Establishing a good morning routine has been proven to have a positive impact on your day but this doesn’t necessarily mean you must drink a glass of warm lemon water and go for a run before the sun rises. Not all morning routines have to follow the same format or pattern. Whether you wake up at 5am or 11am, we can all establish a regimen that is conducive to our goals and lifestyle.
I’ve recently started to listen to ‘The Power Hour’ podcast, hosted by Adrienne Herbert, which has inspired my newfound interest in morning rituals. I’ve since collated an assortment of data and evidence to support a 10-step way to get your own morning routine nailed.
#1 Understand and utilise your body’s internal clock
To fully utilise your morning, it’s important to know when you will benefit the most from waking up and starting your day. Some people operate best in the early hours, whilst others prefer a later start. If you follow your body’s natural cues as to when you should wake up, your circadian rhythm should stay balanced which will keep you feeling energised during the day.
#2 Identify your morning intentions
It’s vital to acknowledge what you would consider a successful day. Would a successful day entail more productivity? Or are you more concerned with getting your health in order? Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s then time to identify the behaviours that will fulfil these objectives.
For me, personally, a successful day would be one in which I have an adequate amount of time to be productive and fulfil my daily tasks. Hence, my morning routine would consist of:
– Waking up at 5am to ensure I can fully utilise my day.
– Exercising to get my body moving and put me in a good headspace.
– A morning skincare routine to ensure I am looking after my skin.
– Eating a nutritious breakfast to give me the energy I need for my active lifestyle.
– Ensuring that my house is clean and tidy, ready for the day.
– Using my paper journal to list my daily tasks.
#3 Identify what is not on your ‘To Do’ list
This may seem counterproductive at first, but the reality is that we often engage in morning behaviours that detract from our intentions. Whether you want to stop checking your emails or stay off social media, it’s important to establish these behaviours so that we can replace them with more desirable ones.
I identified the following behaviours which cause me to stray from a productive morning:
– Checking social media and emails first thing.
– Having a coffee to ‘wake me up’.
– Starting work as soon as I wake up.
– Having a quick fix breakfast that lacks creativity.
– Procrastination, which prevents me starting my day productively.
#4 Prepare your environment for the perfect morning
It’s now time to set up physical barriers for the things that you wish to discontinue and implement reinforcements to help establish the desirable behaviours.
Here’s how I ensure my mornings stay on track:
– Putting my phone on ‘Do not disturb’ so that I am not distracted by notifications or messages in the morning.
– Organising my workout clothes, the night before, so that I can get straight into training when I wake up.
– Preparing my morning water or herbal tea, the night before, so that I’m not tempted by a quick coffee.
– Preparing my breakfast, the night before, to ensure that it is both nutritious and delicious whilst not taking up too much time in the morning.
– Planning my morning workouts for the entire week so that I know exactly what I should be doing each morning.
#5 Do not hit the snooze button
Once your alarm sounds, get up! Christopher Winter who is a certified sleep medicine physician has found that every time you wake up and go back to sleep, you enter a new sleep cycle. Any sleep you get from pressing snooze is too light and fragmented to be beneficial and could actually leave you feeling more tired.
Following a prolonged period of a consistency, waking up will soon become a breeze. After years of early mornings, I now automatically wake up at around 5am and don’t need to set an alarm.
#6 Move before you start your morning routine
Have you ever watched a dog or cat wake up? The first think they do is stretch out. Give yourself time to move and allow your body to acquire some energy through the expansion of stretching. The gentle movement will gradually warm and awaken both the body and mind.
#7 Hydrate before you caffeinate
Research has shown that your cortisol levels are naturally higher for the first one to two hours after you initially wake up. Higher cortisol levels will increase your alertness naturally and minimise the effectiveness of caffeine. A glass of water will rehydrate your brain which
is composed of 75% water and in turn help you to begin your day feeling focused and clear-headed.
#8 Get into a good headspace
Allow yourself time to be still and focus your mind. Meditation, doing affirmations, practising visualisation exercises, and undertaking controlled breathing can be great tools to focus your positive energy for the day. Research has also found that our bodies have low levels of oxygen first thing in a morning, so a few deep breaths could help with the reoxygenation of your body which will keep you more awake during the day. Regular meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help relieve stress and fatigue.
#9 Multi-task your morning’s ‘To-do’ list
Tackle two of your morning’s tasks at once and feel super productive in the process. Being time poor isn’t a valid excuse for failing to get things done anymore.
I often listen to a podcast whilst exercising, catch up on the news whilst doing housework, and call various family members during my morning walk. There is always something so satisfying about getting two of my morning tasks ticked off at the same time.
#10 Maintain the routine to make it habitual
Set up a routine that is reproducible and attainable 7-days per week to ensure that you get the most out of it. Routines can be the desirable balance of work and play, providing they are congruent with what your goals and intentions are.
Spend this month perfecting your morning routine and enjoy the enhancements it brings to your everyday life. Next month I’ll be writing about how to master your evening ritual to ensure you get a great night’s rest, so make sure you come back and put my tips to the test!