The Morning Ritual That Keeps This Life Coach On Track Every Single Day
Designing your dream life starts with designing your dream day, every day. That's why I like to practice a little something I call a "Daily Design," or DD for short.
Every morning (yes, every!) I email a group of my closest friends an account of what my absolute best day would look like if it happened. That way, they can hold me accountable for doing everything in my power to make that day happen.
Not only does this practice of designing my day keep me connected to my nearest and dearest, but it reminds me that I am responsible for actively creating my own happiness and not just responding to what's going on around me. Meanwhile, my friends, co-workers, and some of my life coaching clients write their own DDs every day as well and send them to me!
Here's an example what one of my DDs could look like:
- The meeting went great! We already discussed next steps and have a follow-up meeting on the books!
- I finished recording a digital life coaching course, and my Long Island accent miraculously vanished into the Atlantic.
- I had a delicious night with my husband, David. We were connected, loving, and snort-laughed twice.
You see, the list can be simple and to the point. Then, at the end of each day, I'll back through the DD I sent in the morning and reflect on what actually happened versus what I said would happen.
Here’s what my end-of-day recap could sound like:
- The meeting went great! YEP We already discussed next steps and have a follow-up meeting on the books! YES. NEXT THURSDAY!
- I finished recording INNER.U, and my Long Island accent vanished into the Atlantic. YES ON THE RECORDING. NOT SO MUCH ON THE ACCENT.
- I had a delicious night with David. We were connected, loving, and snort-laughed twice. UH-HUH. ONLY, WE SNORT-LAUGHED THRICE!
This way, as the author of my life, I get to end my day powerfully and mindfully. I know what I did and didn't do, so I can set myself up for success tomorrow. Everyone who is reading my daily designs also knows exactly how I did, and I know exactly how they did. And we hold one another accountable by sending reminders if people forget, cheerleading them on, and checking in if the End of Days don't show many results.
We're in it together.
The assignment I give my clients (and now you!) is to find a buddy or a few buddies who want to practice designing their days with you. And while it may seem daunting to do this every day, I have some tips to make it easier. First, come up with a game plan that works for all involved. For example, the friends with whom I DD all have a rule that we must send our DDs by 10 a.m. Monday to Friday. Then, if we forget or are late, we owe $10 to the pot. We've come to think of it as a spiritual poker game of sorts. Same with ending our day; it's $10 if we forget to write a recap.
The goal is just to get in the habit of recognizing that YOU get to create excellence that is in line with your dreams. You get to manage and inspire yourself, keep your promises, and direct your life.
Having a North Star for each and every one of your days is an essential ritual in my book. Not only does it keep you connected to your dreams, but, in fact, as my dear friend Mark Hyman, M.D., shared recently, "People who identify with a 'compass or lighthouse that provides an overarching aim and direction in their day-to-day lives' can live up to 15% longer than their peers."
If living more life—designed and directed by your higher self, daily—isn't reason enough to try this ritual, I don't know what is!
Lauren Handel Zander is the co-founder and chairwoman of Handel Group, an international corporate consulting and life coaching company. Her coaching methodology, The Handel Method®, is taught at over 35 universities and institutes of learning around the world, including MIT, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, NYU, and the New York City public school system. She currently lives in South Salem, New York, has her bachelor's in environmental studies from George Washington University, and is the author of Maybe It's You: Cut the Crap, Face Your Fears, Love Your Life. Handel Zander has spent over 20 years coaching thousands of private and corporate clients, including executives at Vogue, BASF, and AOL. She has been a featured expert in the New York Times, BBC, Forbes, Women’s Health, Dr. Oz, and Marie Claire, and is a regular contributor to Business Week and the Huffington Post.