Improving my morning routine is something that I continually work on because it’s what helps me continue to grow. Establishing a morning routine that becomes habit sets the tone for the whole day. It creates a more focused, productive day.
Starting your day in the right way is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Begin every day knowing that it is a new day, an opportunity for a restart. It’s been proven that our attitude is set in the first eight minutes of the day. Enjoy each day. Happiness is a choice. Make a decision that you’re going to enjoy everything you do. You can think yourself into creating a great day, making a positive day. Smile when you wake up. You can’t be angry or sad when you have a real smile on your face.
The following habits are some of the best for creating a successful day for you. If you will implement one or two of these ideas your life will improve. The point is to make these actions a habit, so that you do them no matter what. You will look forward to doing these habits because of the difference they will make in your life.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Your morning routine starts the night before. Before going to bed, create your list of action items that must be done the next day. This list of “important things” should be prioritized, putting the most difficult things first. It shouldn’t be a long list, maybe three to six items of non-negotiable must be done. These are things that move your life forward, NOT “to do” items like picking up your dry cleaning.
Decide what time you want to get up every day. Yes, everyday. Your body clock will reset, and you should eventually be able to get up without an alarm. What time you decide to wake up will determine what time you will go to bed. It is important to get the proper amount of sleep that you need in order to be productive, have energy and clarity throughout your day.
First thing after you awake, is the perfect time to meditate. Meditation should be taken seriously. It truly is a powerful exercise that will improve your life and well-being. There are many ways to have an effective meditation. Some are to clear your mind; others are to focus. You can listen to guided meditation, meditation music, or even sounds like waves or thunder. An effective meditation can be done in ten or fifteen minutes. However, twenty minutes is a great time to aim for. If you are just getting started, try for just five minutes and work your way up. Just start. The more you meditate, the more you’ll discover what technique and time works best for you.
You can find a lot on YouTube about meditation. Brendon Burchard has a great video that is really helpful, especially if you’re new to meditation. Watch him show you his release meditation technique here: https://youtu.be/v2mY36Ho1Sk.
Be grateful! Have an attitude of gratitude. Find things to be grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal. Everyday write down what you’re grateful for. FEEL what it is your grateful for. It can be big, or it can be small. We all have so much we can be grateful for. Even when we’re struggling, there is something to be grateful for. “I’m grateful for my eyes that let me see. I’m grateful for the sun that is warm on my face. I’m grateful for the oxygen I breath that gives me life.” Start with simple things like these if you need to. Your awareness will grow the more you do it. Gratitude is so powerful. You must be grateful for what you already have, for what is in your life, in order to make room to receive more.
Every good morning routine will include some sort of exercise, workout or body movement. Again, even 10 minutes of stretching, if nothing else, is a great place to start. You don’t need any special equipment. There are lots of simple exercises you can do to get your body moving. Don’t feel like you have to get a gym membership and work out for an hour. There is so much you can do from home, without any machines or tools, and in a shorter time than it would take to go to a gym. If you have time for a longer workout, great. But don’t feel you have to have a long workout to start your day right. Work into if you need to. You want to create a habit that is lasting.
Dr. Oz has a 7-minute workout that you can see here: https://youtu.be/RCdrgruVNdg. When starting an exercise routine, just do the best you can. Don’t overdo it if you’re not used to doing exercises and your body doesn’t easily move or bend into those positions. There are other videos for quick workouts of all sorts on YouTube. Find some that you like and what you’re comfortable with. Working out your body is good for cognitive efficiency and adds to your productivity.
Start to connect with yourself in the mirror. Say, “I love you”. Appreciate yourself. Forgive yourself in the mirror. Talk to yourself. Every morning and every evening, look yourself in the eye and love yourself. Love your qualities, your attributes, your physical attributes. Love you. Always remain positive when doing this exercise. Never entertain any negative thoughts or words. Look into your eyes and say, “I love you; I really love you and I accept you exactly as you are.” Keep with it and soon this affirmation will be true for you. It will get easier the more you do it.
IMPORTANT THINGS LIST
After getting your mind and body prepared for the day, then start on your “important things” list. With a focused mind, complete the tasks on this list before anything else. These are tasks that have to be done today, tasks that move you forward in your life.
All of the above activities are to be completed before ever touching your phone or computer. Do not look at your phone, do not text, do not email, and do not phone anyone during your morning routine. This is your time. Do not let the outside world in until you have completed these important habits that will set the foundation for your productive day. After these are done, then you may let the outside world in. Although you will want to drink water first thing in the morning, at this point, it is time to eat a healthy breakfast.
Another habit that can have a positive impact on your life is journaling. Once you start writing, ideas will begin to flow to you. It can be free writing, just start writing about anything in your life. Or you can write about how you want your life to be, the detailed description of the visualization of your life. You can write out what challenges you’re having. Often putting it down on paper will lead to solutions, a realization or a deeper understanding of something. You can sort out a lot from writing. Writing causes thinking. Thinking causes feelings and feelings cause actions. If you feel like your morning routine is full, journal at another time during the day, if that works better for you.
Most of these activities can be done in a short amount of time, depending upon what is on your “important things” list. If you need more time to complete your morning routine, then adjust your sleep schedule to be able to fit in each of the habits that you want to incorporate into your life.
Your morning routine should be sacred time that you protect. You want it to be an established habit. Once you have experienced how these habits contribute to making your day successful and productive, you will realize why you want to protect this time.
If you want to ease into a morning routine start with the meditation. Make that a habit that you look forward to and when it’s firmly in place, then add the exercise. Don’t overwhelm yourself and make a complete change by adding all the above at once unless you are certain you will do it and have a solid commitment with an accountability partner to help you. In general, changing only one or two habits at a time is recommended. Add another habit after a new habit is established, at least 30 to 60 days.
The most important point to start your day with is to leave the outside world alone and don’t let anyone else control your day until you have your foundation in place. Then you may let them in, when you say it’s time. You be in control of your day. Give your dreams at least five minutes of your thought and energy before you let anything else into your day each morning. These are habits that the most successful people employ everyday. They do them because they know from experience that it improves their day and their life. Now you can too.