A daily practice is a dedicated time each day where you invest in learning, personal development, reflection, physical and mental conditioning, and visioneering for the future. It’s a daily investment in YOU where you gain clarity on who you are, what you’re doing and where you’re going. In this episode you’ll learn how to create one based on your personality, and 5 key tips to set yourself up for success. So, get out of your head, into your heart and let’s build your daily practice.
Hey, it’s Julie and welcome to the Corporate Yogi podcast.
Do you ever find yourself wishing you could be more organized, productive, focused, clear, creative or balanced?
Or maybe you’ve wished for more of ALL those things.
Well today I’m sharing a tool that can do just that.
More good in your life, more of what you really want, more focus, clarity and if you’re consistent, big shifts will happen.
The tool is having a Daily Practice.
I’ve talked about this before, episode 149, and I called it your Morning Routine, bc many people do opt to do it in the morning, but I’ve changed my tune on that and know that for many people the morning isn’t an option, and pigeonholing it as a Morning Routine can actually be a deterrent. So from this point forward I am calling it a Daily Practice.
I first came across this concept years ago from Hal Elrod, who wrote a book called the Miracle Morning, and I was blown away by the results he promised, read the book immediately and also started incorporating this into my life.
And more recently, Robin Sharma wrote the 5am Club, a leadership fable which praised the benefits of a sacred morning ritual. If you’ve read that book, you’ll remember that all change is Hard at first, Messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
The other person who popularized morning routines is the king of efficiency and productivity hacks, Tim Ferris. On his podcast he often grills guests on their morning routine.
And I get it, it’s great to know what Tony Robbins and Michael Phelps do at the start of every day.
Do they meditate and have the lemon water, OR do they have the lemon water FIRST (oooohh) and then meditate. Edgy, I know. It’s hard to function in life without having this detailed knowledge.
The key thing to remember here is that flexibility is so important, critically important. If fact, I would argue that having flexibility with a daily practice is the SECRET to success. And this is the main reason why I’ve shifted from calling it a morning routine to a daily practice.
So here’s a look at what you’re going to learn today:
1) First, I’m going to explain what a daily practice is
2) In the 2nd segment I’ll help you design WHAT it can be made of.
3) In the 3rd segment I’ll share what’s in my daily practice, and reveal some fantastic resources I share with clients.
4) and lastly, I explain the critical keys for having success with your daily practice.
So get out of your head and into your heart and let’s dive right in shall we.
What exactly is a daily practice then?
It is a dedicated time of the day where you invest in learning, personal development, growth, reflection, physical and mental conditioning and visioneering for the future.
It’s a daily investment in yourself.
It gives you clarity on who you are, what you’re doing and where you want to go.
It’s often done in solitude, away from everyone and from your regular routine
I do know some couples or families that do this together, which is cool.
For me, being a raging Introvert, I’ve always done it on my own, but I can see how doing it as a group would be valuable too, and help to hold you accountable
Here’s some commonly asked questions I get about building a daily practice
Q: How long should it be?
Well, you know I don’t like the word SHOULD, it’s always a sign that your Saboteur is lurking around in the shadows and putting pressure on you to do something right, or in a specific way. Not cool.
Your Daily Practice can be as short or as long as you want.
You might build one that is 10 minutes, where you write out your daily goals, meditate for 5 minutes and then turn on your favourite playlist to dance it out. Voila, that’s your Daily practice. If you started doing that, that would be SOLID.
Maybe you’re more of an A-type person and you love being intense and you want the works, maybe you will design a 3 hour long daily practice that includes your exercise and meditation and some reading.
There’s no right or wrong, the key is to be REALISTIC, so it actually gets done, on a regular basis
Q: What do I put in it?
The answer is pretty much anything that will promote your growth and betterment, physically, mentally or emotionally. In the next segment I’m going to give you a list of a bunch of things you can add to it.
