Morning routine might sound like something that people with too much of time in their hands would do, or you might associate it with those “annoying morning people”.
But I am here to tell you how a morning routine might just change your life, the way it did mine.
I didn’t have a solid morning routine until August 2020. Well, I tried to wake up a bit earlier than the rest of the household.
Some days when I’d succeed, I'd make a mug of honey lemon water, stroll on my terrace, water the plants, or write in my journal. It was a “nice to have” but not important enough to devote more thought than usual.
But it was in August with the pandemic raging on, and while going through one of my roughest phases (in terms of financial insecurities, anxiety, lack of self-worth, etc), that I adopted a solid morning routine.
I read a book called Journal Your Writing Dreams to Life: The Ten Minute Practice that Changes Everything by Jennifer Blanchard. This book literally changed everything for me. I paid Rs. 70 for it; in hindsight, even Rs. 700 wouldn’t have done justice to what I received from there.
It wasn’t a profound book. But it had the EXACT message I needed from the Universe.
Blanchard tells you to do a simple task: Write all your writing-related goals in the present tense, first thing in the morning. (You can do this with other goals, too.)
This book inspired me to build a consistent morning routine. I woke up half an hour early, wrote my goals in the present tense (sometimes while shaking my head at the ridiculousness of this ritual).
I wrote things like: I’m a published writer of several bestsellers; I am financially independent through my freelance career; and so on.
(Image Source: Unsplash)
Blanchard asks us to do a five-minutes visualization exercise right afterwards, where we imagine ourselves feeling the emotions we’d feel if all these goals became a reality in our lives.
Since I was waking up anyway, I incorporated a 25-mins meditation from my trusty Insight Timer app. I’ve been using IT since 2016, so I was used to meditating, even if for ten mins, at random times during the day.
But you can do this for five minutes only.
I saw a strange shift within me with the journaling+meditation routine.
My mind wasn’t overwhelmed with self pity anymore. I started looking for avenues to earn.
You might know from my last post, how I researched and started applying to places.
Along with this, I opted to work harder on my MFA course (since it is self-paced, I can choose the number of classes I take at a period in time).
I was also working more consistently on my stories. I made a promise to myself that I will write or edit or revise at least 500-1000 words every day. I still do this every weekday and on most weekends.
I think while I was journalling about the success in my writing career, my subconscious mind was juicing up the conscious part of my brain to act in the same direction.
Right after we wake up, our brains are most susceptible to suggestions because we are fresh out of seven to eight hours of rest.
Another interesting fact I learned was that our brains don’t understand the difference between fiction and reality.
So, if you’re writing things in the present tense and then feeling how you’d feel if you achieved all those, it convinces your brain that you have those things already.
If you’re already an established author, then it is only natural that you’ll take your writing seriously, no? I guess that’s why I grew more focussed.
Then came the book that had the biggest impact on my life so far.
I came across Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself on Scribd. I’m sure it was the Universe talking through the app. :)
Dr. Dispenza’s book explains, with the help of quantum physics and neuroscience, how we can literally change our entire beings, give up on our negative conditionings, and become the person we are aspiring to be.
In order to change our negative conditionings and embrace our desired selves, he proposes a meditation that takes around one hour and ten mins to finish. I was like, “Are you kidding me? Where do I get this much of time on top of the morning routine I already do?”
But I’m guessing Dr. Dispenza is experienced with such excuses.
Maybe, that’s why he tells us to begin with one part of the meditation and do it for a week before progressing to week 2... this goes on till week 4.
So, week 1 is 29 mins, week 2 is 34 mins, week 3 lasts for around 47 mins, and week 4 is the full thing.
Once I started, I felt so good inside that I just couldn’t stop.
Never have I ever been this excited to wake up at 5.40 am in Delhi’s chilly winters! But it wasn’t only the meditation that was making me happy.
(Image Source: Unsplash)
The meditation+journaling+visualization routine was magic!
I got a long-term freelance job, which paid as much as I’d asked for in my journal.
And then the strangest thing happened, I actually got a publishing deal in a matter of two months of journaling my goal of becoming a published author!
I also got selected in the reading team of an internationally reputed literary magazine.
Some of my stories got published by wonderful literary magazines.
One of them won the second prize in an international flash fiction competition.
I’m not saying that all these happened because I started waking early. They happened because I woke up and literally started scripting my life on my own terms!
I meditated with an open heart for changing my negative mindset: my fear-based conditioning, my scarcity mentality, my petty thoughts, my insecurities, my jealousies, my inner judgemental narrative.
I made a conscious effort to become the person I’ve always aspired to be.
I shifted my mindset from “I’m not enough,” to “I have everything that I need to live the life of my dreams and to be of service to others.”
My life changed because of this.
And if you’re thinking it’s only material gains, then you’re wrong.
My biggest achievement was getting through my detrimental anxiety.
Some days, my anxiety would be so paralyzing that I’d not be able to do a single thing, and then I’d end up hating myself for being worthless.
I am not saying that my anxiety has vanished, but now I know how to sit beside my anxiety, stroke it’s head, and let it know that whatever it is thinking is probably not true and we’ll get through this together. :)
The fact is, I’m seeing these intangible benefits significantly in my life.
For example, recently, after being diagnosed with stage 1 rheumatoid arthritis, my first thought wasn’t helplessness.
Instead of thinking about how I will exercise anymore (I have been consistently exercising for over a decade), I went through YouTube and found knee-friendly workouts and created a playlist. :)
You are NOT a victim unless you choose to be one.
The choice is always yours.
That's why you need a morning routine...to consciously choose a life of your desires, rather than being pushed and pulled by the external turmoils that life throws at you.
I’m not suggesting you wake up two hours before the rest of the household like I do.
Just take out half an hour for yourself?
Start your day with something you truly enjoy doing.:
Sip on some lemon water and write in your journal.
Walk for 15 mins.
Read for twenty mins.
Listen to two of your favorite songs while lightly moving your body.
Write a few things you’re grateful for.
(Image Source: Unsplash)
Give your brain some space to wriggle around rather than being pulled by the external world at the first go with social media/mails/news and other such unhealthy stimulants.
And if possible, read the two books I recommended here and adopt a part or the full routine I described here. I can guarantee you that your waking early will be worth it!
I cannot emphasize how my morning routine literally transformed me, almost like Cinderella’s fairy godmother, only my transformation is deeper than merely changing into a ball gown. :)
Let me know what you think of my morning routine, and whether you too have one or are inspired to adopt one after reading this.