289: How you greet the day matters.


​There is so much value in taking a few minutes each morning to align yourself with the version of you that you want most fully expressed in the world.

I am a big believer that how you start your day is a big indicator of how the rest of your day will roll.

In this episode, we explore the immense benefits of being intentional about how you greet the day and how you can start designing a morning routine that gives you a much greater chance of showing up with grace and ease no matter what the day throws you.

How you greet the day matters.

Transcripts are auto-generated.

Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host, Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps, and lasting change.

Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. And as always, I am so grateful that you are here listening to this show. And in case this is the first time you’ve listened to the show, I want you to know that the objective of the grace and grit Podcast is really to help women show up for themselves with more consistency and ease.

Courtney Townley 0:48
A big part of that is uncomplicated, doing what it takes to improve our health and our life. Because let’s face it, there are a lot of complicated measures being sold to us that really just kind of cause us to spin out and overwhelm. So I want you to know that moving your health and moving your life to higher ground does not have to be complicated. In fact, I would argue that the more complicated you make it, the more unlikely it is that you are going to get to where you want to go. And even if you get there, you’re probably not going to stay there for very long.

Courtney Townley 1:25
When it comes to improving your well being on any level, simplicity is your friend. And here’s the other great thing about simple measures is they also are often free, rest, sleep, relaxation, is free. Movement is free parenting your brain, managing your emotions, both of those are free, and learning how to be present in your life totally free. Now, I’ve talked extensively about all of these topics more than once on this show. And today, I want to circle back to that last point, learning how to be fully present in your life.

Courtney Townley 2:11
More specifically, I want to talk about one of the most powerful practices that allows us to be more present in our life, which is how we greet the day, how we start the day. Because how you greet the day is going to have a massive impact on how you actually live your day. And I want you just for a moment to think about the greetings you have received in different spaces and places and how those greetings alter your experience of the place. So for me personally, I often think of hotels, I have been to hotels where they go all out in greeting you and making you feel welcomed, and really special. And absolutely, that has an impact on my experience of that hotel. Versus walking into a hotel where the person checking me in doesn’t even make eye contact. And I feel like there’s just really no interest in having me as a customer in that business. That to massively influences my experience of that place.

Courtney Townley 3:25
Then I think of the way that people greet me in general, I have a dear friend in Boston, her name is Ellen, we’ve been friends for gosh, I don’t know, 25 plus years. And every time I see her, I mean even if I just bumped into her in the bathroom, she is so excited to see me. She makes me feel so special. And so thrilled to be in my company. That of course it makes me want to be a better friend to her. It gets me excited, and my energy completely shifts because of the way she greets me.

Courtney Townley 4:03
And then I think of my dog, Sully. I mean, dogs are amazing. They see you all the time. And you could leave the room for five minutes to go change the laundry. And when you come back, it’s like they haven’t seen you in a year. Which is why I think so many of us have a heart for animals. They are just so genuine, and they love to greet us.

Courtney Townley 4:25
And so I just want to offer that how you greet the day is going to have a very big impact on the rest of the energy that you pour into your day. So what do I mean specifically, by greeting your day? Well, it really boils down to good questions, right? So we start by asking ourselves some good questions, some of which are. How do you spend the first few minutes of your day? Are you someone who is already negotiating your decision just to get up and you slam that alarm button like four Only five times into snooze mode before you actually put your feet on the floor? Are you someone who immediately grabs your cell phone and allows life to distract you and carry you into this void for the next 20 minutes? Or are you waking up with purpose and intention and doing things that actually feed your soul? What is the quality of your thinking? That you start the day with?

Courtney Townley 5:30
Are you dreading the day? Are you thinking about how horrible this day is? All the things that are go wrong today? Or are you really making an effort to manage your thoughts in a way that inspire you to look for all the reasons why this day is going to be amazing? Are you taking responsibility first thing in the morning for the energy that you are going to put out into the world the rest of the day? Have you organized yourself to make sure that you are spending your precious and very limited resources on the things that matter most to you?

Courtney Townley 6:13
I have absolutely experienced the map the huge shifts of starting my day with intention. But I have also witnessed that starting the day with intention can be such a big game changer for so many of my clients. In fact, it’s such a game changer that this is often the very first practice, I encourage my clients to start developing. Now, greeting the day goes by many names, we’ve heard it called a morning routine, we’ve heard it called Book ending your day, we some people refer to it as your Power Hour, the name doesn’t matter. The practice does.

