“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
How you handle the first hour of your day may in part be affected by whether you are a ‘morning person.’ After living most of my life with my wife Carol, I do recognize that some folks wake up at a more moderate pace than others. My wife does indeed fit the description of the ‘unhurried starter.’ Recognizing this fact, I have adjusted my early morning interaction with her. Less is more when it comes to any conversation with Carol during those first 30 minutes. Perhaps, you live in a household with various early and late starters. If so, you know the difference.
For all of us, regardless of how we get up in the morning, there comes a point in time when we are awake and ready for a new day. For some, like me, this occurs within minutes of getting up. For others, this may happen an hour later – even longer for some.
When it does happen, when you are awake and ready for your day, what do you do with your time? I have a plan for that first hour of ‘awake time,’ which includes a number of things that I have practiced for years and now are part of my daily habits. Prayer, exercise and eating a healthy breakfast are three things I do on most of my mornings. It’s part of my routine. All of us have a process – we differ on what we do. Routines may include drinking a cup of coffee, taking a shower, reading the newspaper, checking email or just quiet reflection. A schedule of tasks does exist, even if just in memory. What do you do with your time, once you are awake and ready for the day? Do you believe that your answer to this question matters? Benjamin Franklin believed that it matters.
Franklin, who was a successful business owner, author and scientist had a very simple, short (in time) system for both starting and ending his day. He did so with two questions. The morning question was, “What good shall I do today?” His connected evening question was, “What good did I do today?” With those two questions – that took less than a minute of his daily time – he followed a path that many successful authors have taught for years. Set a goal and audit your results. Write down what you want to do and then measure the outcome. Benjamin Franklin, notably successful by any standard, implemented a very simple process, set specific goals for each day, and then audited his results at the end of the day. And with that simple system, he became a better, and even better person.
My often repeated definition of success is, “being and becoming the best at what I am meant to be and do in life.” With extreme simplicity, and a small investment of time, Franklin continues to teach us today how to be a better person, to be what I am meant to be and to do what I should do with my life. Do it daily!
Everyone has a morning process. We differ in our true waking up time and when our process gets started. We have our routines. What we do in the first part of our day is going to not just affect our day – it will impact our life. Daily habits predict and become long-term outcomes. How is this working for you right now? Are you satisfied with your current daily habits? What about your long-term outcomes?
What do you do as you awaken each morning that you believe further helps you to become more of the person you are meant to be? What do you do in the early part of your day that helps you to be your best each day? Do you like your answers to these questions?
Do you like the questions posed by the revered Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin? Perhaps, there is another question more useful for you? Maybe, even a special question that is important right now to your life? Would asking your personal question, created and posed by you each morning, followed by a simple measurement question at the end of the day, change your life? Would it make any difference?
Today, as I wake up, I pose the following question . . .
Tonight, before I go to sleep, I will measure how I answered my question.
With a minute of daily time, I am . . .