Tracy Bell, Co-Founder and CEO - Successful Morning Routine
I love the start of a New Year. It represents a fresh start in so many ways. It’s a chance to reflect on the kind of person we’ve been, and an opportunity to upgrade our identity, as well as to set the daily actions that contribute to becoming that new and improved version of self.
There’s a great book that does a great job sharing an action plan to link our identity to our everyday actions. The little things we do day after day to cast a vote for the kind of person we want to show up as in the world. It’s called Atomic Habits by James Clear and I re-read it every year at this time. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to create systems (i.e. the habits) that will stick.
The big takeaway for me is that the most important factor in becoming the kind of person you are proud of boils down to “showing up every day.” It doesn’t mean big changes overnight. It means little changes, compounded over time, to lead to meaningful lifelong growth and evolution.
It means embodying the identity of someone who takes care of themselves in all the ways: mentally, physically, spiritually … by taking small, consistent actions that support your new, upgraded identity until you have the proof that you have become this kind of person.
Becoming the best version of ourselves requires us to continuously edit our beliefs and expand our identity. Our habits, or routines, or systems for living .. those are the tools or the mechanisms through which we are able to change our beliefs about ourselves.
I used to meditate or work out only when I had the time to really make it count. If I didn’t wake up early enough to get in a proper 12-minute meditation, or a 2-hour block of time needed to get to the gym, I skipped (which happened far too often). What I realize now is that, when it comes to habit formation, repetition and consistency in showing up is what really matters. It’s less about how effectively you complete the task, and more just that you did it, when it comes to shaping your beliefs and making real, lasting change.
So today, if I sleep longer than I should have, or have a jam-packed morning and can’t get in a full workout or ‘proper’ meditation, I still do them. Just for not as long. Instead of running for 30 minutes, I’ll run just a few houses. Instead of five exercises, I’ll do a single push-up. Instead of a full meditation, I’ll sit quietly and focus on my breathing and being present for literally a minute. Before, I wouldn’t have bothered because those actions weren’t going to move the needle toward my goals I figured. Now, I understand, that even if it’s not an ‘all-the-way’ action, I still ‘did the thing’ and that’s the most important factor in becoming the person I want to become.
With that in mind, I believe the actions we take first thing in the morning have the power to shape how our entire day rolls out. Getting in a positive state of mind and feeling accomplished on your personal identity goals sets your day up for success.
*I should throw in this disclaimer … I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all or optimal morning routine. Our lives and personal circumstances are unique to us. I do, however, believe starting the day with wins for your mental, physical and spiritual health before taking care of the family or diving into work responsibilities is how some of the most influential and effective leaders on the planet bring the best version of themselves to everything that follows. This is what works for me.
MY PRODUCTIVE MORNING ROUTINE (AND MY MORNING RITUALS)
Drink a full glass of water
We get dehydrated during the night, having a large glass of water immediately after waking is like having a shower from the inside out … I start with 2 cups of hot water.
There are a million apps to help here if you want a guided meditation .. I love Omvana by Mindvalley. Or just focus on your breath. 12min is the sweet spot for me to get present and calm and clear. If I don’t have enough time, I shorten it to 1-3 minutes. That might seem frivolous, but the benefit comes in consistently doing the thing. Whether you spent 5 minutes or 15 minutes, you cast the vote for the kind of person supports their mental wellbeing.
Simple statements we tell ourselves that are central to changing our beliefs about ourselves. Actually writing them down in a journal every day is a powerful action that works with our subconscious mind to shape our identity – and then to shape what shows up in our lives. I believe the conversation we have with ourselves is the most important conversation we have all day. So start the day off by reassuring yourself that you are enough. Here are some of mine (and I write these, and others, in a journal every morning). Again, if it’s a busy morning, I don’t skip. I might just write one or two. The exercise only takes a minute, and I’ve seen it work wonders in my life and the lives of others.
I am lovable.
I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.
I am worthy of my desires.
I am perfect health.
I am perfect timing.
I am a loving and compassionate leader
I am surrounded by people who want to help me in my life’s purpose.
Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better and better.
Things are always working out for me.
Only good things are ahead of me.
Abundance flows to me like a river running downstream.
Success comes easily to me.
There is a saying I love. You’ve probably heard it. “What you appreciate, appreciates.” Gratitude is a powerful force. The way of practising this is by saying a prayer of thanks for the blessings in our lives. And expressing appreciation even for things that have not yet happened changes your mental state for the better. I also think about someone specific and offer up feelings of love and wellbeing for them in this way. And expressing forgiveness for a past hurt. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the act of prayer shifts my outlook and entire state of being to one of love and grace and compassion – for myself and for others.
This is one of the easiest ways to score a big win early in the day and set yourself up for success. Doing activities to increase your strength and endurance offers an energetic boost and focusing on a physical tasks helps clear the mind of clutter, increases our feel-good endorphins and sharpens focus. We have a dog, so going for a short run with our pup is a way to ensure I get out and move my body. I listen to an audiobook or podcast during my run because that supports my belief that I am a lifelong learner. When we get home, I follow James Clear’s process from Atomic Habits called ‘habit stacking’ … When I take off my running shoes, that acts as the cue to complete the next habit, to drop and do a push up. Sometimes, again, depending on time, it is literally just one push up. But it reinforces my belief that I am physically fit and taking care to strengthen my body and support my longevity.
Then I brew up a cup of Millennia TEA to really jumpstart my energy levels and to signal that it is time to get to work on the day. For me, I actually take one of our frozen edible tea cubes and pop it in the Vitamix with a 1” chunk or ginger root and the juice from ½ a lemon and blend it up for a high-powered morning elixir and energy boost.
This entire process takes no more than an hour. I wake up at 5:55am and am finished my routine and ready to take on the day’s challenges by 7am. If I’m slower to rise, or I have an especially busy day that requires an earlier start, I shorten the duration of each of these activities so the entire morning routine takes less time. But I don’t skip over them. I keep the flow and the stay consistent with the system. And, in doing so, I reinforce my beliefs about the person I am becoming, and set myself up for success.
It’s been said we don’t rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems. You become your habits. And Friends, we all have time for one push-up.
- Tracy xoxo
For Tracy's Daily Superfood Smoothie Recipe, Click HERE