Happy post 4th of July everyone!  I hope everyone had a festive and safe Holiday!  

This weeks challenge is another one of my favorites.  I find we all do better with even just a little routine in our days.  I especially find it helpful with all that is going on in our world presently.

Asked if he had only one word to describe the secret of happiness, the Dalai Lama immediately responded " Routines." And when it comes to a morning routine, the Dalai Lama doesn’t mess around

Your challenge this week is to review your routines - the time of day doesn’t really matter - and evaluate if you need to add, or remove, and adjust accordingly. 

Whether you’re an early riser, or a night owl, routines are important activities that keep us moving forward and help us achieve our goals. They reinforce our goals by grounding us in gratitude, and positive thinking, and keep us focused on the results we’re looking for. 

Not sure where to start? We’ve gathered a few ideas that can help: 

Spend time every day developing qualities that are important to you

We all go through life saying things like, “I wish I had more time to read.” or “I know, I know, I should stretch more.” Start now. Carve out 10 minutes, or commit to something small like reading 5 or 10 pages a day. Did you know that if you read 10 pages a day, you could finish almost 15 books a year!?

Here’s another fun fact,  the University of Michigan’s yearly Health and Retirement Study, researchers examined how many hours per week people over the age of 50 read each week. Based on the responses they got, researchers determined that people who spend just 30 minutes reading per day lived an average of two years longer than their peers who didn’t.

Whatever quality it is that you decide is important - ask yourself if you dedicate enough time (if any) to developing that quality each day. If your answer is no, maybe it’s time to change that. 

Free Your Mind Being creative isn’t just for kids and artistic types - creativity actually helps us process difficult emotions and has also been linked to the maintenance and/or establishment of a positive self identity

Morning, it turns out, is the best time for creativity. But you’ll experience the benefits of it just by making sure you carve out time to be creative in your day to day life. 

Creativity can take on many forms - coloring or doodling, creative writing using writing prompts, downloading a brain games app, or making up a recipe in the kitchen. 

Meditate 

Meditation has made its way into the mainstream in the last decade (and of course it’s been around for a lot longer than that). When most people think of meditation they think of chanting mantras, sitting on a cushy pillow and mindful breathing. And sure, that’s what some people think of as meditation. 

If those things don’t sound appealing to you, and as a result you’ve decided not to make meditation part of your daily routine, we totally get that. But we’d like to present a few new thoughts on what meditation can look like, and none of them require a mantra, dainty bells, or incense. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. 

  • Mindful breathing meditation - basically just focusing on your breath. When a thought pops up like, “Don’t forget to take the garbage out”, just let it go and come back to your breath. 

  • Walking meditation -  Take a leisurely walk and pay attention to every movement your body is making in order to propel you forward. Concentrate on the movement of your knee rising, your chin moving forward, your foot hitting the ground and, of course, your breath. 

  • Object meditation - A great way to introduce yourself to mindfulness. Take an object, any object is fine. Pretend you’ve never seen it, or experienced it before. Quiet your mind and observe the object. The color. The texture. The way it feels in your hand. The smell. The taste. This can be done with a piece of fruit, a cup of coffee, a paper towel, etc. 

Whatever you decide to participate in as a part of your daily routine, try not to think of it as just another thing on your to-do list. Rather, think of it as invaluable time to invest in yourself, your well-being, and filling your glass because you can’t pour from an empty one. 

~Coach Pam