Monday, June 30, 2014

6 Reasons Why I Do a Morning Practice (second post in a series of five)

To build on my previous blog post, I now share the six reasons why I have engaged in a regular morning practice for more than a decade. 

  1. Healthy Processing. Writing I do as part of my morning practice has been the ideal vehicle for externalizing and ultimately streamlining my thought process.  I’ll write about events that have occurred and how I handled them; things people said to me and my reactions; and how I responded to situations.  I’ll also write about my fears associated with taking a particular action during the coming day. This process helps clarify what I am thinking and reduce anxiety so I can move forward, and increases my ability to be present from moment to moment.  
  2. Self Check-In. I do a quick self check-in regarding my feelings every morning, identifying those that come up for what they are with neither shame nor remorse.  I then consider what actions, if any, are necessary. 
  3. Observing Myself Doing Things Well and Noting Personal Progress. My morning practice also has become a place where I can counter my intense self-criticism by consciously catching myself doing things well.  I accentuate positive components of a particular situation or in conjunction with completing a certain task (e.g., giving a speech), in the process striving to treat myself with lovingkindness while I fight off unrealistic and pressure-inducing tendencies.  In short, I note achievements big and small I likely neglected to notice in the past plus any forward movement related to situations where I’ve been stalled. 
  4. Daily Planning. By processing what is going on in my mind and checking in with myself during my morning practice, I clear away myriad thoughts and gain the energy necessary to get on with my day. I thus can identify more clearly my priorities and what I need to do. This processing and clearing inevitably yields additional items that I have to complete.  With my calendar open in front of me, I can assign these tasks to the day and time when they need to be completed.
  5. Goal Setting and Tracking. Every morning I ask whether how I use my time in general–and what I intend to spend my time on during the day ahead–is consistent with my desired self-image and what I say I want.  My questions include: Where do I invest my time and resources? Do these expenditures best serve me?  If so, can I employ them more efficiently or effectively?  Can I pursue an activity in a more meaningful way so that my life is even better?  If so, how? My responses help to clarify and track what I want in my life.  
  6. Study and Reflection. An invaluable approach to rooting out old ideas that no longer serve me has been to replace them with new ones.  I acquire these ideas from a variety of sources on personal and professional development.  A portion of my morning practice has been devoted to reviewing these sources to internalize their core lessons.  My thinking has gradually changed as a result, and for the better.  
To realize these six objectives I've spent considerable time and energy honing the setting for my morning practice. You can read about it in the next blog post in this series. 

To view all five posts in the series, click on the following links: Introducing My Morning Practice, Part 1;  Why I Do a Morning Practice, Part 2; Four Items I Need in My Morning Practice, Part 3; Writing: The Cornerstone of My Morning Practice, Part 4; and Reading During My Morning Practice, Part 5.  

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