“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
Do you ever find yourself frustrated with other people who are making amazing progress in their life? The kinds that seem to “have it all”.
The people that have great social relationships?
The ones in great health and the ones that have strong bodies?
The people who have money to buy everything they want?
And they make it look like it’s easy too! Everything always turns out in their favor.
Do you want to know their secret?
Have you ever wondered why these people have it so easy while you have to hustle for everything you want? Does it look like they get everything they want, presented on a silver platter? Well now, I’ve found the answer to all these questions!
Do you want to know why they have it so easy? I’ll tell you!
People who make their life seem like a breeze can be either two things;
- They genuinely have an easy life
(In which case you shouldn’t envy them anyway since they won’t learn the value of hard work and diligence until it’s to late)
- They have empowering habits
Now the people who belong to the second category are the ones who are really interesting to learn from. I believe that our life is the sum of our habits. If we have destructive habits (smoking, drinking, excessive spending, bad social skills, addictions, ….) the results will show up in our life.
On the other hand, when we have empowering habits, there’s no telling what successes lie in our future.
I’ve touched upon this topic in another post called “Have A Life Worth Living! (Walk The Narrow Road)“
- Beethoven would carry around sheets of music paper and a pencil whenever he was taking long vigorous walks in case an idea struck him.
- Sigmund Freud kept psychoanalytic journals in which he would write down his latest findings and ideas.
- Charles Darwin would routinely make three walks a day in order to contemplate on the things he was studying and structure his thoughts.
These are just a few examples of well-known people who have reached their fame and success by cultivating these good habits . Case in point, empowering habits are really important!
I’ve written another post on this topic a long time ago called “The 8 Elemental Habits Of Successful People (That You Need To Have)“. Although I still agree with many points of the post I’ve gotten the feeling that list is far from complete.
Over the past months I’ve been implementing and experimenting with new habits like a maniac in order to see which ones are the most valuable ones (I’m still doing this up until this day)
- Waking up regularly at 5:30
- Morning runs on an empty stomach
- Working out at different times of day
- Cleaning (yes, cleaning my room)
But over the last couple of months I’ve made a remarkable discovery that literally changed my life for the better. I found the habit of doing a morning ritual!
A morning ritual is basically as series of routine actions you do from the moment you wake up that set you up for a GREAT day!
Do you know people who simply radiate confidence, happiness and determination? The people who make the ground TREMBLE as they pass? The people who seem resistant to challenge, worry or obstacles?
These INTENSE people that immediately draw your attention?
They aren’t better than you, nor cut from a different cloth. The simple difference is that they consciously (or subconsciously) CHOOSE how they will run their day when they wake up.
- They demand of themselves to be in a GREAT emotional state
- They demand of themselves to be confident
- They demand of themselves to be productive
- They CONDITION themselves into successful habits
every single day
When you feel sad, depressed, unconfident or lonely that’s because you CHOSE to feel like that. There are many things we do by which we set ourselves up for a bad, unproductive day. I don’t believe in “bad moods” or “morning tempers”, in my opinion those are just signs of a lack of emotional control..
Many people, unconsciously have made their own “morning ritual” that sets them up for disaster without really knowing it.
- They might press the snooze button once before they get out of bed
- They drink a 7 cups of coffee before starting their day
- They check their Facebook, Twitter or Email
Have you ever opened your email in the morning and found out some bad news that made you pissed-off for the remainder of the day? Have you ever had to drag yourself out of bed just because you didn’t want to go to work?
Basically, what I’m saying is that the actions we take in the beginning of the day (especially the first hour) can define the attitude we have throughout the rest of the day.
Simply DECIDE how your day will be
Start to CONDITION yourself for success.
The way we condition our-self (create ourself) will directly result in the quality of life you have
If you’re able to implement this habit consistently in your life. It will make you UNSTOPPABLE.
Success will become inevitable
How To Do A Morning Ritual
Here are the steps I take each morning to ensure a happy, productive and inspiring day.
#1) Masturbate (2 to 3 times)
#2) Take a shot of Tequila
#3) Play video games for three hours
Ow scratch that, that’s the evening ritual..
Anyway, now for real ;)
I’ve also made a short summary of my morning ritual in a video blog.
Morning Ritual Video Blog
Step 1: Physical “Awakening” (WAKE UP)
When we get out of our bed we’re often very fuzzy and disoriented. To really start your day of right I feel it’s essential to awaken your senses & reflexes (touch, sound, taste, sight, smell, pain and temperature) before anything else. By giving our body many different stimuli we’re forcing it to wake up all it’s systems and become alert.
