Last December, I was listening to Dave Asprey interview UJ Ramdas on the Bulletproof Executive Podcast discussing gratitude and the impact on success. This podcast helped me to pick gratitude as my focus word for 2014. Life is crazy especially when 100 different things are pulling you in every direction. I get that. Having a four-year old and two-year old twins just about destroys any predictability in my day. Then pile on work and you have a lot of opportunity to feel overwhelmed. Enter the importance of a routine.
How can you be grateful when you are under water?
One of the best ways to set your mindset on gratitude is by starting a morning ritual. I learned about morning rituals at a very early age thanks to my grandpa.
The first time I remember experiencing a morning ritual was probably around 6 years old. My grandpa would come to visit us. The problem was we didn’t have a guest room, but my room did have a bunk bed. So my grandpa got the bottom bunk. Unfortunately for me was that my grandpa’s morning routine started at 4:30…every morning…
The only thing from his routine I remember was that at 4:30 the light came on and the devotional came out. It made such an impact that this one element has been a part of my morning routine off-and-on for the last 30 years. It has proven to be an incredibly beneficial way to set the course of my day.
I became more intentional about my mornings back in 2012 after listening to a Michael Hyatt Podcast on being more productive by re-engineering your morning routine. You can also read about Michael’s approach at his blog post on setting up a productive day.
The intentional use of morning rituals gives me a chance to focus on gratitude at the start of my day. By following the fork in the road, I am able to face the rest of my day from a place of gratitude.
I couldn’t resist sharing this photo I took from this past weekend. My wife was at work, so I was solo-parenting it and while I was busy cleaning up a mess in another room I heard my daughter calling. She wanted me to go on a hunt with her for her missing shoes and I learned we needed to follow the fork in the road to find them.
Now, if I hadn’t started my day with gratitude, I could have easily missed the opportunity to see that my comedic genius will survive the next generation. More importantly, I may have been too busy dealing with a mess and not been able to share a moment of joy with my child.
I challenge you to start your morning ritual tomorrow and make sure to include some positivity in it.
For you curious folks, here is what my routine normally looks like.
My Morning Ritual
- I wake up at the same time every morning (including the weekend). I go downstairs and start my devotional by listening to the new episode of the Daily Audio Bible (DAB). While listening to the DAB, I drink a cup cold water, a cup of kombucha tea, and start the coffee brewing. This is the first 15 minutes of my morning.
- I then do bodyweight exercise or mobility work for another 15-20 minutes. Once this is done, so is my coffee.
- I sit down with a cup of coffee and read from an actual devotional (This is where I will be inserting the Five Minute Journal, more about that shortly) and this is where I focus on gratitude.
- Next up is my breakfast. Which is followed by getting breakfast ready for my wife and kids. At this point the house is usually stirring.
- Depending on what time the kiddos actually wake-up, I may get to eat breakfast with them. Otherwise I am getting dressed for work and out the door by 8 AM (M-F).
- Morning ritual complete.
I do also have a morning ritual for when I get to work, but that routine isn’t as important as my home routine is for setting a positive mindset each day.
The Five Minute Journal
Fast forward four months to today. I got a nice reminder and a way to improve my morning ritual. On my drive into work I listened to the Fat Burning Man podcast and who did Abel James have as a guest?? Don’t know, just scroll back up…he interviewed UJ Ramdas, who co-created the Five Minute Journal.
The idea behind the journal is to focus on positivity and by focusing on the good you will become happier.
And let’s be honest, being happy is way more fun than the opposite.
The Five Minute Journal is a tool to help you improve your well-being and it fits right in with my gratitude goal for 2014. Do you need the Journal, no. However, I would argue you do need to have some sort of consistent routine to start your day.
What does your morning routine look like? What tools do you use to start your day in a positive direction?