The mighty power of a morning routine.
Not everyone is a morning person. In fact, most people would say they’re not even close… but everyone can be. I know, I know- all you “grumpy cats” out there are rolling your eyes. The thought “Ugh- I hate morning people, and I will NEVER be one.” is running through your mind. Did you know, inside every “grumpy cat” is a sprite, early-bird-gets-the-worm kitten? Before you dismiss what I’m saying, hear me out…
The secret to finding your inner morning person lies within your attitude and your mindset. To be honest- the secret to anything really starts with your mindset. If you want to be a morning person, make a conscious decision to be excited about being a morning person. If you say you want something, but constantly focus on all your negative preconceived notions and the difficulties in getting what you want there’s a very slim chance you will ever actually work for it. Think about it, who wants to constantly be burdened and miserable all the time? But, if you want something and focus on how excited you are and all of the benefits you’ll enjoy on your journey to earning whatever it is… how could you not want to work for it? Mindset. Is. Everything.
There’s a reason the most successful people have a morning routine- because it sets them up for success. Go figure?
Mark Zuckerburg wears the same thing every day so he doesn’t waste any decision making power by picking out clothes. Our brains make thousands and thousands of decisions each day and every time a new decision needs to be made effort goes into it, and when you need to make too many new decisions in one day you can exhaust your brain, leading to mental fatigue.
I used to wake up around 7 every morning, lay in bed and contemplate how much more time I could spend in bed concentrating on hating the fact that I had to get up… essentially I was a negative nancy from the get-go. The rest of the morning would be spent rushing around my apartment in chaos. My focus would bounce from making sure I had everything I needed for the whole workday, finding keys, what in the world should I wear, packing my gym bag, scrolling through Instagram, grabbing random foods from the fridge for lunch, not having enough time for breakfast, and rushing to get out of the door. All of this made me feel so behind, it felt like I was constantly trying to catch up with the day and never being able to focus 100% on the task at hand.
Now, with a simple morning routine, I have the energy and drive to do great work, smash it at the gym after work, and still have the energy to focus on personal goals once I get home.
“The Miracle Morning”, a book by Hal Elrod, put the morning routine into perspective and definitely changed my outlook for the better. It’s simple, but it makes sense… Having a morning routine sets you up for a successful day, and having consistent successful days sets you up for a successful life. It’s a fail-proof equation, and once you’re aware of it success can come crashing down on you. YAY!
So, how do you create your own morning routine to set yourself up for success?
First of all, decide to be excited about your new routine! Success is so close and so easy to obtain, and this is the first step to getting you there.
Second, you’re going to need to get up early, or earlier than you’re used to.
To get up earlier set your alarm, and then make the decision to GET UP. No snoozing allowed, and no laying in bed for half an hour scrolling through your favorite apps. You need to physically get out of bed. For some people setting your phone or alarm clock, whichever you use to wake you up, across the room works best. This way you actually have to get up to turn the alarm off. Pretty sweet life hack.
Now is when you get to decide how you want to start your day. There are so many little things you can do, and you may have to experiment with different tasks until you find which set works best for you.
Here are some tried and true “morning rituals” that many swear by:
•Take a cold shower– The health benefits are reason enough to do it alone, but being freezing cold is not something many are excited to do. A cold shower will wake you up REAL quick, but also leave you feeling revitalized and energized like you couldn’t imagine. It really is something you need to try for yourself.
•Drink a large glass of water– After 6–8 hours of no hydration, your body seriously needs some water. Drinking a large glass of water upon rising will help to wake up your body, rev up your metabolism for the day, and support mental alertness. This step should be a part of any healthy morning routine.
•Quick stretch and/or workout– Scheduling a quick workout or stretching routine is the best way to get your blood pumping and body moving. With both your body and mind awake you can take on any challenge the day throws at you, plus- working the body releases endorphins, just making enjoying the morning that much easier! Whether it’s 8 minutes or 30 minutes, get moving.
