When I was a kid I lived close to a children’s amusement park, appropriately named, “Kiddie Land”. The most adult ride there was the famous Tilt-a-Whirl. I longed for the day I was allowed to ride it. But once I did, I wished I hadn’t.
No sooner did the whirling start, I wanted off. The events of the 2020 have left me with the same feeling—can someone please stop this ride and let me off? Just about the time COVID-19 once seemed to be waning, nationwide riots started. So in a world that is spinning, tilting and whirling, how do you stay steady? How do you keep a rug up under your feet?
What you should NOT do is wake up and immediately read the news or log in to social media. If you do, you are allowing the serious issues the world is experiencing to drag you down before you even get started. Instead, I found the answer in a simple principle: the way you begin your day will set the tone for the rest of the day. That’s right. Mornings matter! Let me explain.
John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair care products, has the same morning routine no matter where he is in the world. He starts his day with 5 minutes of quiet reflection and spends time being grateful for what he has. Stephen King says, “Every morning from 8 to 8:30 I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. I have my vitamin pill and listen to my music, sit in the same seat, and have my papers all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing this the same way every day is a way of saying to my mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”
Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company, sets an intention every morning to go through his day with compassion. Arianna Huffington, President of the Huffington Post Media Group, begins every day with yoga and meditation as two of her "joy triggers" that lead to stress reduction and mindfulness which leads to happiness.
Eighty-nine percent of successful people have a morning routine—whether it is prayer, meditation, reading, exercise or a reprieve from social media and electronics, it definitely seems to pay off and keep them focused on something productive rather than allow themselves to be blown around in the latest wind storm.
Highly successful author, Debbie Macomber, writes in other books every morning before she works on her own. She writes in a prayer journal, a God’s promises journal, a personal journal and a gratitude journal. Then, and only then, does Debbie feel ready to tackle a day of authoring.
What is a routine anyway? A routine is defined as: a sequence of actions regularly followed, a fixed program performed as part of a regular procedure, rather than for a special reason. And why have this routine in the morning? Because it’s the part of the day over which you have the most control. Matter of fact, many people with a morning routine wake before the sun ever comes up. Jesus was bombarded with people who constantly made demands on him, so what did he do? The Bible says he arose early, before dawn, and went to a quiet place alone to pray. Jesus had a morning routine!
But if you just set your clock for an hour earlier in the morning with no program or routine to follow, the chances of actually getting out of bed and staying out are slim to none. The routine gives you a reason to kick the covers back, knowing that you are in control and you get to spend those early hours any want you want, uninterrupted. Now that is empowering. Zig Ziglar used to say, don’t call it your alarm clock—that sounds negative. Call it your opportunity clock. It is an opportunity to get up, read, pray, exercise, plan your day and make each day count. Otherwise, it’s too easy to let your days become a mountain of days that get lost in non-productivity.
Have you ever had to catch an Allegiant flight at 7 am? I have. Many times. It requires getting up at 4, making a 50 minute drive to the airport, walking to the terminal, going through security and all before 6 am. What makes it all worthwhile is knowing that waiting for me on the other side of security is not only coffee and a blueberry muffin---but also my plan. I’m going somewhere!
Let’s take a morning routine a step further…I truly believe a successful morning routine starts the night before. Living with a daytimer and jotting down things that need to happen “tomorrow” will actually help you do those things tomorrow. Too many times we say tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. When you have tasks or projects written down and staring you in the face all day, you are much more apt to really do them.
Having a morning routine has changed my life for the better. It is very rare now that I get to the end of a day and think, “what a non-productive day, or I sure wasted this day” Regret over how I spend my time has become a thing of the past. Not long ago I went to Tampa and forgot my skin care “routine”. It was only one night, but the difference was awful. Only twenty four hours later my skin was dry and dull. But after being home and getting back into my skin care routine, the glow returned.
Having a daily routine does not keep you status quo, it does not keep you average. It will help you progress in life. Every day spent exercising progresses toward better health and well-being, it helps remove stress from your body. Every day you pray and get into the Word, your spirit life grows and progresses. Having a good daily routine is not about maintaining, it is all about moving forward.
If current events have you feeling scattered, undisciplined, and are causing you to fritter your time away, try setting your mind the night before. Write your vision for the next morning down. Habakkuk 2:2-3 says when we write the vision, it shall surely come to pass. There is something about putting your intentions in writing that solidify them. Then keep yourself accountable. Ask yourself about 8 p.m., “How did I do today?” If you haven’t accomplished one thing on your list, try to do something, then move the items to the next day. Just don’t make a “routine” of doing that!
Govern yourself. Refuse to be bounced around by whatever dilemma is currently distracting the world. Take charge of your morning and it will result in you being more in charge of your day, your week, your life.