I’ve been able to recognize six distinct behavior patterns among those who possess robust health and a joyful attitude in the morning. When you install these six habits, I believe that you, too, will begin to feel fantastic in your own body when you wake up and start each day.
by Dane Findley
1. Guide Your First Thoughts of the Day toward Positivity
Everyone has an internal dialogue – the random chatter of thoughts that occur throughout the day.
There is a connection between what the dialogue sounds like inside your head, and what happens to you in your external life.
The more positive the dialogue, the better you feel.
- When you wake up in the morning, are you incentivized?
- After opening your eyes, do you lunge out of bed with enthusiasm and joy?
The key to having a fantastic rest of your life is to have an abundance of fantastic days.
And the key to having a fantastic day is to have a fantastic morning.
The key to having a fantastic morning is to awaken within a body and attitude that are primed.
However you happen to define success, you can increase that success by guiding those thoughts that play inside your head toward only the most positive.
This is especially important in the morning, as the thoughts with which you begin your day have a way of creating momentum – they can determine that day’s experiences.
It’s not that you can’t create any success via the negative route: plenty of fortunes have been made – and power acquired – via bombastic methods. But success is more than just money and power; it’s also presence and fantastic health. My own life experience has taught me that good health is attracted to positivity.
In his book The Law of Attraction, author Michael Losier tackles this notion in vibrational terms. He explains that a positive inner dialogue leads to a giving off of positive vibrations. And positive vibrations attract positive outcomes.
The healthier the chatter is inside your mind, the healthier your outer life will become.
I encourage you to start paying attention to your inner dialogue. Begin to focus on more positive thought-processes. You might be amazed at the impact it has on your productivity, too.
How aware are we of our own internal dialogue?
Though many of us can appreciate that positive thoughts tend to lead to more positive circumstances, there still remains the actual practice of increasing our mindfulness of those thoughts as they randomly occur.
In meditation, they call it “watching the watcher,” because by learning to objectively witness your self-talk as it occurs and giving it a label (“oh, that’s my inner-critic talking…” “that’s my rebel talking…”), you can start to switch to more encouraging types of self-talk.
The process becomes simple, once you learn how to do it.
You can consciously:
- observe your negative thoughts only long enough to identify them
- then quickly guide your thoughts to what you feel grateful for, and what you admire most about yourself.
Among the most powerful of positive thoughts is: forgiveness.
Each of us, at one time or another, feels let down by someone, yet hanging on to resentment can be harmful to us in the long run.
Two visualizations that I have found useful in helping me to forgive are:
- to wish for the other person that they have the opportunity to experience deep and authentic love
- to imagine that the person will have the opportunity to sense with crystal-clarity how the Universe experiences his or her energy – not how I experience their energy, but how the Universe-at-Large does.
Does this mean you can improve your own health by simply believing that you can?
Even if you’re skeptical, let’s pretend that it does. Act as if positive thoughts increase your chances of a positive outcome. Look at it as an experiment and see what happens.
Positive thinking can even be helpful when it comes to getting fit – especially in midlife and post-midlife (when getting fit and changing long-entrenched habits can seem especially daunting).
If you happen to be over the age of 50 and are trying to get back into fantastic shape know that, yes, it is challenging. But also know that, yes, it is very possible. People do it all the time.
When you find yourself feeling skeptical (or frustrated because you find yourself slipping into old habits) the inner affirmation can be, “I am in the process of becoming more fit because improving my health is important to me.”
This process will be easier once you’ve had The Epiphany. There is a point in your life when it finally dawns on you that nothing is more important than your physical health.
At first, you might think it’s your family that’s most important to you, but once you think it through more fully, you realize that you can’t take care of your loved ones if you yourself have no energy for life.
You might already know that your good health is the foundation upon which you build everything else that truly matters. Before 50, many of us only realize this intellectually.
As we pass age 50, however, we realize it on a whole new level.
It hits us, bone-deep.
What we say to ourselves – inside our minds – makes a difference.
Your success – including your health – increases exponentially, when you eliminate negative self-talk and think more positive thoughts.
