Mornings are sometimes difficult for me. Little things can surround my thoughts before my feet swing out of bed. To do lists, emails to write/return, questions, and a random spattering of ideas I really wanted to do yesterday, but never did.
If I’m not careful, all these little things can rob me of a new day. But, if direct my thoughts to what feeds my soul, it can shape the shape of my heart.
Instead of allowing my heart to start reliving yesterday’s worries, I create space to enjoy the gift of a new day.
The gift of a new day. It’s the most beautiful gift from God — when we wake up and choose to live with a clean slate. A fresh palette. A new canvas — the canvas of our heart.
I wake up and look at the sun light. Open the blinds and look at the leaves and I whisper, “Good morning, Jesus.” I drive to the mountains to hike a trail after dropping the kids off for school. I prioritize spiritual whitespace — time to feed the soul and prepare for the art of a new day.
As I give myself permission to enjoy the small things as God’s beloved — a morning rhythm has emerged. I avoiding reading email or go online first thing so other voices and expectations don’t crowd my heart. I put my anxious thoughts to the side and become present.
Do you have a morning rhythm?
Today, I’d like to introduce you to my fellow author friend Claire Diaz-Ortiz, who has just released a new book — The Better Life: Small Things You Can Do Right Where You Are.
Claire is our guest barista today and she’s sharing an expert from her book — about the importance of having a morning routine — and how it can change your day.
Sometimes we forget that the moments that allow us to feel fully alive isn’t found in what we accomplish but who we become. Claire’s words in The Better Life reminds us those moments are still possible and inspires us to make them ours, new once again.
Small Things to Do in Your Morning that Will Transform Your Day ~ by Claire Ortiz-Diaz
No matter what time you get up, having a morning routine is a key step in ensuring that you ground your day for peace and success. Most days, I start my mornings with a seven-step process I have come to call the Present Principle. It’s a simple routine built around the simple acronym P.R.E.S.E.N.T., which reminds me to implement the seven most important things I need to do daily to keep me present—and to do those things in the mornings.
My routine won’t work for everyone, but it just may give you the inspiration you need to come up with a morning routine of your own that will lead you to success. As you’ll see as reading through mine, the key to developing a routine of your own is to identify the handful of important activities you want to accomplish each day, and then to front-load them into your morning.
My Morning Routine (The Present Principle)
P—PRAY (or PAUSE)
I start my days with a steaming cup of bulletproof coffee or tea and a prayer of guidance, thanks, and direction for my day ahead. I then take a few minutes to meditate. Another way to think of this moment more broadly is as a “pause”—for prayer, meditation, and centering.
After praying and pausing, I dive into reading something inspirational and motivational. I generally work through one particular devotional for a few months, and sometimes have a few going at a time. Make sure to find one that speaks to you personally, and not one that someone else loves but you think reads like fluff (been there, done that).
After reading, I then take my own thoughts to paper. I use a black Moleskine journal that has seen better days, but a post-it note or Evernote document will do just fine. The key is just to get your feelings out there. Worries, thoughts, thanks, angst; anything and everything.
Now’s the time in my routine that I sketch out an overview of my day and do a check-in on my week. I typically spend five minutes on this step—drafting my day’s schedule and checking in on the week at large. I do this on paper, with the goal of this step being offline, but you may find it works best to use your computer or an app.
I try to get in exercise of some sort every day (I run most days, except when my jogging stroller gets the best of me), and I find that doing it in the morning is the most effective way to keep at it. Experts say this is also smartest when working to form solid habits.
Move daily, and you’ll feel better.
Each day, do one thing that truly nourishes you. Go on a walk. Take a bubble bath. Read a novel. Talk to someone you love. Do something for you. It’s fun to do this in the morning straightaway, but if not, put this off until later as a reward for getting your big tasks of the day done.
At the day’s end, look back at how many of the steps in your routine you were able to accomplish. Think about what is working and what isn’t. This will better poise you to make tweaks.
I’m not always perfect. Some days I don’t do every step, and some days I don’t do any of them at all, but trying to implement this routine every day has been an incredible motivation for me and has given me the conviction that morning routines can make anyone’s day better and brighter.
Now you try it.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker and Silicon Valley innovator who was an early employee at Twitter. Named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, she holds an MBA and degrees from Stanford and Oxford and has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. You can find Claire on her blog ClaireDiazOrtiz.com.
Do you have a morning rhythm that prompts you to be present — to the gift of a new day?
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For more inspiring words from Claire, order a copy of her book The Better Life: Small Things You Can Do Right Where You Are for yourself or a gift one for friend or new graduate. Then, pair it with my book Finding Spiritual Whitespace.