Basically think of anything where you learn, grow and set yourself up for a positive day, those are all good things to add
Things you shouldn’t put in your daily practice – are planning out your calendar or day, no answering emails, no checking the news or social media, writing proposals or doing work. No strategy or one-off type things. It’s meant to be a routine of what you can do every day.
Q2 : How do I know if I’m doing it right?
Basically it should leave you inspired and energized after you complete it every day. Like you’re leaving an amazing concert, show or time spent with friends.
You also should look forward to doing it every day, it should bring you joy and excitement, not feel like it’s a lot of work or that it’s hard.
Q3: When in the day do I do it?
As I said in the last segment, I used to believe that you had to do this first thing in the morning. This is truly where the concept came from, and it is what the bestselling authors suggest.
And the thinking here is, to get yourself into the right state of mind at the start of the day, then you will benefit from this conditioning for the remainder of the day.
Also, our brain is the sharpest and freshest first thing in the morning.
So yes, I think there is an advantage to doing it in the morning. But I’m completely biased here, because I am a totally morning person, and I know that not everyone is. I know some of you can’t access quiet time in the morning or maybe you work shift work, then I would suggest you fit it into your day whenever is the most realistic, listen to your intuition and do it at a time that works best for you! I’ve seen success with people who do it over their lunch hour or in the evenings after their kids are down. I love that. Be creative and create something that suits your schedule. I’m not a fan of this rigid draconian belief that it has to be done at a certain time, or that it has to be done in a certain order. Absolutely not!
Q4: How do I get started?
Take some time to plan out what you want to do, and if you’re just staring out, allow it to be flexible and a learning experience. You can tweak and evolve along the way. Maybe reflect at the end of each week and see how it worked. You might want to add something in, take something out, or switch the order of things. In the next segment I’m going to give you an example of what you can design into your daily practice.
In this segment I’m going to share a bunch of ideas of what you can design into your daily practice. It’s a long list, to give you inspiration and ideas. I also share some of my favourite apps and tools.
Please don’t feel like you have to do all of these things. And you might have ideas of what you want to add in that I didn’t even include on my list, which is great.
The first thing: Physical fitness
This is an obvious one, doing some form of exercise as part of your routine is important – and it could be an intense cardio class, a run, or a gentle walk or easy yoga class, tai chi, or gentle stretching. Any movement or exercise goes.
2nd: Meditation + Visualization + Breathwork
I’m grouping these 3 together because I do them together in a sequence on my meditation cushion.
I do the breathwork first, 10 minutes, I use an app called Breathng Zone, which is cool because our breath – as you know – is the link between our conscious and unconscious mind – so breathing is a great way to ground before meditation. There’s an audio guide prompting you to breathe in, breath out, and you can adjust it to fit your capacity and length of breath. And this is such a great mirror for me, bc the days where I try to use it and I can’t sync my breaths up to the prompts, it tells me, OK your mind is really racing right now, turn it off and go to your breath.
After that 10 minutes I go into meditation, and some days that is 10 minutes, some days it’s an hour. It all depends how much time I have, and how much I need it.
Lastly the visualization is what I do at the end once I am grounded and in state, then I take time to visualize about my day and also drift into the future of what I want my life to look like.
For meditation I use Insights timer. I don’t do a guided meditation, I just use the time component, and you can set chimes or singing bowls as your prompts, which is nice.
If you’re new to meditation, I would strongly suggest using an app. Headspace is a great one if you really like a nice structured form of learning and you want to understand what’s going on.
I love insights time, bc you have so many options to choose from, and it feels really authentic, and I love that virtually anyone can start uploading and sharing their meditations on the platform.
The third thing: Write out your goals
I’m referring to your annual goals that you’ve set for the year, bc you want to keep them top of mind, not just set them and forget them. We advise you to write out your goals at least once a day! Pen to paper, not digitally
Writing out stream of consciousness is a great way to connect each day
And that means just sit down and start writing whatever pops into your head
And if nothing comes up, then start writing down, I really don’t know what to write…. And you’ll just start flowing
Writing out what you are grateful in the morning and evening is very powerful
You can also write out motivational statements
You can do Morning Pages, which is a tool introduced by Julia Cameron in The Artists Way, specifically designed for when you have a creative block, but it can be used in any situation, like this on a daily basis
You can read a chapter from a book – fiction or non-fiction. Again anything that really excited you. This is a great way to be inspired and get your creative juices flowing.
