The Sacredness of Morning Rituals

Balance begins at the start of your day. What you do in the mornings sets the tone for the rest of your day. And in order to achieve any type of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, you need to make an appointment with yourself every morning to take care of the most important stuff first.

Mornings are sacred for me. It’s the time of the day when I’ve got the whole world to myself. I don’t have to respond to emails, tend to the kids, do any household chores, or any busy work that’s normally part of my day.

My kids wake up every day around 6:30am, so in order for me to have any morning rituals, I need to wake up much earlier than them. I normally wake up around 4:30am-5am and I’ve done this for the past year or so. Having around two hours to myself each and every day has allowed me to focus on the things that matter most to me.

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Here’s what my typical morning schedule looks like:

  • 4:30am – Wake up, without an alarm anymore. I go to sleep around 9-10pm every night.
  • 4:32am – Use the restroom.
  • 4:34am – Drink a full glass of water.
  • 4:35am – Make breakfast for myself. Breakfast everyday includes three hard boiled eggs (just eating one yolk of the three), toast, and coffee.
  • 5:00am – Eat breakfast by myself.
  • 5:15am – Use the restroom, and read part of a book or an article on my iPad.
  • 5:30am – Read the Bible.
  • 5:45am – Meditate and pray.
  • 6:00am – Make breakfast for my family. Oatmeal for my wife, cereal or toast for my kids, and a few slices of turkey bacon.
  • 6:15am – Pack up kids’ lunch boxes.
  • 6:30am – Kids wake up.
  • 6:45am – Wash dishes.
  • 7:00am – Help my kids get ready for school and get myself ready to leave the house.
  • 7:30am – Drop-off kids to preschool and Kindergarten.
  • 8:00am – Go for my morning run, which can last anywhere from half an hour to three hours. I’m currently training for the Honolulu Marathon in December 2014.

Once I get back from my run, I hydrate, eat another small breakfast, and take a shower. Then I write, which can take anywhere from ten minutes to three hours, depending on what I’m working on. After that, the law of diminishing returns goes into effect and I focus my efforts on checking my emails and social media, taking care of work stuff, and any errands I have for the day.

Mornings are my time to maximize my output when my brain and body are at their peak levels, refreshed and reenergized from a night of good sleep. It’s changed the way I live and significantly increased my happiness and contentment levels. My morning rituals start each of my days balanced, less stressed, and more prepared for anything that comes my way.

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Morning rituals become effective when you are:

  • Consistent: You do this everyday and you train your body and your mind to show up, no matter what. No excuses, just get it done.
  • Focused: Time is of the essence in the mornings, especially if you have kids or are trying to beat the morning traffic to work. Spreading your time and attention on emails, TV news, newspapers, Facebook, etc. will make you feel busy in the morning, but won’t allow you to actually get anything important done.
  • Purposeful: Mornings don’t become meaningful unless you fill it up with everything that matters to you. Make every moment count in the morning to the point where your mornings become sacred.

So I offer you an Action Challenge this week…

Wake up one hour before you normally wake up tomorrow morning, which would require you to go to sleep one hour before you normally go to sleep tonight. Set a schedule for yourself of what you want to accomplish in that one extra hour. It could be anything including jogging, yoga, meditation, prayer, reading, writing, etc. Pick one or two things that you can accomplish in that extra first hour of the day and do it.

How did making that change in your morning schedule help set the tone for your day?

What did you notice that was different about yourself throughout the day?

Share your answers in the comments below or send a note to me to let me know how that helped.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

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