You're probably familiar with the daily rituals of monks and monastics all over the world: wake up, meditate, read spiritual texts, meditate, read some more, go for a walk in the gardens, and then begin the day.
What's interesting is that many of the world's most successful people also do something similar. Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Oprah and other thought leaders all speak of the power of their daily rituals.
Here's a seven-part daily routine that has changed my life, and helped me emerge from a dark place in a very short period of time. You don't have to do everything on this list — just doing one of these activities each morning can help you become your best self.
Habit #1: 10 Minutes of Yoga
Once the alarm hits, I groggily squint one eye and pop out of bed to practice some yoga. This is beneficial for several reasons. First of all, I figured out that I don't need coffee if I do a quick 10-minute yoga workout. It also helps offset the back and neck pain from sitting at a desk 10 hours a day, and as I get older it helps with that stiffness I sometimes feel getting out of bed. After the yoga wakes me up, I've usually got enough blood flow going to hop into habit #2 …
Habit #2: 10 Minutes of Meditation
I've found that just like pretty much every other human out there, I won't meditate unless I do it first thing in the morning. So after the yoga routine wakes me up, I'm usually conscious enough to actually meditate. This can serve as a calming foundation for the day.
Habit #3: 10 Minutes of Gratitude
For many years, I struggled in a life that I didn't really like. All I could think about every single day was my exit plan — what life did I really want, and how was I going to get there? One of the only things that helped me during this period was practicing gratitude. Doing so in the morning put my mind in the right place for the rest of the day.
Typically I go back through the previous day and think about all the awesome things that happened. Then I take just a few minutes to appreciate the present moment. Sometimes what I'm grateful for is as simple as my tea or coffee; sometimes I look out the window and just appreciate the weather.
Habit #4: 10 Minutes of Visualizing
By taking a few minutes each morning to visualize the outcomes you want in life, you make it more likely that they'll become a reality. So here's what I recommend: Think about how your dream life would feel, with the people, the surroundings, your work, and your daily routine. Then visualize the stuff — where you live, who you're with, what you look like. And hey, worst comes to worst? It just puts you in an awesome mood envisioning your vacation house in Costa Rica.
Habit #5: 10 Minutes of Affirmation
Sometimes there's something standing between who we are, and who we want to be. And often that's a story we tell ourselves. For example, I once went through a period of sleeplessness, which eventually became full-blown insomnia because I kept saying to myself, "I never sleep well." Sometimes this belief is more damaging than actually not sleeping itself, because we play that narrative over and over.
Affirmations are a great way to address whatever stories we tell ourselves that are preventing us from being happy. Personally I use them each day to reinforce positive habits I want to have like:
"No matter how today goes, I'm always happy."
"I look and feel incredible, no matter how much sleep I got."
"I can't wait to see what awesome things line up for me today."
Working on that positive self-talk in the morning helps me start the day off right.
Habit #6: 10 Minutes of Reading an Inspirational Book
Before I start my day, I like to read personal development or spiritual books, which give me one little piece of advice to improve my life each day. I often use my reading to serve as that day's mantra. For example if I'm reading a book on habits, I'll focus that day on developing good habits. If I read a book about healthy living, I'll think about making positive food choices all day.
Habit #7: 10 Minutes of Visualizing the Perfect Day Ahead
The final step in this morning routine is just visualizing the perfect day ahead. I've found something weird happens when you take a second to see the day ahead of you. When you visualize making those good health choices, when you visualize work going great, when you visualize everything lining up ... it actually does work out.
So take a second and visualize today going perfect – going exactly how you want it – and you might be surprised at the miracles that happen in your life.
These seven morning rituals have dramatically changed my life. How about you? What daily rituals do you have?