If you train your mind to do this, you will have unlocked one of the keys on how to be prosperous, in every sense of the word.
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2. Optimize Your Schedule to Make Room for More Self-Care
There actually are enough hours in the week to do what you need to do.
There are 168 hours in each week, and that means that you probably have more time than you think.
168 is a lot of hours. In those many hours, you can earn income, spend quality time with your family and friends, and do all of your self-care and health protocols – including exercise.
Yes, it can be done. However, it requires one thing: preparation.
If you’d like to try optimizing your own schedule, then the first – and perhaps most helpful – question to ask yourself, is simply: am I a morning person, or a night person?
Most people tend to slightly favor one time of the day over the other, in terms of their physical energy and mental clarity (even if only by a small margin).
First you must know what your “peak” time of day is, that way you can leverage it to your maximum benefit.
Reading David & Dane’s Quality of Life Newsletter has become part of my weekly routine. It helps me to focus on managing my time, energy and nutrition. It’s like my ‘reset’ button. I can tell you that it’s changed the quality of my life in ways I never imagined and I’m certain it will do the same for you.” — Angela Porisky-Khan
One of my primary goals during my recent 4:15 Experiment (30 consecutive days of waking up super early) was to integrate exercise more consistently into my weekly schedule. I found, for me, that early mornings are definitely advantageous to accomplishing this goal.
On days I traveled to the gym, early hours helped me avoid much of the traffic (that L.A. is famous for), reducing my round trip drive time from 2 hours, to only 30 minutes.
I also saved time by getting my exercise in before work. I used to try to slip out of the office in the early afternoon for a quick lunch-hour workout, but I found I was showering, dressing and prepping for work two times, instead of one, which was very inefficient (when you add cufflinks, necktie, vest, etc., to the equation, it just gets a bit ridiculous from a time-perspective).
A good way to optimize your schedule is to create a time budget – by doing a mock-up of your “ideal” calendar:
- First, just scribble down on paper – quickly, without over-thinking it – everything that you would fit into a perfect week. Let’s say that your fantasy is to do one yoga class a week, one outdoor run, one CrossFit class – any appointment that you can think of that you want to do each week.
- Next, start with a blank 7-day calendar and block out the times you work and the times you sleep. This calendar represents your “typical week” (just use any calendar application, such as the one that came with your computer, to do the mock-up). Remember: it’s for standing, reoccurring appointments only — don’t use your real calendar.
- Then fit in any other standing appointments too, such as helping your kids with their homework, your weekly farmers market, etc.
- Finally, start taking those exercise sessions from your wish list and start dropping them into available time slots within you 7-day standing appointments calendar.
This calendar represents your time budget.
Any blank spaces left available means you can create even more self-care appointments (“meet John at the stadium steps for our weekly climbing workout”).
On the other hand, if you have more appointments than you have blank spaces, then you’ll need to prioritize (If you really want to dive even more deeply into this process of optimizing your schedule, check out Laura Vanderkam’s book You Have More Time Than You Think).
Take a Fresh Look at Your Own Productivity Style
The bottom line is this: longevity requires self-care.
And self care requires time and energy.
Efficiency systems – or productivity tools – are the key to freeing up the time and energy necessary for self-care. Efficiency can also be integrated into the self-care protocols themselves, freeing up even more time to spend with your friends and loved ones.
You can use productivity systems to leverage your success in these two ways:
- be more professionally competitive and get more done in a day than other professionals do, on average
- get more done in less time, creating more free time that you will then use to spend with your loved ones, or doing good-for-you stuff… like exercising.
Finding clever ways to improve your own personal productivity is a smart investment of your time.
3. Be Mindful of the Differences in How (and When) You Feel Fantastic
As you start experimenting with the first two steps, pay close attention to the short and longterm impact of these small changes that you’re making.
For example, when I first started making improvements in my schedule, I was able to exercise more, and then I began to notice that I was sleeping more deeply.first morning thoughts have momentum – they can influence the rest of your day Click To Tweet
I also felt like I was more focused while at my desk at work (so many of us have jobs that are more or less sedentary, and engaging in regular exercise helps bring balance to our lifestyle). I felt less stressed.
