Every morning I go out for a jog.
This jog takes between ten and twenty minutes. Sometimes it involves sprinting, but it’s usually just a slow jog or stroll.
I don’t do it for exercise. I do it to condition my mind, pump fresh air into my lungs and brain, and prepare myself to work. It’s my secret productivity weapon.
I’d recommend trying this ritual out for yourself, and modifying as necessary. After all, that’s pretty much how I came up with the gratitude jog idea in the first place. It’s a heavily modified version of Tony Robbins’ Hour of Power idea. (My jog involves a lot less breathing techniques and incantations though.) So yeah, modify as you like, but here’s my basic formula.
Gratitude + Visualization + Observation
I’ve played around with different exercises and these three seem to be most effective for me, and specifically in this order.
I spend 7-10 minutes in gratitude and then in visualization, and only go into observation in the last five minutes, but I have been experimenting with bringing observation in sooner. Play around with lengths, and see what works for you.
Part 1: Gratitude
As soon as I get outside, I start thinking about all the people that I’m grateful to have in my life, and why. For example, I think about how my mom has a really vibrant, enthusiastic energy and how my dad seems really comfortable being independent, and doing the things he loves on his own. I see both of these traits reflected in me, and I’m incredibly grateful to my parents for passing them along.
I think about the qualities I enjoy in my close friends back home, I give thanks for my new Portland pals, and I always give thanks for the work that I do, and for getting to work with amazing multipotentialites every day! :)
I also say thank you just for being alive, healthy, living in a beautiful city like Portland, and having a lot of positivity in my life.
Give Thanks for Your Personal Qualities Too
I give thanks for my own personal qualities, for the ability to be productive, for my intelligence and creativity. We often feel weird about praising ourselves, afraid of appearing vain. Well this isn’t about arrogance, or being better than anyone. It’s about feeling confident, and seeing the truth: that there are things about you that are awesome.
Simply take stock of the reasons that you rock, and give yourself a few moments to just be proud of who you are. Trust me, it’s healthy.
There’s Always Something to be Grateful For
During this time, try to think of everything you can possibly be grateful for. If you’re going through a rough time in your life, this is even more important. There is always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just being alive.
The specifics aren’t what’s important here. It’s more about feeling an overall sense of gratitude to the world and feeling like you already have everything you need.
Sometimes I will literally say (or whisper quietly to myself) “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” as I jog.
Part 2: Visualization
When it comes to putting in the hard work and being productive during your day, this part of the jog works wonders. It’s where you remind yourself of the 1-5 priority projects that you’re working towards right now.
One of the biggest problems for multipotentialites, is that we have so many projects on the go, that we lose track of them and forget to prioritize. Then we end up devoting too much time to exploring a new interest, and feel guilty for not focusing on the long term goals.
A good way to make sure you make some progress on your long term goals is by a) identifying your 1-5 priority projects, b) hanging reminders on your wall, and c) using ritual to inspire yourself before working. This third step is what we’re talking about here.
Think about each of your priority projects one at a time. Embody them as though you’ve already attained them. Really internalize how it would feel to have reached your goal. For example, if you have a goal to be healthier, imagine being in your ideal physical condition. How would you breath and move? How much energy would you have? Feel this now, and allow yourself to be filled with happiness and pride for achieving those goals. (This feels freaking awesome by the way.)
Part 3: Observation
For the last five minutes of the jog, try to quiet your mind and think only of the beauty around you.
Depending on where you live, this beauty might consist of wild life, flowers, rain, trees, the cat sitting on your neighbour’s porch, or maybe it means observing the architecture, or even just the grandness of sky. Observe how vibrant the colours are, or how the raindrops form little patterns as they hit the puddles, or the smell of the fresh air.
No matter where you are, you can always find some beauty to observe. Just notice it, and marvel. If you like, you can say thanks for this beauty. But silent appreciation works too.
If you find thoughts about your day creeping into your head, gently let them float by, and return your focus to the world outside of yourself.
And that’s it. This whole jog takes me about twenty minutes, and I usually return to the house feeling happy, inspired, and with an absolute fire to get down to work.