Do you have a morning ritual or are you just rolling with the punches every day? You’ve probably read blog posts titled something like “Ten things you should do before 6 a.m.” and you’ve probably thought, how does anyone do 10 things before 6 a.m.?
These posts are everywhere because it’s true that a solid morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. What’s not true, however, is that you have to work out, do yoga, journal, drink green tea, and read a chapter of a gratitude book all before you go to work. That’s impossible for the average person with a job and/or family.
What you can do is pick one or two of those things, or something completely different, and commit to doing them every morning. I think you’ll notice that a productive morning leads to a productive day. An added bonus is that you’ll feel good and proud of yourself for accomplishing things that are important to you so early in the day.
Here are five tips for establishing a morning ritual if you don’t already have one.
1. Recognize That A Productive Morning Starts The Night Before
A successful morning starts with planning the night before. Planning the night before can be as simple as setting out clothes for the next day, prepping your coffee maker, or making a list of goals that you want to accomplish for the day ahead. Predetermine the night before that you are going to have a productive morning and a successful day.
2.Remove Variables From Your Morning
When you wake, your slightly groggy brain will want to follow the path of least resistance. Help your brain out by removing decision-making. Studies have shown that our brains get “decision fatigue”, that is, the more decisions we have to make, the more tired our brain gets. It makes sense then to remove the amount of decisions that you have to make early on in the morning.
An example of this would be having the same (or a similar) breakfast every morning. Instead of having to decide every morning what you want to eat, you’ll know exactly what you are having (yogurt this week, oatmeal the next, etc.). You don’t have to remove all variety (it IS the spice of life after all), but having a straightforward routine can help you increase productivity and retain some brain juice.
3. Don’t Check In Online Right Away
So much of modern life can be reactionary. We see news stories that set us off, or we see a work email that gets our mental gears grinding within minutes of waking. All this leads to lack of focus and strips us of our peace. My suggestion is that you isolate yourself from media in the morning. Don’t check the news right away. Don’t go scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
Take some time to think about the day ahead. Plan what it is that you want to accomplish. Breathe. You know that old quote about being a “human BEing, not a human DOing”? There’s a lot of wisdom in it. Slow down.
4. Get In Some Fitness
This doesn’t mean you have to be a 5 a.m. gym junkie (no shame to those people - I am one), but make it a goal to be active within the first hour of your day. Do some light stretching or yoga to wake your muscles, maybe go for a quick jog or just bounce around in your room. Go up and down the stairs once or twice. One of the best ways to turn your system “on” is to get your body moving.
5. Start Small
Begin with making small tweaks, and adjust from there. Whether it’s productive or not, your body currently has a morning routine. Changing your routine to something more productive can be tricky. So start small.
As an example, you could begin by pre-determining the time you want to wake up and spend a week focusing on being up at that time. Even if your body feels super groggy and unproductive, stick with getting up at that time. Eventually you will get used to waking up at that time, you can then add in something new, like stretching or prayer. Slowly build out your routine. Add what is beneficial and remove what is unnecessary. Replace old habits with new, better habits.
Let me know how you plan to (or already) implement a morning routine. Comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!
About the F-Word
"Food" is the F-word. And the F-Word blog is all about helping you find your food-life balance. After battling an unhealthy relationship with food and body image for years, I'm dedicated to helping others avoid those misfortunes. Read on for nutrition guidance, lifestyle tips and stories from other bad-ass people who also overcame disordered eating.