My Morning Routine – That’s How I Kick Off a Successful Day!

My Morning Routine – That’s How I Kick Off a Successful Day!

Morning routine? Nothing easier than that… The sun shines through the window and you wake up with a huge smile on your lips as well as a lot of energy and hunger for a new day. You wake up  and want to immediately start with your morning routine! Without exception, this is what happens every morning, right?

Are you reading the sentence again? Of course, almost nobody wakes up every morning with good weather and in the best of moods. Probably only a tiny fraction of the population. I will tell you in this post how you can still have a successful start in the day by having a morning routine that you are looking forward to!

First of all, I would like to point out that you should choose the elements of your morning routine yourself. You are welcome to take over everything or parts of my morning routine if you really like them. But you should create it in such a way that you have fun doing it every morning. In case you have to convince yourself every single morning over and over again to do it, the risk is high that you often stop in the middle – and in the worst case, leave it sooner or later.

So rule #1 is: OWN YOUR ROUTINE!

I’ve been adjusting my morning routine over time, and I’m likely to keep adjusting it. That may be because I hear from friends or acquaintances something that I like. Just yesterday, for example, I read an article in which the lady describes her routine of escorting her cell phone out of the bedroom in the evening, where she does not touch it until the next morning. So she creates a completely cell-free space. One of the main reasons is that, for her, the cell phone is connected to work – as well as for me, and maybe for you too. In bed, we want to sleep, let our bodies rest, disconnect. Therefore, I find this routine quite useful! I do not know if I can use it, as I rarely live in a place with two rooms. Maybe when I do house sitting

So rule #2 is: SEARCH FOR THINGS THAT MAKE SENSE IN YOUR LIFE!

But of course: To find out what really suits you, it’s logical to try different routines first. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to my morning routine.

 

My Morning Routine

The routine itself consists of three parts, which I usually do in the order I call them here. However, this is nothing set and sometimes I change it according to where I am and what my plans are. In addition, I have to admit that I normally don’t do it directly after getting up and sometimes I also don’t do the three parts in a row but between working sessions. This is because I often wake up with a lot of emails, private messages, and comments in my social media and feel better once I’ve checked my inbox and answered the most important things. Every life hacker says that this is completely wrong and you can do anything, just don’t take your phone first thing in the morning. I tried it… I can not do it. I definitely want to work on it, but right now I just accept that I’m calmer when I know that I definitely have not to do any troubleshooting with a collaboration partner or client.

 

Gratitude Journal

First of all, I start the day with some positive thoughts. What am I grateful for? It can be general things like “I’m thankful that the sun has been shining for three days!”, Or something profound “I am grateful that I was born in Germany and thereby enjoy many privileges like the German passport!”, Or Recent events such as “I am grateful that I met XYZ!”. I have a pocket diary with about 10 lines a day, which I fill up every morning. I know of others writing a certain number of sentences per day, but I just use the space that I have on that day. There is still room for notes after Sunday, so sometimes I write something more. That depends entirely on my inspiration on this day. The great thing for me is that the calendar fits into any purse and I can therefore always have it with me. So I’ve done this in all sorts of places, including trains and airplanes.

 

Priming

Then I do an exercise that takes about 15 minutes, which Tony Robbins* (just click if you want to know more about him and his events) calls Priming. He showed this exercise at Unleash the Power Within and since then it’s part of my routine.

Priming consists of the following parts:

#1 Breathing: First you do a breathing exercise in combination with an arm movement. So you kick off the blood circulation and flood your brain with oxygen. Before you move on to the second part, put your hand on your heart and feel its power.

#2 Gratitude: Then you visualize three moments of your life for which you are grateful. This is a much more intense experience than the Gratitude Journal and not comparable with the first part of my morning routine at all. At the same time, I usually think of small situations, which then led to something big and important to me. For example, the moment a friend suggested me to launch a blog and call it Barbaralicious. Or when my best nomad friend Alex convinced me to go to a salsa party in Chiang Mai… that was where I “met” my biggest love: Kizomba! Or how, in preparation for my trip around the world, a friend mentioned a travel blog called Travelicia – the owner, Feli, is also the founder of the event DNX – the digital nomad conference. That’s how I learned about the digital nomad lifestyle.

#3 Healing & Sharing: That sounds pretty spiritual… but it is nothing more than a meditation technique. Tony describes here how you should visualize a colored light that flows through your body while healing you – your emotions, your body or your thoughts. Then you send this “energy” and this healing light to all the people you want to send something positive to heal them as well.

