Perhaps you have already heard of this great quote by Roman philosopher Seneca (that is also often attributed to the former Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliot Trudeau) –“Luck is What Happens When Preparation Meets Success.” If you are not a believer in affirmations, then this is the one memorable quote to have pasted on your mirror as you get ready for a busy day every morning. This is because this quote reminds you that whether you are a freelancer, an artist or an ambitious individual climbing the corporate ladder, that it is important to start the morning right, by being prepared for the best that can happen and the most that you can accomplish without being stressed out. In other words, it is important to establish goals are defined by the following acronym SMART. This means that the goals that you set for yourself during your morning routine are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based. So believe it or not, your morning routine actually begins with the goals that you set for yourself the night before.
What Are Smart Goals?
Even though this is an article about your morning routine, how your morning is going to go is partly determined by the goals that you set for yourself the night before. Actually SMART goals can be set yearly, monthly or weekly, just like in a calendar, and they can be broken down into smaller smart goals that can help you determine what type of day you will be preparing for the next morning. This is important because every single day of your the morning routine that you have during a summer holiday is likely to be quite different than one that you have in the late fall, when you are busy preparing for Christmas.
However, before you can understand how SMART goals can help you plan your day for the next morning it is important for you to understand what the acronym stands for. For instance:
The S in SMART goals stands for Specific. Vague or general goals often lead to partial or even no results, so it is important for you to determine a specific goal that will ultimately give your day a theme of some kind. This will help you to organize your morning so that everything that you do, from what you are wearing, to what you are carrying, to the appointments you have set for the next day are all working in harmony together to help you achieve a specific goal.
If you visualize your goals every night, then it helps imprint your intention for what you want to accomplish the next day. The more specific your visualization is, the better able you will be able to “sleep on it” and picture yourself getting everything done the next day. For instance, instead of thinking, “I must get to the bank and pay some bills”, get very specific about it and think something like “I will go to the bank at the corner of Mill and River Street, deposit my paycheck and devote $200 to the phone bill, $100 to the gas bill and $50 to the water bill.” The more you focus your energies on completing a specific goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.
The M in SMART goals stands for measurable. When you visualize a goal the night before you prepare your morning it is also important to motivate yourself by thinking of that goal in a number that you can beat from the day before. For instance, if you are on a weight loss plan, and if you walked 10,000 steps using your pedometer that day, you might want to visualize yourself walking 10,200 steps the next day. This is a way of holding a little competition with yourself and making life a bit more of a game, where every day you win (against yourself) by accomplishing a little more.
Determining a measurable goal is a very classic way to achieve self-motivation and coach yourself to do better each and every day. Measurable daily goals can also help you discern whether or not you are meeting a much larger target goal, such as monthly amount of weight to lose or profits to make.
The A in SMART goals stands for attainable. This means that the goals that you choose for yourself must be realistic. For instance, if it took you two hours 10,000 steps using your pedometer that day, and you are on a weight loss plan, then deciding to walk 50,000 steps to lose even more weight the following day may not be an attainable goal. That is because 10,000 steps would take you about ten hours to walk, which is not achievable for most people.
In order for you to determine whether or not a goal is attainable, you usually need to do some research first to make sure it is doable. Setting goals that cannot possibly be achieved is a form of self-sabotage and often, the feelings of failure that come without meeting a goal can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and a lack of motivation. It is also important that you gage your energy level at night, to help you determine if you are going to have enough get-up-and-go to get everything you need to be done the next day.
The R in SMART goals is based on the idea that the goal that you are setting must be a relevant one to get yourself ahead in life. For instance, if you have set yourself a larger life goal of wanting to be a photographer, then your daily goals should aim to support that larger ambition. For instance, attending a lavish fundraiser ball for $100 may not be as relevant to your bigger goal than saving that $100 towards purchasing a professional camera and walking in a park and taking pictures with your cell phone. That is because practicing your craft would be more relevant to your long-term goals. This means that when you plan your morning, the next day, you must have the things and tools ready that you need to accomplish that goal to take with you and you must resist the impulse to carry too many distractions with you, such as a book to read or a bag that is too heavy.
The T in SMART stands for Time-Based. What this means is that your time is important and it should not be squandered on distractions that may not move you forward towards your goal during the day, whether that goal be to make a certain amount of money by the end of the day, walk a certain number of steps or complete a certain number of pages of your first novel. It might be tempting to go shopping, socialize with the girls or binge on Netflix, but the most successful individuals in life plan their day the night before and stay disciplined in their efforts.
The idea is that you create a very disciplined schedule for the next morning the night before and then when you wake up in the morning you promise to stick with it, avoiding invitations to lunch, sleeping in and other temptations that might scuttle your disciplined efforts.
Making A To-Do List, Creative Visualization, And Getting Enough Sleep
It is important to recognize that preparation for the next day actually starts the night before. If you want to be effective, clear and disciplined the next day it is very important for you to get enough sleep. You know your own body best, so if you need 10 hours sleep to function at your very best, then get 10 hours sleep, and if you need 7 hours then get 7. Part of being disciplined and in fact implementing the Time component of realizing your SMART goals is to slot in your beauty sleep the same way you would any other commitment in your life. This is very important because if you do not get enough sleep, your cognitive abilities can be affected and you are more likely to act on impulse or simply abandon a task that you had planned to do because you feel lazy and tired.
