I take my mornings very seriously. I subscribe to the idea that whoever wins the morning, wins the day.
I actually have had to discipline myself to take a few minutes when I get home before I start getting ready for the next day, because I was becoming a little obsessive about the next morning.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was in elementary school, I was a terrible student and came to school genuinely unprepared. When I reached seventh-grade, things changed for me. My school was full of tough guys so I learned that it was in your best interests to be more conventional in your approach to school. In addition, my Mom died that year which perhaps fostered changes in me that I likely didn’t even know.
But it was something that seemed almost accidental at the time that made for the biggest change. I was in my homeroom when report cards were given out. Mind you, reports cards had been a source of embarrassment for me before this. I was looking at mine and the kid next to me leaned over and said, “Look, you made Honor Roll.” “What?” “Honor Roll. You see the ‘HR’ there?”
Indeed, without knowing what it was or really trying, I had distinguished myself for something other than excessive talking. From that time on, I realized that doing well was actually the better path to travel.
To make a long story short, one of the by-products of this experience was that I actually prepared for the school day. Each evening, I would put a blue bag with my gym clothes beside the door. (I also took my sports very seriously.) And I would stack up my books (with homework done, also a new thing!) so they would be ready the next morning.
I still have the same ritualistic preparation each evening, sometimes driving my wife to distraction. More importantly, however, I prepare myself and execute my mornings with great care:
- The morning actually starts the night before. I get to bed early so I’ll be as rested as I can. And if I can’t get to sleep early, I give myself a pep talk that one night of bad sleep will not wreck the next day.
- I listen to something positive when I get up. Even when there’s the daily drama on the news, I try to resist and listen to something motivational.
- I exercise, usually a Pure Barre class or a run, which have the almost contradictory experience of being simultaneously social, physical, and meditative. In any case, I finish up before 7:00 A.M. feeling affirmed.
- When I get in, I write down my goals for the day. This is, in essence, a To Do list but I also include items that will help me carry out my mission in life.
By the time I am called upon by others, I am fully ready. Mornings dictate the tenor of the day, and the days dictates the tenor of our lives.