Courtney Townley 7:02
This is not the first Podcast episode that I’ve actually done on this topic. And it probably won’t be the last because I am that passionate about it. Because of the transformation I’ve seen it create in my own life and in the lives of my clients. But today, I do want to specifically have this conversation again. Because in the month of July, inside of my Rumble & Rise community, we are doing a deep dive into the healing power of presence. And what I mean by that is really being fully present in your life. And greeting the day in a way that inspires you to show up as your most resilient and robust and powerful self is a big part of that. So if you like what you hear on this Podcast today, and you want to take this practice another layer down, and you want to be in an incubator of support and education for the next 30 days around this topic, come join us inside that community, you can find out all the details of that membership by going to graceandgrit.com/readytorumble.

Courtney Townley 8:13
Now I broken down the practices that I believe can be so powerful in how you greet the day into three categories, just to keep it easily memorable. And those three categories are Captivate, Cultivate and Coordinate.

Courtney Townley 8:32
Let’s start with the first one captivate, to captivate is to draw in, right to captivate someone’s attention is to inspire them, right to remind them about why whatever it is you’re trying to draw their attention to is so important. And in this case, we’re trying to captivate our own attention. This is going to sound so silly, but you woke up today. That is not a gift that was granted to every human today. How often do you remind yourself of that fact? How often do you remind yourself of the fact that you get to experience yet another day of what it is to be human? Another day of loving and exploring and creating and contributing and expressing that is an awesome thing.

Courtney Townley 9:37
The other part of captivating our own attention is, I believe reminding yourself of the version of you that you want most fully expressed in the world. Who are you committed to being in the world? And what do you need to do to remind yourself of that version. Now I see people do this sort of sporadically throughout the year, they might take a weekend away and really kind of dive into, you know, that version that they most want fully expressed. Or they might do some kind of workshop that helps them to bring that out. But then they put it away. They don’t revisit it, they aren’t reminding themselves of it daily. So of course, it fades into the backdrop of life. And I’m always reminding myself and my students that commitment is easy, right? Like coming up with ideas, getting inspired, committing to a behavior. That’s not where the hard work is. The hard work is in recommitting every day, right holding that vision, that expectation for yourself in the forefront of your mind, day after day. And doing that first thing in the morning, reminding yourself of that version of yourself you want most fully expressed, it’s such a great time to do it. Because that vision you can carry with you into all the spaces and places that you travel to in the day.

Courtney Townley 11:12
Now, this more specifically might look like journaling, right, it might look look like just kind of writing something in a journal about how you want to show up today. Maybe you literally visualize yourself moving through the day, as the version of you that you want to be today. Maybe it is a vision board that you spent a little time looking at and getting yourself fired up about. Maybe it is just looking at a list of compelling reasons for why you’ve made the commitments you’ve made. I don’t know what it looks like for you specifically. But what I do know is that taking a little bit of time each morning to captivate yourself, to excite yourself, about this day, can go such a long way, in helping you to make the most of the day.

Courtney Townley 12:05
Let’s talk about the second category, which is to cultivate. What do we need to cultivate in the morning? Well, for a lot of people, they need to cultivate motivation, and energy and focus. Because these things don’t just happen. They are a practice. And a lot of women that I work with are out of the practice of cultivating these things. And so they come in to work with me saying, Gosh, I just don’t feel motivated. And of course, my response to that is always well, what are you doing to get motivated? Because motivation is not something you wait for. It’s something you work for. What are you doing each morning to motivate yourself? And often the answer is, well, nothing, Courtney. And I always say, well, that’s awesome. And they look at me like I’m crazy. Why is that? Awesome? That’s terrible. No, it’s awesome. Because you are aware that you’re not doing anything to motivate yourself. So you know where the gap is, you start committing to a practice of experimenting with things that might motivate you.

Courtney Townley 13:17
Again, I don’t specifically know what that’s going to be for you. Everybody gets motivation from different things. But it might look like spending a little time in the morning expressing gratitude for the people and the places and the opportunities you get to travel through in the day. It might look like revisiting your values and priorities in life. Maybe it’s just it’s reading. It’s reading something that helps you to get motivated and remind you of how much opportunity there is in this life. Maybe you listened to a Podcast.

Courtney Townley 13:55
The other thing that we want to take responsibility for cultivating in the morning, of course, is energy. Now, you’ve been sleeping all night, and if our hormones are working accordingly, which I know they aren’t always because of our lifestyle and you know traveling through menopause and all these things. But ideally, cortisol is rising in the morning. It is elevating and when that cortisol rises in the morning, we we wake up, we get energized for our day.

