I know there are a lot of little things we do each morning, get coffee, read the paper, check email or maybe exercise. We all lead busy lives and mornings are hard when you need to start the day, get the kids off to school, dress, eat, and rush out the door.
But when you break it down, what is the one thing that you feel must be part of your morning in order to have a good day? What is that activity that most affects your demeanor and mood, and can be the difference in a good day and a great day?
I have written before that my ideal day starts with three elements. I get up early so I have time for devotions and prayer, writing and running.
I start with devotions and prayer because I’ve learned over the years that it’s too easy to skip it if that is not the first thing I do. Distractions come so quickly – turn on the news, check email, read blogs, start getting ready – and before I know it, I’m headed out the door without my special time with my Lord.
My writing time is critical too. I actually start my day quietly – which is part of why I like early mornings. The silence grounds me, and helps me focus my thinking a little more. It feels like you are the only one awake in the world. Writing is a key way to process my world, so it’s nice to have that quiet to ponder, and plan, and practice directing my thoughts in more productive ways than what I end up doing later in the day when disruptions are in full force.
I am a morning exerciser. I have learned through the years that I do not feel as strong or as happy when I work out late in the day. There are a lot of elements involved, but most critical is the feeling of running alone in the dark when there are few others out and having that additional time to pray, think through the day, ponder problems, and just be at peace. I’ve said my running time is my happy time precisely for that reason. It is an extension of my quiet.
When I do run later in the day, there is more traffic, I face more obstacles, and my energy level is different. It feels more like a draining activity to get through and check off rather than a tranquil time of energy-building.
Honestly though, I take rest days from running and the day goes along fine. And there are days when I need to be somewhere early or I have other pressing matters and writing just doesn’t happen. Not the end of the world.
What I have discovered is essential to every day, and that I will not skip or skimp on is my devotion and prayer time. For me, that time I spend reading scripture, reflecting and praying is the most important time of my entire day. Yes, I still have not so good days, but I have found when I start off with prayer, it is easier to face whatever comes my way more gracefully and reasonably.
Your one thing might be spending extra time with your kids or a quiet cup of coffee with your spouse. Whatever it might be, it is important to identify that thing that grounds you and start building it in to your morning. When your morning starts well, imagine how much better your day will be!