by Dr. Wendy O'Connor, Positive Psychologist + Life Strategist for Women

Master Your Morning

Ladies, the world is constantly tugging at us for something. Anything. Everything. I want you to start putting on your oxygen mask before you open yourself up to the needs of others (yes, this includes your children). So, I share with you my 5-step morning routine that gifts me the opportunity to feel taken care of before I say yes to the rest of the world.

First and foremost, you are done snoozing. No more snooze button, ladies. You are done with that. You will set your alarm (if you need to) for a time that you will commit to rise. That's it, easy peasy. Did you know that people who wake up early procrastinate less than people who stay up late? Did you know that the best way to live a happy, successful life is through your daily habits? There are two reasons right there to begin a morning ritual.

Let me share with you exactly how I practice my morning ritual. Sometimes they're not in this order, some morning rituals are as short as 10 minutes, and usually no longer than 45 minutes. Please feel encouraged to include the parts that resonate with you and skip the pieces that don't. Remember, we are rigid with our goals but flexible with how we get there.

1) Movement

I begin the day with one of three types of movement: stretching, yoga, or spin. You can choose any type of movement you want but movement helps your body wake up, helps you tune into the needs of your body, and helps us feel energized. On some mornings I have an intentionally vigorous workout (spin) as my movement and other mornings I stretch my body and nurture it in a more gentle way. You choose what supports you best.

2) Thank you + Intentions

After I awaken my body, I create a moment of gratitude. This is different from the gratitude practice that I engage in at night, this part of my morning ritual consists of naming one thing I am thankful for right now. I might say that I am thankful for a good night’s sleep or early morning snuggles with my daughters, or I might say thank you for no aches or pains in my body, or thank you for a sunny morning to wake up to. Then I set my intention. I choose ONE intention every morning, and mine are in the form of I am or I will. For example, I might say I am strong, I am brave, I am patient, I am at peace. Or, I might set an intention about how I wish to show up today. I might say I will speak kindly to myself, I will bring my fear with me as I go for my goals, I will look for the positive throughout the day. Setting intentions allows you to give yourself guidance about the person you want to be. Who do you want to be today? Name it.

3) Meditation + Visualization

Many women I’ve worked with have expressed feeling intimidated by meditation, and I get it. The idea that you will sit silently and create emptiness in your head seems like an impossible task. I want to debunk the myth that meditation is practiced one way. I love meditation, but I love it because I have made it my own. I don’t sit cross-legged in silence clearing my mind of all thoughts. I pull up Insight Timer (free app on your phone) and pick a 5 minute meditation to start my day. Today I did two meditations- one was a poem about being that woman who choses to ‘let go’, and one was a beautiful talk on living aware and grateful. Start small, start easy. No more than 5 minutes at first. This practice centers me and calms my mind as I begin my day.

Visualization has become one of my favorite parts of my morning routine. It is about aligning with your vision, your dreams, your ideal self and ideal life. It is about closing your eyes and picturing your dreams as if they are already true. If you desire landing your dream job I want you to picture it. I want you to imagine exactly where this job is located, what you are wearing to work on your first day, who is around you, what tasks you will (and will not) be doing. Bring your dreams to life in your mind. Connecting your dreams with a visual component makes them more real and keeps them top of mind throughout the day. The more you imagine, think about, and generate the positive emotions that go along with these thoughts, the more likely it is that you will engage in action to support the dream. Keep dreaming ladies, each and every morning!

4) Read

So this is my favorite part of my morning routine. I love the luxurious, self-indulgent feel of reading before the kids wake up. It feels like a guilty pleasure, but without the guilt. It is amazing. Some mornings I choose books that inspire me, lift me up, educated me, fill me with promise and excitement for my life. Other mornings I read fiction, something completely absolutely unrelated to my life, and that feels like a lovely break. Imagine that, a break before the day even begins! Perfection. Choose an article, a book, poems, anything that you would like to start your day thinking about.

5) Plan

The most practical part of my morning ritual is planning out my day. Now remember, I start my planning the night before. It just gives me peace of mind to end the day knowing what the big events or obligations are for tomorrow. Then when I wake up and plan there is less to wrap my head around. It’s simpler this way. I take out my Daily Wellness Journal and write down my schedule for the day. Once I’m finished with that I look for the breaks or openings in my day. A few minutes here, an hour there, and I first remind myself how I initially thought that time was unavailable to me. That my day was so busy I couldn’t come up for air, when in reality I see opportunities to get my needs met. Whether my need is to run an errand, sit quietly with a cup of tea, catch up on notes, make a call, book an appointment. I insert the tasks and ideas from my to-do and self-care lists and fit them in as if they are their own, non-negotiable appointments.

That’s it ladies! I want you to see how designing your mornings contributes to designing your happiness. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, how we design our days is what matters most. Don’t miss out on tips, tricks, or upcoming workshops and events. Make sure you download my free Weekly Wellness Planner and follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

I would love to hear from you. I invite you to send me ideas for topics that you could really benefit from learning about, and to find out more about my 1:1 signature program, Your Life By Design.