11 Morning Rituals That Can Change Your Life

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Your morning can be that make-or-break time that sets you up for a good day or a bad day. Here are 11 habits you can establish that will put you on the path of stringing together good day after good day.

1. Drink a Glass of Warm Lemon Water

Drinking a glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning is an excellent way to get your body going. It’s like oil for the Tinman as it goes to work lubricating all of your different internal systems.

You want the water to be warm so that it’s not a shock to your system first thing in the morning. The lemon will help get your digestive system ready for the coming meals, and makes the water tastier. You can add a bit of honey to it as well if you want to cut down on some of the tartness.

The Rehydration Process

When you wake up in the morning you’ve just gone without water for about 8 hours, so it’s important to turn things around and start up the flow of water again. What you don’t want to do is leave out the water and go along with your day, having breakfast and other beverages before addressing your need for water.

2. Wake Up Earlier

This is priority one because in order to fit in a fantastic morning you’re going to need some extra time compared to your current routine.

If you’ve turned into a night owl because of the peace and quiet it affords, you’ll be equally satisfied by the same peace and quiet an early morning provides, and it’s simply a matter of shifting your personal time to the wee hours of the morning rather than late at night. The difference to your body is noticeable.

The Ideal Time to Wake Up

Wake up in conjunction with circadian rhythms if possible. Civil twilight is a great time to wake up because there will be enough light to see, the birds are chirping, and you still have time to catch the sunrise if you’re keen. Since this time varies by the time of year, it may be more feasible during some seasons than others. Give yourself an hour and a half before you have to be out the door.

3. Scrape Your Tongue

Taking time to scrape your tongue is one morning routine you won’t want to give up once you start it. It helps get rid of morning breath, and also is in line with the rejuvenation process you need to do to make the transition from sleep to wakefulness each day.

As a bonus you’ll be able to taste your food better without the film that’s on your tongue even after brushing your teeth.

The Right Scraper

Some toothbrushes come with a built-in scraper on the back of the head. If yours doesn’t have one you’ll want to invest in one. You can find some that are literally just a plastic triangle-shaped scraper, and others that feature special bristles that are designed to get into the grooves of your tongue. You can also go with the type that is stainless steel and U-shaped to get the job done.

Do a Stretch Routine

4. Do a Stretching Routine

Here’s a great 5 minute stretch that you can do in the morning to wake your muscles up and get them ready for the day ahead. You should always modify any workout to your own abilities, and search until you find one that resonates with you.

You can also use this time to do a yoga routine, or an exercise routine, if you feel so inclined or are trying to lose weight. However, if you currently aren’t exercising regularly we recommend starting off with just some morning stretches until that becomes a habit, and then transitioning into yoga and other exercises when you organically start to feel like you could do more than just stretch.

How Long Do I Have to Stretch?

When first starting out it doesn’t matter how long you stretch, just as long as you do it. If you only have a few minutes for it, just do a few minutes. You’ll find that as you develop the habit, you’ll end up stretching for longer periods of time, and it will naturally expand on its own without the need to force yourself to do it for a set time.

5. Rebound 100 Times

Rebounding on a mini-trampoline is the perfect morning exercise. It’s zero impact, and perfect for any physical fitness level. You don’t even have to get any air on it for it to be effective. Just lightly bouncing on it is effective for stimulating lymph movement and drainage as well as helping your thyroid.

You can repeat this process a few times per day, whenever you feel like you need a pick-me-up. It helps keep you energized without the use of energy drinks or other sugary or caffeinated beverages.

Firms Up Your Whole Body

You’ll notice that when you first start bouncing you’re kind of going with the flow, but by the time you hit your 100th bounce your body has tightened up considerably, in a good way. This is working each muscle in your body, your leg muscles, core, and upper body. A great way to start the day, get your juices flowing, and just plain feel good!

6. Dry Brush Your Body

Dry brushing the body is an Ayurvedic practice that helps improve your circulation and slough off dead skin cells.

Brushing towards your heart is essential, and you’ll want to start at your extremities and work your way in, covering all of your parts before hopping in the shower.

Dry brushing will help leave your skin feeling smoother, and you’ll notice the difference after you’ve dried off. Apply a moisturizer afterward to retain that suppleness.

Which Brush to Use?

Choose a brush that is good at exfoliating, but not one that is so rough you don’t look forward to using it. A dry loofah or other brush designed to scrub the skin works best. You don’t want it to be too soft on your skin or it won’t do the job, but if you opt for a softer brush you can apply more pressure so that it works.

Listen to Uplifting Music

7. Listen to Uplifting Music or Audiobook

Starting your morning with music you find beautiful, or a book you find inspirational or motivational, is the perfect way to set yourself up for success. It can give you something to look forward to in the morning, and sets you up with the right mindset to greet the day.

You can adjust your music for the type of day you want to have, whether you need something that gets you pumped for an action-packed day, or something more soothing so you can handle a stressful day.

The mind is hungry for new tidbits of information it can go to work on, and you should feed it every day, the same way you feed your body.

