Own Your Morning: 7 Routines to Start Your Day Right
The first step you take right after you awaken from sleep to consciousness has a very big role to play in determining how the rest of your day would play out. If you start your day off in chaos, then chaos is what you’re gonna keep getting all day long. It is, therefore, safe to say that your morning routines help you start your day right and ultimately, set the tone for the rest of the day.
A Chaotic Day: Premeditated or Not?
The truth is no one ever really plans to start off their day with chaos. We just can’t help it – says the tiny lie in our heads. But really, ain’t that why it’s called chaos anyway? Chaos is never planned and is characterized mainly by frenzy! Right?
But you see, this is really what is so amazing about habits. You don’t wake up one morning to find that you have suddenly developed so and so habit. Habits are the results of certain repetitive behavior. It compounds; gradually. So each time you snooze your alarm whenever it goes off, you’re taking the tiny steps to build a habit around that. A time would come when you would no longer need to think before performing that activity. Your mind automatically knows what to do whenever it hears your alarm go off – which is to hit the snooze button.
Do you then see that although you do not consciously plan to start your day in chaos, you built a habit that fuels chaos? However, the same way you built this habit that fans out chaos through your day, is the same way you can build a habit that fans out order. Habits are of importance here because regardless of whether we are aware or not, we all operate under habits – all the time. They are an integral part of your daily existence. And can be both good and bad.
The Moment of Truth
What does a typical morning look like for you? Is it immersed in a series of premeditated activities (even while giving room for “unexpected miracles”) or it’s simply chaotic? Have you ever noticed when your morning starts in frenzy – snoozing your alarm, skipping breakfast, and rushing out the door – the rest of your day seems to reflect that mood of chaos as well?
Since the tone of your morning determines the tone of your day, it would help to properly articulate how really you want your day to play out. This can be done by owning your morning. When you form healthy habitual behaviors for the morning, you set your day up for success.
7 Routines to Start Your Day Right
These 7 simple activities are easy to build habits around and eventually, inculcate as routines. These routines would help you to start your day right. And would get you feeling, acting, and thinking at your highest potential for the rest of your day – and days – ahead. Consequently, helping you achieve even higher levels of productivity in your daily tasks.
Snooze Your Smartphone
If the first thing you do when you wake up is to check your smartphone you are doing yourself a disservice. Regardless of whether it’s for messages or work email. You are immediately cultivating a reactive mindset, instead of a proactive one. This will cause you to start your day in a defensive state, rather than a place of inner peace and control.
Instead, try remaining detached from technology for the first hour of your day. This would allow you to begin your day with present-moment awareness and a positive focus.
Make Your Bed
This may seem like a waste of time, unimportant, or unnecessary (you’re just going to use it again at night). But making your bed is a simple action you can take in the morning that makes you start your day feeling accomplished. And what better tone to set than a sense of pride and accomplishment? Taking charge and completing simple tasks will give you the foundation to take on more and more throughout the day.
Warm Water, Fresh Start
Drinking a glass of water in the morning is a good way to hydrate your body. Especially after going hours without a sip during the time you were asleep.
The Ayurvedic technique of adding lemon to a warm glass of water helps remove toxins from your digestive tract that may have built up overnight, provides a good source of vitamin C, freshens your breath, supports weight loss, and stimulates metabolism and digestion. Bottoms up first thing in the a.m. for a healthy – and refreshing – start to your day.
Incorporating some type of mindfulness practice like meditation into your daily morning routine can help ground you and train your mind and emotions, which then influences how you react to challenges throughout your day.
What’s more, meditating is a great opportunity to set your intention for the day. When you get clear on how you want your day to go or what you want to feel or accomplish, you can make clear decisions that create the life you truly want to live.
During your meditation, you can also reflect on the things you are grateful for. This gives you opportunities to smile and practice gratitude. When you smile, it signals your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin), which lift your mood, relax your body, and lower your heart rate. Who wouldn’t want to start their day on this positive note?
Move Your Body
Whether it’s a simple yoga routine, a brisk walk with your pet, a quick set of sit-ups and push-ups, or hitting the gym to work off last night’s meal, starting off your day with movement energizes the body and the mind.
It helps to determine what kind of exercise is right for you and schedule it. It doesn’t have to be complicated, long, or intense. But having some sort of physical activity in the morning will get your blood flowing. This would also help quiet any mental chatter. You can even switch up what kind of exercise you do every day to keep your routine interesting.
Start with Self-Care
Putting time and effort into your appearance helps build self-confidence. When you feel “put together,” it is one less thing to worry about throughout your day. So, shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, floss, comb your hair, apply lotion/oil, dress up and apply any other hygiene/grooming habits that make you feel good about yourself. If you are short on time in the morning, you may want to pick out your clothes the night before.
Also instead of hurrying out in the morning ensure you eat breakfast – a healthy breakfast. You’ve most likely heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you make time to eat a healthy breakfast (lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains), you’ll have more energy throughout the day and a stronger ability to focus and concentrate.
Rediscover Your “To-Do” List
Take a few minutes to write down a to-do list for the day ahead. Then prioritize it so your day’s list has only 3 to 5 items on it—ranked in order of priority. This allows you to tackle the most pressing things first.
Writing down your “to-do’s” instead of keeping them floating around in your mind helps clear mental chatter. You also give yourself a sense of purpose each day when you know what you need to get done. And there is something satisfying about crossing off tasks on your list—it really cultivates a sense of accomplishment.
While drafting your to-do list, it helps to make room for “unexpected room”. This way, you don’t end up getting thrown off balance when you’re required to do something that is not on your to-do list.
As a bonus tip, ensure you get enough restful sleep. This is important because before you can hope to implement new, healthy routines that will help you start your day right, you should have the foundation of a well-rested body and mind. The way you feel while you’re awake is dependent in part on your sleep habits. If you’ve been feeling groggy, irritable, or exhausted, you may not be getting enough quality sleep. Starting your day after a night of restful sleep, allows you to wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day, starting with your new morning habits.
Part of developing a healthy habit is to become intentional with it. Most habits are formed because they are easy or along the path of least resistance. If you want to cultivate positive habits, then you may need to put some intentional effort into forming them until they become second nature.
This is particularly true even with morning habits. What you cultivate in the morning influences how you feel, act, and think during the rest of your day.