In this article, I will share with you my preferred way to start the day with joy - the method that never fails to pull you out of the bed and to make you smile instantly.
Because there is that saying in the personal mastery world: win the morning and you will win the day.
The Best Morning Ritual
It's really important to start the day by doing something you love, but also something that balances your whole being.
And what better way to balance than to feel happiness in all your cells?
There are many videos and articles, even 300 pages books out there that will teach you about morning routines for productivity, fitness, positive thinking, life goals, weight-loss, energy etc.
And I have tried many of them - I work in this area, remember? :)
My most constant one during last summer was a mix of high-intensity training for only 10 minute or swimming, meditation and reading - following the 20/20/20 rule of my beloved mentor on personal mastery, Robin Sharma.
However, that worked a lot better when I was waking up at 5 AM - which I am not doing at the moment.
Gradually, I have shifted into a slow wake-up, with a mild warm-up and Vinyasa yoga āsanas, meditation, reviewing my goals, reading a book or listening to an inspirational talk.
Morning affirmations and the plan for the day are also on my list.
Spending time with my partner in the morning and brushing together gives me a lot of joy, as well.
Cuddling with my beautiful Pyari as we all wake up is also one of the greatest emotions to experience in the morning.
And all these are amazing, however, I can tell you my level of happiness increases dramatically in the morning, if I follow this one simple rule, that is superior to any other ritual or morning routine.
Do What You Love First Thing In The Morning
Find out what you love to do and do it as soon as you wake up.
For me, this is writing - although I have rarely done it in the past 1 month, since I opened Yogalize center.
But when I do it, my whole day changes, my whole universe is put into another dimension.
It's that one thing that when done, it triggers such an emotion inside you, that you feel free, loved and loving.
When you do this, your whole being is in an ocean of happiness and joy.
You are like a child, totally immersed in your activity, in your play, in your one super-power that makes all troubles seem far away.
How Do I Do What I Love In The Morning?
First, you need to know what you are really passionate about.
So what do you love to do by birth, by nature, by divine grace?
What is that thing that if you knew you could do it right away, you would start doing it immediately, without any expectations?
What would wake you up at 3 AM thinking "ah, I cannot wait to do this now!"?
Maybe it's cooking - I also love cooking, by the way.
Maybe it's reading your favorite or new book - one of those tens of books that you bought and never got the chance to read (feeling guilty already?).
Maybe it's looking 2 minutes over your beautiful child or lover, as he or she is still sleeping, as you remind yourself of how lucky you are to have them in your life.
Or maybe it's your hobby, that thing that you almost never get to do anymore, because you come home late and there are already so many things still pending on your to-do list.
Whatever you love to do, please do it NOW - as soon as you wake up.
Because no matter what others suggest, you know it better.
That one thing that you love to do is usually that one thing you postpone the most.
And because of that, your daily level of joy decreases.
If reading is on your to-do list, but you dislike reading that particular book, please don't do it!
If going to the gym is on your to-do list, but you really don't like doing that, try to replace this activity with something else (there are so many options, really, and yoga is just one of them), or simply don't do it first thing in the morning.
I know many productivity gurus out there will tell you to start with what you hate first, but I am telling you something else here.
I am talking about starting YOUR day, not your workday, not your to-do list or daily schedule.
Your day starts when you wake up and it's yours completely until you start doing what you have to do or what you must do, i.e: talking the kids to school, going to work, shopping for groceries, answering emails, taking your morning shower, taking the dog out etc.
Only until then, that day belongs to you.
Then, you loose control of it, because of your previous decisions.
The decisions, no matter how correct they are, might not bring joy to you all the time.
You might go to your favorite job every day, but that doesn't mean that what you do there is the one thing you love to do each morning, as soon as you wake up.
And if it is, amazing, then just wake up and do that one thing for yourself, not just for the job - maybe it's editing your own photos, or making your own videos, or developing your own website, not just for other clients/company.
If studying/learning is something you love to do, do it in the morning, for an extra topping of joy on your pizza.
You know your topic of choice, so just study that for 30 minutes or 1 hour.
The one thing you love is something that many people know instantly, if they let their intuition flow.
Or it can be something well-hidden, if it's not something you practiced lately or your mind might have even labeled as impossible or useless or not suitable for you.
But don't give up, just keep on looking for that one thing that when done, it never tires you up, but it actually fuels you up.
And when you find it, please do it first thing the morning, along with any other ritual of your choice.
How Do I Get To Do What I Love In The Morning?
Now let's say you already know what you love to do so much that you could renounce 1 hour of sleep daily, just to do it.
How are you going to add it to your already full of tasks day?
The hint was already written above: please renounce that 1-hour of sleep in the morning.
Or not even that, simply sleep earlier - I am always surprised with how many things we can actually stop doing and they would never affect our lives in a bad way.
Maybe you don't even need 1 full hour, maybe 20 or 30 minutes will be enough for your preferred activity.
Let's say you are into painting - how much time do you want to do that daily, for unlimited joy every morning?
If 2 hours is your answer, then please adjust your sleeping pattern accordingly.
And it's ok if you don't paint daily, for 2 hours. Even if you do it 4 times a week, for at least 30 minutes, it will still be better than not doing it at all, in any of the mornings.
