Morning Routines and Why You Need One Now
An effective morning routine is the foundation of a focused day, and some of the world’s most successful people, from media mogul Arianna Huffington to United States President Barack Obama, credit the habit as one of many elements contributing towards their achievements. Starting the day on a healthy and positive note reboots mind, body and soul, leading to better results during waking hours. Creating a meaningful routine that works for you not only equates to a more productive existence, but also draws focus on what you need to thrive.“I’m not a ‘morning person’” is a commonly heard refrain, but fumbling through the beginning of a day without purpose is detrimental to productivity, which leads to physical and mental fatigue. Here are a few helpful tips to help you design a perfect morning routine and always start off on the right foot.
Get a good night’s sleep
Obvious as it may seem, getting a good night’s sleep ensures one wakes early and refreshed. Dr. Frank Lipman MD, founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, suggests that productive sleep also requires waking up correctly, with one action complementing the other. Lipman also suggests using a dawn simulation device to gently ease you into wakefulness.
Cathryn Lavery, co-founder of Best Self, a company that designs tools to help people achieve their full potential, cites Habit Stacking as a good way to expand a morning routine. Take a hard-wired habit such as brushing your teeth, and ‘stack’ a new habit on top to save your brain from trying to create a brand new path in your neurons. Lavery stacks three minutes of meditation on top of brushing her teeth to offset procrastination and ready her mind for the day ahead.
Exercise – at any time of the day – is key to a healthy lifestyle, but studies show that people are more likely to stick to a routine if they exercise in the morning. Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise, says though it’s good to work out whenever you can, those who exercise in the early hours of the day tend to stick with their habit of getting physical because exercise is prioritized before other distractions. In an article for WebMD, Bryant adds that morning exercise can also improve sleep because evening exercise can cause over-stimulation too close to bedtime.
Motivational visualization and goal setting
Introducing motivational visualization and goal setting into a morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day and prepares for situations that may be encountered later. Simply visualize meeting long-term goals as well as the day’s tasks. Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, would spend his mornings reflecting on and evaluating his work and goals. He would ask himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If his answer was negative for too many days in a row, he would recognize a need for change. Self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins affords himself an ‘Hour of Power’ every morning, incorporating motivational mantras and visualizations to mentally boost his day.
The United Kingdom’s Nottingham University recently published findings from 83 separate studies on energy and self-control, discovering that morning hydration is imperative to starting the day right. Chōsen founders John Stanton and Robin Connelley both start their mornings with lemon water and a nutritious breakfast. Drinking lemon water is becoming increasingly popular as lemons are packed with potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants, and hydration is key after many sleeping hours without water. Lemon water also spikes energy levels giving you steady, natural energy throughout the day by improving nutrient absorption in the stomach. In the US, recent studies at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found that 96 percent of naturally slim people eat breakfast, indicating that the first meal of the day is strategic to weight control. Robyn Youkilis, author of nutrition-wellness guide Go With Your Gut, says her ‘Superhuman Breakfast’ is a game changer that’s packed full of nourishing protein, greens and fresh, starchy and fermented vegetables that are full of health-enhancing goodies.
Chōsen founders Stanton and Connelley both try to avoid their phones and computers for at least an hour after waking. Stanton doesn’t use the alarm on his phone to remove the temptation to check emails, messages and social media, and uses his morning to reflect on non-work related goals and creative thoughts. David Karp, founder and CEO of blogging platform Tumblr, doesn’t check emails until arriving at the office around 9:30am. Karp tells Inc. Magazine, “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive. If something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me.” So sleep well, stack those habits, exercise, visualize, reflect, hydrate, nourish and savor digital detox to create the perfect morning routine for your ideal day. Ultimately, choose to move through your mornings – and your life – with renewed purpose.