For so many years I fell into my rituals by default. Get up, unplug my phone, go make coffee, sit down (to smoke), check email and bounce between social media apps until one of my kids demanded my attention. Sound like anyone you know?
Come mid afternoon I would notice I forgot to take my Apple Cider Vinegar shot and my vitamins- then I would notice my bed was still not made. I felt like I had no time to read the four books that I kept in my bag just in case there was a moment of free time I could read. In addition, I had not packed my lunch or planned my work day so when it came time to pick up my kids from school, I felt like I had accomplished NOTHING!
What was happening? Why can’t I get my shit together? Why are there some people that can juggle 30 tasks and I can’t simply remember to make my damn bed?
The problem lies in the morning ritual. I simply didn’t have one.
In order to be more effective and productive you must learn to create and stack habits.
Creating habits of productivity in the brain and in your life is called ritualization and it is how you conserve mental energy.
During ritualization, a tiny part of your brain, called the basal ganglia, takes over a series of actions so that you no longer have to actively concentrate or make decisions. Like muscle memory for your brain. (Dr. Isaiah Hankel)
Setting up a morning routine will set the tone of your day. No matter how much you have to get done or how crappy yesterday was, you can be confident that you get to begin again with your morning ritual – it’s like hitting the reset button.
Your morning ritual should be selfish, energizing, healthy and done EVERYDAY -NO MATTER WHAT!
Once you do your ritual enough, it becomes a habit. Through synaptic pruning , your ritual becomes automatic and concentration is no longer needed- think about brushing your teeth or getting your morning cup of Joe- it’s like you’re on autopilot!
I can’t remember where I heard this saying, but it stuck with me: “When does your day begin? When it ends.”
If you want to have a productive day, you have to start with the end in mind.
So I started creating a morning ritual. I started with just five easy things, that I would add to my current default routine. In order to ensure the habits stuck I had to make sure the trigger and reward were aligned.
So this is how I started:
- Wake up (trigger)- this is the best trigger because I’ve been doing it my whole life
- Make Bed
- Make coffee
- While coffee is being made drink large glass of water with vitamins and make Apple Cider Vinegar shot
- Connect with family to make sure their needs are met (breakfast, hugs and kisses)
- Enjoy coffee (reward) and plan my day in my planner to ensure I am taking actionable daily steps to meet my goals (plan the whole day)
- 10 minutes reflection, prayer and gratitude
- Pick up phone check social media -No Email (reward)- this reward is good for me because it was one of my habits already and I look forward to it 😆
As I get more consistent with my current ritual, I will add more and more to my morning process, while providing intermittent rewards to keep my brain happy.
It’s best to do your planning and major rituals in the morning because willpower is at it’s highest. As the day goes on willpower depletes – which, I’m assuming, is the reason I never stuck to journaling before going to bed.
ACTION STEPS FOR YOU
Try picking 3-5 things you want to add into your morning ritual. A few examples from other successful people are:
- Getting up earlier to start your day
- Exercising, stretching, yoga
- Tackling the most challenging item on your agenda (eating the frog method)
- Practicing meditation/visualization/