By Carson Tate on December 30, 2020
Mornings are stressful. No matter how much sleep you get, it seems like you’re always still tired when your alarm goes off. If you’re like most people, you spend some time checking your phone to see what you missed on social media while you were sleeping and see what emails have already started cluttering your inbox. You may not even have time to eat breakfast, but you always overdose on caffeine. You rush to get ready, have to deal with traffic, and arrive late to the office.
Then, for the rest of the day, your schedule is dictated by your overflowing inbox. You don’t feel in control of your life. You feel like you’re living out the expectations others have set for you. You feel frantic, rushed, and you struggle to complete any truly meaningful work. A bad morning can hijack the rest of your day.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you need a better morning routine! These habits are probably ones you’ve been following for years, but it’s never too late to make a change. You can get out of the morning rut that’s hindering your progress during the rest of the day. The first 90 minutes after you wake up are absolutely crucial. If you start your day strong, you’ll be more focused and productive.
Four Habits to Successfully Reclaim Your Morning
Here are four ways you can change up your morning routine that are easy to do but yield big results.
1. Drink Water
After sleeping for seven or hours straight, your body gets dehydrated. The very first thing you should do after waking up is hydrate. Drink at least twenty ounces of water. This will jumpstart your metabolism and help you feel refreshed when you start your day.
Staying hydrated is also vital to your brain function, since it’s made of 76% water. By drinking water first thing in the morning, you’re fueling yourself for the rest of the day. Whenever you’re running low on water, your brain function will suffer. You’ll also experience fatigue and sluggishness that definitely hinders your work day. You’ll feel physically and emotionally drained and be more likely to get painful headaches throughout the day. Not only do these aches cause physical pain but they can also deter your ability to concentrate.
Meditation is a great way to recharge your mind and body. After you’re hydrated, spend some time quietly meditating. It creates a positive state of mind that will keep you motivated throughout the day. Because it reduces stress and anxiety, meditation is an easy way to improve your mental health. It clears your thinking and improves your concentration.
If you don’t have much experience with meditation, the Headspace app is a great place to start. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial. Each morning, open the app and select an easy guided meditation to help you decompress. The topics include stress, anxiety, and focus. They’re short, so you won’t have to commit very much time to using the app. It will take some practice, but with time, it will get easier, and you’ll glean the many benefits from meditation.
Exercising isn’t just helpful for your physical health. There’s are so many reasons why exercising is the ultimate way to start your day! Exercising enhances your ability to transfer glucose and oxygen throughout your brain and body. Exercise is a natural way to help you feel more energetic. Unlike with caffeine, exercise won’t make you feel anxious or crash later on in the day.
If you don’t enjoy working out, experiment with the many different ways you can get moving! Do yoga, try cardio, learn how to weight or do all three. Different types of exercise will benefit you in different ways. You don’t have to stick to a routine. Switch things up regularly to keep yourself interested. Take classes, try a trainer, work out at home, or go to the gym with friends. Look for workout plans and new exercises on fitness websites or on YouTube. Working out early in the morning is especially beneficial. It increases your focus and helps you stay alert throughout your workday.
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4. Focus on Achieving Your Goals
Now, your body and mind are primed for the rest of the day. This is the exciting part—it’s time to focus on setting and achieving your goals. Think of how much you can accomplish when you feel great and your mind is focused!
One way to help strategize your day is to use a method from The Five-Minute Journal. You can purchase these books online, but you don’t need to buy the book to follow the principles. Start your day by asking yourself these three simple questions:
- What am I grateful for?
- What would make today great?
- I am ______________
After journaling your answers to these questions, write three to five action steps you can follow that will get you closer to achieving your goals. By writing them down, you’ll be more likely to follow through. And you’ll have the right focus throughout the day. This will enhance your morning routine.
The way you conduct your mornings will help dictate the rest of your day. And although there will always be things you can’t control, you can control your morning routine. Choose to set yourself up for success instead of failure.
Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies.
She is the author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, and just released, Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job. Order your copy HERE! For more information, please visit www.carsontate.com.
Creswell, J. D., Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2015). Handbook of Mindfulness: Theory, Research, and Practice. United Kingdom: Guilford Publications. doi:https://www.google.com/books/edition/Handbook_of_Mindfulness/ZF-uCgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0
Wheeler, M. J. (2019). Morning exercise mitigates the impact of prolonged sitting on cerebral blood flow in older adults. Journal of Applied Physiology, 126(4). doi:https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00001.2019