I began playing golf at age 7, played throughout high school and in college. Unless you’re playing professionally golf overall is not an afternoon or evening sport, sometimes in college we arrived at the course when it was still dark and were finishing at sunset. As a Division I athlete I had a dedicated warm up practice routine that I used to prepare me for tournaments and practices. My routine consisted of warming up my body physically by hitting balls starting with my wedges, and moving up to middle and long irons, and eventually to my drivers. I warmed up myself mentally by visualizing the holes on the course while on the practice range, and making the shots to the spots I needed to on the fairways or greens. I closed my session with practicing around the green, making sure I hit at least 3 putts in row to close my session.

In sports, professional and amateur athletes across the world talk about the importance of a strong practice routine. You can read more about this from the article by Dr. Jim Taylor, “Practice is the Foundation for Athletic Success.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jim-taylor/practice-is-the-foundatio_b_9806606.html

As we get older, and if we aren’t so lucky enough to play our sport professionally, why wouldn’t we have a routine to prepare us for having a successful day in our professional and personal lives? When I was in college I was preparing myself mentally and physically for the most successful round of golf, and now I’m preparing myself for the most successful day at work and for personal growth and development.

Since I’m not waking up every morning playing or preparing for a golf tournament my morning routine has shifted a bit, but here are my must do 5 morning steps to prepare me for a success day.

1. Take a few deep breaths, starting deep from the belly, filling up to the ribs, then filling the air into the chest, exhaling from the chest, down the rib cage deep to the diaphragm

– Then begin to lengthen the inhales and the exhales by 2–3 seconds each

2. Smile at yourself in the mirror

– Give yourself a compliment or say something you are grateful for

3. Drink water

– Drink a full glass before (eating or drinking) anything else, spice it up by adding a lemon or lime wedge

4. Stretch

– Do some yoga stretches, if you don’t know any yourself there are plenty of free yoga routines online. Here are 10 poses that can get you started: https://www.verywell.com/do-these-10-yoga-poses-every-day-to-feel-great-3567179

5. Sit for at least 1 minute in meditation

– Work your way up to at least 10 minutes

These steps are a great starting point, I usually take about a 10 minute meditation and will do up to about 30 minutes of yoga stretching. I worked up to that routine though. You will notice below each number I have an added segment. This is because we should continue to challenge ourselves. If we want to improve we need to have routine, but also work to improve that routine overtime, and therefore improving ourselves physically and mentally. When I do these steps in the morning I am confident my day is set up for success; I feel more productive, happier, and calmer.

Legs Up The Wall Pose, one of my favorite yoga poses for relaxation and grounding

Since graduating college, my years of playing and coaching helped me develop a successful morning routine. Hopefully, you can see a difference in your day at work, and at home by implementing a regular morning routine into your schedule.

Originally published at medium.com