A Simple Morning Mindset Routine
Mindset significantly contributes to your ability to thrive. A simple way to elevate your mindset is to make a habit around putting yourself in the right frame of thought at the start of each day.
The inspiration for this article is based off something personal I've been struggling with recently. I've allowed myself to get into a bit of a funk because certain things haven't been progressing as I envisioned them.
The problem is funk begets funk and the more I brood over my situation the more it depresses my mood and state of mind. Missing my normally positive and upbeat self, I decided to put my coaching hat on and figure out how I could overcome this.
A friend mentioned that she's had a lot of success incorporating mindset exercises into her morning. Using that as inspiration, I went searching for tactics that I could use to build my own morning mindset routine.
Even though I'm just starting my routine I wanted to outline my compilation of ideas because I'm so excited about this new habit-building commitment that I couldn't wait until the results to share.
The routine is simple: each morning choose one or more of the exercises below (don't make it a chore — do only what you feel like doing). Spend 15 minutes on the exercises and keep track of any change to how you begin to approach each day over time.
My theory, which is backed my some of the concepts and studies I've shared below, is that we'll both end up with a better attitude — a growth mindset — that will permeate our personal and professional lives.
Growth Mindset Exercises
- Set intention for the day
- Take inspired action
- Eliminate energy drains
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Have inspiring visual aids
- Shift negative rumination
- Use interrogative self-talk
Set intention for the day
This is based on what I discuss on my entrepreneur coaching website in the editorial "Create a Daily Routine." The goal is to be mindful about how you want the day to go. In addition to visualizing the course of the day, make any necessary adjustments to your schedule and calendar to align it with your vision.
I personally notice that I get a bit frazzled when I don't have an idea of what I want to get out of the day. In addition to committing to a more formal daily routine, as I mention in the article, sometimes simply clarifying to yourself what you want to accomplish works wonders. Having a game plan, at least to me, helps me work up more positive energy than haphazardly passing time without purpose.
Take inspired action
There are two ways you can do this. First, as mentioned, align the activities in your day with what you want to get out of it. The second is to incorporate feel good moments into the day.
Sometimes we get so caught up in work, errands, and what's going wrong that we forget we have some control over our day-to-day experience. Make space for fun and indulge in simple pleasures. Commit to doing at least one thing you love or that inspires you each day.
Eliminate energy drains
I mention this in "How to Simplify Your Life Right Now" but discussing it here again as a reminder to you and me. Fix your nagging issues — the annoying and outstanding things that may be mentally or physically bringing you down without you realizing it.
There's no scientific consensus about the emotion of annoyance but what we know is that it is a negative, unpleasant feeling. As a result, nagging issues are energy zappers because they sit in the back of your mind begging for attention. It's better to just fix the situation than allow it to fester.
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Keep a Gratitude journal
Because I write so much for my various businesses this is not one that I'm likely to keep up religiously, but I love the concept. More importantly than the act of journaling is taking the time to practice gratitude and to recognize what's going well in life.
Gratitude has a number of scientifically proven benefits including improvement in your psychological health and mental capacity. When you start to feel a bit low this is an especially important activity given its ability to boost your happiness and overall feelings of well-being.
Have inspiring visual aids
Use physical objects as a reminder of the good you have and the good you desire. Humans have a special relationship with our possessions and we should be mindful to maintain a healthy balance with these things.
Just like we can go too far and end up hoarding a bunch of clutter, we can also strip away so much that we have nothing to self-identify with (a warning to fellow minimalists).
Our possessions allow us to express ourselves and can also serve as visual reminders of the good that has passed and the good that we want to bring forth. No matter if it's a special image on a vision board or a small unassuming memento, select objects can help us tap into positive emotions that elevate our mindset in the process.
Shift negative rumination
Negative rumination is an unhealthy habit of so overly fixating on a negative thought that it leads to anxiety and eventually depression if not put in check. A special feature of rumination is that there is no completion to the thought — it just keeps going round and round your head with no resolution.
In the Minimalism Challenge I explore a number of tactics in-depth that can help you stop ruminating. One that I like in particular is reframing which helps you gently shift from an unproductive emotional loop to a more rationale way of assessing and dealing with problems.
Sometimes when we wake up in the morning we carry over the burdens from yesterday. One way to stop these things from depressing us, before we even walk out of the door, is to try to view them in a more positive light. Shifting our perspective helps us exercise emotional maturity and exert more control over our thoughts.
Use Interrogative Self-Talk
Interrogative self-talk is a substitute to affirmations particularly for those, like me, who don't seem to have much success trying to convince our unconscious that reality is something other than what it is.
Instead of making a declaration that is in direct conflict with reality (and can make your unconscious mind put up a resistance against it) you use positive inquiry. Research shows that asking instead of commanding is a better way to bring about change.
So instead of declaring "I am" when you're not, ask "how might I become" which turns off your inner critic and turns on the part of the brain tasked with solving problems.