1. A calm awakening.In the space between the edge of the night and the chaos of the day, you have a chance to make a special space for yourself. In this space, thoughts and contentment neatly overlap, where past and future issues cease to exist, and time touches eternity. Hovering about your mind, as you gently begin to stir, there are beautiful visions no one has ever seen and soothing harmonies no one has ever heard.
These first few moments of the day are sacred. Savor them. Protect them. Awaken yourself peacefully, stretch fully and breathe deeply in them without rushing forward. Give yourself this time as a gift, to simply be and feel alive, to conquer the anxiety of life, and live in the moment breath by breath.
2. Meditate on the goodness.Begin each day with love, grace, and gratitude.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a great privilege it is to be alive – to be, to see, to hear, to think, to love, to have something to look forward to. Happiness is a big part of these little parts of your life; joy is simply the feeling of appreciating it.
Realize that it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. Make a habit of noticing the goodness that’s already yours and you will see more of it every time you look for it.
3. Let go to begin anew.Each new morning greets you with no restrictions except for the restrictions you place on it.
Don’t hold yourself hostage for the things that didn’t work out yesterday. Don’t let your history interfere with your purpose today. Let yesterday go. Every morning is the start of a new day with no mistakes, just possibilities.
Release and renew. Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.
4. Be right where you are.Live now. Not before. Not later. Just NOW – in the moment you’re in. Inhabit your morning completely. Don’t rent it out to the past or the future.
Do you know what you’re doing to yourself when you wake up and start worrying about every other time and place?
You’re cheating yourself out of the moments we call “life.” Your real life – the here and now – is calling to you, trying to get your attention, but you’re stuck on another time and place, and so your life keeps dripping away moment by moment like fresh water down a dirty drain. You wake up the next morning and all those priceless moments of your life are wasted and gone forever. Some of those moments may have had magnificent experiences in store for you, but now you’ll never know…
Bottom line: Don’t be so worried about what’s ahead of you and behind you that you never enjoy where you are. Start your morning off right by paying full attention to it.
5. Find a little inspirationSometimes all you need is a little inspiration in the morning.
Read a motivational quote. Listen to a song that moves you. Watch a short video clip that inspires you. This can provide a framework for the day, a sort of positive pep-talk that keeps you motivated and heading in the right direction, as opposed to succumbing to the negativity spewing out of morning newscasters and radio talk show hosts.
Another option: Use a motivational mantra or affirmation that provides a meditation-like burst, or read or recite some prose that helps you focus. (And of course, if you’re looking for an easily digestible source of daily inspiration, look no further than our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. Exercise your love.Love is the foundation. Love is the board under the chalk, the ground from which giant trees and buildings arise, and the oxygen in the air. It’s the place you come back to, no matter where you’ve been or where you’re headed. Love is where life’s goodness begins.
Every morning, kiss all the people you love in your house (including your pets). And once you’ve done that, set ten minutes aside to do something you love – perhaps a hobby or a quiet morning walk. Doing something positive will help you set the mood you need to create a great day. When you smile, your body relaxes. When you experience a loving human interaction, or a deep connection to a passion, it eases tension in your body. Connecting with the right people and activities soothes stress and provides you with a positive foundation for your day, as well as keeping you focused on what’s truly important.
7. Follow a relaxing morning routine.Morning routines are critically important. They help you focus and build momentum for your day, and they give you the freedom to be present and relaxed – to enjoy just being right where you are each moment, rather than rushing from somewhere to somewhere. Once you get your routine in order, for the first time in a long time, you will be able to, quite literally, smell the coffee.
For truly relaxing mornings, reduce the number of decisions you must make. There are two simple ways to do this: First, make your big morning decisions the night before: what to eat for breakfast, what clothes to wear, what you need to take to work, etc. Second, build a simple routine for as much of your daily morning tasks as possible.
Really, there’s no need to drastically alter the simple things like how much time you give yourself to get ready for work, how complex of a meal you make for breakfast, or bathroom and shower rituals from one morning to the next.
8. Move on to what’s most important.Today is a golden opportunity to do something that matters to you.
When was the last time you woke up and said, “Today could be the best day of my life”? Participate in your dreams today. Your potential is limitless. Put first things first and take action on an important task that’s been lingering.
Success is not something you have; it’s something you DO. It’s something you experience when you wake up and act accordingly. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of proactivity and success that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no real start at all.