This is similar (although not entirely) to the effect when animals need to avoid predators and enter a state of hyper-awareness as I like to call it. Basically if you want to wake up, stimuli is the way to do it. Many people tend to resort to “drugs” or pills that can amp up their alertness
Although these substances can be great when you’re living a stressful, draining life (airline pilots, truck drivers, people who are sleep-deprived and so-forth) I believe we should always opt first for the “normal route” first. But many people just tend to skip this step.
Here’s how I do it;
To start getting myself in a great mood for the day I often put on some good music that will stimulate my hearing. Songs I frequently listen to in the morning include; Caliente – Jay Santos, Ahzee – King, Example – All The Wrong Places (Quintino Remix) and Calvin Harris – C.U.B.AThere are just soo many examples but I’m sure you can find something you like that’ll “spike you up” in the morning.Whilst the music is playing I do the following things;
SMILING (1 – 3 minutes)
I always make sure I’m setting myself for a positive day and therefore I simply start smiling for a while whilst listening to the music. I believe in the statement that says “motion before emotion” and that we should first adopt the emotion we want to feel in our posture in order to experience it.Even when you’re depressed you can start feeling happier by simply smiling. Don’t smile because your circumstances allow it at that time but because you deserve to be happy.
By lying in your bed for a whole day your body has become immensely rigid and needs to start moving! Activating the body will also activate the mind (which I’ll describe more into detail in the next paragraph) I do three basic yoga stretch-exercises at the moment (I might have the names wrong);
> The Cobra
> The Downward Facing Dog
I also use a technique I call intuitive stretching (just googled it and it actually exists!) Basically you just stretch the muscles you feel like stretching. Your neck, shoulder joints, back, whatever part of your body that feels “tense”
Get you heart rate up and the blood flowing trough your body! Any physical type of exercise will do (squats, lunges, burpees) I found doing push-ups the most convenient.I used to do early morning runs, but I cut back from those because they were taking up too much time (and added more exhaustion than they added energy to “attack the day”)
PLANKING (2:15 minutes)
This is a simple, basic exercise I use for training the stabilizing muscles in my core. I got this sweet concept from a friend who’s really advanced at it.Currently I’m studying sports and human movement in school and have been taught that core exercises are fundamental if you want to avoid posture imbalances, forms of reuma and back injury at all old age.Make sure you strengthen your core with stabilizing exercises!
BOUNCING (1 minute)
Just bounce around on your feet whilst shaking your arms and head . Bouncing & shaking is a form of expressive meditation (as opposed to passive meditation which follows a bit later)
The next physical need we’ll need to fill is basic breathing! Deep breathing has been found to lower cortisol (stress-hormones) levels instantly. It makes you really calm and grounded after some of the physical exercises that have “activated” your body.It will not lower your consciousness but it’ll calm and clear your mind and bring you back “down to center” (being calm basically). The way I do this is really simple;> Breath in for 5 seconds trough your nose
> Hold Breath for 5 seconds
> Exhale for 5 seconds trough your mouth/nose10 times, easy-peasy.
One of the major things you should be doing when you wake up in the morning is hydrating! After a long night’s rest your body has lost a major part of it’s water content trough respiration and perspiration (sweating). This can even add up to a total of about 1 liter of water (2lbs/907grams).When you get out of your bed each day your body is dehydrated. Therefore I recommend drinking about 750ml of water (3-4 big glasses) in the morning. More is always good but I don’t recommend passing over 1,5 – 2 liters.On the other hand I do recommend to fill up a water bottle (1,5-2l) that you drink from during the day and just carry around at all times. There’s countless benefits in drinking water that it is utmost absurd to deprive your body from this essential liquid.
LEMON JUICE (250ml)
The last thing I do in order to wake my body up physically is drinking an additional 250ml of warm water with lemon (1 squeezed lemon), Drinking lemon water has also many benefits like detoxification and is also a great source of vitamin C (which help the immune system in fighting diseases)
I know all of this sounds really overwhelming at first but the key to this part is just to stimulate all your senses in order to increase alertness. I don’t think you should do all the things I’m doing but gradually build up your routine and see what really works for you
I’m still constantly altering my routine as I’d like to implement more things into this.
We’re not done yet with our morning ritual… ;)
Step 2: Emotional “Awakening” (RE-CONNECT)
Now that we’ve activated our mind and body, we can move into the next part of actually connecting with our identity. The way I do this is by reading my Personal Mission Statement. This is a concept I learned from “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
“A Personal Mission Statement helps define who you are and how you will live (code of conduct). It’s basically the blueprint for your life which adds a tremendous amount of clarity and purpose”
For more information on creating your own PMS, read my article on “How To Write A Personal Mission Statement“
In my PMS. I have written down three things;
- My Identity (Who am I?)
> Re-definine who you want to be
> Stop believing your conditioned BS and build up new references
> Visualize your ultimate self
- My Purpose (Why am I alive?)
> Find out why you are alive!
- My Vision (How do I see my life?)
