Over the past few months I have been modelling something that I would like to share with you – rituals of going to bed and waking up.
I have been scouring books, blog posts, interviews, articles, podcasts and more to see if there is a common theme or strategy that ‘successful’ people use for their ending and beginning rituals.
And I purposefully put it that way around. At first, when I started my research I figured how a person started their day is what set them up for success. But no! It’s actually how they end their previous day! So lets start there!
I have actually been using some of these strategies for the past 3 weeks and I am going to share some of my findings with you. I’m not doing them all – just what fits for me. But, for you – I have distilled my findings down for you to 5 evening and morning rituals that will set you up for success all day long.
- Two Hour Turn Down – two hours before you plan to go to bed, start turning things down and off. Turn the TV volume down, turn your vocal volume down, turn the lights down, turn the screen brightness down. Quite a few people said they get their mind and body primed by making everything gets a little quieter. Even how they speak is quieter and slower.
- Devices & Work on Night Mode – an hour before you go to bed, turn your devices on night mode – ringers off – no more email, facebook, games. If you are working or studying, stop. TV and music was seen as a good way to wind down, but stop working or researching.
- Plan Your Day Ahead – Before you go into your bedroom look at your to-do list for tomorrow (or make one!). Add to it, priorities it and make sure you know which 5 items are non-negotiable for the next day. Successful people even have lists for the weekend days, holidays and believe it or not – their birthdays!
- Read for Fun – Most successful people read before they go to bed – but it isn’t reading to learn. No self-help books, scientific journals or text books. It was novels, stories and fiction.
- Gratitude – What are your grateful for? At the end of the day many people report that they take notice of what they are grateful or thankful for. Some people have a journal for this, others just think of 5 things, people or moments that day for which they are grateful. What a wonderful ritual before welcoming Mr. Sandman! I’ve found a great app for this –
- Gratitude Journal ~ the original by Happy Trapper
- Wake up Early – the majority of people I have modeled wake up at least an hour before they ‘start their day’. For most this is around 6am – but for some it is as early as 4am. I’m personally good with 6! A few tips I heard for making sure you are up early is to set your alarm somewhere away from your bed. I actually put mine in my bathroom so I have to physically get up to turn it off. While I’m there, I take care of a few other morning things and I’m up!
- Get Dressed & Watered Right Away– time and time again it was suggested that once your alarm goes off, drink a big glass of water to get yourself re-hydrated and put clothes on. These might be your workout clothes (see #4) or just not what you wore to bed. Some people take a shower and get dressed for the day as soon as they wake up. I’ve tried this a few times, and it put me into ‘work’ mode because my shower and dressing for work is anchored to my work state! Usually I put on my active ware!
- Silence/Meditation/Stillness/Mindfulness – there were so many terms for just ‘being’ for 5-10 minutes in the beginning of the day. Some folks are advocates of meditation, others still their mind by coloring, putting together a puzzle, putting away laundry, doodling or even journalling. I’ve found a great app/website for this:
- Calm by Calm.com
- Exercise & Movement – while there is some debate about what time of day a person should exercise for the most benefit, from what my research tells me – regardless of when a person gets most benefit, successful people tend to exercise in the morning. Their reasoning – to get it done! The exercise and physical movement spanned anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. It involved all kinds of activities including yoga, running, dance, weights, walking around the block, barre, stretches, situps, burpees or lunges in the living room. Now, I like this concept of just 10 minutes each day, but it seems most people did at least 30-60 minutes of exercise at least three times per week on average – the other days however started with 10 or so minutes of exercise like I’ve discussed. Personally, I love my yoga in the mornings! I do a quick 20 minute program from Giam or Yoga Today and another 2-3 times per week I go to the local yoga studio for a big workout!
- Journalling – a great beginning of the day routine I’ve seen over and over is journalling. This is different from gratitude, but it seems that it is in a very positive and focused way. People say they journal about the previous day, what happened, what they learned and what they’ll bring into today. They also write about their goals, dreams and desires for the future as a way to open up their mind and connections to all possibilities, not just the reality of today. I haven’t started this one yet, but I’ll be adding it into my morning ritual soon I’m sure!
For years I have had a second alarm ring for me on my iphone at 7:30am that is my anchor to start getting ready for work. I used to wake up around 6:30 and just do stuff. I checked facebook, emails, did other stuff and then when my alarm went off – that actually says “it’s time to do something” on the screen I would get ready.
NOW that alarm is really beneficial. I send 60-90 minutes on my morning ritual now before facebook, email or surfing! and my 7:30 alarm is a very helpful reminder and anchor to change states. For me, it is when this alarm goes off that I shower and get dressed for work, I check social media and emails and get my head into the next phase of the day.
I am absolutely loving my evening and morning rituals! I invite you to share some of your own in the comments below and adopt any of these that might work for you!