When I was seven, I had an older cousin named Gene Wright who was in the Navy. I Iooked up to him because not only did he seem to know a lot, he also wore those cool Navy uniforms. One day, Gene taught me how to make a bed the Navy way. He walked me through the steps of making the bed, including how to tuck the corners with a military tuck so the sheets were so taut you could bounce a quarter off of them.
Gene let me know that in addition to having a well-made bed, the ritual of making the bed came with other benefits. In guru-like fashion he said, “When you make your bed, you lay the foundation to make your day.” That is to say, it sets up your day to go in a positive direction. At the time, I thought it was just a trick to get me to make my bed every day. My cousin has since passed away, but the practice stuck with me. It is part of my daily ritual to make my bed every day (well, most days).
There is power in rituals. In don Jose Ruiz’s book, The Wisdom of the Shamans, he notes, “Rituals are helpful because they are a physical expression of [our] inward desire.” A study of very successful and accomplished people found that nearly all of them have morning rituals or habits to help lay the foundation for a successful day. If we create enough successful days in a row, they eventually add up to a successful life.
Here are some of the morning rituals successful people follow that are worth considering:
Exercise. In 2 Corinthians 6:16 it says, "For we are the temple of the living God!” That being the case, we ought to take care of that temple. Accomplished people do so by exercising daily, often first thing in the morning. When we make even a simple seven-minute workout a daily ritual, it releases the brain’s feel-good transmitters, reduces stress and allows us to start the day rejuvenated, energetic and with an unobstructed mind.
Write. Many accomplished and successful people begin their day by following a ritual known as “Morning Pages.” This ritual entails filling up at least three pages with stream of consciousness ion-hand writing as soon as you wake up. It is a way to increase focus and unlock the creative potential within us.
Motivate with self-talk. Steve Jobs, the cofounder of Apple, had a simple and effective morning self-talk ritual. While looking in the mirror, he would ask, "If today were the last day of my life, what would I want to do and am I about to do it today?" If he answered “no” too many days in a row, it was a sign that something needed to change in his life. Similarly, Benjamin Franklin’s morning ritual included the question, "What good shall I do this day?" Such a question can help us stay motivated to work toward our goals and lay the foundation for a purpose-filled day.
Meditate. This practice is probably one of the most important to lay the foundation for a great day. “Don’t leave home without it.” Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity and a modern-day American noted, “All power is found in the silence, everything else is nothing more than evidence of a spent vibration.” This ritual stills the mind of the dense thoughts that we often pick up from the outside world.
Eat healthy. Highly evolved and successful people often conclude their morning rituals with a nutritious breakfast. We do not need to be experts on engines to know they don’t work without fuel. Our bodies are the same way.
These are just a sampling of rituals we can incorporate in our daily lives to help lay the foundation for a great day. So “Seize the Day” by making one or more of these rituals part of your routine and witness how they set you up for an extraordinary day.
Peace and Blessings,