[Hiking stacked rocks photo]
Let me ask a question. Do you have something you’ve been meaning to do — that’s important to you — that is just NOT getting done?
It doesn’t have to be business-related, but it can be. Yes? Well, then, Sunshine, keep reading.
Julia Cameron calls her turbo-writing idea Morning Pages. They are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.
Hal Elrod is a proponent of what he calls The Miracle Morning. It’s a 6-step morning routine that includes affirmations, exercise, reading and writing.
They both know there’s magic in the morning. I have my own take on it. It’s worked so well for me, I’ve just got to share it. I call it First Things First. And, as a longtime night owl, when I endorse a morning practice, it’s a BIG deal.
Have you always wanted to write a book? Read the classics? Start a blog? Train for a marathon? Take up woodworking or learn a different new skill? These are all examples of aspirational activities that can be accomplished more easily using First Things First.
There’s only 2 steps:
- Identify what priority-that-you’re-not-getting-done is most important to you.
- When you first wake up, before you do ANYTHING, work on that priority. Got twenty minutes – or 2 hours? That works.
When you dedicate your ‘first thing in the morning attention’ to a cherished outcome, you’ve already got a big win, no matter what happens later in the day. You’re employing a system that gently forces you to pay more than lip service to what you say you want to do.
And when I say first thing in the morning I mean this: you’re going to work on that priority before you check email, eat breakfast, peek at social media, check the news — or anything else. Literally, the less you do before you start, the stronger your result.
Maybe you brew a cup of coffee or tea (I do!) — but that’s about it.
Similar to brushing your teeth, this morning time carve-out becomes a non-negotiable habit. It allows you to establish a regular routine that’s quite literally guaranteeing success.
Most exciting? You’re guaranteeing success on your terms, your priority. Defined by you. When you start with this, you’ll be in a great mood for the rest of the day.
Resist allowing other people to sabotage your pursuit of this new morning activity. If it makes things easier for you, start with only 2-3 mornings a week, defined and communicated in advance.
I think of this time as being a cozy cocoon of a gift. Here’s what I did first. I’d always heard of the benefits of meditation. Wanting to be a meditator, it seemed the time to learn and practice was elusive. This was more than 5 years ago.
Listening to a podcast, I heard an expert say that — by meditating only 3 minutes each morning — someone would experience measurable benefits. She continued: “Surely everyone has 3 minutes in the morning. Do it before you get out of bed!” I felt my excuses for not meditating being yanked out from under me like a tablecloth.
Could I become a meditator simply by dedicating the first 3 minutes each morning to the pursuit? Trying it out I quickly discovered YES – and became a meditator. In the years since, my meditation practice has evolved, but now you know exactly how it started. Morning meditation has become a non-negotiable habit.
These days my First Things First is dedicated almost exclusively to writing. This very piece was written Sunday morning March 21.
You might feel awkward at first. Then, I bet you’ll find the time to be something you relish. It’s the dew on a leaf at the beginning of a beautiful day and it’s a gift you can give to yourself…and to your priorities!
This blog is originally published in Marilee's newsletter.
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