When we exercise our minds shift their focus from the mental to the physical – allowing us to clear our heads of all the anxious information and emotions that often cloud them.
Many of the articles, videos, and podcasts that I create for this site are designed specifically for your Stage 3, PREPARATION. This is the most crucial and most overlooked stage of permanent change.
…when people are not able to make changes stick, it has been proven that it’s most often because they skip stage 3: preparation”
How do you prepare? Where do you begin?
4. Take a Fresh Look at Your Own Relationships
A productive place to begin increasing your awareness is on your tribe – the people in your life – and I encourage you to reflect objectively on your relationships.
What I’ve learned, first-hand, is that prosperity springs from relationships. The more people you know and like, the more potential for money to enter your life.
Beware of counterfeit intimacy. Superficiality and isolation are two of our most discouraging and harmful habits.
Reconnecting with others improves health and prosperity.
We need that opportunity to develop records of trustworthiness with each other so that we can interdepend on each other.
It’s in our best interests to make the effort to reach out and connect with others, to be genuinely curious and interested in others’ feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
In my case, when my relationships improved, my net worth significantly increased. Also, my physical health improved dramatically. Quality social connections are a verified component of a long life expectancy.
Healthy relationships are an outstanding investment.
5. Revamp Your Morning Routine
It’s worthwhile to take a fresh and honest look at your typical morning routine and challenge yourself to make small improvements.
Mornings set the tone for the entire day:
- a beautifully organized morning tends to create a day of high productivity and abundant joy.
- a harried and frazzled morning tends to create a day of rushed appointments and higher stress.
Ultimately, when personal productivity is improved, relationships are deepened and prosperity is increased.
Why? Because it’s all about energy.
Few dynamics are more energy-depleting than habitual disorganization.
On the other hand, the more organized a person becomes and the more smoothly their morning routine flows, the more energy they will have left to devote to healthy relationships, self-care, and their highest-value and highest-return activities.
Go to Bed Early Each Night Whenever Possible
Each evening, the feeling of sleepiness tends to come in intermittent waves.
For most people, the first wave of sleepiness washes through sometime between 8:00-9:30pm.
Most people ignore this first wave – but what would happen if you honored this first wave, and used it to retire early?
I’ll tell you what would happen: you’d wake up early the next morning feeling fantastic and with more time to enjoy your morning routine and get a jump on your day.
In order for this to work, it’s best not to have any more coffee after 3pm (I’m not saying you wouldn’t fall asleep anyway, but would the quality of your sleep be as restful and restorative?).
Use a Quotidian Checklist for Your Morning Routine
While most checklists are used for “one-offs” (tasks that need doing only once), a quotidian checklist is a roster of your daily rituals. Included on this list are the items that, when feeling rushed, you might be tempted to skip, forget, or do out of their ideal sequence.
Tasks that are already built into your muscle-memory (“brush teeth”) are not included on this list.
IDEA: this list can be written in a Google Drive document that you keep on your computer and can print up a fresh copy each Sunday night for the week ahead, yet can also access on your smartphone app.
EXCEPTION: if you have children in your household under the age of 6, this perhaps will not work well. Though small children benefit from some structure, they are too soulful and in-the-moment to thrive under a strictly linear regimen. Instead, just enjoy your time with them, be present and take comfort knowing that when they’re a bit older, you’ll be able to implement more organization into your family’s daily life.
Instead, for households with very young children, an Accomplishment Whiteboard might be more appropriate:
Back in 2009, after babysitting twin infants, the above was one of my first productivity videos (before I lost all that weight – HaH!) about using a whiteboard to remember what you have to do and what comes next.
Establish Your Biggest Priorities for the Day
This particular priorities list can be much shorter, with as little as three items.
Determine which activities, if you completed them today, would give you the most positive return and write them down. Try to make at least one of those items revenue-producing, if you can.
Many of us have complicated relationships with our daily checklist of tasks – we ignore it, resent it… or we can’t find it!
You don’t have to use a checklist every single day for the rest of your life; however, it’s wise for everyone to have a favorite productivity system that they’re playing with and fine-tuning.
