There are several ways in which you can get an arrow to hit its mark.
You can walk up to the target and place the arrow by hand.
You could throw the arrow and give it a bit more thrust.
Or, you could use a bow, pulling the arrow back and launching it with great force.
The third option is probably your best bet, as you have better positioned yourself for success by using a tool specific to the task.
Under this premise, we need a program that effectively launches us into the direction of success when it comes to accomplishing our goals for the day. Kicking things off with a solid morning routine makes all the difference.
Simplicity is key, because an overly complicated program can easily become daunting, which will give the exact opposite effect of what we are looking for.
Start with less, and then if you feel like you can benefit from a bit more in any one section, add to it little by little.
Keep in mind the goal is to position yourself to be off to a great start—not to complete an effort filled litany of tasks.
When embarking on a new ritual like this, less really is more. Simply take a maximum of five minutes in each section for now. Perhaps you may find all you can sustain is one minute in any particular area. Start there and then see if you can build on it once having implemented the routine on a regular basis.
To get the most bang for your buck, my suggestion is that all tasks be completed without the use of electronics. We spend so much time in front of screens that dedicating some device-free time for yourself is paramount. For an even greater experience, see if you can complete your program with your phone turned off and out of sight. Come back to it once your morning routine has been finished.
1. First thing after waking, scrape your tongue.
While you slept, many of the body’s toxins were excreted and collected on the tongue in the form of a white/yellowish sticky goo (also known as “ama” in Ayurvedic terms). It needs to be eliminated, as swallowing it back down into your system is unfavorable.
Try to accomplish this within the first three minutes upon waking, as this is the approximate time frame you have before the body starts to reabsorb it. There are many tongue scrapers out there ranging from stainless steel to plastic. My preference is to use one made of copper.
2. Drink a full glass of warm water.
This will aid in flushing the system and it will help to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract—getting things off to a good start. You can have the water as is or add a bit of lime juice. Lemon juice is also effective, but may be too acidic, causing an unwanted heating effect. Warm water is preferred over boiling hot or ice-cold, as these can be shocking to the system.
3. Spend a few moments in silence.
Take some time to become still, settled, and centered. If you have a dedicated meditation practice that works for you, have at it. If not, find a spot where you can sit comfortably with your back supported either in a chair, on the couch, or on the floor up against a wall.
Close your eyes and simply bring your awareness to your breath. Anytime you notice your mind has gone somewhere else, easily and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Don’t make it an endurance test. Even one minute can help. Start there and then add time gradually as you get used to it.
4. Write in a journal.
Take a moment to jot down and capture some of your thoughts. Use a pen and paper, as this style develops a stronger conceptual understanding than typing, and it forces your brain to mentally engage with the information. This improves both literacy and reading comprehension.
There is no particular agenda when it comes to content. You can write down certain intentions you have, reflect on past achievements, or describe something you’ve noticed recently about yourself. Keep from making a to-do list, so that you don’t become overwhelmed with tasks that need to be accomplished.
5. Read something that you enjoy.
Choose reading material that is light or pleasurable. It could be a comic book, novel, or magazine. Just a little bit will do the trick. You don’t have to commit to a certain number of pages or chapters. Let the five-minute-max rule stay in play here as well. Also, keep from reading the news or current events. This time is to be spent on you.
This is not to be treated as a workout routine, but rather just a way of increasing your heart rate and getting the blood to circulate in a more vigorous fashion. The goal is to wake up the cells in your body, telling them you are ready to go.
You could jump rope, do a hundred jumping jacks, go for a brisk walk, or dance your face off. Whatever resonates with you. Get your body in motion and don’t be afraid to break a sweat.