•Writing or Journaling– This is a practice that is just for you, no one else will read it. If you’re a writer this isn’t the time to start writing your new book or article, this purely for your wellbeing. Sit down and write out everything in your head- no structure, no story, just your thoughts and whatever else is bouncing around in your head. If you’re frustrated or unhappy about something getting it out on paper is a way to address it, then leave it be. Now that you’ve given your concerns some attention, your mind won’t keep bouncing back to them throughout the day helping you to stay focused! Plus, while writing out issues, goals, dreams, desires, wants, or whatever else is on your brain you just might be able to find a solution, or see that things you’ve been stressing about really aren’t that big of a deal after all!
•Eat breakfast without distractions– This means sitting down to eat without the TV on, no using your cell phone, no laptop, and no radio. Take the time to make and enjoy a nutritious meal, not just shovel it down your throat because your stomach won’t stop yelling at you to feed it. When you take time to be thankful for the meal you have you build a positive relationship with food, learning to think of it more as nourishing rather than just tasty.
In a world that’s constantly pushing stimulation in front of our faces, it’s important to just be, without any screens, without artificial light, without artificial sound. Warning: Quiet morning breakfasts may cause calmness, a sense of serenity, and a good vibes explosion.
•Read– Whether you read the morning paper, a mystery novel, or a self-help book, read- but read in print copy! Staying away from screens as long as possible, especially if you work in an office where being on a computer or screen all day is necessary, is best for your health. Backlit screens disrupt our circadian rhythm and prolonged exposure can even cause headaches. Plus, we all know the second you look at your email or scroll through Instagram you’re going down that old-habit rabbit hole to distraction, anxiety, and stress.
•Create a task list for the day– Maybe you have one big personal goal you’re working towards. Maybe you focus is simply improving happiness and well being. Write down 1–3 realistic things you can do today to help move you closer to your goal. It doesn’t matter how small the task may seem. If it needs to get done in order to progress, that is what you should focus on. Next, write down a few tasks you need to get done for both work and home life. Things like researching a topic for your current assignment and doing laundry. Now that you have all of your tasks listed number them in order of priority. Tasks that are urgent and important need to be done first, tasks that aren’t so urgent or important should be done last. With whatever time you have left in your morning take time to start on your most important task of the day- it’s usually the one you’ll procrastinate most if you don’t just buckle down and get going.
•Meditate– Meditation is quickly becoming a common practice in every home. The benefits include decreased stress, positive mood, a sense of well being, increased productivity, and an increase in focus. Most people think they’ll never practice meditation until they try it… then they’re hooked!
Should you choose to add any new habits to your routine, we recommend starting slowly. What if you don’t have a morning routine? Don’t worry- we’ve got answers for that, too. The name of the game is ‘Stacking Habits’.
‘Stacking habits’ is the idea that you build upon habits that you already have. This makes it easier to create new habits. For instance, every morning you wake up and brush your teeth. You’re also trying to create the new morning habit of practicing yoga for 10 minutes. Now, when you wake up you go straight to your yoga mat and practice for 10 minutes before you brush your teeth. Viola, habit stacking.
How much you change your routine should be based on what your current routine looks like right now. If you don’t have a routine besides rushing to run out the door, start by waking up 15 minutes earlier than normal. The extra time will let you complete all your tasks without feeling rushed. As time goes by you can wake up earlier and earlier until you have your ideal morning routine set.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Don’t start out changing everything all at once-it could backfire and make you miserable. Start slowly stacking habits one at a time. Research shows that 21 days is the amount of time it takes for a new task to become a habit. After 21 days of implementing your newest habit, tack on the next.
If you stick with this you’ll eventually have your own custom morning routine that you’re excited to wake up to! You’ll want to get out of bed and start the day- you’ll feel good and motivated and happy and confident! It may take a while to find the exact order of habits that work for you, but the time and effort is worth it.
Remember, a morning routine sets you up for how you’ll handle the whole day. If you’re able to make each day a success, your life will be successful.