What is your morning like?
An intentional and focused morning is important to me for setting the tone for the day. Over the past few months I’ve been working on getting my mojo back in regards to my morning routine. Hence the focus of this post is about two exercises that I do in the morning titled ‘Today I choose’ and ‘Lord I thank you’ which help me to start the day consciously and positively. So how did the exercises come about?
I hate going through days mindlessly. And a couple of months ago I realised I was falling into the habit of waking up, praying, checking my phone, automatically responding to messages, then checking social media, getting ready for uni, responding to messages again and getting distracted by anything that popped up. Anyone that knows me, will tell you how I live by my to do lists. I have to make them! I thrive on having a clear direction with what I want my day to be like and what I want to get done. The eventual consequence of the routine above was that I would wake up feeling disconnected right from the morning, my day was filled with doing endless tasks that I had no clear purpose as to why I was doing them(in my mind everything was urgent!), and there was no clear direction to my day because if anything popped up my focus would immediately shift to that.
Therefore, the first exercise came about because I needed a filter that would help me start the day consciouslly in setting out very clearly what my priority would be. Which then allowed me to decide what was important and what wasn’t. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have clear boundaries and priorities in your mind.
I started reading Jonathan Field’s “How to Live A Good Life” recently and there was a sentence in the first chapter that really hit me. He wrote, “Someone else’s procrastination or engineered neurosis does not have to be your emergency.” and I was like bam!
Not everything deserves your urgent attention.
I started doing the second exercise because I wanted to start or end my day with a reflection on the blessings that I have. Steve Harvey once said in a Lifeclass session with Oprah, “When you’re not grateful it blocks the rest of your blessings from coming. If you’re complaining so much about the way things are, why would God give you more stuff to be ungrateful for? Thank God for the position that you’re in.” and that reminded me of a verse in the Qur’an where Allah SWT says
“And (remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour)”. [Surah Ibrahim: 7]
Yes there might be things that you are worried about, but the amount of blessings that you have to be grateful for day after day outweighs everything else! It is transformative when you start your day with an acknowledgement and a reflection on what you have rather than what you’re lacking. Once you start doing that daily, you will internalise the ayah in the Qur’an where Allah SWT tells us that we could never account for all his favours!
And if you were to count Allah’s favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Sūrah al-Nahl: 18]
For me, gratitude is the cornerstone of living a life of contentment and happiness. While I don’t necessarily do the ‘Today I choose’ exercise everyday (I do it depending on if I’m going to have a challenging day or when I’m having one), I try to do the gratitude exercise everyday preferably in the morning but sometimes in the evening. The two exercises don’t take longer than three to five minutes and you don’t even have to write it on paper, do it on your phone or wherever is convenient. Definitely try it out and I hope you find it beneficial. Below are extracts from one of my mornings.
Today I choose
Today I choose to honour my mind. I choose to honour my well-being. I choose to rely on Allah’s plan. I choose to stand in the glory that Allah SWT has gifted me with. I choose to face every challenge with a clear mind and a pure heart. I choose to make every interaction meaningful. I choose to do something meaningful for myself. I choose to be aware of my emotions. I choose to build my relationship with Allah. I choose to live wholeheartedly with a sound heart.
Lord I Thank You
Lord I thank you for waking me up this morning. Lord I thank you for keeping my family safe. Lord I thank you for granting me friends that pray for me and move me closer to you. Lord I thank you for the ease and the difficulties. Lord I thank you for the position that I am in. For the university that I am studying at. For my well being. For my health. For my mind. For my heart. Lord I thank you for not deserting me. Lord I thank you for giving me the tools to face adversity. I thank you for the challenges that I have conquered. I thank you for what is to come that you will help me with. Lord I thank you for the smiles you put on my face. I thank you for the moments of pure joy my heart holds on to. Most importantly, I thank you for the gift of your religion. I thank you for the blessing of always finding solace in your words. Lord I thank you for your love, and your care, and your protection.
(P.S. I interchange Lord with different names of Allah depending on different things I’m grateful for. Allah SWT has the most beautiful names so use them!)
Lastly I would definitely recommend reading ‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod or ‘How to Live A Good Life’ by Jonathan Fields if you’re looking to revitalise your mornings.