Someone once told me “the way you start each day is the way you live your life.”
Think about it.
What you do to begin each day sets the tone for that day, and what sets your tone for each day impacts how you experience that day. How you experience each day is how you’re living your life so, yes, the way you start each day is the way you live your life.
When I first heard this many years ago it shocked me because I was in my corporate job and started each day in two ways: exhausted and rushing. I always awoke with the feeling of complete exhaustion and desiring at least two more hours of sleep. But that was not an option. And then I’d find myself rushing frantically to get to work on time. Looking back, I know I spent the better part of those years of my life both exhausted and rushing. I didn’t equate it to how I started each day, but it was definitely connected.
I do things differently now and find that when I allow external circumstances to control how I begin my days, my life experiences mirror that back. For example, about 85% of the time I start my day with a cushion of time between when I awake and when I have something on my calendar. This time allows me space. I need this space to set the tone for my day through morning rituals which include prayer, meditation, journaling, and working out. When I begin my days this way, it doesn’t mean everything goes perfectly, and nothing rattles my plans, but it does prepare me to deal with it much more effectively than if I rush into my day feeling exhausted.
I also try to allow this space when I’m traveling for my business or at certain times during the year when my schedule is busier because I know it sets the tone for how I will experience the events of each day. For example, recently we had some of our floors refinished in our house and the disruption of the contractors showing up every day at 7 AM and starting their loud sanding machines and banging, plus preventing us from accessing half of our house impacted my morning rituals. I didn’t think it would be a big deal for a couple of weeks, but by the time a few days had passed without me taking time and space to set the tone for my day, I found myself irritable, cranky, and snappy. “Normal” things such as an unexpected trip to the vet for one of our animals set me off. And yes, it was because I had not allowed myself time and space to begin each day intentionally.
I know some of you are reading thinking, “oh, that’s nice, but I don’t have time to start my day with space.” I didn’t either until it became a priority and I made time for it. We all have the same amount of time in each day. We make time for what’s important to us. Sometimes having a “cushion of time” before I launch into my day requires I get up an hour earlier than usual. Yes, it’s that important to me. I don’t like feeling irritated and snappy. I don’t want to live my life feeling tired and rushed. I want to set my tone each morning and set intentions for that day, which sets intentions for how I’m living my life.
We are all different. Maybe you don’t need anything more than 15-minutes alone in the shower and a cup of coffee to set the tone for your day. Maybe you need three hours. The idea is to start each day in the way you want to live your life. Easing into my days with quiet time, intention setting, and exercise is much better than starting each day tired and rushed. And my life experiences are certainly more enjoyable than they used to be. So, just think about it: how are you starting each day? How are you experiencing each day? Are these experiences the life you want to be living? If not, you just may need to change up your morning routine.