- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.