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One Simple Tip to Help You Start Your Day in a Better Way


Image by ePi.Longo (license).

One big problem for people is that they are inconsistent. Some day go really well.  Some days don’t.

So how can you increase the number of positive and effective days? Maybe the best way I have found so far is to make sure you have good and consistent start to your day.

I do this by using a morning ritual.

Why is it helpful to start your day with a specific morning ritual?

Basically, what you do early in the day often sets the context for your day. As humans we have a strong tendency to want to be consistent with what we have done before. That’s one big reason why a bad start often leads to a bad day and a good start often leads to a good day.

My morning ritual

  • Get up, drink a glass of water. You get dehydrated when you are asleep.
  • Pull the blinds from my windows and open a window to let in the sun and more fresh air.
  • Eat breakfast and drink a cup of green tea.
  • Brush my teeth and tongue.
  • Make my bed.
  • Declutter for a few minutes. I wash any remaining dishes from yesterday. I put anything that is out place back into it’s right place. I clean up my workspace so it’s clean and organized.

Basically, I center myself and get into an organized and productive mindset by doing these simple things to order and clean up my environment. It is also a good way to warm up for your day, get out of a procrastinating mindset and it makes it easier to consistently take the next step where I start doing the most important thing right now.

I have also started to use a Paraliminal each day over the last week or so after doing my morning ritual. This helps me to for example strengthen my motivation, to cut down on self-talk significantly for many hours and generally keeps me more focused and effective during the day.

My ritual is very simple but it really improves my consistency on a day to day basis. It lets me slip into the right mindset at the start of each day. I highly recommend coming up with own ritual and using it every morning for 30 days.

My ritual is still under construction and I’m optimizing it.

So I’m curious: are you using a morning ritual and how is your ritual set up?

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  • Grampa Ken: 7 Decades c/w potholes May 31, 2009, 4:16 pm

    That’s a nice routine Henrik. Start the day in an organized manner and have an organized day.

    Beginning the day with some good thoughts helps too.
    Today is only here for today and so I will enjoy it.
    Worry is only a worry if I worry about it and I won’t.
    I accept myself as I am and others as they are.
    Life is healthier as I eat well and exercise regularly.
    Frequent stops and peaceful thoughts are soothing.
    I will try to give not tak,e and share not hoard.
    In all I really have so very much to be thankful for.

  • Natty Koo June 1, 2009, 9:10 am

    I’ve never actually thought about this! Thanks for bringing this topic up. I just made a routine after reading this post. I think it might be a little too cumbersome & long.

    1. wash up
    2. stretch
    3. breakfast (quick because I rather with my parents or in residence)
    4. crunches
    5. tidy up
    6. copy some chinese

  • Hanan June 2, 2009, 6:00 am

    My morning ritual starts at 4:45
    1- Pray .
    2- Make my bed .
    3- Make breakfast for my family .
    4- Read the holy book for at least 10 minutes .
    5- Exercise for 30 minutes .

    Thank you for this great post ^_^

  • John Sherry June 2, 2009, 7:40 pm

    Take your point Henrik but have one addition to add if I may. Some people crave variety over same old same old. Their minds seeks the fresh and different over the tried and tested so they need a new spark all the time. A ritual might be tougher for these types. Agree unequivocally though that you have to start the day the right way; right for you and right for positive momentun for what life brings ahead. Bravo; great insight

  • Daiyaan June 3, 2009, 9:15 pm

    I would say that exercise is one of the most important things you can do in the morning. Not only does it energize you for the day, it is scientifically proven to balance your emotions (if you do intense cardio that raises the heart rate)
    Here’s my morning ritual:
    1) Wake up, drink 500ml water before doing anything else
    2) Bathroom, brush teeth, neti pot
    3) Protein shake (i have to do this to balance my blood sugar levels :)
    4) 15 minutes interval training on the cycling machine
    5) 10 minutes stretching
    6) 5 minutes meditation
    7) Shower
    8) Well balanced meal

    Note: DO NOT TOUCH THE COMPUTER TO CHECK EMAILS DURING YOUR MORNING RITUAL (it ruins it :D)

    Keep up the great posts :D

  • Myles Saulibio June 5, 2009, 8:54 pm

    Dear Henrick,
    Wonderful web site you have here…I agree, a morning ritual starts off the day in the right way. I have been doing a similar ritual for several years, no matter where I am (with some changes depending on the situation.) whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, home in Florida, or now near Dubai, I carry my morning ritual written on a list, prioritized, and checked off when completed. I use an acronomy: , which PPSRF stands for Prayer, Planning, Solitude, Reading, Family…not easy but a simple list and 6 to 10 weeks later becomes a positive habit. If find checking each task off sends a rush of adrenalin, having accomplished what I need to do. Now…do you think there should be a night ritual to close the “loop” of positivity?
    Keep up the good work.