Courtney Townley 14:26
But because we are living such full lives, and we aren’t really getting enough rest, we aren’t getting enough sleep. A lot of us are transitioning through perimenopause and menopause, which of course is affecting our ability to get great quality sleep. We can take responsibility for generating energy in the morning. So if cortisol is not enough, right, we don’t have that rise in the way that we would like to have it. There’s things we can do to create energy. We can move our body with I think is one of the greatest ways to create energy. We don’t have to do anything, you know, aggressive, we don’t have to do anything epic. But stretching or walking or dancing can all go a really long way in creating blood flow. And blood flow helps us to feel energetic. You could take a cold shower, you could listen to music that helps to energize you better yet, you could move while listening to your favorite music, lots of options here.

Courtney Townley 15:31
But take responsibility in the morning for generating energy. Because I will tell you more often than not, when my alarm goes off in the morning. I don’t necessarily feel like jumping out of bed and doing backflips. And so I know because I’ve practiced that if I at least put my feet on the ground and stand up and start moving my body. Within five minutes, I’m awake. So you may not feel energized when your eyelids open in the morning. But there are things that you can do very simple things to help generate energy. And of course, we want to take responsibility for generating Focus. Focus is becoming a lost art. Right?

Courtney Townley 16:15
In the age of technology in the age of very full schedules, so much opportunity, not enough boundaries, we are losing our ability to focus. And focus is so important, it’s so important to the pursuit of the things that are most important to us relationships, creative endeavors, the work that we are inspired to put out into the world. Focus is really important for all of those things. And if you think about it in the morning, we have the most bandwidth for focus, because we haven’t spent any yet.

Courtney Townley 16:51
So what are you doing in the morning to help reestablish a practice of focus. This is where a lot of people meditate, right? A lot of people meditate first thing in the morning, because meditation is literally a practice of focusing on something. And when your attention drifts, you simply bring your attention back to that single focus. And you can make anything a meditation, it doesn’t have to be sitting on a cushion with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath, you could make movement, a meditation, you could make writing a meditation, you could make observing something, a meditation, it’s really the focus is a practice of being all in on something for a period of time. And the more we do that, the better our focus gets.

Courtney Townley 17:43
And of course, that skill set is going to translate into your capacity to focus throughout the rest of the day. Let’s talk about this third category coordinate. So we had we started with our captivate, cultivate, and now we’re talking about coordinate.

Courtney Townley 18:01
What does that mean? Well, first of all, let’s define what to coordinate means. It means to make many different things work effectively as a whole. And think about this, you have many different things that you have responsibility for and the day that you want to work effectively with the limited time that you have. So how do you manage your resources in a way that prevents you from burning out or prevents you from getting overwhelmed? Well, we spend a little time first thing in the day, organizing and structuring our day to make sure that number one, we’re showing up in the spaces in places that mean the most to us. And that we’re very clear with ourselves how much time we are dedicating to those areas.

Courtney Townley 18:56
So coordinating our day is really the planning and the organizing. And it’s really interesting because I work with very different camps of women. I work with some women who are just balanced like they’re they have all these balls in the air. They’ve got kids in the house and aging parents and they’re in the throes of their career and all the things and of course, it’s really easy to exhaust their resources within the first half of the day. Which is why a lot of people are struggling with food choices and alcohol decisions later in the day.

Courtney Townley 19:32
But then I also have a camp of women who are actually see their life is starting to settle down. Their kids are grown and gone. They are in the transition of retirement. Life isn’t as full as it used to be. And it’s interesting that that too, can be a very disorienting space that if we don’t plan how we want to spend our time. I often see that these women are ending their day feeling like, gosh, I’m exhausted. And I feel like I did nothing that I set out to do today, because they weren’t intentional about their time. So just to be clear, we want to captivate our attention first thing in the morning, remind ourselves how we want to show up in the world today, how amazing it is that we have this opportunity to give it another go. We want to cultivate things like motivation and energy and focus. And we want to coordinate all of the things that are a part of our life in a way that we don’t exhaust ourselves, and we don’t burn ourselves out.

Courtney Townley 20:43
Now, knowing this, that these things can be helpful, I want you to consider why you’re not going to do it, or why you’re not doing it already. This is a question I asked my community all the time, somebody will tell me a commitment they’re they’re making? And I’ll say, Okay, why aren’t you gonna do it? And they look at me like, What do you mean? Why am I not going to do it? But I asked the question, because, again, commitment is easy. But inevitably, what happens is we make a commitment to doing something like starting a morning routine, to get our heads on straight before we try to go out and save the world. But then what happens is, we start seeing all these obstacles for why we can’t do that thing.

Courtney Townley 21:28
So let’s talk about some of the obstacles. So we can also address some of the strategies. Number one, you aren’t getting enough sleep. If you do not put yourself to bed at a reasonable time, I can promise you that you will struggle to get yourself up with enough time to greet the day with intention, that’s just not going to happen. So we have to give ourselves a bedtime, we have to give ourselves a reasonable amount of sleep, to have the desire to get up when we said we would. Another obstacle that I often bump up against is that a lot of people are making their morning practices way too complex. Right, they want to do like 50 things, and it’s going to take three hours, and then they wonder why they don’t show up to do it.

