How to Start Your Mornings

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

Getting the right jump on your morning can set the tone for your entire day. You already have your ritual in play and it may include reaching for your phone to see if your boss sent you an email over night or checking out the morning’s news shows where you’ll get caught up in the next global tragedy. Research now shows that how you start your day off sets the tone for whether you view your day as successful.

In a 2015 study, researchers Michelle Gielan and Shawn Achor studied 110 participants who were placed into two groups. One group watched 3 minutes of negative news before 10 AM and the other group watched 3 minutes of solution focused news. Solution focused news was not about “feel good puppy stories,” but instead showed how people overcame personal challenges in their lives.

The researchers emailed participants later in the day asking them to complete several survey questions. The results indicated that the people who started off their day with negative news had a 27% greater chance of reporting their day as unhappy.

We can extend that action by taking a more positive and solution focused approach into the workplace. Several of my executive coaching clients now bring their teams together for morning “huddles” where they discuss the tasks for the day, identify ways to support each other in projects, and share stories where they overcame some kind of adversity to create a win for themselves or the team. For one company, this translated into increased speed to completion of several key project activities and an improved engagement score for that business group.

So here are three things you can do to improve your chances for a successful day:

  1. Put your device away from your bed and don’t check it first thing in the morning. Consider lolly-gagging in bed for a few minutes when you wake up and think about what challenges you overcame in the last 24 hours or perhaps take out your pen and do a bit of journaling.
  2. Seek out podcasts, YouTube stories or even good old fashion books that provide stories of resilience. I’m reading Walter Issacson’s “The Innovators” which describes how early and recent technology innovators overcame their adversities to create our digital universe.
  3. Be aware that you, too, are a broadcaster. What kind of messages are you sending out to your team and family that may promote a more positive workplace? Share stories of successes that you’ve had, and which others have experienced and see how that changes your colleagues and family member’s day.

Your Challenge This Week: Examine the information you consume and begin to detail ways you can change them. Next week, we’ll talk about specific strategies for changing your morning ritual.

By the way, I just noticed that this is my 250th edition of Resilient Wednesday. If you’ve gotten some value from my newsletter, please let me know or better yet, pass it onto someone else who can benefit from it!

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019


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