The Ordinary Morning
Setting Goals and releasing them to the world has grown trendy over the past few years. Planners, journals, and Goal-Setting Resources have begun to proliferate the web. Just search for the phrase “Accomplish Your Goals!” and you’ll be flooded with targeted ads for Life-hack gurus and Self-help aficionados who claim to solve all of your problems and make your dreams come true. Although there is significant merit to this type of inspiration, without action it is simply nothing more than distraction.
As the Ambitious Vagabond I am well aware that discussing a topic like this can seem cliché, only adding to the noise of the one-note choir. At the risk of reinforcing stereotypes I’d like to take a moment and share with you my method for success. All measurable improvement, whether creative, spiritual, physical, financial, or relational, starts with a step toward consistent daily habits.
Every successful day begins with a productive Morning Ritual.
A Morning Ritual is the match and kindling to set your day ablaze with potent productivity.
The following is an outline of my morning and the resulting effects from each action:
5:30 WAKE UP: Before I step out of bed I spend 5 minutes in Breathing Exercises. I breathe deep in rapid succession before releasing and holding for a period of time. This wakens my mind and mentally prepares me for the next stage of my morning practice.
MAKE THE BED: It sets my hands in motion and gives me the first WIN of the day.
STEEP THE TEA: I rarely drink coffee but find a that a cup of herbal tea does the trick in hydrating the body after an 8-hour rest, triggering the senses with taste and smell.
SPIRITUAL WORKOUT: One Hour of Prayer, Meditation, Journaling, and Scripture reading. My faith is the most important part of my life; everything else flows from the relationship with my creator. A consistent hour in the morning places my spirit in proper position and in right relationship with the Essential. It’s a reminder of God’s centrality in life and an opportunity to listen and learn for the day ahead.
PHYSICAL WORKOUT: Every day is different but I exercise at least 5 days a week. As a distance runner most of my workouts are spent running but I regularly compliment this with swimming, climbing, and strength training.
Cold Shower: After a vigorous workout there’s nothing more satisfying than a shower. Before getting out and grabbing the towel, I switch off the hot water valve and take a minute for the cold water to flow over my body. Although this can be an arduous minute out of my day it is also one of the most valuable. I find the immediate effect both refreshing and energizing, especially after strenuous exercise. My lungs open up as I breath deeper and my heart-rate increases to make rapid cardiovascular adjustments. Cold showers have been shown to improve the immune system, promote skin health, and accelerate muscular recovery. I’m not a doctor but, hey, it seems to work for me.
Eat Breakfast of 20-30g of Protein: For the past 2 years I have practiced periodic intermittent fasting, so this one isn’t as consistent in my daily routine. For the 4 or 5 days of the week that I do eat breakfast I make sure to take in an average of 25g of protein from a variety of sources; eggs, nuts (whole, butters, & milks), seeds, and greens. An ample amount of protein balanced with a portion of heart-healthy fats helps provide sustained energy for a long day while still giving the body resources for recovery.
Maintaining and progressively attacking your goals requires routine discipline. One of the best ways to promote discipline is to simply make it a habit.
Customize your morning in a way that sets you up to succeed.