Everything suffers when you don’t set your intentions for the day
The gun goes off with a crack. The guy to my right explodes out of the blocks. I stay put, preparing for the race ahead. It’s not my first race, and I’m good at 400 metres, so I stay calm and collected.
Five seconds later, I’m still in the blocks. My competitor is already 50 metres ahead of me, and I haven’t yet moved. But I’m finally ready — it’s time to go.
I make a powerful start, and after 150 metres, I’m already making gains. As we come off the first bend, I pick up the pace. He’s beginning to look fatigued and slows down on the straight, but I’m feeling stronger than ever.
I reel him in as we come off the second bend. He’s tired and lethargic, with nothing left to give, and as I power home for the final 100 metres, I leave him in the dust.
I’d wake in a panic, roused by the irritating sound of my alarm. I’d then jump from my bed — not out of enthusiasm, but because I’m now running late. Tired and anxious, I didn’t have time for a shower, never mind a workout, so I’d dash off to work before the company clock-in machine snitched on me.
I’d beat the clock machine, most of the time, and then begin my day. With the help of caffeine, I’d make a quick start. But then came the mid-morning slump. My energy levels would drop around 11 am, so I’d get another coffee.
It always gave me a boost, but I’d never fully recover. Agitated and stressed, I wouldn’t be very productive, and besides a few caffeine bursts, I plod along slowly for the rest of the day.
My former self never had a morning routine. He was lazy, inattentive, lacked focus and clarity, and never set his intentions for the day.
The new me, the guy who won the race, is very different. In the last year alone, I’ve built a highly successful speaking career, published several academic papers, and I’ve just finished my first book, all whilst doing a PhD.
This has also been the most enjoyable and carefree year of my life, and the reason for this is clear. I am full of energy. I have clarity around my goals. I stay focused on those goals. And I take action every day.
The morning routine below, which consists of eight minutes of meditation, four minutes of visualisation, and two minutes of gratitude practice, is the primary reason how I stay on top of my game.
Many of us spend precious time and energy getting trapped in problematic thinking. Meditation triggers you to be more present throughout the day, allowing you to catch these time-killing thoughts before they take hold.
By becoming less reactive to external stressors, meditation also helps you to direct your emotional energy on what’s important, rather than becoming frustrated about what you cannot change.
With so many distractions in our modern world, it’s easy to lose sight of what moves the needle. By focusing on your goals each morning, visualisation helps you to set your intentions for the day. It also triggers you to act on the things that matter, the ones that move the needle.
It’s impossible to feel frustrated, afraid, annoyed, or guilty while you’re being grateful. Try it if you don’t believe me. By practising gratitude each morning, you’ll create a buffer against these energy-zapping emotional states. It will also trigger you to be more grateful as you go about your day.
The individual components of your routine are important, but it’s best to do what works for you. I’ve found exercise, affirmations, and journaling also work great. What’s more important, however, is having a routine, one that will help you to set your intentions, gain clarity around your goals, boost your energy levels, and ultimately save you time as you go about your day.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but I always hear the same excuse — I don’t have time. The fact is, energy, intention, and focus are the essence of saving time, so this excuse doesn’t cut it.
My routine takes me 14 minutes every morning, and just like preparing myself at the start of the race, it doesn’t take time, it makes time.
Check out my most recent online courses by clicking here, including my Creating Powerful Morning Routines Course