Firsts are always the richest.
From the first moment you open your eyes the day begins and your first thoughts can create a lasting impression on your mind throughout the day. These firsts of your morning can establish your reality – what you run after and what you shy away from. It’s in this waking instant that you can decide what you want to do with yourself -your time- because time is one of the sacred qualities of life that you can’t ever replace.
Alissa would wake up to her alarm at 7:30am, grouchy and craving more time to sleep. Her morning commute took an hour and she needed to leave her house by 8:30am in order to be to work by 9:30am. She would drag herself out of bed thinking of how much she hated to drive in traffic just to sit at a desk job that she despised. Every morning was the same routine: alarm goes off, she snoozed it as she rolls over for an extra 5 minutes, thinks about how she hates her life, jolts up at the last minute to scramble into the shower, rushes to throw some clothes on just to get to work right on time.
At work she has a poor attitude although she tries to mask it, she’s tired and has low energy throughout the day. She feels disconnected to herself and her purpose. She’s not inspired or excited about her day to day so she gets pleasure by indulging in food, sex, gossip, drugs and alcohol. These small satisfactions give her momentary peace, but it also left her overweight, lonely, confused and bitter. Each day she would enter her routine praying that something would change but every day that past felt like another day wasted. Alissa didn’t what else to do so the cycle continued.
Alissa was me.
But when I got sick ( literally sick) of the cycle; I reached out for help outside of myself and my church that I was a faithful member to for so long. I needed something personal and practical.
Through a series of purposed life events, I met with a life coach who guided me to affirm my priorities and helped me live in integrity – where my thoughts, words and actions aligned.
And it started with something so simple. My first thoughts. My mornings!
Each morning, I began to set aside my first waking hour to share gratitude and love with myself. Many call this a morning practice. Another friend says it’s her “Power Hour”, but whatever you want to call it, remember its YOURS. You can design it however bests fits your needs, but the key is to HAVE ONE.
I named my little ritual a “Morning Motivation” because it catapults my day in such a beautiful, motivating way. This Morning Motivation does require some commitment and discipline, so if you want to challenge yourself to follow this guide for a month, you will see the benefits of your commitment right away. Before you begin, decide what time you would need to wake up in order to give yourself ONE FULL HOUR before you begin your regular duties. My time was 6am.
I KNOWWWWW! I hear you, getting up early is not an easy decision. Many say if you can conquer getting out of bed earlier, you’ll already have more control of your day. Early risers are usually more energized, focused and productive because they have more time and discipline in the day as a result. I also had to make decisions about how to spend my time the night before. If I wanted to wake up early, I had to go to sleep early. Giving myself a bed time helped me make the transition to being an early riser easier.
So just try it on, see how it fits…if it does fit, great! Keep it! You will make new discoveries and set yourself up on a path to greatness! If it doesn’t, so what? You tried it and can now make a choice out of knowing.
Ok, so pick a start date, get prepared and get into it! Download it or just read along.
Here’s my Morning Motivation step by step: (replace my wake up time with yours)
6:00am -6:10am [10 mins]: Stretch/Yoga. Before I got serious about yoga, I used this time to do basic stretching to wake my body up. While I would stretch, I would pray over my body for health and strength while giving thanks for all the blessings my body gave me. A basic Sun Salutation is a good stretching series to practice daily, but let your body lead you to what it may need most.
Stretching loosens the tension we carry in our muscles due to stress. Spending just a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) stretching each day can help calm the mind, providing a mental break and giving your body a chance to recharge. Plus it feels soooo good!
6:10am – 6:25am [15mins]: Inspirational Reading. I always have a book (or two!) to read, even if it’s the Bible. Starting your morning with a positive word or affirmation steers the mind in the right direction. This is the set-up for the step-up in your day. When you get your mind in a safe happy space to recognize how great you are, it expands in that space causing great rewards in your energy, thoughts and experiences.
I’ve been learning about the effect that thoughts, behaviors and exposure to certain external sources has on our health and well-being. One of the ways to be mentally healthier is to focus on messages, images and music that make you feel inspired and uplifted. A good read or positive self-talk in the morning can put a smile on your day.
DON’T DO THIS IN BED…reading in bed will have you back to sleep and back to old habits. Find a sunny spot near a window or sit at a table and drink some tea while reading.
6:25am -6:30am [5mins]: Journaling. After reading for 15 minutes, take 5 minutes to do some soul writing – thoughtless writing that comes from the soul with emotion, honesty and passion. I’ve written about my past, my dreams, my future, the new boy I’m crushing on – anything that was on my heart has filled pages of journals throughout the years. Be vulnerable with yourself about what’s on your heart but let it flow without too much thought. Think of this as giving yourself the safe space to be 100% really YOU. Pour yourself all over some pages.
6:30am -6:40am [10mins]: Prayer. Prayer changes everything. My late Grandma Suber taught me how to pray and it’s been my comfort and joy ever since. I spend this time focused on the people and areas in my life that I want to give support and love to. I envision healing, opportunities, safety, clarity and I trust God with my deepest insecurities and pain. The energy exchange between me and God in this moment allows me to release any excess worries that can taunt my mind.
“Prayer at its highest is a two-way conversation and for me the most important part is listening to God’s replies.” — Frank C. Laubach
I pray in many ways, sometimes internally, sometimes out loud. I write my prayers too. The purpose of prayer is to create a special space to surrender your cares to God and listen for gentle guidance.
6:40 am – 7:00am [20mins]: Meditation. Meditation saved my life. Seriously! Meditation is my time to love myself deeply. It’s about bringing your attention within and letting go of outer noise (stress, worries, negative thoughts, etc). It’s everything and nothing. It’s the fullness of life which is BREATH.
Twenty minutes of my hour is spent in stillness… eyes clothes, deep breathing. Thoughts come and go, my mantra comes and goes but I just sit and breathe and feel LOVED.
And that’s all you have to do. Sit comfortably, breathe deeply and relax. Thoughts will form but the purpose is to maintain focus on breathing deeply. Try these breathing techniques to assist in transitioning in and out of your meditation.
If you never meditated before, you may benefit from my guided meditationfor this time. There are also some resources that can help deepen your meditation practice.
“The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have. When the mind becomes free from agitation, is calm and serene and at peace, meditation happens. The benefits of meditation are manifold. It is an essential practice for mental hygiene. A calm mind, good concentration, clarity of perception, improvement in communication, blossoming of skills and talents, an unshakeable inner strength, healing, the ability to connect to an inner source of energy, relaxation, rejuvenation, and good luck are all natural results of meditating regularly.” –Art of Living Foundation
This may seem rigid to you at first, but once you discover your flow, you will discover how much it amplifies your spirit and move you steadily through your day. Feel free to switch up the order of the motivation, but for your first 30 days, I recommend trying it as is.
It’s the first hour of your day to offer as a way to fill your spirit + soul without distraction. It’s about giving to yourself first – loving yourself first- so you will have more love to share throughout your day!
Please stay connected and tell me how it goes! Leave me some good tips that you may discover on your journey. Also sign up for my Motivational Monday newsletter it offers fun insight and ways to keep you pushing towards your goals. My goal is to help you love more of your life – everyday!