One of the things I have found to get me up and motivated each day is to have what some might call morning rituals. Developing these ‘rituals’ and following through with each of them every morning sort of sets the tone for how well the day is going to go.
Do I do all of them every morning – probably not. Do I do most of them – most definitely. Let’s face it, if I do all five, it will be a fantastic day, three – probably a good day, and less than three – well, how did that old saying once go “You get what you pay for?” Fact is that I try to do all five whenever possible because in doing so, I feel in control of my morning and if you are in control of your morning, well – you are probably in control of your entire day. It’s a win-win situation.
Some of the five rituals may seem somewhat dumb but – hey, as the saying goes: “Whatever works” and once we pass a certain age – believe me when I say, we are always looking for what works.
- I Make My Bed
It may seem trivial and some may say that it is not the man’s job to make the bed, but it is hard for me to not make the bed once I am out of it for the day. Call it what you will but following this strategy enables me to execute what becomes my first task of the day. And once the tone is set, hopefully the rest of the day will be met with a similar strategy and continue to provide me with a sense of control over my life.
We all have our good days and our bad days – but come on, how long does it take to make your bed? Performing this simple task gives one the feeling that, no matter how devastating the day may become, I will have proven to myself that I am still in control. I haven’t fallen into the abyss yet – I still am in control of my actions and what may lie ahead.
Another way to look at this routine is that at the end of the evening, while getting ready for bed, having to “turn down the bed” as they say in the movies reminds me that I was in control from the very beginning of the day which should enable me to go to sleep knowing that the day was not a total loss.
- I Meditate
I was not always into mindfulness practice (meditating in this case) and being truthful here, like step number one, I may not do it every day, but for the most part, I do try to spend at least 10 to 12 minutes every morning meditating. I have a program on my telephone that enables me to turn the world off so to speak and just sit there in the quiet listening to absolutely nothing (nothing other than the sound of the gong in the background). This focusing on nothing enables me to focus better later in the day when I may be involved in another project or in a conversation with my wife.
- I Exercise
While our main form of exercise is line dancing four days a week, another ritual I make it a point to do every morning is exercise and by exercise, I mean stretching exercises. I do a minimum of ten repetitions of various stretching exercises that takes anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes every morning. I do not mean workout type exercises. I merely am trying to wake up all parts of my body from my head to my toes. This type exercise enables me to wake me up and put me in touch with my body. You would be amazed how, getting into one’s body, even for only a few minutes, helps set the mood for the day and causes one to quiet whatever mental chatter there may be going on at the time immediately preceding the start of the routine.
- I Drink Coffee or Sometime Tea
Something is to be said for sitting alone drinking one’s cup of coffee or tea mindfully every morning. Doing so enables me to be present in the moment just sitting there giving all my attention to the act of drinking coffee or tea. While I like and drink some other beverages, my favorite beverages are French Vanilla or Hazelnut coffee and Vanilla Chai tea.
- I Journal and Create “To-Do” Lists
I sit and do two kinds of writing first thing in the morning:
One is for keeping track of what all we have done, how we feel physically, talks about the weather, some of the crazy things happening in the world today and whatever our plans for the day might be. The other is a list of things I hope or plan to accomplish before day’s end. So, one might say that the journal is to keep a record of what we do in our daily lives while the other is prioritizing things that need to be accomplished so that we can continue to enjoy all that our lives have to offer.
Some people create a gratitude journal and while I have tried to do this in the past, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for how far we have come in these, our twilight years, the accomplishments we have achieved, and the places we have been to and seen. Life is good!