    Aloha and Mahalo,
    Myles

  • FitJerk - Flawless Fitness Blog June 7, 2009, 3:07 am

    Wow, your morning ritual is pretty damn close to mine. Green tea for the win!

    One crucial difference… I have a quote written on my white board that faces my bed. I involuntairly see it when I get up stretch. It reads… “Do I Want To Live A Lame Life?”

    The impact this has had has been nothing short of “mind-blasting!”

    Good article, you have quality stuff here. Cheers.

  • Rachel Lavern June 7, 2009, 8:37 pm

    Fortunately, I learned the value of a morning routine quite a while ago. I have varied it a little bit over time; however, this is it for now:

    1) Arise
    2) Express gratitude
    3) Review intentions for the day (at least one must be movement towards a goal)
    4) Say affirmations out loud
    5) Review vision board
    6) Devotions
    7) Meditation
    8) Exercise

  • Kaizan June 9, 2009, 10:51 am

    Hi Henrik,

    I totally agree that a morning ritual is the way that you stay consistent.

    The 6 Habits that we came up with (http://www.kaizan.co.uk/blog/2009/05/14/6-habits-to-start-the-day-with/) were:

    1. Meditation/ Solitude
    2. Exercise / Yoga
    3. Review Previous Successes
    4. Eat breakfast
    5. Be grateful for what you have
    6. Plan your day and review your goals

    I like your idea of decluttering as part of the ritual.

  • Ken June 9, 2009, 7:25 pm

    Great points, the way we start our day is so important and it does set the tone for your day.
    P.S. Great blog, my first time here.

  • Thanks for the good article. I always add a first work session before breakfast. During this session I go through the e-mails that came overnight and plan my day. I often also get one or two tasks from my desk.

    This gives me the good feeling of a productive start into the day and I look forward to achieve even more.

  • sonal tandon June 14, 2009, 8:03 pm

    Hey,
    Amazing Article.

  • Chris June 16, 2009, 8:45 pm

    This is true . . . the time I was happiest in my life i had a morning ritual. I’ll bring it back, I didn’t realize that was the difference maker :)

    Immediately after waking, do deep breathing/meditation for 15-20 minutes with an emphasis on waking up, followed by about 15min of basic yoga. Then I eat a breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt, or fried eggs on toast. Then I would dive into my most important work first. Feel awesome for the rest of the day :D

    Thanks Henrik!

  • Alan S June 17, 2009, 10:37 am

    Hi

    My daily ritual;

    Rise and drink glass of water
    Sit quietly and meditate for 15 minutes deep breathing
    Gratitude and thanks
    Say afirmations aloud
    15 minutes of visualisation
    Go to park or gym for excercice (alternating ipod listening from great podcasts such as Tony Robbins to music to pump me up)
    Home, shower, dress and go get the day!

  • Mel Lake October 7, 2009, 11:52 pm

    I have a similar sort of morning ritual. I get up in the morning (5:15 am) and the first thing I try to do is smile for 60 minutes. Then after that I put music to play that gets me in the right mood. After that I get dressed and wake up my college mate and do ”tabata sprints” or jogging. After that I take a walk through the park. When I get home I relax with some nice music and a cup of coffee/hot chocolate. This usually last like 30 minutes. I take a shower and then get dressed. After that I prepare my schedule for the day.

  • Nadabi April 12, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the post! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I’m always excited when I see a new post from here in my RSS reader. I’ve recently adopted a morning routine and feeling great about it! It looks like this:
    (0. Set up Morning Peeps for Songbird the night before – usually half an hour before I want to get up.)
    1. Sit up in bed as soon as the alarm goes off (usually 7am), made easier as I’ve already been gently nudged to consciousness by my morning playlist. Drink some water from a bottle I keep on my night table.
    2. Loo, brush teeth, tell myself I OWN the day and that it’s a good one.
    3. Get in my exercise gear and go out for a run (I find early morning best, as I know I’ll just procrastinate and come up with excuses not to go if I leave it till later), followed by some strength training when I get home. Grab a shower, moisturise, get dressed. All of this usually takes up approximately an hour.
    4. Breakfast (finally!) Usually porridge, (black) tea, and a fruit of some description (at the moment on an orange kick, mmm…)
    5. While breakfasting I check my email and Facebook, log my run and breakfast online (as I’m trying to lose some weight) and complete the day’s activities for a self-help programme I’m doing online. I aim to be done in an hour (that is, by 9am) but more often than not I end up faffing about for longer.
    6. Take dishes to the kitchen, make bed, tidy desk and room.

    And then? Well, here is the rub. I’m a student and I have very few contact hours in a week, so most days I have stuff to read/write/understand at home. I’m thinking of incorporating this thing of planning my day into my routine, maybe if I create a list of small, concrete steps with deadlines it will be easier to get to work.

    All in all, thank you for a great post (and great comments!)