6: Read a favourite passage or exert from a book that is very motivational
Marianne Williamson’s famous passage from A return to love is a good one: – Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkest that frightens us most.
Louise Hay has a number of brilliant books, You could take a passage from You can heal your life
Also there are tonnes of amazing passages in Think and Grow Rich, from Napoleon Hill
Whatever floats your boat and gets you motivated. What I find inspirational, might not align with what you find inspirational, and that’s ok
7: Watch a Ted talk
This is a great add to get you all fired up and motivated. You can use the app, watch from their site, or simply watch via YouTube. The speakers are all carefully vetted, so you can rest assured it will be inspirational and you will learn something!
8: Watch a motivational video
There are so many motivation videos on YouTube, you can pick one you’re your favourite author, or simply search Motivational videos, one channel I like is called MotivationHub, they have tonnes of these compilation videos, that always serve a good pump up
I also like Motivational music, there’s a great spotify playlist called:
Epic Motivational Music Mix – and I listen to that pretty much every day
It’s sounds intense, but it’s really good.
9: Music and Dance parties
Tony Robbins talks a lot about getting into a peak state every day
And so playing some really good much and turning it up really loud, move around the room and maybe and have a little dance party for one – this is a great part of your daily practice
You could listen to a new podcast every day, or relisten to ones that you have be inspired by in the past that you have favourited. I personally have over 200 episodes for you to learn and be inspired by.
11: Mantras and affirmations.
These are statements that reinforce your goals, or help to rescript limiting beliefs you are working to rescript. They are great to listen to, even better if you say them out loud! They really really work, and we are reprogrammng your Operating System when we do this
OK, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the prescribed process from the books I mentioned:
In his book the Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod uses the acryonym SAVERS for his prescribed morning routine, I think I’ve covered off most of them in my 11 items, but here’s what savers stands for:
Silence – Meditation, prayer or breathing
A – for affirmations – these are encouraging words you tell yourself to achiever your goals
V – is for Visualization – Imagine yourself doing each thing, step by step
E – exercise – Anything to get the blood and oxygen flowing to the brain
R – reading – fill your brain with positive thoughts
S – is for scribing – writing or journality to process your thoughts
And Robin Sharma’s 5am club is a slightly different formula
He suggests a 20 – 20 – 20 formula
20 minutes on exercise
20 minutes on working on your goals and dreams and then
20 minutes on learning
If you like a more regimented process, you can opt for one of these
Or, you can be like me, and create you’re a la carte formula that is customized for your life.
As you can see, you are spoiled for choice about what you can put into your daily practice. There are so many different options.
In this segment I want to share what I put into my daily practice.
Having a daily practice is something I’ve done for years, and it’s evolved over the years, and I’ve seen many benefits from it. However, I think it’s important to reveal a few key things about my daily practice:
– it doesn’t happen every day
– it doesn’t happen in it’s entirety every single time
– it looks different on the weekend and on vacation, as it does on a regular average day
– And most importantly it doesn’t always happen in the morning, sometimes it happens over lunch or after work. I’m a rebel…. I know. Remember, let’s not take ourselves too seriously here, ok? I really want you to listen to this episode with a light and playful attitude. With the curiousity and wonder of a child, trying out something new.
And I’ll be honest, my practice does fluctuate throughout the year, based on when the sun rises. I’ll be honest, the winter months, December, jan and feb when It’s dark early and the sun rise is so late, it’s harder for me to get up and out, so I switch it up. Vs the summer months, when the sun rises so early, I can’t wait to get outside, so I go outside and walk first thing in the morning and switch it up a bit.
