The early birds will inherit the earth.
The way you decide to start your morning can have a major impact on how the rest of your day will go. You can start your day randomly each morning if you want, but creating a meaningful morning routine may be the better route to take if you’re looking for the most productive and stress-free use of your time.
To start your day right, you’ve got to get into some good habits.
Following are seven morning rituals that may seem hard to adopt but will ultimately reap major rewards, if you stick with them.
1. Prepare The Night Before
Creating a mindful morning routine is all about intentionality. Early risers, and those who have effective morning routines, plan their day on paper. The best strategy that has worked for me for years, as well as many other people is to plan tomorrow on paper tonight. It’s highly effective to have an evening boundary, where you stop your work for the day, in order to properly plan the next day. Planning your day the night before may allow you to enjoy a few moments of quiet time to yourself instead of rushing out the door.
2. Review Your Goals
You need to review your goals so that you can:
- Create plans to reach those goals
- Put your day in perspective
- Know what’s important to accomplish
You can set goals for the day or the year, but you can’t just aimlessly wander around on a day-to-day basis. Make sure you use every minute for what it’s worth and accomplish what you set out for.
3. Start With Exercise
Yeah, there are super humans among us who crave that pre-sunrise workout (that, or they’re just really good liars). Still, for everyone else, waking up at the crack of dawn to sweat and get sore probably doesn’t sound ideal.
But the morning is probably the ideal time to exercise. By starting your day with exercise, you’ll prevent yourself from putting it off.
Think about it this way: If some of the busiest people in the world can find time to workout, so can you. For example, US President Barack Obama starts out each day with strength and cardio training while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey does three repetitions of a seven-minute workout.
4. Make an Antioxidant Smoothie
If you need a quick pick-me-up, you should try making an antioxidant smoothie. They help you get the necessary nutrients and vitamins in a simple and tasty form.
My personal favorite consists of:
- 1 cup of frozen berry mix (usually containing strawberries, cherries, pomegranate, raspberries, and blueberries)
- 4 ounces of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 2 tbsp of milled flax
Just blend all of the ingredients together until they are smooth and take your smoothie on the go. Make it as thick or smooth as you want by adding or subtracting water. It tastes great and will satisfy even the pickiest in the family.
5. Watch an Inspiring Video
Motivation is fleeting. You might feel excited one moment but then experience a crash in emotion when something negative happens. One habit that can be used to “reset” your motivation is to watch an inspiring video.
TED Talks are inspiring lectures from the most visionary leaders of our time. They tend to be ten to twenty minutes in length, so you might need to commit to a longer habit, or watch a single video over a few days. You can access these videos directly through the TED website, but they are also accessible on a mobile app (iTunes & Android) and through a video streaming service like Roku.
I recommend limiting your viewing time. It’s far too easy to turn a five-minute break into several hours of passively watching videos. My suggestion: Stick to one video per break.
6. Shower Meditation
For most people, a shower is already a part of the morning routine. But when you add a quick meditation session to this ritual, you can focus on deep thinking and creating positive thoughts for the day.
The calming effect of warm water puts your mind on autopilot, which frees it up to come up with inspirational ideas. (There’s even research that shows we often get our best ideas while engaging in mindless tasks, like showering, driving, and doing chores.)
Get started by letting the warm water of the shower wash over your body. Visualize all the stress, anxiety, and worries in your life as being tangible things sticking to your skin.
Next, visualize the water and soap scrubbing the stress off your body.
Third, envision all the metaphysical “dirt” of your body – your fears, regrets, anxiety, anger, and stress washing free and swirling down the drain.
Finally, realize that you are clean, fresh, and ready to start your day free of distractions.
Starting the morning out right may help you feel less stressed and more focused so you may be able to accomplish more tasks throughout the day.