#4 Success: Last but not least, you visualize three moments of success. Imagine, you live these moments. You feel them. You hear them. You smell them. So let’s say it’s your desire to build a house. Then you visualize the moment in which you are standing in front of it and finally can move in. You visualize how you open the door and enter the rooms. You visualize what you see when you look out of the window. And so on.

 

Workout

Finally, I do a workout. I use an app called 7 minutes. Since I’ve been using it for many years, I’ve got many different kinds of training (like upper body, stretching, push-ups, abs, etc.) unlocked. In the beginning, you have only one, I think (full-body workout). For every two months that you stick to it, you get a new workout.

Before I start the workout though, I draw a card from a stack of cards with positive words. They are a bit similar to these: Positive Affirmations Cards*. But mine are made by a friend and she gave me a stack. The positive words are in five languages (German, English, Spanish, Italian and French) and there is a pretty mandala. For example, this week I had humor, goodness, and respect. Then I put the card next to my cell phone that I use to run the app and during the workout, I think about this word. It can be quite abstract, like the meaning of the word for me, or more specifically about the moments in my life when I experienced the feeling. For less creative days and to be inspired, you can check the small accompanying paper with a sentence to every word.

 

Your morning routine may look similar or different. It can consist of simple things, such as drinking a glass of water, taking a shower and having breakfast after waking up. For me, my routine works well and gives me the energy to start the day successfully!

PS: Title photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash!

PPS: The links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

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I Finally See – My Experience With Eye Laser Surgery

I Finally See – My Experience With Eye Laser Surgery

I remember very well when I was 15 and, after weeks of headaches, I went to the ophthalmologist who said that the problem was my eyesight. She also told me that there was the possibility to get laser surgery… one day! Because first, the eyes need to stop changing, which – so she told me – happens around the age of 30.

I couldn’t believe it and felt doomed. 30! That seemed ages away! Well… It was. But still, the years passed and when I turned 31 this year and my eyes hadn’t changed since I started traveling the world, I decided that it’s time to do the check to see if I qualify for the surgery.

Life With Glasses

But let’s quickly go back to my life with glasses. When I was 15, I refused to wear my glasses. I was only wearing them at home when my parents were there but never at school or in front of my friends. After a while, I lost them. Only when I did my driver’s license, I couldn’t avoid them anymore. I hated them. I was embarrassed. I felt ugly. So, I still didn’t wear them at school.

Things changed a little when I got to University and the glasses made me – the blond little girl – look a little smarter. Additionally, my eyesight had gotten worse so there was no way around wearing the glasses anymore. I was 20 or 21 by then.

Somehow, I had made peace with my glasses and didn’t hate them anymore.

It was just when I had graduated that I got a ticket for DNX – the Digital Nomad Conference. I was ready to change my life, to become a nomad, to hit the road. The conference was in Berlin and I had asked in a Facebook group if there were others from Frankfurt and surroundings who would want to join me on the ride. There were four people who came with me in the end.

On the way, when I stopped at a gas station, I took off my glasses to clean them. I was talking with one of the guys who had come with me and he suddenly said: “Wow! Without glasses, you actually look good!”

Yep, he really said it like that. And from one moment to another, I restarted hating my glasses and being embarrassed.

It got worse when I was on the road and they started creating problems. Actually, in three years on the road, my glasses broke three times!

The first time was in Rio. My parents could send me the broken piece to New York, my next destination. That was annoying but not too bad.

The second time was in Koh Lanta, just a few months later. Since this time, we were afraid that shipping would take too long, I had to get new ones done. Which went somehow terribly wrong. I had really bad headaches for the rest of my trip. I never found out what the problem was.

Barbara with glasses

The third time was in November. I was in Saigon, dancing Salsa, which I normally never do because I only dance Kizomba. The guy I danced with turned me but put the hand down too early. I wasn’t facing him yet so our hands crushed right into my nose breaking my glasses in the middle. My 5-month trip through South East Asia had just begun and I had, again, no address available that my parents could send me the new piece to. So there was no way around my old glasses, which also gave me headaches.

The Appointment

It was then, that I took the decision to step up! I made an appointment at an eye clinic in Frankfurt and they said that if I qualified they would do the surgery that same day. Perfect! I always have a tight schedule when I’m in Germany so there was no time to lose for waiting for a second appointment.

I flew back from Singapore to Germany for the surgery combining it with another event in Berlin.

I got there, 8 am in the morning, super tired but also excited. They did the typical tests with me to check my eyesight, my cornea, and who knows what else.

