Let’s face it. We know mornings are important. We know they set the precedence for how the day will go. We also know there’s a lot of stuff out there about what you should be doing in your mornings, things that will help us become more successful, more productive, more satisfied.
It can be hard to digest all of the information that’s circulating, and the overwhelm can lead to paralysis. We’ve broken down and highlighted for you the most effective morning rituals to build lasting confidence, with clear instructions and details.
Pick just one or two categories to start. If you try and implement all of them at once, it will be too much. Set yourself up for success by dedicating a 30-day period to each one where you will test it, fully committed. Every person’s needs are different, and you’ll decide what your best morning ritual looks like to start off your day feeling confident, capable, and ready to share your unique gifts with the world.
Let’s begin! Watch this short 45 second video first:
1. No phone, no email
79% of people reach for their smart phones within 15 minutes of waking up (1). Not only does this start our brains on a roller coaster of adrenaline and an addictive dopamine response, flipping through newsfeed or emails puts other people’s information before your own thoughts, ideas, and creations.
Looking at other people’s news first thing in the morning is not a way to build lasting confidence. Instead, we should be using our mornings, and the clean slate they offer, to reflect, create, consider complicated problems, or ask interesting questions. In short, your morning should be for you, not for social media.
Don’t check your phone or computer for at least the first hour after waking up and see how you feel.
Meditation has become a popular buzzword. There are many different kinds of meditations, and many misconceptions about it, too. Mediation is not about clearing your mind of thought or seeking a constant state of bliss. It’s about being in the present moment without judgment (2).
One of the reasons there are so many styles of meditation is because different methods work for different people. Here’s a practice developed by our creator of 30 Days of Mindfulness Gia George that you can complete in 12 minutes and will leave you not only feeling confident but will help you clearly define how you want your day to go.
Find a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Relax, releasing the tension in your hands, neck, jaw, and other areas of your body. Just breathe for a few moments, feeling your inhales and exhales. Dedicate a few minutes to each of the following six phases:
Compassion. Imagine yourself in a bubble of white that’s filled with love and compassion. What does that feel like? Slowly expand the bubble outward so that it encompasses the entire room with compassion, then to your city block, your entire city, your country, and finally, it expands to encompass the entire world. What does it feel like to witness the world in a white bubble of compassion and love that’s emanating from you?
Gratitude. Think of 1-3 things you’re grateful for that occurred in the last few days. They can be small (how someone smiled at you in the grocery line), big (a promotion), or anything that comes to mind. As you think of each thing, notice the joy that blooms in your body as you reflect on your gratitude.
If you haven't yet, try our 30 Days of Gratitude course.
Forgiveness. Think of anyone you need to forgive. Visual this person in front of you and say these words in your head: “I forgive you, and I ask you to forgive me.”
Future Dream. Picture yourself in three years, the ideal self you want to become. What do you look like? How do you act? What are you doing in the world? How would it feel in your body if this were your current reality?
Perfect Day. Visualize your forthcoming day as if it were completely perfect. Watch each hour unfold, with all the things you have to do. What does the perfect day look and feel like?
Blessing. Imagine a higher power supporting all of your above visions and intentions. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. Just imagine something greater than you washing you with a warm blessing, from your head down to your toes; a blessing to usher your intentions and wishes into the world.
Do you feel ready to tackle your day now, or what?!
3. Morning Journal
Now that you’ve primed yourself with these visualizations, sit down with your journal (and don't forget a cup of your favorite wake up drink).
Write an inspiring quote at the top of the page, or some kind of theme or mantra for the week (i.e. “Everything is easy,” or “There is always enough time,” or “I am present with my family”). Next, write three things you’re grateful for, three things that would make today awesome, and end with an affirmation. Affirmations are a powerful practice used by many confident, successful people (3). In addition to writing your affirmations, say them out loud three times through, and don’t be afraid to get your body moving to really express yourself. Here are a few you might use:
* I am a confident, capable, compassion, person, ready to take on anything this day will bring.
* I have all the resources I need to have a successful, easeful day.
* Nothing can hold me back from achieving my goals and dreams. The world is on my side.
4. Accomplishments before 10:00 a.m.
Choose three things you’d like to get done before 10:00 a.m. You know those things you procrastinate? Choose those. By getting them done early, you’ll feel accomplished, even before 10 a.m., and research shows you’re more likely to remember the day as a good day, no matter how the rest of it unfolds. (4)
5. Care for your body
There are a number of things you can do to help your body wake up in the morning and prime you for an optimal day. If our bodies aren’t on board, it’s hard to live into our fullest potential and have confidence in what makes us uniquely us.
First, drink at least 8 ounces of water. By hydrating first thing in the morning, especially upon waking up dehydrated, we can reduce hunger throughout the day and reduce the potential onset of headaches. (5)
Next, do some gentle stretching. It only needs to take 5-10 minutes. This will help increase flexibility, improve mobility, and also flush out toxins (6). Start by lying on the ground on your back with your feet planted on the floor. Slowly drop your knees to one side, then the other. You can rotate your head in synch with the movement, looking the opposite direction of where your knees are falling.
Hug your knees to your chest and slowly rock from side to side to help release your lower back. Then, cross one ankle over the other knee in a figure “4” and pull the figure towards your chest to help wake up the hamstrings and open the hips.
Pull your knees to your chest once more and gently rock up and down along your spine until you come up to a seated position. Come onto your hands and knees and do some gentle Cat-Cow cycles, arching your spine and lifting your head up as your belly drops towards the floor, then tucking your hips under and looking towards your belly button as your spine rounds towards the ceiling.
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Lastly, plant your feet on the ground and let your upper body hang folded over. You can grab your elbows and swing side to side. Remember to engage your core muscles and keep your knees slightly bent to protect your lower back. When you’re ready, slowly roll up, stacking your spine, one vertebra on top of the other, until you reach the top. Stretch your arms all the way up to the ceiling before releasing them down by your side.
The last thing you should do – or perhaps the first thing – is smile! It sounds cheesy, but smiling is a great way to activate your feel-good neurons, signaling to your brain that you are healthy and happy (7). Not only that, but people will treat you differently when you smile, and smiling is contagious for those around you. So don’t be shy! Sprinkle in some smiles throughout your day too, not just in your morning.
When you smile at someone, they’ll be in awe of the confidence you exude, and they might just ask you how you’ve come to be centered and put together first thing in the morning. They might just want to know your morning rituals.
“Confidence is not ‘they will like me'. Confidence instead is ‘I'll be fine if they don't'.” – Unknown