Though clients come to me for diet advice, they typically need much more than just guidance on what to eat. Because it’s so hard to develop good eating and lifestyle habits, we talk a lot about forming and breaking habits and nurturing the proper mindset. I’ve discovered that setting a good tone for the day helps to both attain a positive attitude and to stay intentional throughout the day. That’s why I talk to my clients about establishing a morning ritual.
A ritual is not the same thing as a routine. A morning routine might involve exercising, showering, dressing, reading the paper and eating breakfast. Because we’ve done it so many times before, we know what to do and in what order without having to do much thinking. A ritual may involve these same mundane chores, but a ritual takes on a meaning beyond getting a task completed. Rather, the focus is on the process of the task or an appreciation of its side benefit. With a ritual you have the added value of feeling energized, focused, grounded, clear headed or some other additional benefit beyond completing something on your to-do list. Some common morning rituals include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, reciting affirmations and setting daily intentions, such as remaining patient with a difficult coworker, experimenting with a new stevia recipe and following through on your plan to snack only on fruit.
I found a meaningful morning ritual a long time ago and have continued with some version of it for well over two decades. Instead of rushing out the door or upstairs to my home office, I gift myself time to sip my coffee while having meaningful conversation with my husband. I spend time thinking about my goals for the day and their potential obstacles and simply center myself for what might be in store. An important part of my morning ritual is my jog. It has become my meditation with the consistent steady sounds of my footsteps and my breath. By the time I’m home from jogging, I have set my intentions and feel mentally prepared for my day.
There are many ways to go about forming a meaningful ritual. These 5 steps are just one way I help clients find their ideal way to start the day centered and intentional.
These tips work equally well to help you start an exercise routine. If that interests you, just try it. Months down the road, you may find that it’s become part of your morning ritual too. Cheers to a beautiful start to your day!
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week and two upcoming books, The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition and 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the American Diabetes Association. Jill is a paid contributor to Steviabenefits.org. Follow Jill on Twitter @NutritionJill and find more at www.JillWeisenberger.com.