Living in a city that never sleeps, the New York Minute is very different. You learn quickly to move at the speed of light, be alert, and walk briskly to get to your destination on time. Since my move to New York, I have been on the go: from chasing trains, to running cross-town for meetings, to juggling dinner with friends after work and making time for family. For this exact reason, I follow my morning routine religiously and cherish my “golden hours.” Right after my alarm goes off, I find my focus, set my intention, and set goals to accomplish. I become more determined by simply following these five steps.

Step 1: Deep Breaths.

I used to wake up frantically to get dressed for the gym once my alarm went off early in the morning. I noticed with my behavior I felt rushed and restless. My mornings were uneasy and never felt calm. My day had just begun and before feeling appreciative for another beautiful day my morning minutes flew by and I was never focused. When I consciously started changing my habit I noticed changes quickly. Nowadays, when my alarm goes off at 6:00AM, I am not rushing to get out of bed to hit the gym. Instead, I turn-off my alarm, return to my bed sitting upright and take five deep breaths. With each breath I become more relaxed. With each inhale I feel gratitude. With each exhale I let go of the negativity and focus on the beautiful day that lies ahead.

Step 2: Meditate

Meditating is hard and it is a challenge, at least for me. My mind continuously wonders off and I daydream. How do you stay still without thinking about your to-do list, deciding what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and realizing it has only been a minute after you glance at your cell phone? Luckily there is an app for that! I am a rookie at this sport and with the guidance of the Calm app I am able to be mindful and still for at least five to seven minutes. Leading a busy lifestyle where everything is instant and technology rules our lives, finding the opportunity for stillness and clarity is very important. Learning how to meditate with the guided app I became aware of my thoughts, which then allowed me to set clear intentions for my day.

Step 3: Write

I keep a journal next to my nightstand. Each morning I write my focus. Some questions I ask myself are: What is my main goal for the day and what do I want to accomplish by end of the day? How do I plan on accomplishing my goal? What three things will I do to invest in my future? Am I happy? How am I feeling at this moment? My focus is usually either one sentence, a paragraph or sometimes pages; it all depends on my mood and how many thoughts are running through my head. With this activity, my mind gets more creative and I feel inspired. As the day goes on, mindfully, I reflect back to my journal and hold myself accountable. I ask myself a few simple questions. Have I accomplished my main goal? Did I take the necessary steps to have a successful day? If I haven’t reached my main goal for the day, what stopped me? What obstacle(s) do I need to overcome to fulfill my goals?

Step 4: Workout

Steps one to three of my morning routine usually take up to fifteen minutes. Once I have gathered my thoughts, set my intention and goals, I get ready for my spin class. My sister and I are workout buddies and roommates. We complete a sweat drenching spin class for 45 minutes, 4 days a week. My morning workouts give me more energy throughout my day, I drink more water and I plan my meals more thoughtfully. Nothing can beat the energy I gain from a workout. I owe my mind and body a healthy self. My workouts give me confidence, I become stronger and most importantly my attitude is more upbeat and lively.

Step 5: Read

Right after my workout, I look forward to my magic potion. There is something so magical about the smell of coffee filling the living room early AM. I get my morning coffee started before showering and getting ready for work. My morning routine takes about an hour and half. My hair and make-up take the least amount of time. It is everything else on my agenda that takes the longest.

I drink my coffee while reading the articles published on Thrive Global’s website. A little motivation from other writers allows me to understand that we all need to be the best version of ourselves. Some days we are rockstars and accomplish everything we have on our to-do list and other days you do not have the strength or drive to reply to a simple email. My morning routine pushes me to find the drive I need to get through my day. With a full time job and starting my own company, my health and happiness come first. I define my success with gathering my thoughts and simply knowing the steps I need to take to accomplish my goals. With my morning routine, my day becomes more structured and effortless. I feel calm, rested, and with a clear mind I definitely tackle the goals I set for myself. My golden hours are between 6:00 and 8:00AM. No one can interrupt my flow. By the time I head to work, I know I will have a successful day because I am already five steps ahead.