There is a concept in Zen that you make the choice if you are going to experience heaven and hell in the first five minutes that you wake up.
The idea is that as you come to consciousness and mentally “booting up,” you’re also in the process of remembering things in your day and judging how you will approach it.
Will it suck? Are you going to kick butt and take names? Much of what drives that choice is driven by attitude, confidence and your mental state.
Seizing your morning in order to seize your whole day is a good reason why a strong morning routine is critical. Here’s a quick sample of mine.
My morning mindfulness routine schedule.
I’ve come to believe that the key to building a can-do attitude throughout the day is mostly about controlling emotional inertia first thing in the morning.
Inertia, if you don’t know, is an object’s tendency to stay in place or keep moving unless another force intervenes.
Your emotion is subject to inertia.
When you feel bad, angry or depressed, you tend to say that way. If you feel good, you also tend to stay that way. Motivational coach Tony Robbins refers to this concept as “state.” Controlling your state is key to driving the attitude and action you want.
The key to a good morning routine is immediately building and driving inertia to move towards a positive state. That way you’re making the rest of the day work like hell to halt that good momentum from inertia rather than having yourself spend most of the day trying to get something started and crawl into positive territory.
I’ve found my mindfulness routine (which is more like an hour and a half) brings me to a more open and positive state throughout my day.
At least 5 days a week, I…
- Wake up at 5:00 am.
I grab my AirPods at the side of my bed and immediately ask Siri to start my 30-minute guided meditation routine. My audio program not only helps me get into a state of mindfulness by getting me to control my breathing, but it also helps me practice mental exercises. Each day I’m learning to practice mindfulness, visualization, and building the “muscles” in my brain to support my personal goals.
When my 30 minutes is over, I feel good. I feel I’ve already started my day completing a task and feeling positive.
- Listen to ”strained” news while getting dressed.
What I mean by “strained” is news with most or all the emotion and outrage taken out of it. Just the facts. Usually, outlets with top news stories that focus on the who, what, where when, why and how. I use business news like Bloomberg Daybreak or NPR or the curated news brief from Alexa.
- Motivational and educational audio.
As I believe environment affects attitude, I try to keep negatives things out of my day or keep my mind from wandering from my state by being in a cocoon of listening to knowledge or motivational audio until I get to the office.
My daily commute used to be longer (an hour and a half). That gave me time to do both motivation audio and a chapter from an audiobook. In addition to my weekly plane commute of 6-7 flying to Miami and from Miami to Tampa, Daily, I still have 30 minutes in the car.
Instead of listening to talk radio or music, I created a morning motivational “mixtape” of motivation thoughts around principles that keep me mindful. Embracing challenge. Gratitude. Goal setting. Staying focus on the bigger picture.
By the time I start my work day I’ve got a lot of momentum and training to help me power through my day and make sure the day is more likely heaven than hell.