Choosing the Right Audio

Whether you pick a group of songs, or an audiobook that inspires you, is up to you. Choose your songs carefully though, as they can get stuck in your head, and if this sort of thing drives you crazy you might be better off listening to a book.

8. Green Smoothie Time

Now that we’ve woken up with the sun, brushed our teeth and scraped our tongue, rehydrated, stretched, rebounded, dry brushed the skin, showered while listening to pleasing music, it’s time to nourish the body with a refreshing green smoothie.

The green part of the smoothie is what’s really going to help boost your energy levels this morning. That’s because it will likely be spinach, kale, or some other leafy green providing phytonutrients, fiber, and minerals. Set a timer for 30 minutes after you drink it and notice how much better you feel.

Finding A Great Green Smoothie Recipe

Check out our list of amazing healthy smoothie recipes and pick the one that sounds most appealing to your morning palate. Just about any non-green smoothie can be made green with the addition of spinach or kale.

9. Meditate for a Few Minutes

Right now you should be in a really happy place, a green smoothie coursing through your digestive system, and all of the helpful things you’ve done should all be having a cumulative effect. There’s no better time to sit and clear your mind for a few minutes.

There’s also no right way to meditate, so if you’ve tried specific methods and didn’t really like it, it’s time to develop your own personal style. Choose a position that you find comfortable, and decide if you’d like music or not. Just sitting and listening to the silence can be enough for most.

Why Just a Few Minutes?

You don’t need to go into a trance or spend an hour in the lotus position to meditate. You can get the benefits from just a few minutes and you’ll see a marked improvement in the upward trend your days start to take. We’re being intentionally vague here because “a few” can mean whatever it means to you, and however you feel in the moment (or what the clock allows in the morning).

Smile to Yourself in the Mirror

10. Smile at Yourself in the Mirror for 30 Seconds

This is a can’t-miss way to boost your self esteem, and once you get into the habit you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. It’s basically just a matter of designating some time as true “me time” and seeing a happy you reflected back in the mirror.

This works on a number of different levels, but at the core is the ability it gives you to talk right to the bigger part of yourself, the part that is running in the background and getting the important things done.

Make sure you’re smiling, it doesn’t have to be a big goofy grin, just the hint of a smile works, like you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve and you’re ready to show the world what you can do. You’ll be surprised at the positive thoughts this exercise inspires.

Morning Validation

What you’re doing here is basically checking in with yourself, giving yourself that look of determination that you’ll need to make it through the day and accomplish all of your goals. No matter what happens the rest of the day, you’ve at least said hello to that deeper part of yourself and given words of encouragement.

11. Write Out Your Top 3 for the Day

If you lead a busy life chances are things fall through the cracks on a daily basis. To help stop this from happening you should list the three things you really want to get done today, and above all else, make sure they get done.

Once you establish the habit of getting the most important three things of the day done, you’ll be able to build up confidence and go for bigger and bigger things. A funny thing also happens, all of the smaller stuff that you thought needed to get done either does get done without being on your list of three, or fades away because it wasn’t that important to begin with.

Just 3, No More No Less

If you start getting carried away and adding more than three, you’ll find you won’t get to the fourth and fifth and so on, and then you’ll get discouraged. Force yourself to come up with three good ones, even if your day is largely unstructured. You’ll feel better at the end of the day knowing you at least got 3 important things done.

Don't Eat a Huge Breakfast

4 Things to Avoid That Can Send Your Day Off Course

Morning News – While it’s good to stay abreast of the latest happenings, you’ll do yourself a huge favor by missing out on the more upsetting things that have happened overnight. By lunchtime the biggest news will have made it to you, and if it’s something really big you can catch yourself up on the Internet in a matter of minutes.

Big Breakfast – A big breakfast is not recommended, even if it’s balanced and full of healthy things. Your digestion is weakest in the morning, and bombarding it with a big load of food will only set you up for a sluggish morning. Unless you plan on doing some intense activity to burn it off, stick to a light breakfast and have a snack later if you get hungry before lunch.

Stimulants – Many of us reach instinctively for a cup of coffee in the morning to get us going, or need an energy drink before we consider the day started. But these are just crutches that could be masking a lack of sleep or nutrition. Drop the stimulants and continue to make positive changes until you don’t feel you need them anymore.

Sleeping In – These are morning *rituals* we’re starting here, and you can’t expect them to change your life unless you stick to them religiously. Taking the weekends off of your routine is a sure way to disrupt the good habits you’ve formed during the week, and regress to your old ways. Stay the course, even on the weekends, and you’ll reap all of the benefits.

 

 

 

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Three Ways Journaling Can Boost Your Creativity and Your Business

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I have a friend who has struggled with her creativity for a long time. She’s extremely uncomfortable thinking of herself as “creative.” We’ve been working together on it, and making progress. One of the tools that’s really helped her has been journaling.

From Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones to Linda Trichter Metcalf, Ph.D. and Tobin Simon, Ph.D.’s Writing the Mind Alive to numerous other publications, journaling has enjoyed a long history of creative-nurturing along with a host of other benefits.