I do my daily practice in the morning I’d say 90% of the time
I do it most weekday mornings and I often skip it on the weekends. That is the truth. I’ll do a quick 10 minute meditation or some breathing and yoga though in the morning on the weekend, and the journal, but skip the formal structure of the routine to be done by 8:30 like I do Monday to Friday.
My brain is very much programmed for weekday structure and weekend no structure, and so I go with that.
Here’s what’s in my full daily practice
Journaling, I have some daily prompts I write in a journal, and I also write out ten things I am grateful for.
At the end of each day I write in this journal again and reflect on moments of joy from the day, good things that happened, things I’m grateful for, etc
I use an app for my daily affirmations, It’s called ThinkUp, and I LOVE this app. A client told me about it 2 years ago and I’ve used it ever since.
It allows you to record your own affirmations in your own voice, then it loops them and sets them to music. I have the paid version of the app, so I can even upload my own background music, which is cool. And if you’re new to the whole affirmation game, the app has a bunch of standard statements you can chose from, simply pick a category, self confidence, health, gratitude, happiness, and there’s a list of them you can chose from. I love this app, and use it every day.
Writing my goals
I write them out in the morning and in the evening
I have quite a few passages I read in my daily practice, there is a great Louise Hay one, there is a money and weath passage I ready to Ganesha and Lakshme, I also have a brilliant passage from Think and grow Rich that I read – called the self-confidence formula.
OH, and then two other things I do, which is didn’t mention in the last segment
1 – I do a little eft – also known as tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique. It is designed to use some of your upper body accuptuncture points to release stagnant emotion from your body. However, I’ve tweaked the process slightly and tap the points while I’m doing some affirmations -which feels great
And I also have a few Hay House card decks and I usually pull a card or 3 to help guide me for the day.
And lastly, exercise is important
I walk every morning and do some other 20 or 30 minute workout or yoga
The one thing I don’t do is sit and read a book, that’s never felt right to be in the morning, because I find reading is very yin energy for me, and slows me down. However I do often listen to audio books while I’m out walking, so that counts as reading. And I read from a book every evening before bed.
Phew, that’s it.
Sounds like a lot, but it all just flows
That is it, that is my daily practice.
OK, so that you’re all pumped to build out (or update) your daily practice, I want to share a few keys to set you up for success:
#1 – Be flexible
Seriously, please be flexible in building this and maintaining it. So often I see people create these regimented and strict morning routines that are, quite frankly, militant. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t love to be militant in the morning. I like having a full schedule, but sometimes I’m up late and need an extra hour of sleep, so I only do a condensed version of the routine that day. Or I do part of it in the morning and part later on. Bottom line, I’m not militant and don’t beat myself up.
Now, I want to pause here for a second bc I know that you a-typers are likely losing your mind right now with all this talk of BEING FLEXIBLE
What – you mean you’re going yo make a plan and then NOT actually follow the plan?
You’re going to let yourself off easy? You’re NOT going to hold yourself to a schedule
Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Because, quite frankly, I’m onto you and your high achieving ways that are masqueraded as perfection and drive, but truly serving you as excuses for self-abuse and predicting failure.
Ask yourself this. If having a perfectly executed routine every damn day was the right approach, then wouldn’t you have a perfectly executed routine every damn day? But you likely don’t.
And I have clients I know who for years, literally years, have tried to build a daily practice, and haven’t. and guess what? They use it as an excuse to beat themselves up all the time. It’s a way of self-punishing. I see this all the time. It’s like setting a really strict diet, or exercise regime after New Years and then failing in the 2nd or 3rd week. Which leads me to my next key for success:
#2 – LAYERING
Now your daily practice might be 30 minutes it might be 3 hours. There’s no judgment, and I don’t think longer is always better. I’m more excited for you if it includes exercise and meditation or a long walk or bike ride. When you’re first starting out, it’s important to start simple and then layer from there. So even if you sit down and create a complex, multi-faceted daily practice, you still may want to start with the first 1 or 2 items in the routine, then over weeks, once you master those, then start layering the other ones.