After maybe 90 minutes, I finally got to see the surgeon. He explained to me that my eyes qualify, that my cornea was super thick and that I could have surgery in the afternoon. He told me about the different techniques but underlined that the new flapless method of ReLEx Smile was the best one with a much smaller cut, lower risk of infection, faster recovery, and less possibility of pain during or after the surgery. The price was high though: 3,200 Euro.

I still didn’t think for too long… I wanted the best method with the lowest risk of whatever!

The Surgery

I was asked to go home and eat something. The surgery was going to be 5 hours later. So I took some last selfies for Instagram and prepared for being offline for a few days although the doctor had promised that I would be able to work again the following day.

When I got there 30 minutes before the scheduled time for the surgery, I got some tranquilizing tablets. To be honest, I was so nervous that they should probably have given me three tablets to make me calm down. But there was no way back.

When I entered the room with the huge laser I prepared for losing my sight. I know it’s insane. The doctors had told me that it’s impossible to get blind from the laser surgery. You can get blind from an infection as a result of the surgery. But not from the surgery itself.

A young doctor showed me where and how to lay down giving me instructions for the surgery: I wasn’t allowed to move. Not my body, not my eyes, nothing. I got eye drops and my sight became blurry. I only saw a green light getting closer and everything else around me got darker until there was nothing anymore. It took 29 seconds (!!!) per eye. After that, I was turned around and something else was done. To be honest, I have no idea what they did and I’m happy that I don’t know. I don’t need to know the details as long as the result is what I expected. And it was. It took like two more minutes until they were done.

After Eye Laser Surgery

The young doctor helped me get up again. And I saw everything! It was a bit like looking through a frosted glass but I saw everything. I was told to go to sleep as soon as possible and come back the next morning.

I was thrilled that I could see and wasn’t in pain at all. I wasn’t tired at all and actually planned on going dancing Kizomba that evening to show all my friends the new me without glasses.

But when I got home and laid down for a second, I was gone. I woke up a few hours later when my dad brought some food, which I ate half asleep half awake. But then I fell asleep again and didn’t wake up until the early morning.

At the check-up, they did a test again: I had 100% eyesight. Less than 24 hours after the surgery. It felt like a miracle.

I got all the information about the eyedrops: there were three different kinds that I had to take for one week, two weeks, and three months. In fact, I’m still taking the third eyedrops, which are basically to keep my eyes moist. The other two were anti-inflammatory. That was actually the most annoying thing: The first week, I had to take the drops probably more than 20 times a day so, basically, my alarm was ringing at least once every hour, sometimes every ten minutes.

But for the rest, I didn’t have to wear sunglasses or other glasses to sleep or to go outside. I was never in pain, not even for a second. I could see from the very beginning and just had a blurry vision when I was in front of a screen for too long. There were just a few rules: No water in my eyes for another 24 hours – so no showering. No rubbing my eyes for at least one week. No pool and no sauna for a month.

That’s it.

If you want to see what I shared on Instagram before and after the surgery go to Barbaralicous’ Instagram.

My Final Thoughts

I always read: I only regret that I didn’t do it earlier.

Barbara Happy in Chiang Mai

No, I think it was exactly how it should have been. I love my new life. I love my new me. I love that I open my eyes in the morning and see. I love that I can dance Kizomba, my forehead on the guy’s forehead and I don’t have to be careful to not hurt him with my glasses. I love that I can just put on tight clothes without taking my glasses off first. I love that nothing gets foggy when I enter a warm room coming from a colder place. I love that I can finally wear nice sunglasses.

And I definitely love that I look in the mirror now and think: “Yes, I look good.”

Yours Barbara

PS: Thanks Shelly from Shellygraphy for the awesome title photo and the last shot in this post.

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Unleash the Power Within – Four Days of Pure Motivation and Inspiration

Unleash the Power Within – Four Days of Pure Motivation and Inspiration

To be honest, I had never heard of this program or this guy before. I had heard some friends talking about Tony Robbins as if he was a guru but never really got in touch with anything he did myself.

When last year in June, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he got a super early bird ticket for Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins, I immediately did some research. And I loved what I was reading and seeing (it was mainly Youtube videos).

Although I got the super early bird price, I still felt like the ticket was pretty expensive: 400 Euro. Everybody who has ever been at a Tony Robbins event will laugh! Normally prices start from 1,000 Euro. I was really lucky!

I had to wait more than half a year after the booking: the event was going to be in February in Singapore.