There are also three more optional things you can do, just before you go to sleep, in order to help set your goals and intentions for the next day, make a TO-DO list and practicing creative visualizations.
Making a To Do List before you go to bed helps to program your subconscious mind to focus on what needs to be done the next day, and help prevent feelings of panic and confusion about what to do first when you wake up. Keep your To-Do list by your bed and after you wake up in the morning, take a glance at it so you know
Creative Visualizations help you set your intentions for the next day through the power of imagining that what you want to happen has already happened. As Captain Picard from Star Trek would say, “Make it so!” Before you go to sleep at night, close your eyes, relax and visualize what it is that you would like to accomplish in great detail and in the order that it should be done, and then also visualize the fantastic outcome that will be the result. This helps to imprint your subconscious with a blueprint for what needs to get done the next day.
Committing to a 7-Step Morning Routine For Success
Part of being effective and successful is to be able to perform actions that can help you proceed in increments towards your goal, and that means getting a little bit done every day. When it comes to self-improvement it is consistency that counts which is why you have to fully commit to doing every step of a 7- Step Morning Routine for Success every day, and never skip a day.
1. Be an Early Riser
Time is on your side if you can manage to wake up a little earlier in the morning than you normally do. Remember, that valuing your time is one of the tenets of developing, implementing and ultimately achieving a SMART goal. In fact, highly successful people take charge of their lives by waking up as early as 4:00 am in the morning. You don’t have to shock your system by waking up that early in the morning right way but if you normally sleep 10 hours a night see if you can still cope well by shortening that time an hour or two and possibly wake up at 5:00 am or 6:00 am. If that is too much effort then try waking up 15 minutes earlier than your usual time.
2. Meditate First Thing In The Morning And Look At Your To Do List
Our subconscious mind fills our brains with all kinds of images, worries, and desires that may not necessarily be helpful in getting our goals accomplished. Most successful entrepreneurs take twenty minutes to breathe deeply and empty their brains of all thoughts. This is like clearing your slate, or rubbing your inner mental chalkboard clean before you proceed with the rest of the day. Once you feel, relaxed, calm and clear, then look at your To-Do list and run through everything that you want to accomplish the rest of the day. Plan and strategize so that your day can have the best possible outcome.
3. Burn Some Calories First Thing in The Morning
You want to be a lean, mean thinking machine. You don’t have to run around the high school race track or go to the gym every morning but you should try to do some sort of exercise for at least twenty minutes every morning. You can try doing yoga, do a little vigorous cleaning or take a walk in the park. If you do have a gym in your place or building then do twenty minutes of circuit training one day and then get on a treadmill the next.
Exercise helps clear your head so you can focus on your goals, be healthier and it also helps you to combat stress as well.
4. Eat a Good Breakfast
Eating a “good breakfast” means different things to different people but ultimately you should fuel your brain and body with the foods that help you think clearly, sustain your energy in an even, steady way all day and help you maintain your strength and weight. However, there are some foods that do a better job of sustaining the brain the others, which is important as the brain is the ground control of the other parts of your body. A “breakfast for champions” might include any of the following foods.
- Green Tea
- Hemp Seed
- Nuts (unless you are allergic to them)
- Oat Porridge
- Pumpkin seeds
- White Beans
It is also a good idea to go ahead and have that cup of coffee in the morning as both the caffeine and antioxidants in this addictive and energizing beverage helps to rev up your brain and get it going in the morning.
5. Be Well Informed
Successful people always know what is going on in the world. This does not necessarily mean logging onto Facebook and scrolling through other people’s posts to find out what is going on as spending time on social media can be a real time waster. It can mean turning on the news on the radio or television or sitting down with a newspaper to read while you are enjoying your morning cup of tea or coffee.
6. Always Dress Your Best
You never know what life will bring you, so make sure that you always dress your best, even if you are just a freelancer who is staying at home all day. If you do have a job or need to go out, skip the stretch pants and t-shirt and try to look your best. Being well groomed is a way to be ready for any opportunity that might present itself. This means having washed and brushed hair, wearing make-up and wearing clean clothes. Make sure you always brush your teeth and use mouthwash or deodorant. i
7. “Report to the Carpet” With A Smile No Matter What
Bad things happen to good people all the time in life. However, in order for you to stay your course and get things accomplished, you need to know how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and recover after you have had a hard fall. The same is true of emotional or personal situations that you may find upsetting. Find a way to reign in your feelings of failure, frustration or sorrow and show up to work despite everything. Remember that part of being consistent is the ability to drag yourself out of bed, even when you are at your lowest. This will not only earn you a lot of respect from others,
Who Needs This Morning Routine The Most?
Yes it is true there are some people who are naturally organized or have a knack for keeping their schedule or priorities in their head. However, most of us are more likely to make grand plans or no plans at all or simply forget the plans we were mulling about making the night before. This can lead to feelings of stress and feeling rushed in the morning. People who feel like they can’t handle their day or get ahead at all will benefit the most from committing to a 7-Step Morning Routine for Success.