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About 100 years ago, General Mills came up with the famous “Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions!” slogan, and they soon started putting famous heroes and athletes on the box. While I doubt the cereal will give you the superpowers of Michael Jordan or Simone Biles, who doesn’t feel more upbeat just seeing these people on the box first thing in the morning?
We all know that it’s important to eat a good breakfast. But eating a good “brain breakfast” is even more important! How you start your day is a good indicator of how productive and successful your day will be.
In my training and coaching, I spend about 20% of the time talking about business strategies and about 80% teaching about mindset. Why? Because I’ve seen that I can teach the most brilliant strategy in the world, but without the right mindset, my students won’t implement it. They won’t achieve the success they could have.
I have a personal morning ritual that I teach to start the day in a way that feels good, energized and positive and to set yourself up for having momentum for the day by visualizing your successful results in advance. This ritual sets me up for the day and includes all the success habits I’ve learned over the years. I do it before the day gets away with me because I know from experience these habits are critical to my continued success.
Visualize the truth in advance
First, I sit down and visualize the life I want to live and my vision for my future. Then I visualize my current goals and experience them as if they’re already completed. I imagine them vividly, and I let myself feel all the incredible feelings of having accomplished what I set out to do. This may still seem woo-woo to you. But neuroscientists have shown that our brains don’t know the difference between good visualization and reality.
The reticular activating system (RAS) is the part of our brain that filters out “unnecessary” information and looks for the “important” information. When you visualize something, your RAS starts to look for information related to what you’re focusing on. So, you want to start the day by showing your brain exactly what’s important to you.
Read my manifesto
A manifesto is a short statement of who you are, your commitment and your purpose in life. It’s the reason you’re excited to get out of bed in the morning and the thing that keeps you going even when you hit a brick wall. As I read my manifesto, I get into the experience of what is important about it and connect emotionally. It’s not just a thought; I can feel it in my body.
I think people give up on themselves because they disconnect from their purpose and lose sight of who they are meant to be. So, I do this every morning to keep that connection.
Inspiration and gratitude
Next, I write down either an affirmative statement of something I’m working on (like, “I am a patient listener who seeks to understand others” or “I have plenty of time in my day to do what needs to get done”) or an inspirational quote. This becomes a theme that I repeat to myself throughout the day. Rather than minor irritations or petty annoyances, having an inspirational statement keeps my brain focused on more positive thoughts.
Next, I write down four to six things I’m grateful for. I spend a moment to feel grateful, to experience these blessings in my life. It’s not just about throwing words on paper. When you feel and show gratitude, you get more of what you’re grateful for. Energy goes where focus flows.
Pre-pave my hit list
I also write out six things I will accomplish for the day the night before. I call it a “hit list” because these are the most important things I need to achieve that day. In the morning, I block out time for those six things into my calendar, always tackling the hardest ones first. Then I pre-pave success by visualizing each of them and their successful outcome. For example, if I have a video to shoot, I’ll visualize feeling upbeat, that the information flows out of me quickly and that I will only have to do one take! Pre-paving is especially important for tasks or interactions that might be challenging. You want your brain to anticipate success, not failure.