“Your first ritual that you do during the day is the highest leveraged ritual, by far, because it has the effect of setting your mind, and setting the context, for the rest of your day.” – Eben Pagan
Nothing really prepares a man to becoming a dad. In one instant, life changes so dramatically.
Besides the many unforgettable moments of joy and happiness, new fathers face so many challenges, starting with not getting enough sleep, trying to fit in new responsibilities into a busy schedule, supporting their partner as well as possible, and of course coping with the many different emotions parenthood brings along.
I once heard a lecture of Tal Ben Shachar, a leading expert in positive psychology, who shared the advice he was given from his doctor as he was about to leave the hospital:
‘’Tal, in the coming months you are going to experience every emotion there is, from feeling love and connection, to anger and jealousy. And that’s ok.’’
I think this is so true: Throughout the past year, I can recall feeling so much love and excitement, but also moments of frustration, impatience and even jealousy towards my wife and baby. I have learned to accept that raising a child can be stressful and triggers a range of different emotions. This is something everyone goes through. We are human beings after all.
Nevertheless, we do have a responsibility to show up as loving and caring partners and professional business people. Therefore, must be able to control our emotions and show up at our best regardless of how we feel. In that sense, parents and top performers have a lot in common: For both, success is contingent upon mastering their psychology.
And is there any better time in life for us to upgrade our emotional skills than after such a transformational experience like becoming a dad?
I don’t think so: Becoming a father offers the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on our biggest dreams, set new priorities, and invest in ourselves, so that we become the kind of person who is able to combine our different roles in life, and be a true role model for our little one.
So how can we do this?
Having studied some of the best athletes and business people in the world, I have found that one of the big secrets to their success comes from the simple intention to start off each day on a high note. And this does not need to be difficult.
Think for a second about all the people who begin their morning with resistance, for example by pushing their snooze button. Is it surprising that if people hesitate to even wake up, they will struggle throughout the rest of their day?
I am not trying to put down all those people who find it hard to wake up in the mornings- I used to be the same until I realized that my morning sets the standard for the rest of my day. This insight got me to research what high achievers do to generate the kind of energy that makes them so successful in all areas of their lives.
And guess what I found?
Top performers start their day with a very specific morning routine that allows them to feel inspired and vitalised for the rest of the day. In this Hour of Power, as Tony Robbins calls it, they dedicate time for themselves, before committing to the many daily tasks that await them.
In order to induce positive emotions, the ideal morning routine usually includes several components: some physical movement to wake up our body and activate our metabolism, thinking the time to reflect on our dreams and goals, at least few minutes or inspiration reading, as well as saying out encouraging affirmations.
For example, in my case, I wake up between 5am and 6am, so I have around 45 minutes for myself before my family gets up. My morning ritual looks like this:
20 minutes of inspirational reading.
10 minutes of meditation.
10 minutes of visualizing my biggest life goals as well as the outcomes I desire for my day.
5 minutes of affirmations to uplift my mood.
5 minutes of journaling about thoughts that are keeping my mind busy.
4-minute Tabata workout whereby I repeat pushing up my heart rate with an exercise for 20 seconds, and then resting for 10 seconds. I usually do a proper workout several evenings a week, but this mini-workout really helps me feel energized for the day.
If time allows, I take a cold shower before my son wakes up and I spend some time with him.
This routine helps me wake up with an energy boost that lasts throughout my whole day. It also allows me to cope with any stressful situations I may encounter, both at work and with my family.
Of course, if you have never done a morning routine before, then one hour may be a bit much. The last thing I want is for you is to get overwhelmed and stop investing time in your morning. So let’s break it down into tiny little habits which Elrod calls ‘’the 6-minute Miracle Morning’’ which he summarizes with the acronym Life SAVERS:
It’s so simple that you have no excuse for not giving it your best shot. All you need to do is get out of bed, drink some water, and then go to a place where you can do the following six habits, each for one minute:
Silence time: Just spend one minute sitting in stillness, observing your breath, and feeling deeply relaxed. Notice any thoughts that may pop up, as if you were observing them as a bystander.
Affirmations: Say out loud to yourself a positive statement like I feel excited and happy and can’t stop smiling while actually experiencing that emotion and expressing it with your physiology.
Visualization: Spend one minute picturing yourself accomplishing the one big goal that would be the most meaningful to you either for the day or in general. This could be you succeeding in business, or spending quality time with your little one.
Exercise: Subject to your health condition permitting you to do this, spend one-minute doing jumping jacks, getting yourself to feel awake and alive.
Reading: Spend one minute to read something inspirational and uplifting.
Scribbling: For one minute, write down into your journal any thoughts or feelings you wish to express, or alternatively write down one or two things are feel grateful for.
In fact, I want to challenge you right now to try out this 6-minute morning routine for just 30-days and share with us below how this is going for you. Make sure you wake up 10 minutes earlier than usual and designate a place where you can do all the six habits in one place. You will see that just 6 minutes of quality time with yourself is enough to fuel you with lots of positive energy so that you will experience more success at work and at home. Remember to enjoy this time for yourself, and share with us here how it goes.