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Evening rituals will make you healthy, wealthy and wise.
Our bodies thrive on routine, a well-established evening ritual will give you a physical and mental edge to achieve maximum productivity – bed time routines aren’t just for children. The last thing we do before bed often has a significant impact on our mood and energy levels the following day. It is tempting to zone out binge watching episodes of the latest crime drama (OK, this is fine in short doses) or mindlessly surf the internet waves, but a proper evening routine can lay the foundation for success the next day.
We all know “…early to rise makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise”, but what successful people do at the end the day is just as important. Michael Lewis, in his Vanity Fair piece on President Obama, notes how “the President’s day actually starts the day before.” Successful people end each day by preparing for the next. Take the time to develop a ‘shutdown ritual’ which includes setting out your priorities for the next day you will wake up ready to go and accomplish more.
6 Evening Rituals of Highly Successful People:
They examine the day
Keep a pen and notepad by the bed and write down what went well that day and a sentence on why. Analyzing the day and recapping will ensure you don’t miss out on any precious lessons to keep you on the right track. Successful CEOs understand that they have to learn from their shortcomings. Benjamin Franklin famously asked himself the same self-improvement question every night “What good have I done today?” He described his other rituals before bed as “put things in their places, supper, music or diversion or conversation, and examination of the day.”
They plan for tomorrow
As the saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, writes down 3 things he wants to achieve the next day. Also, it may seem counter intuitive, but writing down your plans for tomorrow can relieve anxiety. The simple act of writing down a concern can re -center you back to your calm and rational self.
Also read: 9 Tips That Will Make You a Morning Person
They take time to decompress
Spending time with friends or family makes us happier and therefore relaxed and refreshed for the next day’s challenges. Your brain needs time to relax, it is better for you to wind down rather than collapse on to your bed. Try to get out of the ‘grey’ zone, where the lines are blurred between work and home. You will have more energy if you clearly define your work and home life.
They engage in some evening exercise
Whether it is a trip to the gym or a nice leisurely stroll; exercise, even at night, helps you sleep better – as the results of the national Sleep Foundation’s 2013 ‘Sleep in America’ Poll showed. Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, takes a 20-minute walk every night to help him switch off before turning off the lights. He explains: “This is a wind down period, and allows me to evaluate the day’s work, think about the greater challenges, gradually stop thinking about work, and reach a state of tiredness.”
Also read: 5 Painless Ways to Finally Make Exercise Part of Your Work Day
It is a great way to relax and learn new skills. Reading is a hallmark of successful people, many of whom, including President Obama, allow at least 15 minutes for reading before bed. It doesn’t have to be non-fiction, but needless to say you can benefit a lot from the hard work of others. If a novel is more appealing studies have shown that reading a novel can improve emotional intelligence.
Also read: 7 Books That Will Make You More Creative
They switch off their devices
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, says when at home, she turns off her phone at night, adding: “so I won’t get woken up.”Researchers agree that any type of screen time before bed does you more harm than good. Richard Wiseman, author of Night School: Wakeup to the power of Sleep, says “Ten minutes of a smart phone in front of your nose is about the equivalent of an hour long walk in bright daylight. Imagine going for an hour long walk in bright daylight and then thinking ‘Now I’ll get some sleep.’ It ain’t going to happen.” The blue light from your phone mimics the brightness of the sun, telling your brain to stop producing melatonin, which regulates your circadian rhythm, leading to poorer sleep, but also vision problems and even depression.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Hungarian psychologist who created the psychological concept of ‘flow’, explains how “If left to their own devices and genetic programming, and without salient external stimulus to attract them, most people go into a mode of low-level information processing in which they worry about things or watch television.” So, schedule your evenings to avoid your brain’s lazy predisposition and be more productive.
Successful people do not dwell on work related issues; they plan for tomorrow and then get the Zzz they need to be productive the following day. Take control of your evenings: habits make or break us.