Start Your Day Right with an Anchor
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I have recently started meditating regularly again, a practice I find very centering. It is very comforting to put aside every other concern I might have in order to give all my attention to breathing and sitting. The deliberate act of closing all the other active files in my head is itself helpful, but I think that the biggest benefit of meditation comes from the routine of it. Every day, you meditate at the same time, no matter where you are, how you feel, or anything else that goes on in your day. By definition, it is supposed to be something you can default to as a way to reset.
The creation of a steady routine allows you to start your day off in the same way, which in turn gives you some kind of stability and control over how things are going to go. It is like hitting the reset button on my mind so that I can start from a blank, clean page every time. Otherwise, I could be carrying worries and disjointed thoughts from the previous day into the next.
Once I got into the habit of meditating regularly, I noticed that I could build other habits around that anchor. Before settling down to sit, I would stretch out first, and immediately afterwards, I tidy my room for the day. I could use the meditating as a point of reference for my other daily habits and slowly build off of it.
In this way, I have been able to establish a morning routine that lets me start the day off right, every day.
Habits for your Anchor
If you find that you have trouble establishing a steady rhythm to your daily routine, it might be worth finding an anchor that you can build off of. You should pick an action or a habit that lets you reset your mind, so that you clear all the things competing for attention in your mind. The biggest reason we break routines is because we are distracted by all the things the need to get done or were left unfinished from the day before. These loose thoughts tend to intrude upon the things that need to get done now, in the present moment.
Here are some examples of things to do to clear your mind and start your day off right:
- Go for a long walk or a morning run.
- Make yourself a good cup of coffee and sit down to really enjoy it.
- Sit and read.
- Do yoga (look up the sun salutation)
- Practice martial arts techniques and forms
The key with these activities is to make them time for yourself. It is important to start your day with some kind of activity that represents an investment in your own energies, so that you have strength and spirit for the coming day. Warriors spend a lot of time in self-improvement, gathering their energies so that they can be put to use later. This morning ritual should be time for yourself. That means your thoughts are on what you are doing in the moment, and your actions reflect this. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by what you have to do today, or what happened yesterday. Save that for afterwards. Right now, as you go through your routine, give yourself a break and save your thoughts for yourself.
Building the Routine
Once you have established your anchor, follow it religiously. This is the most important thing you will do all day, every day. Not because it creates your income or gets your kids to school or helps your family deal with their problems, but because it is the source of the energy that will enable you to do all of these things.
The other reason you need to observe your anchor religiously is because it will serve as the cornerstone for all the other parts of your routine. If it falls out of place, you'll find yourself giving in to temptation more easily and simply ignoring the rest of the habits you've created for yourself.
Set a time every day to engage in your anchor activity. Make a deal with yourself that you don't always have to go through the rest of the routine, but only the anchor must get done every single day.
Once you have spent some time developing consistency in your anchor, it is time to start thinking about adding one new habit. Ideally, this new habit should come immediately afterwards. In my case, I clean and tidy my room immediately after I finish meditating. It's a simple thing, but something I'd never made time for in the past. By attaching it to my meditating, it is sure to get done.
What You Should Do in Your Morning Routine
I recommend you pick something small and easy to start. Maybe you'd like to start brushing your teeth in the mornings. Or perhaps you want to develop a morning writing habit. Maybe there are some blogs you are always meaning to keep up on but never get around to reading. These are all good examples of additional habits to add to your anchor.
Take some time to think about what you'd like to accomplish with your morning routine. If ought to be made up of things that are important to you, that you'd like to do every day. I suggest activities that promote your health and mental well-being, as a way to ensure the very best possible day.
It is best to build your routine slowly. Add only one new habit every 2 weeks to a month. Slower is better. Let yourself get used to the new routine before you change it.
As you develop your routine, you'll want to keep it short - maybe just 15 minutes - and add more of a time commitment as you go. Eventually, you may find that the anchor of your routine grows to encompass more than just the one habit, and that the supplementary habits can be interchanged. You might not want to have your whole day planned out, but having a set series of things that you get done every morning can definitely help you be more productive and give you a sense of mental stability and centeredness. You may find that your routine extends into the rest of your day, helping you maintain personal consistency when your day becomes hectic and chaotic.
Treat your anchor as the foundation of your day. It needs to be in place before you can build something glorious atop it. From the foundation, the scaffold rises. These are your other daily habits. They provide a framework for the rest of the day's activities, which change based on the current projects or needs. Invest in the foundation so you can build a strong scaffold so you can have a fulfilling and productive day.
- Warriors make time to invest in themselves: Set aside time each day to focus on developing your skills or honing your mental focus for the day ahead. This will enable you to better serve others and accomplish whatever you want to during the day.
- Start with an anchor: An anchor habit is something to clears your mind and sets the stage and pace for the rest of your day. These might include meditation, running, or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee.
- Stick to your anchor: It is important to give due respect to the time you set aside for your anchor activity. This is your time to center yourself. Any other time of day you might make yourself available to others or distractions, but your anchor should be dedicated to yourself.
- Build a routine around your anchor: Once you've established your anchor and gotten into the habit of following it, you can add one or two small habits to either end of it. This gets you in the practice of immediately following the anchor with something you'd like to get done consistently.
- Go slow: When building your routine, start slow and add in small increments. Creating too much of a commitment right off the bat will only lead to putting it off and eventually giving up altogether. Make it easy on yourself.
- Consider doing all this in the morning: Setting your anchor for the morning helps you set your day up before any other distractions can set a negative tone.
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