I’ve never been a morning person, but over a period of time I have trained myself to start my morning with a routine that helps me setup for the day. Now I must admit, not all my mornings are early but regardless of when I wake up I make it a point to start my day with this routine. The routine consists of guided meditation and affirmation where I start off my day by reciting a few mantras and then remind myself of some of the teachings of Guru Gopal Das and Dandapani that have resonated with me. I am still a work in progress and in no way claim to have mastered all of their teachings but being reminded of them at the beginning of my day, everyday helps me focus on the things that really matter.

Be the best version of yourself

We are here for a limited amount of time, think about the future version of yourself, whether it’ll be able to look back and say That was well worth it, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything? In the future, you may or may not arrive where you initially set out to but did you arrive at a better place than you started and did you give it your best shot with absolutely everything that you had?

  • Know yourself, know your goals, hold yourself accountable to your goals and strive to achieve your true potential. The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to be better. Perform small rituals through out the day that constantly remind you of your goals. Use positive affirmation - clear choice of concise words, clear visualisation and corresponding feeling of success to stay energised and focused.
  • The mind has no ability to discriminate what is good for you and what is not good for you. It becomes good at what ever you practice. Train your mind to form extraordinary habits that help you achieve your goals. By consistently practicing the right things you develop powerful routines that become part of your character, which shapes your destiny.
  • Embrace the power within, challenge limiting beliefs, and unlock your potential. You’re capable of more than you think. Trust in your abilities, push boundaries, and surpass preconceived limitations. It’s not about proving others wrong; it’s about proving to yourself that you can reach heights you never thought possible.

Increase your standard of living

Life is finite, decide on what and with whom you want to spend it.

  • Zero in on what truly counts—your life and connections. Cut out the noise, and draw a clear line between instant and delayed rewards, between what drives you from the outside and what pulls you from within, between fleeting pleasure and enduring joy. Pleasure, often rooted in the senses, is transitory and somewhat restricted, while joy stems from aligning with your true self and has a more lasting impact.
  • Starting new things is exciting and fun but finishing what you have started can be a long drawn out process. It is very easy to lose interest and move on to something else. Keeping your goals in mind, eliminate distractions, refine your focus and learn to stay with a problem long enough to solve it. Keep your awareness on one thing for an extended amount of time, persevere and finish what you start.
  • Have a plan. Planning for now and later, set up a schedule, and stick to it. It’s like giving yourself the power to design your life the way you want. At the end of each day, if you’ve stuck to your plan, you’re a bit closer to your valued goals.

Go with the flow

  • Adapt and adjust to obstacles coming your way. Instead of saying ‘I can’t do that’ ask ‘How can I do that?’ or instead of ‘That’s just the way I am’ ask ‘How can I be different?’ A statement closes the mind but a question opens up the mind. Persevere, be flexible, be like the river ganga that finds its way to its destination in spite of all the hurdles that come its way.
  • Rather than worrying about things outside your control, focus on the things you control and strive for excellence within your circle of influence. The positive energy we exert will cause our circle of influence to expand.
  • See challenges as opportunities - (Thomas Edison) Situations and circumstances are out of your control but how you respond to those situations is completely in your hands.

Don’t live the life of “I”

Pursuing personal well-being is a worthwhile goal, however it can have an even greater effect if it is done with the intention of serving others and improving the overall human condition.

  • Instead of trying to get something from the world, consider what you can offer. You are more likely to be welcomed and appreciated when you approach things with a giving, rather than a taking, mindset. Instead of focusing solely on your rights, consider your responsibilities, and the ways in which you can make a positive impact on others through service and selflessness.
  • Notice the good. Take time out each day to notice what’s going right, and be grateful for what you have. It’s probably a lot. You could either count your blessings or your burdens. The choice is yours. For a miniscule spec in this vast cosmos, a variety of forces in the universe, both natural and interpersonal, are working together to keep you safe and sound. This realisation can help you to be more appreciative and cultivate a sense of gratitude.

Find real peace

Learn to be comfortable while being uncomfortable. Be like the lotus that emerges from murky waters and mud without stains as a symbol of purity, strength and resilience.

  • Doing repetitive or mundane tasks can be frustrating and generate negative feelings. It can be tempting to avoid these tasks if you are someone who enjoys intellectual pursuits, but reminding yourself of your long-term goals can help these tasks feel more meaningful and important as steps towards achieving those goals.
  • During stressful or contentious situations, be aware of when your instinctive mind kicks in. This part of your mind drives emotional reactions that are designed to protect you and keep you in your comfort zone, even if it means avoiding challenges or difficulties.
    • Silence can be a virtue in situations where your opinions and ideas are challenged and even discarded. Pause, maintain composure, take a moment to call upon your sub conscious and think wether your next course of action is going to allow you to objectively handle the situation at hand.
    • Keeping a distance from the issue at hand is hard because it can engross you completely, however take the time to realise that you are not the issue itself. Detachment from your instinctive mind can help in separation of emotions, thoughts (arising from facing rejection, anger or fear) from your real self.
    • Zoom out of stressful situations and learn to let things go. Remember, at the end of the day all you are striving for is to be free (mukt) of sorrow, anxiety and fear - to be in a tranquil state of well being, so before getting into an argument or fighting over a position think whether it will lead you towards freedom (mukti).

Now, these might seem like lofty practices that are well beyond your immediate reach but the key is to aim high, write your own story, and persist in your daily routine to make it happen. The practices that I have shared work for me, but feel free to create and adapt your own inspiring list. There are times when it may feel like you aren’t making progress but in order to foster change, you have to be patient with your present self so that it doesn’t resent your future self.