My In the Equation morning ritual
Cardio with a twist!
This summer I’ve adopted a new morning ritual and this morning I realized it and deemed it as such. It’s my “in the equation” start to every day and it totally works for me.
For almost three months, I’ve evolved my morning routine to include this 45 min ritual. It combines my preferred form of cardio — power walking in a beautiful place, preferably around or near water — with a couple of simple mental practices that help me throughout my day.
Also, because I’m on the move and living part-time in Minnesota and part-time in Maine, it allows me to have a daily practice that is consistent and helps me focus mind, body and spirit before the day ensues — no matter where I am. It helps ground me.
My in the equation morning ritual includes three basic things:
1) Cardio: An aggressive walk or power walk averaging 2.6-3.2 miles — more if I have time. In Minnesota, my walk is to and around my beloved Como Lake. In Maine, it’s the loop from home to Blue Hill Bay and back home. I try to vary the route and add new twists just to keep it interesting. My Fitbit logs the miles and steps.
2) Gratitude: As I walk, every day, I start by listing off all of the things I am grateful for — that day, in that moment, or in life. It varies. Some days it comes easily and I end up mentally listing things off for 20+ minutes and the list gets too high to count. Other days I get to 10. My goal is always to mentally note 10 things I am grateful for that day. I find that no matter where you are emotionally — grounding yourself in a daily gratitude practice makes you feel better and honestly keeps you focused on what matters most. It’s easier to stay in balance.
3) Mental Twist: Quality, Smile/Good Morning, Awareness. I do three simple things while walking every day besides the gratitude practice that help me appreciate life and focus my mental energy throughout the day.
- Think of a quality you’ll need in abundance throughout the day. After my warm up and gratitude practice, I focus on a quality that I need that day or that is going to be important to me being in my equation and getting through my day. It can be anything — perseverence, focus, strength, courage, love, grace, dedication, patience… I always relate it to where I am mentally and my day. If I have a big deadline or presentation, it might be “focus,” or if there is something I don’t want to do but have to — “strength” or “perseverance.” I then stay grounded in that quality as I walk and think about it so that I live intentionally throughout the day. You’ll be amazed how much this helps your mental game. And it only takes a minute.
- Smile and say good morning. I always smile at my fellow walkers along the path and say “Hi” or “Good Morning.” This keeps it positive and you’ll be amazed at the affect on both you and those you meet. I take great pride in getting to those who have their head down and don’t want to look up.
- Notice, be aware of what’s happening & capture it. As I walk, I try to be aware of what is happening around me and notice everything — the birds, the direction of the wind on the lake or ocean, the flowers, the smells, what’s different today vs. yesterday. Too often we get caught up in our own heads and don’t notice what is around us. If you just take a short time out to ground yourself and noticing everything — pay attention to what moves you or touches you — you’ll not only see beauty all around you but I guarantee good things will happen. I take at least one photo (usually a lot more) every day of something I noticed on my walk that moved me. Today, it was the way the early morning light hit the water and this awesome group of ducks having breakfast. There’s a baby in there but you can’t see it very well on my camera phone.
The daily ritual works. Once I started making me, and this one hour of my day (really 45 min) a priority, I realized that I crave it, I look forward to it — it feeds me. And, it helps me focus for a more intentional life that feels less stressful and less chaotic than had I not started with an in my equation ritual.
Try it. Do it with your own twist and see what works for you. Please let me know how it goes.