Unleash the Power Within – The Event

The event consists of four days, normally it starts very early in the morning (around 8am) and finishes between 9pm and midnight. Every day is dedicated to a certain topic:

Day 1 – The Firewalk Experience

Day one is all about bringing yourself in a peak state with a high energy level to make fears no longer be a factor in your life. You learn about how to transform your world and to break the fears that are holding you back. At the end of the day, you will – if you want to – overcome your fears and walk over hot coals. Tony Robbins is on a stage the whole day and even the ones who don’t want to scream and celebrate in the beginning will be so blown away by Tony Robbins’ energy that they will leave being energized and pumped.

Day 2 – The Power of Success Conditioning

This day is led by Joseph McClendon III and is about learning the steps that enable you to change your life. By developing a clear target and mastering the skills of rapport and influence, you can get the most of your effectiveness. On that day, you’re still high from the firewalk experience and from being in a peak state the whole time.

Day 3 – Transformation Day

Transformation day is powerful. You will dance, celebrate, scream, cry. It’s about finding out, which limiting believes are holding you back and about unhooking them. To be honest, I liked the first two days and I had a lot of fun. But day 3 changed my life! I knew that I had limiting believes because I had been doing a life coaching with the amazing coach Nik Wood for more than half a year by then. Transformation Day helped me overcome them.

Day 4 – 12 Principals of a Vital Life

Again, Joseph McClendon III led through this day, which is all about increasing energy and getting the most of our bodies. We learned about the right nutrition and about psychological strategies to live a vibrant, healthy and vital life.

Unleash the Power Within – My Biggest Take-Aways

#1 It’s all about energy!

Didn’t we all have this thought at least once in our lives: Why is he/she successful and I am not? Tony Robbins is very sure about the answer! It’s energy! Having a high energy level means for him being in a peak state, “Owning” the situation. If you’re already in a low state of energy, you speak with a low voice, you’re not sure about what you’re doing, you’re walking like somebody who doesn’t want to be seen… How can you ever be successful like this? So own it! Go out there, be sure about the outcome of whatever you want to reach, walk upright and speak with a clear and loud voice! You will notice the difference of how people look at you.

#2 You can change your energy by changing your physiology!

That doesn’t mean that you will be in a high-energy state all the time. We all are down sometimes. The key to success is, therefore, to be able to change your energy level whenever this is necessary. One possibility is to change your physiology! If you followed my InstaStories (when you click or go to my Instagram, you can still see the Story) or my Facebook and Twitter feed during Unleash the Power Within, you may have thought that the whole event is nothing than a huge party! Yes, we were partying! Every now and then Tony or the current speaker would make us get up from our seats, hug and high five each other or randomly start laughing and dancing. It does sound weird, I admit it! But try it! You will see that your whole attitude will change after a very short time. It’s impossible to be in a low energy state when you’re dancing, celebrating life and laughing.

 

#3 What’s making people happy is growth!

I was thinking about what would make me happy for a long time. Is it money? If so, how much do I need to be happy? Is it love? If so, why was I never really happy in a relationship before? Is it connection? Yeah, maybe! That’s why I dance Kizomba. I love the connection to my dancing partner. But Kizomba alone woudn’t make me fully happy – I always needed “more”. This “more” that I was never able to define, is growth. We all need to grow. We will never reach a point in our lives where we can say “I got everything I wanted. I’m done now!” Nope. When you got your first million, you will want the second one. When you found love you want to grow with your partner. When you have a job that you’re passionate about you will want it to be more successful, with more services, products, employees, or whatsoever it is you’re offering.

#4 We have 6 needs!

Tony Robbins identified six needs that every single one of us needs to be covered: certainty, uncertainty, significance, connection, contribution and growth. We need to take care of all of them in order to have a fulfilled life. We normally have one need that is our driving force. You can take a test here to find out which one is yours and what it says about your strengths and weaknesses. Mine is uncertainty. It says:

You need constant change in order to feel truly alive. Variety, excitement, surprise, diversity, challenge: these are your watchwords.

Can you see me – the always wandering nomad in that phrase? I totally can see myself in there! Let me know in a comment what your driving force is…

#5 Build everything from being grateful!

I started writing a daily gratitude journal on January 1st this year. And you know what? I feel so much better since I do it! Because when you start your day with positive things, with everything you’re grateful for, with everything that is going right in your life… Sometimes I’m very specific, sometimes I’m vague and just write that I’m grateful for being healthy. Like this, it’s almost impossible to not start the day with a smile, in a good mood, or, in the best case, in a peak state that will lead you through your day, having a high energy level and making you succeed.

I think that’s enough for now about Tony Robbins… Just a last note: I loved UPW so much that I signed up for the Tony Robbins Mastery University. What about you? Maybe I will see you at one of the seminars in Fiji! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Yours Barbara

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