The reason that I’m such a big believer in the process of improving personal productivity is because I love free time and playtime. For that reason, when I work, I have to make the utmost of my time. Part of your morning routine should include clarifying for yourself what your three biggest of the priorities are for your day ahead.Making lists help you spill out the contents of your cluttered brain.Click To Tweet
Haven’t Been Successful Using a Checklist? Try Again
Everyone knows what it feels like to start a list and then set it aside and not use it. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t significant value in creating the list in the first place. And it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a fresh attempt.6 best ideas for a great morning routine.Click To Tweet
Trust the Morning Routine Process
Making lists help you spill out the contents of your cluttered brain so that you see with increased clarity. This process of list-writing quiets the mind and improves focus. Even if it turns out to be an outrageously long list (it’s not uncommon for CEOs to have to-do lists with 150 items on it), at least you know what needs to be done. That’s a good first step.
Be Phone-Free for the First Hour
Get through a significant portion of your Quotidian List before you let yourself look at your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The first hour of your morning must be entirely free from any computer activity. Once you get sucked into that black hole, you’ve lost a prime opportunity to build easy-momentum for the day ahead.
Hydrate Immediately After Waking
I’m astounded by the number of people who have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, before they’ve even had a tall glass of water. Your body is dehydrated after 8 hours of sleep, so please give it the nourishment that it needs. If you want to get fancy, you can alternate each morning between lemon water (room temperature water with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice stirred into it) or apple cider vinegar water (just rinse your teeth afterward so that the acids don’t harm your tooth enamel).
The question is not whether you are a productive person, the question is: how might you “gamify” your day so that you’re constantly increasing your feelings of accomplishment?
If you’re listening carefully to how your body feels after consuming that first tall glass of water right after waking, you’ll likely notice a positive improvement. This is a terrific way to prime your body for an enjoyable and productive day ahead.
Take 15 Minutes to Just ‘Be’
If you have children in your home, see if you can awaken before the rest of the household, and go sit somewhere comfortable and quiet. While seated, you can meditate, read your bucket list, look at your vision board, write in your gratitude journal, pray – or any type of contemplative, silent endeavor that allows you to look objectively at your life and celebrate your own human experience (for those of you who walk your dogs in the morning, you can take the quietest route and do a walking meditation).
Taking these 15 minutes of quiet contemplation will calm your mind and improve your focus for the entire day, especially if you do it each morning.
A better morning routine leads to an improvement in overall personal-productivity.
- which of these above methods are you already doing?
- which are you not doing but that you suspect might be worth trying?
- which person you know might benefit most from seeing this article?
- what hacks have you discovered for effective morning routines that are not listed here?
6. Take a Fresh Look at Your Own Vegetable Intake
Nutrition remains the easiest and most effective way to overhaul your own health.
More specifically, increasing your daily intake of vegetables can be absolutely transforming.
I know no better way of getting more of the right kind of vegetables into your body consistently than freshly made green smoothies.
The right recipes can help to take you from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced smoothie-making.
I recommend nutrient-dense, delicious recipes comprised of ingredients that are uniquely beneficial to your own body’s chemistry.
Though smoothie ingredients can cost a bit upfront, many last a long time; ultimately, green smoothies help me save money because I rarely eat out anymore.
And I no longer have to grab “emergency” food on the go when my blood sugar drops, because my blood sugar rarely drops unexpectedly any more. Green smoothies provide me with sustained energy.
It requires less time to make a green smoothie than it does eggs or oatmeal, especially when you factor in clean-up. Also, I don’t spend as much money on nutritional supplements, because I get many of them naturally now, from whole-food sources, within my green smoothies.
One of the key tricks to unlocking your longevity potential is to consume high amounts of dark leafy greens each day. Green smoothies provide an easy and delicious solution.
Key nutritional upgrades are an extremely intelligent investment of your time and energy.
- What one thing have you found most helpful for maintaining and developing fantastic health?
- Which friend would most find this article inspiring?
- What one healthy-living habit have you not yet tried, that you believe could make a significant difference?