I know I’m not the only one who feels completely frazzled if the day starts off less than perfect or vice versa, that you feel motivated and inspired when accomplish something right off the bat.
Here were a few takeaways I took from the book, but feel free to get more of my thoughts here.
The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation. The payoff isn’t as immediate as the easy pleasure of watching television or answering an email that doesn’t require an immediate response, but there are still payoffs. The best morning rituals are activities that, when practiced regularly, result in long-term benefits.
1. Track Your Time – Part of spending your time better is knowing exactly how you’re spending it now. While you may be thinking specifically about your mornings, try tracking a whole week (168 hours). The reason to do this is that the solution to morning dilemmas often lies at other times of the day. You may be too tired in the mornings because you’re staying up late. But if you look at how you’re spending your nights, you’ll notice that you’re not doing anything urgent or particularly enjoyable.
2. Picture the Perfect Morning – After you know how you’re spending your time, ask yourself what a great morning would look like for you.
3. Think Through the Logistics – How could this vision mesh with the life you have? How long will your ritual take? Don’t assume you have to add it on top of the hours you already spend getting ready or that you’ll have to get in to work earlier. The good thing about filling the morning hours with important activities is that you’ll crowd out things that are more time intensive than they need to be. Give yourself fifteen minutes for a shower and you’ll take fifteen minutes; give yourself five and you’ll be out in five.
4. Build the Habit – This is the most important step. Turning a desire into a ritual requires a lot of initial willpower, and not just for the first few days.
5. Tune Up as Necessary – Life changes. Rituals can change, too. My morning ritual of running with the sunrise disappeared with summer as I finally became too pregnant to do so comfortably.
What do you want your morning ritual to look like? I created a template to list your top 5 things to make sure get a fresh start each day. Mine is a bit modified because this isn’t all done before breakfast, but it is my goal of what to do before I touch emails, Facebook or instagram. Download a PDF version to print your own out here!
This post is a part of the FRESH START series. A three-week series to get you ready for 2014. Each week will have a different theme, mind, home and body.