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Wake up and sense the achievement

Nurturing

 Starting a new, positive morning routine can affect your mood for the rest of the day

Health
Paul O'Brien

Do you want to upgrade your life? Then changing your habits and developing new ones is your key to sustainable lifestyle change. Whether you are trying to trim the tummy fat, improve your confidence or become a more-productive version of yourself, taking small but regular steps is your pathway to success.

Best laid plans
Of course, it’s easier said than done. Why?
Do you want what you say you want badly enough? Perhaps you don’t have a clear plan of getting where you want to be? Or, like so many others, you start with the best of intentions only to find your motivation and momentum slowly ebbing away as the weeks pass.
These are all common barriers to creating lasting change. A couple of years ago, I stumbled on a solution that has since worked wonderfully for me and many of my clients, friends and family. It’s easy to do, time efficient and has the power to transform your day – and perhaps your life as well. It’s called ‘The Morning Routine’.

The Morning Routine
Your morning routine starts by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier tomorrow morning. You are going to use that 15 minutes to kickstart your day. By completing your routine, you are starting your day off in a positive fashion, creating feelings of achievement and tapping into your innate power.
Why 15 minutes? Well it’s called setting yourself up for success (rather than failure). Aiming to wake half an hour earlier may be too much of a stretch to begin with. Besides, you can achieve quite a lot in a deliberately focused 15 minutes.
What should your morning routine include? There are plenty of options, but allow me to make some suggestions that will supercharge your day on a physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual level. I would suggest you pick three or four small actions like the ones listed below and focus on repeating those each morning. They may change over time as you become aware of the powerful impact your morning routine has upon your life.

Small actions add up

  • Before getting out of bed, ask yourself: What one thing can I do today that will move me closer to my goal (whatever that goal may be)?
  • If you can action that one thing, do it immediately upon getting up. If not, schedule it for the earliest possible time in your day.
  • Do a standing calf stretch against the wall (a great tip I picked up from a physio).
  • Do two minutes of any kind of exercise – choose from bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, plank or side plank, jumping jacks. Or choose two or three exercises and do ten-repetitions of each, and repeat until the two minutes are up.
  • Read two pages of something uplifting – poetry, an inspiring story, a spiritual classic or a self-help book. Whatever floats your boat. Not a reader? Listen to an audio instead.
  • Meditate for five to ten minutes. Focus on your breath, or simply sit in silence and tune into your body.
  • Give thanks for one person in your life.
  • Sing, dance, jump or step outside and soak in the sun (or rain).

There are endless options available for your morning routine. The point is that you begin your day with a sense of achievement, gratitude and focus. Whatever else happens in your day, you may find you are less affected by it, more able to take a balanced approach to life. That has certainly been my experience. It may prove to be the most valuable 15 minutes of your day.

Paul O’Brien is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise since 2007 and a qualified Life, Health & Nutrition Coach. He is co-owner of Republic of Fitness in Westport. He can be contacted on 086 1674515 or rofstudio@gmail.com.

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