As the Sun broke over the horizon on a quiet morning, it shone
upon two birds sitting in a tree. One was green and the other was red.
These two birds were highly competitive over their area of the park and were constantly trying to 'one-up' each other, get the most food and earn dominance over the other bird.
On this particular morning, the green bird didn't bother competing with the red bird for the first worm of the day.
Instead, the green bird decided to ignore the red bird and focus on himself. He went about his morning and completed a few key tasks.
Upon his return, red bird said groggily "What's the matter mate?
Given up have ya?"
"I'm just getting started" green bird replied as he took off.
Later, as red bird dozed, the green bird had the time and energy to keep on going. He caught twice as many worms as he usually did and had the energy to start building that nest he always wanted to
He found that taking control of his morning gave him a positive outlook which carried him through the day.
Over the next few weeks the green bird had amassed a massive stockpile of food, had used his energy to build an astonishingly beautiful nest and his coat was more vibrant than ever before.
Just in time for mating season.
Red bird never stood a chance.
Have you ever had a bad morning which ruins your entire day? I know I have.
There are 5 key tasks you must complete set off a chain reaction of positivity which can carry you through your day.
1. Don’t hit snooze
You’re an adult.
Snooze is for teenagers.
You’re on a mission.
Snooze is for lazy people with no direction.
When your alarm goes off, you get straight out of bed.
The way I see it, you set an alarm because that is the time you need to get out of bed. It’s a conscious thought from the night before that this is an appropriate time to get up if you want to have time to do everything you need to do in the morning before you leave.
Hitting snooze can set off a chain of reactions, the feeling of being rushed and negative thoughts about the day.
Like “today is going to suck”
It will only suck if you hit snooze.
2. Morning gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful and hugely underrated way to shift your mindset. Starting your day with an attitude of gratitude instantly gives you a positive outlook on the day and sets you up for optimism to take with you.
The easiest way to do it? In the morning spend a minute (yes, just a single minute!) thinking of 3 things if your life that you are grateful for. Be happy that these things are part of your life.
Example: My 3 gratuities from this morning
3. Hydrate & fuel
Fuel your body for performance. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and will give you energy to smash the morning through to lunch.
An important note breakfast: have two go-to nutritious breakfasts which you alternate between depending on what you feel like eating. Having just two go-to breakfasts minimises 'Decision Fatigue' (see more on decision fatigue here) so you can save time thinking "what should I eat this morning" and save your thinking power for things that really matter.
My two go-to breakfasts:
4 eggs, 2 slices of multigrain bread, a tablespoon of hummus on the bread, a handful of baby spinach, 5-10 cherry tomatoes.
80 grams of Quakers oats with semi-skimmed milk, a handful of frozen berries -> heat it up in the microwave -> add a palm of walnuts and half a scoop of protein powder.
Your body also wakes up every morning super dehydrated. Get things moving again by gulping down at least 500ml of water.
4. Move your body
Movement is life. Movement gets your engines running. Moving in the morning releases positive hormones and sets the tone for a successful day.
Develop a two minute movement routine which you can do every morning. Mine looks a little something like:
Mike's Good Morning:
Reach up to the roof on inhale
Bring arms back down on exhale
Extended lunge position with both hands on floor.
Turn and reach for ceiling with the hand
x5 each side
Pigeon with reach through
x5 each side
Lying windmill (exhale with turn)
x3 each side
Above are the must do’s for an excellent way to start the day.
Below are optional extras which are used by some of the elite achievers of the world and I have had some success with personally.
Meditation is becoming a bit of a thing these days, and the benefits are clearly there. The good news is that you don't need to do it for an hour or more at a time.
Make time in the morning for just two minutes of stop time.
Sit down in a comfy position and be completely present. Think about how you feel right now. Worried about a presentation later? Note that. Tight neck? Note that too.
If you can take control of your mood and acknowledge how you feel you will have a lot more power over what happens during the day, being in a position to take information in before reacting.
Make your bed
There's a reason behind making your bed in the morning. In his commencement speech, U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, said
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
And even if you had a hectic day and life got in the way of your goals, you can come home to a made bed and know at least you got something done.
Set your targets
What do you want to achieve today? What's the point? How do you know if you had a good, productive day?
In the morning, pick three things that you want to do that day. Make sure these things have a strict finish point (eg. make 3 sales calls). These things must line up with your long-term goals and completing them must take you that little bit closer to achieving them.
Long term goal:
Go to the gym today for 45 minutes.
Stay under my calorie target of 2250.
Buy protein powder.
Note: This is not a to-do list.
This is three achievable things in which you will accomplish or perform today to make it an awesome day.
You may have heard of Tony Robbins. He is a billionaire personal development coach, most known for coaching the likes of Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, Hugh Jackman and Princess Diana (and that's just naming a few!).
Tony has a morning ritual he calls 'priming' which uses powerful and directed breathing and claims it aligns his body and mind to conquer whatever the day throws at him.
Essentially, it is
30 fast explosive breathes
Arm go up above head on inhale and down to shoulders on exhale
Here is some more if you're interested