For my purposes, I’m defining journaling as any sort of loose, longhand writing. Whatever thoughts come into your head you put them down on paper. There’s no structure, no form, nor concern about spelling or grammar or even legibility.

Even if writing isn’t your dream, incorporating a regular program of journaling into your life is a wonderful way to jump-start your creativity and cultivate a constant flow of new ideas. Here are three reasons why.

1. Helps you get rid of the junk in your head. We all have it. Junk thoughts. Everything from self-defeating comments (“Oh, I’ll never be good at that.” or “Who told you that you could be a writer?”) to the “worry of the moment” to neurosis of every type to the ever-growing, constant to-do lists.

Who can be creative with all that noise going on? For that matter, who could even hear a creative thought over all that racket?

Journaling is a way to quiet the mind. Writing all that junk down transfers it from your head to the paper. Suddenly, you find you can actually think rather than simply react.

The best part is this quiet lasts long after the journaling is done for the day. And if you journal frequently, then the effect is cumulative.

When I finish journaling, I find that I feel peaceful. Calm. Able to focus. The junk is gone, leaving space to be creative.

2. Gives you a chance to try new ideas. What better way to see if a new idea will work than to try it out on paper? You can write out the pros and cons, describe a scenario, play “what if” games (“What if my new business was successful?” “What if I tried that new advertising campaign?” “What if I contacted the editor at Money Magazine?”). And the best part is it’s all in a private little notebook that no one will ever have to see.

Try writing down your hopes, dreams, goals, visions. Play around with them. You may find as you journal about them, a strategy for making them come true suddenly presents itself, right there in the pages of your notebook.

3. Helps you build a bridge to your muse. This one really only kicks in after you’ve sufficiently done number one (at least, this is the way it works for me). It seems only after I’ve gotten most of the junk out of my head that the muse sometimes slips out to play a bit.

How do you know the muse came to visit you? When that brilliant idea flashes in your head. It may not happen while you’re journaling, but instead while you’re showering, walking, driving or something else. This is the muse talking to you.

It’s important to remember muses have quiet voices. They can easily be drowned out by the incessant bickering of the other noisy chatter going on in your head. Once you can get those other voices to shut up, you can start to listen for the muse.

Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen right away. There have been weeks and even months when I write nothing but junk down. But then, one day, that great idea appears on the paper or in my head as I’m walking my dogs.

And when that happens, I know all the time I spent journaling about nothing has paid off.

Creativity Exercises — Journal more ideas

I would love it if you made a pact with yourself to journal regularly for a month. If that’s too much of a commitment for you, try it as a creativity exercise.

Write down your challenge at the top of a piece of paper. Maybe it’s ways to increase business or promote your products more or a new PR campaign. Now just start writing about it.

Don’t think, just write. Fill a few pages of musing about that particular challenge. Don’t type it either — write longhand. If you wander away from it, try nudging yourself back.

Write for at least 20 minutes. If no answer presents itself in that time, don’t get too hung up about it. Try it again the next day or a few days in a row. Sometimes it just takes awhile to jar things loose. And remember, great ideas have a tendency to pop up in the most unexpected places, not just when you’re doing something “creative.”

Michele Pariza Wacek is the author of “Got Ideas? Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Money.” She offers two free e-zines that help subscribers combine their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting principles to become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. She can be reached at TheArtistSoul.com.

 

 

Written by: Michele Pariza Wacek

Source: http://topachievement.com/michelewacek.html


Carry a “Surprise Journal” to Find Areas for Self-Improvement

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We all make assumptions, and many of them turn out to be wrong. But noticing those and learning from them is hard. Maintaining a “Surprise Journal” can make reality clearer and help you improve yourself.

Julia Galef of the Center for Applied Rationality says her technique helps you confront your confirmation bias, separating reality from assumptions in a gentle way. In your Surprise Journal, write down anything that surprises you and why. Ignore whether the surprise is positive or negative and simply note what it is.

The Surprise Journal has two benefits. First, you start noticing more odd or unusual things, simply because you looking out for them. Second, it is a soft blow for your biased brain to admit when something is against expectations:

“People generally don’t want to give in to evidence that they might be wrong—and I include myself here—because it is stressful to admit it, even to yourself… We train ourselves to avoid it.”

On the other hand, looking for surprises in the world can be an empowering or exhilarating experience. “It appeals to my curiosity and it just feels different—it feels like I am getting as clear a picture of the world as I can,” she says.

The end result, as Galef mentions, is that you become more aware of areas where you need improvement. For example, Galef’s ratings as a teacher were lower than colleagues, which indicated over-confidence in her abilities and not taking on feedback to get better.

The conclusions of your Surprise Journal are going to be what you make of them, but the mere act of noticing the disparity should set you on the right path, according to Galef.

Source: http://lifehacker.com/carry-a-surprise-journal-to-find-areas-for-self-impro-1638467349
Written by: Mihir Patkar