How You Begin Your Day... Matters.
I am not a “morning person” by nature. In fact, I used to be the queen of the snooze button.
I aspired to be a morning person and would set my alarm for 6 a.m. and think “Yep, this is the week I’m going to start getting up early , going for a 3-mile run, meditate for 10 minutes and make my green juice smoothie… all by 8 a.m.” Uh, yeah, that didn’t happen.
When I was working a more 8-5 job years ago, my morning would typically look like this:
· me springing out of bed about 7 am after hitting the snooze alarm a few times,
· showering and getting dressed/ ready, and leaving my house about 15 minutes before I had to be at work (I had a 15-minute drive… so I was usually right on time)
· grabbing breakfast at work or maybe just a quick coffee at the nurse’s station
While I had plenty of good days at work, I can also see in retrospect how often I felt ungrounded – and so much of it was because of my tendency to “hit the ground running.”
These days my morning routine is entirely different. The minute I open my eyes I begin my day with gratitude. “Thank you, Universe, for the gift of this new day.”
I go through a process of calling to mind the preciousness of this human life, remembering and appreciating all the opportunities I’ve been given, and then I ask myself some variation of these questions:
· How do I want to show up today?
· How do I want to feel today?
For instance, if I want to show up with patience and kindness and feel healthy this becomes an anchor I can come back to over and over throughout my day.
If someone cuts me off in traffic I’m more likely to slow down and send them good thoughts (“May you get to where ever youlre going safely) vs, flipping them the bird.
If I’m out for lunch and my choices are between a burger and fries or a healthy mixed greens salad I’m more likely to choose the salad if my intention is to feel healthy and make healthy choices.
Setting an intention is a simple, yet powerful way to set the tone for your day and to help you stay aligned with what’s most important to you.
And, the next step after setting an intention is to check in with yourself and see how your actions and thoughts are aligning with that intention throughout the day.
I often will set a timer on my smartphone as a reminder to slow down, pause, and ask myself “Are the choices I’m making so far today in line with my intention?”
If they’re not, I have an opportunity to course correct. And if they are, I know I’m on the right track.
Setting an intention is a simple, yet powerful way to set the tone for your day and to help you stay aligned with what's most important to you.
As the year gets underway, you might be thinking about how to incorporate some healthier habits into your life. Setting an intention each morning is one of the quickest, easiest ways I’ve found to start my day off on a positive note.
And when distractions come up, which they inevitably will, your intention will help guide and steer your choices back to what is most important to you (e.g. salad instead of cheeseburger and fries, a yoga class instead of skipping a workout).
So, tonight, after you brush your teeth and get ready for bed I invite you to take a piece of paper and write down “How do I want to show up today?” or “How do I want to feel today?” and then put that piece of paper right next to your bed so it’s the very first thing you see in the morning.
When you open your eyes tomorrow, take a few moments to answer these questions. It’s a tiny habit that can have a very big impact on your day. Try it and see.