When I was a full-time designer in an agency, my mornings always suck. I’ll wake up, wash up, put on make-up and clothes, and rush out of the house to begin my commute to the office. After buying coffee and finally sitting down at my desk, I’ll be sending time-sheet reports and traffic updates, then work on design campaigns. I constantly felt a beat behind, always chasing after time, expectations, performances. A life like that was exhausting.
In recent years, I came into contact with trying out morning practices for improving lifestyles. Ever since I implemented these (though not all at every morning), I have begun to feel the benefits!
Morning Practices to Make A Difference In Your Life
List 10 Grateful Thoughts
Starting the day with gratitude is one of the significant practices that made my life better. After washing up, the first thing I do is to write down 10 Grateful Thoughts, and for each point, why I’m thankful. It can be gratitude for good health, to be surrounded by loved ones, clean water, a computer that works, a job, great colleagues, great clients, awesome weather, chances to go yoga, chances to travel, meeting good people; the list is endless!
Practising gratitude will make you realize how blessed you are in this one life.
Morning Pages / Freestyle Journalling
The other morning practice I came across in 2015 is called Freestyle Journalling. This has been the BEST PRACTICE ever. I take a notebook and scribble 1-3 (3 is the goal) pages of words. This method is meant to make thoughts flow, declutter the mind, process thoughts, and the practice has helped me gain so much clarity, about my life, my work, goals, and actions, just by writing freely. The key is to not overthink what words appear on the pages. In fact, you’re not even supposed to look back at the scribbling. What you write are also for your eyes only, I wouldn’t advise doing it over social media or a blog or any online journal.
On my most recent trip to Japan, I got up slightly earlier so that I can start the day with yoga. If I don’t have my travel yoga mat with me when I’m overseas, it will be just the hotel room’s carpet, no choice! Just some simple flows and sun salutations to get the body moving before I wash up, put on make-up, have breakfast and head out. Starting mornings overseas this way actually helped me stay more grounded in a foreign country, and kick off the day on a good note!
Sitting in silence for 10 minutes, or using guided meditation apps such as Headspace (as I’ve shared about the great design aspects of it here) sounds easy, but meditation turns out to be one of the hardest tasks to fulfil. However, like all good things, meditation is a discipline that takes discipline and constant practice before you see results.
The Miracle Morning
I bought the “The Miracle Morning” book by Hal Elrod. Basically, the Miracle Morning ritual consists of doing 6 things in the morning, easily remembered as life-SAVERS:
- S: sitting in silence ( / meditation),
- A: self-affirmations,
- V: visualization,
- E: exercising ( / yoga),
- R: reading and
- S: scribing (( / journalling).
I’m the perpetual night owl so waking up early has never been my forte. I tried the practice for a few days; it actually felt good to be up before the sun lit up the sky! The good about this morning practice was that it already contains 3 of what I’d recommended above (journalling, meditation, yoga). I will restart the Miracle Morning practice again at a better time.
Even as an Independent Creative, doing these morning practices have made me a more focused designer, keeping to my design principles as well as business directions. With the arrival of 2016, here’s to starting more mornings right! With that, I’ll like to express my gratitude for your support towards Made Wanderful. Here’s wishing you a