A good morning routine is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, helping to ensure that the day gets off to a good start. Depending on your preferences, your morning ritual may include meditation, yoga, and a healthy breakfast – all of which are excellent activities to kick off the day. Since you’re already getting your body to wake up in the right way by practicing mindfulness, stretching and filling up with nutritious foods, why not go even further with a morning “check-in” and ask yourself 5 simple questions to make sure you’re on track for a productive day.
How does it work?
“Checking in” with yourself in the morning allows you to touch base with your mood, get your ideas straight, and set an intention for the day. This means you’re less likely to feel anxious and waste time, and more likely to feel and do your best.
There are many ways to incorporate a “check-in” into your morning routine. You can ponder them during your morning commute or wait until you’re at your desk, take 5 minutes before starting work and write the answers in your journal. One great tip is to have an “accountability buddy”, someone to whom you can ask the questions and in turn be asked, meaning you can say your answers out loud and share your thoughts.
Cultivate your check-in
One important thing to remember is that this doesn’t have to be a long exercise; it’s mostly about taking a small opportunity for some quiet reflection before getting down to the day’s tasks. Likewise, the answers don’t always need to be very profound or complicated. This process is more about developing the habit and learning to honor your feelings. In this way, you have a little daily reminder to give yourself some love and attention!
Equally, this exercise is a great way to highlight the importance of the words we use, both when talking to ourselves and to others. As we look at the questions in detail, notice how the language we use both when asking and answering is designed to allow you to really resonate with your own feelings. Here goes: the 5 simple questions to ask yourself every morning.
What will make today a success?
The first question sets you up to think about your To-Do list, encouraging you to plan out the day in such a way that the completion of a certain activity or activities will bring about a feeling of satisfaction. This can be big or small. For example, today will be a success when I complete all my tasks for the day, or today will be a success when I remember to drink 6 glasses of water. Notice the language here: “today will be a success when…”, you should consider it already done. It’s important to choose a task that is within your control, so you can look forward to the end of the day knowing that it will have been a success.
How do I want to feel today?
The purpose of this question is to give you a feeling to focus on and to return to throughout the day. It reminds us that we are in charge of how we feel and we can choose how we respond to our emotions. Take a deep breath before you answer this one; maybe even close your eyes to really see what feeling comes up. Maybe it’s “Today I want to feel balanced” Or “Today I want to feel light”, but whatever the feeling is, remember that it is yours to feel. You can even write the word down in your diary or on a Post-it to remind yourself to keep manifesting it throughout the day, no matter what life throws your way.
What am I grateful for?
Now it’s time for some gratitude: one of the key components for true happiness! Prompting yourself every day to give thanks for something in life is an amazing way to practice humility and find joy in the everyday. This, too, can be big or small, from “I am grateful for sunshine” to “I am grateful for my family”. Choose one thing every day and try to change it every time and you’ll soon be in a frame of mind where you can truly and regularly recognize the myriad wonders in the world.
What would I change about yesterday?
This is your chance to reflect on the day before, not to feel regret but rather to recognize behavior that you would rather not repeat! Every day is a chance to start again and so highlighting something you did yesterday that you felt was not the best decision minimizes the risk of repeating the same mistake. This can be something like: “I would have gone to bed earlier” Or “I wouldn’t have taken out my frustration on my friend” An additional, very important step to take once you’ve answered this question is to forgive yourself. Don’t bring that negativity into this beautiful new day! You are human and life is challenging. Accept that sometimes you make mistakes and resolve to keep trying your best.
What am I excited for?
Now, look to the future: pick something during the day that you are looking forward to. Maybe you have a dinner planned with a friend or you can’t wait to get home and watch your favorite show. Alternatively, you might just be counting down the seconds to your morning coffee or your lunchtime stroll. Whatever it is, this is the time to look for a moment of the day that is cause for some excitement.
Cultivating the habit of a morning “check-in” encourages more mindfulness, allows you to set intentions, and generally be more present with your mood and your thoughts going forward into your day. Add this little ritual into your morning routine and watch how you become more conscious of your time and more focused on the positive aspects of life!