How changing your physical, mental, and emotional state will shift your focus from problems and dead ends to solutions, excitement and resources.
We only observe a small chunk of our environment.
It’s a survival mechanism. If we observed all of it, we’d go bananas.
So our brain decides what’s important for us to notice, and discards the rest.
Have you ever noticed that you can always hear your name being mentioned in a loud crowded area?
Despite the rest of the chatter sounding like a sea of murmurs, your name cuts through the noise and rings clear as a bell.
What dictates what we do and don’t observe?
That would be our state. The state of our body, mind, and emotions.
If you’re in a negative state, you only see problems. You tell yourself defeating stories, and you lack resourcefulness.
Likewise, if you’re in a positive and uplifting state, you see solutions, resources and you tell yourself powerful stories.
Alberta Made Me Do It
2500 km away from my family and friends, a complete lack of civilization, -40 degree temperatures, and a short period of homelessness where I slept on the gym floor.
This sums up my two year stint living in Alberta, Canada. At least from my negative, limited perspective.
I despised my time there. Needless to say, I wasn’t in a positive and uplifting state.
My negative state caused me to see only problems in my life.
It affected the way I interacted with co workers, it caused problems with my workout schedule and nutrition, and led to an overall negative experience.
But good things come out of necessity, and I knew something had to change if I was going to make it out there in the wild, freezing west.
I began learning about meditation, breathing exercises and other techniques to improve my mental state.
Soon I had developed the first incarnation of my morning ritual.
My day started with 20 minutes of meditation using a guided meditation video on YouTube.
The meditation focused on controlled breathing techniques, and it taught me how to shift my focus from my brain to my body (from my head to my heart).
After my meditation I would take a long walk.
The walks lasted for about 40 minutes each. During these walks I would listen to podcasts on topics I was interested in learning.
The difference in my physical, mental and emotional state was incredible.
Without making the conscious effort, my gym schedule fell into place, probably due to a more resourceful mindset.
I began finding solutions to my awful nutrition, which I blamed on my hectic work and travel schedule.
I started going to the library to study books on psychology and philosophy.
And my personal favorite, I started the first version of this blog.
State- Story- Strategy
My morning ritual has evolved since my days in Alberta.
After some more research, trial, and error, I’ve collected a handful of rituals that serve me exactly the way I need.
I base my collection of rituals on Tony Robbins morning rituals template, which he calls State- Story- Strategy.
This refers to your physical, mental, and emotional state.
And the good news is, you can control it.
Changing my state is the first thing I do in my morning routine, and it can be done quickly and easily.
Breathing Exercise- The first thing I do after my alarm destroys my reality at 4:30 am is head to an empty room downstairs, sit on the floor and begin some breathing exercises.
The first exercise I do is called ‘breath of fire’, and is common in Yoga practices.
I’ll do this rapid, concussive breathing exercise for 3 sets of 30 breaths, and by the time I’m done, I’m wide awake.
Following my breaths of fire, I’ll focus on slow breathing. Usually I’ll stand up, saunter around the room, breathing in for 4 seconds, and out for 4 seconds. I’ll do this for a minute or so.
Note: Another way I like to get into a positive and energetic state is with short bouts of exercise.
This exercise isn’t meant to replace your workout for that day, but just enough to add a spark.
My favorite is 50–75 kettlebell swings, broken down into chunks of 10–20.
I expand on this in the video below.
New and improved state: achieved.
Now that I’ve achieved a positive, powerful and uplifting state, I’m in a position to tell myself powerful stories.
Listen, I know telling yourself stories may sound weird, but here’s the deal.
We tell ourselves stories all day, every day. Unfortunately, they’re usually defeating and negative.
The stories we tell ourselves tend to come true, so if we’re going to story tell, it might as well be powerfully positive.
I like to tell myself stories in the shower in the form of mantras.
The mantras change depending on what I feel I need or will serve me best that day, but they’re always brimming with self love, positive vibes and confidence.
These stories change the way I view the world
Sticking with the telescope analogy; these powerful mantras aim the telescope lens towards positivity and resourcefulness.
Now that my state is lifted, I’ve told myself powerful stories about my day and myself, I’m ready to apply this to a strategy.
This strategy isn’t anything special, and it isn’t specific. It refers to the way I navigate and plan my day.
At this point, I’m seeing solutions instead of problems, possibilities instead of dead ends, and excitement instead of anxiety.
When it comes to getting the results you want in the gym or in your life, your state, stories, and strategy will dictate your outcomes.
If you’re thinking of implementing your own powerful morning ritual, it’s important to know that you don’t need to start big.
Choosing just one morning activity can make a huge difference in the rest of your day.
When I started experimenting with morning rituals, I implemented 10 minutes of meditation first. This alone had a monumental impact on my state of mind.
Like anything, it’s all about momentum. Start small, form the habit, and build from there.