“The best dreams happen when you’re awake.” – Cherie Gilderbloom
I sat at my work desk stumped as to how to move forward. A nagging pull drew me to being productive, to wanting the day to have power and memory and focus and a worthwhile outcome. But something was missing. How could I start my day off effectively, impactfully, and productively?
We rush about so much in life, sometimes with good intents and purposes. Sometimes we just rush around because we feel we must, to look productive, to claim that we have purpose and value. But in that rush we sometimes skip over simple necessities that in all reality are the foundational cornerstones of us being able to rush around! (What irony!)
It was within that rushing and moving forward and wanting to concentrate purely on outcome that I forgot to do the three steps that are essential to making my start of the day calm, refreshing, and ready to be productive.
Continue ready to check out the three elements of a good start to your day, whether your start of the day is 5AM, 10AM, or 2PM.
Incorporating gratitude into your “start of the day” routine allows you to tackle the remainder of your day from a starting point of positivity and possibility. Gratitude allows you to hit the re-start button in your brain and put aside yesterday’s aggravations, doubts, mistakes, and places your focus on today.
Ways to incorporate gratitude into your routine include:
Intentionally and purposefully looking at events in our life and reflecting initiates a change. The act of reflection invites us to look at events from a different vantage point, to look at where we can grow and deepen or identify instances that are harmful to us and need to be removed or avoided. Reflection also allows us to truly experience a moment, instead of allowing it to be a rushed blur.
Want some tips on how to self-reflect? Some resources include:
Whether it’s Bible verses, affirmations, or several pages from a book that inspires you to learn, get outside of your own head and add words from someone else’s point of view. Then let those words, new thoughts, new lessons follow you and inspire you throughout the day.
Below are some reading resources to get you started:
>> 15 verses to start your day off right (+ printables)
>> 25 affirmations to start your day in a positive way (+ printables)
I've also written about how to continue this morning/start your day routine with productive tips here.
The act of old school writing – of holding a writing instrument between your fingers and pushing it across a blank sheet of paper – allows you to connect your thoughts to actual, tangible actions. Thinking starts unraveling your dreams, expanding them, and identifying your best self. Writing those thoughts down, and starting to put some actions behind them, allows your best self to hit the ground running and actually start living. (i combine journaling and reflection as powerful tools to help clear the path to my best self. Read a sample here.
Some resources for how to get started journaling include:
>> How the morning pages changed my life
>> 30 questions for self-discovery : journaling prompts to find yourself
You may be able to accomplish quite a whole hill of beans by yourself – and that’s all good and dandy. But doing things by yourself isn’t as impactful as being with people, connecting with people, sharing your best self with others and encouraging others to be their best self with you. Whether we are introverts or extroverts, like people or don’t like people, the fact remains that we need others, to grow, to learn, to laugh, and to share tears with.
Ways to incorporate connectedness into your routine include:
If it’s too early or late, or someone is far away, just text/email them a short message to help them start their day off well. Let them know that you are thinking about them or just say “hi!” Remain connected with those who support you and want the best for you.
Schedule a meet up
Start your morning (sorry, your “start the day hour”) with a friend, peer, family member. Whether it’s just sitting in the quiet of your kitchen sharing the same space, or joyfully meeting up for a cup of coffee at a local haunt, connect with that person wherever they are in their life in that moment. Share your stories or listen to theirs.
Some resources on how to impactfully connect with people include:
The two prior elements could be considered self-care, but I’d like this element to be truly intentional. Your “start the day” routine needs to center you and get you ready to take on the challenges and wonders that will most certainly come your way. Therefore, it’s essential that you are foundationally grounded and cared for – before you tackle anything else.
Ways to incorporate self-care into your “start the day” routine include:
This doesn’t have to be a full-out morning run in the mode of training for a marathon form of exercise. What I’m referring to here is just moving your body, stretching your muscles, feeling your body move within the space it is in. This can include something as simple as mediating and sitting up straight, strengthening, and lengthening your spine; or it can mean stretching to your tippy toes while in the shower, or doing 7 morning yoga stretches….or yes, a walk around the block. Just choose something to move your muscles and bones and stretch. (Because being physically sedentary can slowly turn into becoming sedentary stilted when it comes to personal growth - I know! Check out my story here)
Some resources for how to incorporate movement into the start of your day include:
>> Wake up with Yoga: 5 minute morning routine
>> Free mindfulness apps worthy of your attention
>> Coral Brown’s do-anywhere daily mindfulness + gratitude practice
Eat and drink
You’ve read the wisdom of breakfast being the most beneficial meal of the day. Whatever your go-to-concoctions or dietary choices, eat something. Rushing by and missing this meal will only leave you drained and famished in a few short hours, which helps no one. Drink whatever your “morning” poison is, coffee, tea, chai, or just water. Your body has been through quite a workout while sleeping and it’s thirsty – so provide it with some form of liquid to get it back up to normal.
There are tons of “start your day” food suggestions out there, to fit your particular dietary needs. A couple to get you started include:
>> 21 High-protein breakfasts that barely take any time to prepare
>> 10 smoothie drinks for more energy in the morning
>> 24 healthy breakfast ideas for busy days
>> Oatmeal blueberry breakfast cake
Dress and primp
Now you may choose to spend your day commando, but most of us put something on as we maneuver throughout the day. And as a form of self-care, what we put on matters. Whatever your style, put on something that displays who you truly are and wear it proudly. Primp up doesn’t mean full on photo shoot makeup session; rather spend some time looking in the mirror. See the beauty in your face, the imperfections that make your face uniquely unique and beautiful. The simple act of washing your face with care is sufficient – and if you want to add some more, well go right ahead and do.
Some self-care resources include:
Start your day centered!
“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.” – James Joyce
Incorporating these three essential elements have provided me with the necessary foundation to take on whatever the rest of the day throws my way. And by taking a few minutes at the start of my day, to connect, reflect, and self-care, I center myself, in a way that slowing-down time can calm me and get me ready.
And once I'm ready, centered, and connected with parts of me that want to thrive and be filled with passion and is even ready to take on some nice challenges, I go ahead and add these 4 productivity tasks to the start of my day.How do you incorporate these 3 elements – gratitude, connectedness, and self-care- into your start of the day routine?
Photo Source: https://stocksnap.io/
I love reflecting on purposeful, thought-provoking life experiences and turning them into life purposes. I am a writer dedicated to sharing life-lessons to empower women to attain their best life by turning experiences into passion-driven action.
When I'm not studying life, I'm intentionally living it. I enjoy art (admiring it and creating it), nature, and I'm a beginner sewer in the attempt to sew my own unique clothes.
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