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Click play below for a reading of today's intentional session from Matt.
Today, let's view our morning with the playful creativity of our three-year-old and the graceful focus of our 108-year-old.
Striving to improve our Morning Routine is only helpful until it isn't.
If we dare let self-criticism get the best of us in amidst the inevitable resistance we'll face … well, perhaps it's time to ease up a bit and remember that tomorrow is a new day to try it again.
Mornings are a blank slate, an opportunity to start again.
Every morning is a chance to observe and be creative with the details we use to fill our day in with. As we apply one layer at a time, we notice what feels good and learn to stack healthy habits just as we would stack layers of color on a canvas. Part of this work of art is our process of creating an intentional and inspiring flow throughout the day. One perfectly imperfect stroke at a time.
Director of the Co-Creative Center and co-founder of SuperflatNB
The morning is a sacred part of the day. I love new beginnings-my mother always told me not to worry, because tomorrow is a new day. I remember being little and going to sleep so excited to begin again.
“I create my habits.
My habits create me.”
As you repeat today's mantra, notice what thoughts come to surface. Allowing each thought to pass by as you get more and more clarity into how you want to create the morning habits that ultimately end up creating you.
Our first action upon waking forms the beginning of a habit stack: a series of linked actions.
For example, waking up might trigger a trip to the bathroom, which triggers us to brush our teeth, which triggers us to put on our workout clothes, sit down to meditate, or put the kettle on to begin brewing that sacred morning beverage … and so on.
Much like a Jenga stack, habit stacks are only as sturdy as their foundational blocks.
Starting the day by checking our phone can trigger a less sturdy and less productive series of actions. What's more, it's harder to build a good habit stack from scratch in the afternoon, since our willpower is worn down by the stresses of the day. We're less reactive in the morning (as we've not yet spent our whole day making decisions) so we can think more clearly and be proactive about our morning.
Notice what external stimuli influence the first moments of your day, and try adapting it!
If the first thing you do upon waking up in the morning is switch on the morning news (or indeed, if your alarm turns on your local radio station), we recommend cutting this out as soon as possible. These programs are often stressful and can be a highly negative influence on our morning.
What I enjoy listening to in the morning are short daily inspirational podcasts like Intention Inspired, Infinite Intelligence, or Radio Headspace. These short audio sessions are a fun and healthy way to prime the mind with positivity, inspiration, and intention as I brew my routine morning beverage.
Or take a leaf out of director of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., Judge Jeremy Fogel's book: after getting the newspaper and making a cup of coffee in the morning, he puts on some quiet classical music:
Listening to the kind of music I do almost always has a calming effect [on my morning], and the structure of the music seems to engage my attention. My favorites are Bach, Handel, and the baroque-era composers.
– Judge Jeremy Fogel
Let's create a visual representation of our morning routine habit stack.
1. Find yourself an empty canvas of your choosing.
If don't have but 10 seconds you can use your imagination as the canvas. Otherwise, feel free to bring in as many creative layers as you'd like.
2. Honor the empty canvas for what it is, an opportunity for anything.
Before, throwing those colors, shapes, and do-dads around the canvas, let's savor the fresh canvas just as we savor our fresh mornings … letting that be enough for right now.
3. With ease and gratitude, begin to add to the canvas as you would add things to your ideal morning.
No rush. Just one small thing at a time. Plenty of time to try new things. Continue playing on your morning routine canvas for as long as you'd like!