I know some of you are violently disagreeing with me right now and saying, NO Julie, I’m going to do it all at once and you can’t talk me out of it. That’s cool, go for it. You know yourself better than anyone else.
#3 – Build a practice that brings you joy
In the last segment I listed all the things you could design into your daily practice, and let’s face it, there are a LOT of things to choose from. You don’t have to do them all. Pick the ones that bring you joy and do those, if exercise is part of it, then find a form of exercise that makes you happy, don’t do something bc someone else is doing it. If you try to copy Tim Ferriss’ routine, you’re NOT going to turn into Tim Ferriss. I guarantee it. And you shouldn’t want to either. Because You should aspire to be YOU, always. Maybe you want to upgrade you. You could go from Mandy 5.0 to Mandy 6.0, but you’re still going to be Mandy, 100%
#4 – Tweak and evolve
My routine has changed over the years. I typically always design it for the morning, but the order that I do things in has changed over time and also changes through the seasons. Since I’m in Toronto, we’re blessed with 4 proper season throughout the year, and in the summer months I spring out of bed and want to get outside and exercise as quick as I can while the sun is coming up, and before it gets too hot. Versus the winter months, I leave my exercise for last. So give yourself permission to change things up a bit. I would suggest you check in once a quarter and see if anything needs to be tweaked, added or removed.
Especially if you find yourself not motivated by it, and it’s not happening. If you’re like me, and you’re easily distracted by shiny objects, then you also probably love change, so topping up your morning routine every once in a while is a good thing, just to keep it exciting or engaging. And some of you, personality wise LOVE structre and routine and you’ve been doing the same routine exactly for 5 years. That is amazing, I admire you so much – please keep up the great work!
#5 – Build accountability or tracking
These 2 things that can really help your daily practice succeed. The accountability is simple, you either tell another person, or a group of people, or keep some form of public record. I frequently offer clients accountability, especially when they’re building new habits like this, and they can email me when they’ve done it for one week straight. And like so many other things, once it becomes a habit then we can do it ok on our own. Contrary to popular belief, the science actually tells us it 66 days to build a new habit (not 21). I don’t know where the pop-culture came up with 21 days, I’m guessing 66 sounds pretty intimidating, it’s over 2 months afterall, and I think most people think they can just white knuckle it for 21 days and hope it sticks. But the truth is, it takes 66 days to build a new habit.
And tracking is the other gem. Goals that we track and measure are always more successful than ones we leave to chance. So find a way to track, via an app, a spreadsheet, a post-it note, Palm of your hand (just kidding), I don’t care HOW you track it, just track it. There’s a tonne of free apps available. I’ve used one called Habit tracker that I quite like,
Currently I use a google spreadsheet to track my daily practice and other habits, which I like bc I can access it on my phone and also if I’m on my computer and don’t want to switch to my phone for worry of distraction, then I can just update from there too. And in the kitchen I always keep a postit to track the water I drink. I fill my water bottle 6 times a day, which is about 5 litres. And I have a postit near the sink, and I just do a tick mark every time I fill the bottle. I turn the tap on, tick my post-it and fill my bottle, voila.
OK I’ll quickly recap those 5 keys for success
#1 – Be flexible
#2 – LAYERING
#3 – Build a practice that brings you joy
#4 – Tweak and evolve
#5 – Build accountability or tracking
Bonus tip – please don’t compare yourself to others.
OK it’s time to start wrapping up this episode:
I hope that you are inspired to build out your daily practice.
There are lots of tips and options, please create something that is exciting for you, I don’t want you to have any SHOULDS or anything that doesn’t bring you joy.
And if you’d like to chat about building out your daily practice or you have any questions for me about coaching,or gaining a deeper self-awareness so that you can feel more connected and fulfilled, please reach out, I would love to hear from you. You can book a consult with me on my website, thecorporateyogi.com
Thanks for tuning in, enjoy building your daily practice and have an amazing day!