Why Do What I Love In The Morning? Can't I Do It At The End Of The Day?
And now that you know what you love to do and for how long you want to do it DAILY - I underline this, because it's so important to make yourself happy DAILY, you might be thinking something else.
Why in the morning, Daiana?
Why can't I do this during the day or in the evening, or at night, as my special reward, as a bonus after a long day at work?
The answer is quite obvious and it's related to the Ikigai principle - what makes you wake up in the morning?
It's the morning that scares us and makes us not want to leave that cozy bed, because of what awaits for us.
There is a huge to-do list on that post-it, on the fridge.
Or in your journal.
Or in the Notes app, in your iPhone.
And even if you have nothing against those activities written there, I find it hard to believe that ALL of them will equally make you jump around of extreme excitement.
So it's natural to open our eyes in the morning and to think "oh well, here comes another Monday or Tuesday" or whatever working day of the week that is for you.
It's that precise moment of waking up that we want to chance for ourselves and make it a happy one, instead of a mundane one, to say the least.
What you do for yourself after having opened the eyes has to be so big and so joyous for you, that it gets you out of the bed even hours before the alarm rings.
Otherwise, you will miss starting your day with, well.... joy! A lot of joy!
We can all wake up and brush and eat or skip breakfast and go to work or stay at home and work.
But this doesn't make us happier - this is simply what 99% of the population does.
Even if you do your morning rituals, that simply means you are following a pattern, with a specific outcome in mind.
Whereas when you do what you truly love, you do it for the sake of doing it.
You do it because it causes your heart to beat faster, not because something will look/feel/smell/taste/appear nicer at the end.
We do something we love because it's all about us doing it.
If you do that thing at night, it means you will wait all day for it.
Your day will seem cruel and long and you will not be focusing on your present moments, but on the evening or night to come, that will bring your "beloved activity" to life.
Instead, I say "win the morning by doing what you love first".
This way, you will have all the reasons, the inner resources, the intrinsic motivation to wake up happily daily, because you know that as soon as you wake up, you will do that you love.
Whenever I think I have to wake up and write, I feel excited already and all tiredness fades away!
I don't even want to get properly dressed before I do that.
I just want to make a cup of hot coffee or black tea that smells delicious in the whole living room and open my laptop, disconnect the Wi-Fi and simply pour my thoughts and emotions into that digital white page...
Can you imagine yourself waking up for doing what you mostly love, daily?
Yes, I thought you would, everyone can wake up for doing something they love, daily...
What If I Don't Know My Ikigai?
I will write about what an ikigai is in another article, but for now, let's focus on the definition I have given before - the easiest one.
Simply put, your ikigai is what wakes you up in the morning.
It can and should be your life mission and it's very important for your overall health that you try to make a living out of it.
Because if you will spend the rest of your life doing something you don't like, I think you will simply waste your life.
But that's just my opinion and, of course, that of ALL those people who have written books on happiness, but hey, what do we know?
I truly lost my health and overall wellness when I was just 25 years old because of a professional mismatch and not knowing my Ikigai, so... I think I can say a few things about this topic, from my own experience.
Not to mention the thousands of studies that have been made in the past 20 years on this, at least.
Doing what you love as a job is of primordial importance and not a question we can just skip and think we can get along with life, on a happy mood.
Because we do spend more than a third of our lives working, correct?
So why would you ever want to invest 1/3 of your life into an activity that brings you no joy? Daily.
No joy, daily - what a pessimistic perspective on live, don't you think?
Instead, focus on your Ikigai.
What makes you get up in the morning and you would love to do it not just as the sun rises, but for the whole rest of the day?
What are your life mission, your true vocation, and your unique talents that could serve the world?
Even if you think a million other people have them, it doesn't matter, because your contribution to the world is one of a kind.
There will never be a 100% identical person with you.
You are here with a purpose, not by coincidence.
You are here by divine mathematics, not by cosmic chaos.
So just find out what you love to do, constantly, and do it.
My suggestion is that you don't just do it in the morning, but in your job as well.
Now surely, a job can consist of doing many, many things. But try to have your favorite pizza joy-topping as part of those activities in your daily job.
And if you need help, because I know many people reading this will thing "I have no idea what my vocation is, I really don't think I have any talents that I could make a living of", please reach out.
Because I have helped so many women in the past to discover their "special thing", me included.
And I get it, sometimes it's not that easy to realize your ikigai - that's ok, but please don't just settle for that for the rest of your life.
Find out your mission, find out what you love to do, what you are amazing at, because a life worth living means being happy on both 2 levels of your life: personal and professional.
So if you need my help in finding out what you love to do, please contact me, as part of my life mission is to bring some light onto your greatness and make you shine like a star.
Until next time, don't forget what you learned today:
Do What You Love In The Morning!
And do the rest after. :)
Did I tell you about the next Happy Journaling workshop I will co-host at Yogalize? After the first one on Feb. 1st, episode 2 is coming out soon.
So get your journals and writing instruments ready, for more clarity and purpose in your life!
P.S.: We are donating the money to kids in need, please find all the details on the event page.