Courtney Townley 22:14
If you currently do not have a morning practice, start with five minutes on each one of those categories I just mentioned, spend a little time captivating yourself, spend five minutes cultivating maybe either motivation, energy or focus, you don’t have to do all three at once. spend five minutes organizing your time coordinating your resources. So 15 minutes tops. And as you consistently show up. And as you start to reap the benefit, by consistently showing up, you’re going to be inspired to add more time to that. But don’t start with so such a big commitment that you don’t even show up in the first place. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Courtney Townley 23:00
Another reason we aren’t going to show up consistently for a morning practice is we aren’t willing to be flexible. I talked about this a lot on the show the fact that life is dynamic health is dynamic, which means it’s always changing your total stress load, the responsibilities that you are carrying in your life are always changing. And sometimes you’re going to have such a heavy stress load, that it doesn’t make sense to spend an hour greeting the day, maybe 15 minutes is going to have to do that day or for that week. Right?

Courtney Townley 23:37
Then there’s gonna be other seasons of the year, other periods of the year where you don’t have as much stress, you don’t have as many responsibilities. So you are able to up level the commitment that you’re making to your morning routine. Hope that makes sense. But we have to be willing to be flexible.

Courtney Townley 23:57
Get out of this all or nothing thinking it’s not that I can either do three hours or I can’t do anything. You could do 15 minutes. That is very reasonable. Of course, I have to address this other reason we don’t show up, which is our thinking. I hear lots of thoughts that clients have about their morning routines, right. Number one, I don’t know what to do. Well, you aren’t going to know what to do unless you start experimenting with some things. Everything is an experiment.

Courtney Townley 24:30
So, I’ve given you some ideas here. But absolutely, we’re doing a deeper dive into this inside of Rumble & Rise this month. So again, if you want more on that, be sure you join us. So decide what you’re going to do. Don’t let it be a question like I don’t know what to do. Just decide what are you going to try on in terms of greeting your day more intentionally.

Courtney Townley 24:54
I can’t do it perfectly so it’s not worth doing at all. We already addressed that but I’m gonna mention it again. No such thing as perfection here, it’s going to be messy. It’s going to be imperfect, you’re going to learn some things. It’s not about perfection, it’s about showing up.

Courtney Townley 25:10
It won’t work for me. That’s another thought I hear. Well, if you think that, that greeting the day with intention is not going to work for me, it’s not going to work for you, you will find lots of evidence as to why it won’t work for you if you’re seeking out that evidence. So change the thinking just slightly, you know, it’s possible, this could be a game changer. I’m really interested in seeing if this will work for me. Just that subtle shift in language can go a really long way. And you looking for evidence for why this might be amazing for you.

Courtney Townley 25:47
It’s too hard. It’s not hard. Nothing about this is hard. This is not hard. But if you think it’s hard, you are going to probably make it hard. You’re gonna look for a lot of reasons why it’s hard. And of course, you’re gonna prove that to be true to yourself. It’s not hard, right? Raising kids is hard. Calculus is hard. Building a business is hard. dedicating a little time to greeting the day in the morning, not hard.

Courtney Townley 26:17
I don’t have time. That’s another one. Well, if you don’t put yourself to bed, you’re definitely not going to have time because you’re going to oversleep. But the other thing is, I want you to consider how much time are you wasting in the day, because you didn’t start your day with intention. Because you weren’t really calculated about the energy that you were going to bring into the day about organizing yourself to get through the day with more grace, we’re wasting a lot of time there, and energy. So if you take the 15 minutes in the morning, you might find that you actually save yourself time.

Courtney Townley 26:58
So again, I’m going to leave you with this invitation. If you want more help with this, greeting the day, starting your day with intention. Come join us inside of Rumble & Rise in the month of July. Our theme, again is the healing power of presence. We’re going to be talking a lot about being mindful, being fully present in your life because I’m a big believer that being present is a very powerful way to shift almost every level of your health. Your mental health will improve your physical health will improve your emotional health will improve Heck, even your relationship health will improve. So if you want to join us for that journey, you can just check out and sign up by going to graceandgrit.com/readytorumble.

Courtney Townley 27:51
Thank you again so much for being here. I hope this was helpful. I hope it gives you a little bit of help to get started with your own greeting for the day. Alright my friends, I’ll see you again very soon. Take care

Courtney Townley 28:09
Thank you for listening to the grace and grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.



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