Actionable steps everyone can take to begin their day with purpose.
GUEST POST BY NICOLE D’ALONZO
My morning routine is on fleek.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
When I was running the social media department at a major beauty brand – and barely had time to sleep – my morning routine was the first thing to go.
The time I spent practicing yoga and visualizing my goals was lost. Those simple acts of self-care that had kept me centered, sane, healthy, and happy were a powerful way to start the day.
I’ve been obsessed with rituals and morning routines ever since leaving the corporate world and diving headfirst into entrepreneurship.
These days, I help people master their morning in my Victory Rituals program. The program draws insight and data from multiple industries and cultures and specifically incorporates the healing practice of yoga.
For example, the first step toward mastering your morning is having a strong sense of purpose.
Yoga teacher training teaches the importance of setting an intention at the beginning of each class. Similarly, I teach people to set their focus by defining their “Victory Moment” (or purpose) and weaving it into their morning routine.
Purpose is the key to a great morning.
Before your alarm rings, you want to be clear on two things:
1) Why are you waking up?
Think about the big picture. A broad view makes it easier to wake-up. If you could accomplish one thing this year, what would it be? Think of something – achievable – that would make you feel energized, happy, and proud. Get specific about the moment you will experience. I call this your Victory Moment. Your Victory Moment is a reflection of your core values.
2) What are your core values?
Core values are the most important things in your life. There are tons of different core values, for example: Family, Love, Friendship, Adventure, Freedom, Wisdom, Giving, Health, etc.
You want to attach your purpose to your core values because values carry a lot of weight.
Placing value on something has power.
You can identify your core values through a series of questions:
- What can you accomplish in the next year that would make you feel energized, happy, and proud?
- Why? Why? Why?
Let’s say your Victory Moment is landing a promotion. If you keep asking yourself “why?” your story might unfold like this…
“I want to get promoted because I want to make more money.” WHY?
“I want to make more money because I want to be able to take care of myself and my family, and I want to take my dream vacation.” WHY?
“Because I value Family, Security, Adventure, and Community.”
Keep asking yourself “why?” until you can’t go any deeper.
Prepare for a mini-epiphany, as you begin to better understand your core values.
When you’re clear on your purpose and the values that drive you, apply it to your morning rituals.
Let’s say Family is the core value that resonates most with you. When you wake up in the morning, connect your actions back to your core value of Family.
In Victory Rituals, I call this your Moment of Focus.
Keep a visual representation of your Victory Moment and/or core values near your bed, so it’s the first thing you see in the morning.
You can keep a framed image of the words and photos that inspire you or you can take a snapshot of your Victory Moment and core values and put the image on your phone.
After you wake up, walk to the mirror and state your core values out loud to yourself. For example, “I value Family and Community, so I’m headed to church this morning.”
Sit up in bed and pull out your favorite journal. Jot down your dreams, your aspirations, and your concerns. Journal stream-of-consciousness-style to get the gunk out of your head and onto the page. Write your way to a clear mind and focused morning.
Silence is powerful. Take a moment to connect with your breath. Remember, no matter what happens today, all you have to do is keep breathing (why do we hold our breath in tense situations?!).
Try inhaling slowly for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and now exhale slowly for 4 seconds. Repeat as necessary anytime!
Ok, so I saved the best for last. In the early morning hours, I love to sit on the edge of my bed with my eyes closed, head bowed with my hands in prayer, and silently repeat my personal core values. “I’m waking up to perform today’s Victory Rituals because I value Health, Family, Security, and Legacy.”
Play around with these examples. Test your own. Find what works best for you.
Practice a Moment of Focus each morning and launch your day with a strong sense of purpose.
However you choose to focus, your practice honors yourself and your core values.
About Nicole D’Alonzo
Jersey-born, New York-based, and often traveling, Nicole is constantly searching for the best ways to be healthy on the road. Her Mission Statement? Be Bold. Stay Grateful. Nicole founded Victory Rituals and hosts a simple online workshop to help you master your morning. Say hello via Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.