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Five ways to start your day with focus and purpose
Five ways to start your day with focus and purpose
I have always been the type to need my alone time or “me” time. Literally for as long as I can remember, having time to my-self was essential on many levels. Most notably, in my teens I was less than easy to be around if I did not have time for me. As I have grown, I have also developed an understanding of myself and who I truly am. Now my “Alone Time” is spent productively in specific ways.
I am privy to those moments of weakness where excuses inundate every fiber of my being. We are all capable of being “lazy”. However, when I am too “lazy” to make time for myself I suffer, and possibly others too. Making time for my-self is crucial to my overall mood, motivation, and productivity.
I comprised a list of five ways I like to start my day. Each requires a minimum amount of time and effort. They do require active choice, or your choice to be active (mind, body or spirit).
1. The activity I do most frequently in the mornings is Yoga or light stretching. I will do Yoga anywhere from 20-60 minutes, depending on whether I will be doing resistance training that day or just cardio. Stretching, I complete most days and do so for 15 – 20 minutes. I have all the essential (not required) Yoga tools like a Yoga mat, balance block, and Yoga dvd or Time Warner Cable – Fitness On Demand. You may also choose to take a Yoga class. These are great, but will require more time (drive to class, take class, drive home or to work, etc. from class). I also have tools I use for stretching such as a Yoga Strap, Fitness Ball, Foam Roller, and Fitness Mat. Of course, you can stretch without these tools, but they are great for targeting specific areas. This makes me feel more flexible, as well as have more flexible and expanded thoughts throughout my day.
2. When I really want to boost my energy level and get my heart rate up I choose to do cardio in the morning. This may consist of walking, jogging, running, and even dancing. Sometimes I do a combination of all four. Nothing motivates me more than great music. While most people use mp3 devices, I prefer Pandora on my cell phone. There are so many new ways to customize your music, and you may hear groovy music that you otherwise may not download. Just 20 – 30 minutes of cardio is vital to feeling better and to help me get up and go!
3. When I am feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty getting “out of my own head” I prefer to meditate or do deep breathing exercises. This helps me to truly focus and feel balanced. When I meditate I like to use my balance ball and either Yoga or Fitness Mat. I lay down my mat and I place the ball under my legs, which relieves any pressure on my back. I stretch my arms out to the side, close my eyes, focus on my breathing, and relax. You can do this in complete silence or utilize tranquil music. Again Pandora is a great resource, but I also have a Feng Shui CD that I use. For breathing exercises I also utilize my mat and ball. I sit straight up on my ball, find and maintain balance then begin a breathing regimen. You can do this for as few as five minutes or however long you choose. I have found that if I do either for more than 20 minutes at a time all my thoughts begin to creep back in and I have to refocus. Practice makes perfect and most people struggle with just being “still”.
4. I am a personal growth junkie, so any excuse to read new information to expand my mind is a welcome one. Reading is by far one of my favorite things to do. This has not always been the case, but over the past decade I have collected quite an array of personal growth books. I watch movies for fiction and utilize the expertise of my husband for non-fiction. At any one point in time I am reading two to three books. If I get bogged down in one place or just feel the need to focus on a different area of personal growth, I begin a new book. I switch between the books until I finish one or more. As I do finish, I add another into the rotation. Books that I really love, I read multiple times and I am absolutely amazed at the new information I find when I do. Not because I was not paying attention the first time, but because I was paying attention to what spoke to me in that moment. When I read the book the next time, I may need to focus on a different aspect. For instance when reading the Book Supercoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone's Life by Michael Neill, the first time I was looking for general information on how to become a Supercoach. When I read it the second time, I spent more time diligently going through the exercises to find answers. Regardless of what book genre you choose, the importance is to read because you enjoy it.
5. Finally, I like to begin my day briefly thinking about what I am grateful for. I spend more time on this in the evening before going to bed. You can think about it to yourself, say it out loud or even journal. Whichever works best for you, I do a little of each. I find that I am more consistent and it is easier to complete when I wake up in the morning.
Before I even open my eyes or begin to get out of the bed, I focus on being grateful. Grateful for a wonderful nights’ sleep, my warm and cozy bed, and my husband for not snoring (check out my blog on Gratitude for more things I am grateful for). I even begin to envision my day as I want it to be. Thinking of what I want to achieve and where I want to be at the conclusion of my day. This helps me to really focus my thoughts and prevents me from wasting time doing mundane tasks that do not benefit me.
These are great tools any time of the day, but I find they work best for me in the morning. When thinking of starting a routine, assess which time of day works best for you and with your schedule. Finding time for you is vital in helping you achieve and maintain happiness. Whether you choose one or all the ways I get focused, you should feel better overall and find clarity and peace of mind. Wising you abundant happiness and peace of mind!
Five ways to start your day with focus and purpose:
1. Yoga or Stretching
2. Walking, jogging, running, and dancing
3. Meditation or Deep Breathing Exercises
5. Thinking about what you are grateful for?