I’ve been working lately on trying to get my morning act together. Not so much my routine, but my mindset upon waking. I’d fallen into a habit of opening my eyes, tossing out a quick mental, “Hey God, it’s me, Annie,” picking up my phone, and immediately bombarding myself with the day’s news and to-dos. I knew I needed a new habit—something to replace my (rather pathetic) God nod and morning Facebook feast.
Michael Gervais, psychologist to some of the greatest athletes and performers in the world, suggests starting off the morning by setting an intention for the day. You get your mind right by connecting to what matters most. He advises taking a few seconds when you first wake up to say, “Today I am all about ______” or “Today I will focus on _____ and _____.”
I loved that concept. I also wanted to incorporate some other mindfulness exercises into my morning. So I created a morning meditation—very quick, very simple—that taps into all of the things I need to get me into the right frame of mind for the day. This “G.O.O.D. Morning” meditation is the first thing I do each day, before I even get out of bed. It’s made a world of difference for me, so I thought I’d share it with you all.
Simply go through these four steps, in order, in your head. It should take less than five minutes, especially once the pattern becomes a habit. Here goes:
G = GRATITUDE
I’m inclined to connect with my higher power first thing in the morning, but even if you aren’t a person of faith, taking a moment to feel grateful is a great way to boost your health and happiness.
Think about the things you are thankful for—your family and friends, your home, your warm bed, the smell of orange spice tea—whatever. You don’t have to list everything, but focus on gratitude long enough that you feel content with what you have and where you are. Breathe gratitude in. Let it fill all the empty nooks and crannies of your mind. Don’t let anything else slip by—focus on the good. This is the filling up step. It takes me about 20 seconds—you might take more or less time. Just make sure you feel full and content before moving onto the next step.
Step 1: FILL UP with gratitude.
O = OPENNESS
Once you are filled with gratitude, it’s time to expand your capacity and make room for more. More what? More awesome. More things to be grateful for. Open yourself up to the possibilities this day holds. Say, “All right, I’m happy and content with what I have and where I am. Now I’m ready to welcome more.” Some might call this thinking in abundance. Some may call it the law of attraction. All you’re doing is making mental, emotional, and spiritual space for good things to come your way. This step shouldn’t take long. A few breaths and a mental “Okay, I’m ready for more awesome.” That’s it.
Step 2: OPEN UP to what this day holds for you.
O = OPPORTUNITY
Now that you’ve opened yourself up and made this space, identify the things you are going to fill it with. What opportunities do you see in the day ahead? How can you grow, improve, and connect? This step is almost like thinking through your day’s to-dos, but with a fresh, positive outlook. I like to think in categories:
- What opportunities do I have with my family to bond, to teach, to connect on a deeper level?
- What opportunities do I have in my career to learn something new, to improve my skills, to add to my income?
- What opportunities do I have to serve others today? To become more aware? To experience joy? To make a difference?
Whatever you envision as a goal, look for opportunities to get there. The best part of this step is that it helps you reframe things you might not normally think positively about. Is one of your kids particularly needy lately? That’s an opportunity to connect. Deadlines looming at work? An opportunity to hone your time management skills. Don’t feel like working out? An opportunity to overcome inertia and see what your body can do. Making a mental list of the day’s opportunities is the longest step, but should still only take a couple of minutes.
Step 3: LINE UP the opportunities before you.
D = DETERMINATION
Now it’s time to resolve to make the most of those opportunities. Determination simply means aligning your will with your vision for the day. It’s an enthusiastic “Let’s do this!” as you visualize yourself doing everything you’ve just identified. Make it real in your mind and leave no room for doubt and fear. Visualization and positive self-talk are powerful, scientifically sound tools for living a more effective life. Don’t let cynicism or pessimism tell you differently. Tell yourself that you can—and will—make the most of this day and the opportunities it presents.
Step 4: GET UP and get moving toward your vision.
That’s it. As I said, the whole thing takes me five minutes at most. I do it just after opening my eyes, before I’ve even sat up in bed. It’s an awesome way of centering my thoughts, focusing on the positive, and starting off on the right foot.
I’ve even found myself using the G.O.O.D acronym to re-center during the day when I feel things starting to derail. I take a minute and go through the mental steps—Gratitude, Openness, Opportunity, Determination—and find that most of the time I can get right back to a calm, positive, and focused state of mind.
It did take a couple of days to remember to do this meditation when I first woke up (habits can be hard to break!), so I took James Clear’s advice and adjusted my environment to make it so that I couldn’t forget. Since I was grabbing my phone first thing, I put a sticky note on it that says, “G.O.O.D. Morning!” before bed. I keep the note right on my nightstand so I see it and remember to stick it when I set my phone down at night. Absolutely no way for me to forget.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Try it out, and let me know if you find it helpful.