“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” ~ Charles Kettering
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Welcome to 2020 the year of new beginnings!
Ah January, how we love your fresh new start. New Year’s Day leads off with a bang, giving us all the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin again.
January is named after the Roman god Janus. Janus’ superpower was he could see the past and the future at the same time. He is the god of new beginnings and transitions. That’s why this year must be Janus’ favorite, because 2020 is the number we give the power of clear vision AND perfect hindsight.
As you may already know I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because they don’t work long-term. According to U.S. Newsby mid-February 80% of those who set New Year’s resolutions have fallen off the bandwagon and given up.
So why the steep drop off? Because we use New Years as this big resolution time where we commit to sweeping changes in our lives. We put a lot of stress on ourselves to make grand changes just because the calendar changed over. Often this type of grand life makeover is too much to sustain.
Instead why don’t we use every moment as a chance to start again. With each new minute we have the opportunity to think a new thought, take a new action, have a new reaction. New Year’s Day isn’t the one and only time we get every year to create a fresh start.
In honor of 2020 I want to give you 20 morning rituals you can use every day to create a new start in your life. Look over this list as see which ones speak to you as a way to make this year the new beginning you’ve been waiting for.
Do Yoga– Take some time to slowly get in touch with your body. Loosen up your muscles and release tension. This will improve your flexibility and build muscle strength. Yoga also increases your blood flow and ups your immune system.
Exercise– Get your blood pumping and those endorphins flowing! It doesn’t matter whether your routine is short or long, or whether you walk, run, swim, kickbox, or sweat to the oldies. It only matters that you create a routine that works best for you.
Drink a Full Glass of Water– You are dehydrated. Not only has it been 8 hours since you had fluid, I can almost bet you didn’t have enough water yesterday or the day before that. Drinking a full glass of water first thing is reported to clear up your skin, flush out toxins, and up your metabolism.
Drink a Cup of Hot Water with Lemon– Lemon juice is high in Vitamin C which helps stimulate your digestive system, helps flush out fat, and helps boost your immune system. Consider swapping that first cup of coffee with this tasty drink and see what wonderful things it does for you.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast– Your body is an engine that needs the best possible fuel. Skipping breakfast or eating high sugary foods torpedoes your energy and mental clarity. Whatever your eating plan, make a great breakfast part of every day.
Breathe– There are many different types of breathing techniques. Some are used for relaxation and some are used to energize. Pick one you want to master and practice it every morning. If you want to rev up your morning routine then try the Bellows Breath technique. You inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose while keeping your mouth closed yet relaxed. Your inhales and exhales should be short but equal in duration. Try for three in-and-out cycles per second. This quick breathing makes the diaphragm look like a bellow, which is how it got its name. Do this rapid breathing for about 15 seconds at first and then breath normally. You can increase your cycle by 5 seconds increments until you can do this for a minute.
Write in Your Gratitude Journal– focusing on gratitude first thing shapes your day. You get off to a great mental start. It doesn’t have to be a marathon session – just write 3 new things that you are grateful for every morning. This will have a lasting effect because you will spend your day looking for wonderful things you can write down the next morning.
Write Morning Pages– Morning Pages are an exercise created by Julia Cameron. They are a stream-of-consciousness process that clears your mind every morning. Here is how she describes it, “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages – they are not high art. They are not even ‘writing.’ They are aboutanything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyesonly. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just putthree pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Notice Your First Thought– Notice that first thought you are consciously aware of. Is it positive? Is it negative? By being aware of what is typically your automatic, unconscious thought process you can uncover and upgrade the self-sabotaging thinking you were using to frame your day.
Script Your Day– Take a few minutes and write out exactly how you would like your day to go. Have a big meeting? Write out how you want it to go. Going on a sales call? Write out exactly what you want to hear from your new client. When consistently applied this practice has the power to surprise and amaze you! Try it for yourself and see.
Keep a Dream Journal– Your dreams are a window into your unconscious mind. They are rich in symbolism and messages. By recording your dreams you will be able to remember and capture the information that was made available to you. You can even ask a question right before going to sleep and then record the communication you received overnight.
Write Down 10 New Ideas– This exercise primes the pump. The more you do it the more freely information flows to you. It’s like stretching exercises for your mind. Don’t edit, don’t censor, just write. If it helps categorize your ideas, like 10 new business ideas, 10 books I want to read, 10 places I’d love to visit, or 10 people I’d love to interview.
Cultivate Mindfulness– As you go through your morning routine be mindful. Pay attention to each tooth while you brush. Give thanks for all the hands that it took to provide you with your food. Focus on each bite as you eat your breakfast. Slow down and pay attention to the present moment.
Stay on Purpose– Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, had a profound morning ritual. He’d look in the mirror and ask himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” He said if the answer was no too many days in a row he knew he needed to make some changes. Ben Franklin used to ask himself, “What good shall I do this day?” You have a unique contribution to make so keep focused on your purpose so every day will be a great day.
Meditate– Take 10-20 minutes and quiet your mind. Notice your thoughts and intentionally let them float by without grasping at them. Accept whatever experience you have as the right one for you. This process will calm your nervous system and lower your stress. Remember, the goal isn’t not having thoughts, it’s learning how to watch your thoughts as they flow in and out. This disassociation is how you create your calming benefits.
Set an Intention– Decide your intention or theme for the day. Write it down. Post it where you can see it throughout the day; this will keep your intention top of mind. You can either be at the mercy of daily events or you can choose how you want to craft your day. It’s up to you.
Create a Personal Mantra– This is another way to create your daily attitude. Focus on a phrase that informs how you want to show up throughout your day. Mantra’s like, “It’s all good”, “I’ve got this”, or “I am grateful to be here right now” all keep you in the flow of positive energy.
Send a Thank You Note– This is a quick practice that brightens some else’s day and gets you in the mindset of gratitude. It can be an actual note or an email. Set a goal to send two a day. Send them to coworkers, family members, friends, baristas, really anyone will do!
Connect with Nature– Open the blinds and welcome the morning. Give thanks for having another day. Go for a walk and drink in the energy of nature. You could even walk through your backyard or talk to your houseplants. Make it point to appreciate the beauty and serenity of nature.
Appreciate Yourself– Spend a few minutes looking at yourself in the mirror. Give yourself your full attention and say out loud three or four things you love about yourself. Intentionally create a self-dialogue that encourages, compliments, and appreciates you.
These rituals open up possibilities and give you the opportunity to choose to intentionally craft your life on a daily basis. So, if you fall off the bandwagon please know that your next opportunity is only a few hours away.