“People who are very, very successful don’t forget the importance of routines. There’s a huge correlation between thinking very deliberately about (creating) the right habits in your life and developing successful habits,” says Charles Duhigg, a New York Times investigative reporter and author of The Power of Habit.
The average adult who lives to around age 68 (which is still pretty young) experiences 25,000 mornings! That is 25,000 times to face the world, start anew and chart the course of our life. Our morning routine is a crucial habit that will either enhance our performance and set the tone for the remainder of the day, or set us up to experience daily challenges.
Highly successful people, sometimes naturally, cling to morning rituals as they use this time to ground, center and focus themselves on what lies ahead and how they can best use their time. While the majority of the world wakes up feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired and negative, you have the power to experience enjoyment, renewal and productivity by embracing these “rituals.”
So . . . how do you do it? Here are six things that you can include in your morning routine to start your day off on the right foot and experience high levels of productivity, excitement and enjoyment.
1. Wake up early.
The saying “the early bird gets the worm” certainly rings true for the entrepreneurial self-employed go-getters we are. In fact, many articles claim that the most successful people wake up between the hours of 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Being up this early really helps to ensure that you get the time to focus on you and do things that help you get off on the right foot for the day. This, of course, means implementing another important habit: Going to bed by 9 p.m.
2. Express gratitude.
Before you get to the fridge, take a few moments to experience positivity. This sets the tone for the day. If you are a prayer warrior, this a great time to demonstrate your thankfulness for another opportunity to wake up healthy and face the world. Gratitude journals have also been instrumental in ensuring that you have a positive day. Before you step out of bed, take five minutes and write down five things you are thankful for. The effects of filling your mind with happy emotions before other realities start to creep in are astonishing.
3. Drink water.
Every physician will tell you that most of the ailments that otherwise healthy people suffer from on a daily basis are a result of not getting enough water. Fitness guru Shawn Stevenson calls this morning ritual an internal bath and recommends drinking at least one pint first thing. Some people spice it up with lemon and cayenne pepper for a cleansing effect, while others prefer a green tea. Either way, getting pure water into your system will energize you and quench dehydration from the night before.
4. Get moving.
Exercise in the morning gets your endorphins going and literally wakes your body up. Your preferred exercise should be something you enjoy that gets the results you seek from physical fitness. If just moving is a priority, you may want to go for a daily morning walk; alternatively, if mind-body is your thing, yoga and morning meditation are perfect.
Make this part of the day something you enjoy, as it frames your mood for the day ahead. I like to reward myself by listening to my favorite podcast while on the treadmill. By doing this I have created a positive association with my morning workouts. Simple but it gets results.
5. Skip the pancakes.
Health and fitness research details the impact of carbs on our blood sugar throughout the day. People experience this when they get the midday “crash” around 2 p.m. They are tired after the coffee and doughnut have worn off. Try a healthy green smoothie instead of a bacon, egg and cheese on a kaiser roll!
Here is my favorite daily recipe that gives me a ton of sustained energy:
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup frozen mangos
- 1 tbsp. goji berries
- 1 tbsp. “Green Vibrance”
Or, if you like something hot, here is a substitute for your coffee, “blender style”:
- 1/2 cup warm almond milk + 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp. agave syrup
- 3 dashes cinnamon
- 1 pinch each of cayenne + sea salt
6. Plan plan plan.
Here is the fun part. Now that your head is clear, plan out what you want to accomplish that day and actually get it done. Remember S.M.A.R.T goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Aim to complete one full goal a day and then, my friend, you are on your way to the top!