> Visualize your ultimate life/world
> Reflect on your goals
I go over the weekly and daily goals I’ve set for myself and look at the things that need to get done that week.
(If you haven’t made any goals yet, I recommend you read my post on “How To Set Goals” and start taking action on that immediately.)
These three keys are essential in order live a happy and successful life. If you would compare life to a tree, this would be the roots. This is the foundation on which you build your life.
Step 3: Emotional “Engaging” (STATE)
Alright now we’ve been able to improve our alertness and reconnect to our identity we should start to engage in life emotionally!
Engaging our emotions is what will define our mood for the remainder of the day,
The way we should do this is by asking ourselves a set of empowering questions. These questions allow us to direct our focus on positive emotions and productivity (aka getting things done)
Maxwell Maltz talks about this concept in his book “Psycho-Cybernetics”. He says that “Negative mental emotions are changed by controlling your mental imagery”. So by changing what we focus on in our head we’re able to change the emotions we feel.
“When you’re playing music you don’t like, change the record” – Maxwell Maltz
Ask yourself the following questions; (OUT LOUD – This is key)
- What can I be excited for in my life right now?
Genuinely try to search for things you could be excited about. Maybe it’s music you’re listening to, a project you’re working on, a hobby you’re engaging in and so-forth.Everyone has something in their life for which they can feel genuinely excited if only they’re willing to look for it.
- How can I pump up my state?
A great video on this topic in the one on incantations by Tony Robbins. Affirmations are BS and something you should never use. Incantations are beliefs you put your whole body, mind and energy into, so you make them real.
- For Example;
> Don’t say you’re happy, demand of yourself to be happy
> Don’t say you’re confident, demand of yourself to be confident
> Don’t say you’re courageous, demand of yourself to not let your life be governed by fear
- What can I be proud of in my life?
- What can I feel grateful for in my life?
- What can I feel passionate about in my life right now?
- What can I be committed to in my life right now?
- How am I going to dominate today?
Step 4: Physical “Engaging” (MOMENTUM)
Alright, now we’re emotionally engaged in life and know what to do, it’s time to get going with our day-to-day life.
I’ve put together some routine actions I take every morning to create some momentum in my day. These will set me up for a focused, clear and structured day. Starting with these smaller, routine actions creates a domino effect to attack bigger challenges during the day.
- Cold Shower
I’ve been taking these each morning for the past two months as a result of a promise I’ve made to myself.I’ve committed to taking a cold shower each morning (when possible) until the day I’ve reached financial independence.(MeaningI’ve build up an asset column that covers all my expenses, according to principles taught in the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”Besides it has a lot of other benefits..
The last month I’ve been consistently meditating for about 14 minutes a day (increasing incrementally) which helps me to clear my mind and re-focus for the coming day.More benefits of meditation
- Read (20 mins)
I’m huge fan of reading. It is probably one of the most important habits you should cultivate in your life. Reading has helped me to literally shave years of my learning curve to get the results that I want in life.Reading allows us to simulate the future and skip the time-consuming process of trial and error. It allows us to “stand on the shoulders of giants”. Be a continual learning machine.
Get some energy in your tank to attack your day. Currently my breakfast looks like this;
- Clean/Personal Hygiene
Brush teeth, shave, floss, hair and stuff like that..
That’s it! Time to attack your goals for the day…
I’m aware that this article is a lot to take in at a time and therefore I want to point out that the most important thing to take away from this is to construct your days out of empowering habits.
My morning ritual is simply a successive chain of empowering habits that set me up each and every day to the best of my abilities. When we go to sleep we basically press the “reset-button” on our brain and therefore we should actively strive to re-engage our mind
EVERY SINGLE DAY
- Physical “Awakening” (WAKE UP)
- Happy Music
- Stretch, 25 Push-ups & Planking
- Breathe & Shake
- Water + Lemon Juice
- Emotional “Awakening” (RE-CONNECT)
- Who Are You? (Identity)
- What’s The Meaning Of Your Life? (Purpose)
- How Do You See Your Life? (Vision)
- Emotional “Engaging” (STATE)
- Ask Empowering Questions
- Read daily planning
- Physical “Engaging” (MOMENTUM)
- Cold Shower
Note that my morning ritual is in constant change since I’m continuously learning new and better ways to start my day. The key is to create your own.
Switch the order around, add new things to the mix. Simply experiment and take what works and discard the things that don’t.
Start Building Your Own Morning Ritual!
If you feel like this post can help anyone out that you know, feel free to share it with your friends or send it in a mail to your mom! It helps me out a lot! If you’re having any thoughts or questions on this topic, feel free to share those with me in the comment section below.
Also, let me know what impact this habit has had on your life and share your morning ritual with me !
Inspiration/partial credit for this post goes to Stefan Pylarinos from ProjectLifeMastery.com