World Class Habits: Morning and End of Day Rituals

CC License - Howard Lebowitz "Sunrise"

CC License – Howard Lebowitz “Sunrise”

Slamming the alarm clock and groaning is one way to start the day. Crawling into bed bleary-eyed and jittery is another way to finish it.

I want neither!

I want to skip out of bed full of energy and happiness, and I want to sink into bed blissed-out and smiling at the end of the day. Both are possible without Pollyanna or drugs.

How you start and finish your day frames what happens in between. If we’re to be world-class leaders, we need to adopt world-class habits. Tony Robbins has a rigorous morning routine that he calls the ‘power hour’ – it involves exercise, setting goals for the day and eating a nourishing breakfast. Craig Ballantyne has the ‘5am club’ – this is where you get up at 5am, exercise, do your best work, and have an energising breakfast. Robin Sharma also swear by the early morning, intention-setting, exercise-getting routines.

So if it’s good enough for the Big Fellas, it’s good enough for us Big Fellas too.

Morning and evening rituals are critical.

Some DO’s: Tips for Start of Day

  • Meditation/reflective practice in a journal/prayer
  • Set intentions for the day – how do you want to experience the day? What do you want to create? How do you want to feel?
  • Physical activity – move your body! You will gain energy and feel grounded.
  • Drink a glass of water with lemon juice. This not only hydrates but paradoxically encourages alkalinity in the body.
  • Eat the healthiest breakfast possible. Some guidelines: fresh and raw is best, protein is great. Minimise refined carbs like those found in pretty much all cereals and toast. My fave brekkies: green smoothie with spinach, berries, almond milk, chia seeds. Eggs, veggies and oats.
Some DON’Ts: Start of Day
  • Are you checking emails FIRST thing? This is a tremendously addictive habit – we are looking for that little hormonal surge of happiness when something ‘important’ hits our inbox and gives us a sense of success. Don’t be reactive – create your own sense of success based on your own actions, your own reflections – not the whims of email correspondence.
  • Listening to news (as you wake). Seriously, that stuff is full of grim horror. Fill your mind with something more uplifting – like beautiful art, photos, or inspiring readings.
  • Chocolate/caffeine/alcohol/nicotine – Stimulants to shock your system into action leads to adrenal fatigue. Have some water and something to eat first before you go anywhere near some stimulants. And really, try and minimise and avoid these. Your whole nervous system will get a chance to repair and relax.
Some DO’s: End of day
  • Do shut off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime and keep them away from the bedside table (I sooo struggle with this one – I love some good historical fiction on my ipad!).
  • Dim the lights for 30 minutes beforehand. This activates melatonin to help you sleeeeeeep.
  • Do some sort of reflective practice (journaling/prayer/meditation) – gratitude or appreciation. Tony Robbins said, “A life worth living is a life worth recording.” I rather think a life worth living is a life worth reflecting on – you get to savour the juicy bits all over again.
Some Don’ts: End of Day
  • Late night snacking – the food will just sit in your gut, sluggish. 
  • Stimulating drinks – like caffeine! Bed time is the time for ease, to slow down, and relaxxxxxxx.
  • Alcohol within one hour of bedtime. Alcohol disturbs sleep and makes you dehydrated. You’ll start the next day behind the 8 ball.
  • Mental stimulation: avoid tv, books, movies that get your heart racing, or are very vivid. It will take you much longer to fall asleep and may disturb your sleep as well.

Where do your rituals need upgrading? What habits do you have that you reckon are world class?

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