From the moment the day breaks and your eyes open, you have two options. You can:
1) Start the day on the front foot, eliminate distraction and prioritise the things that matter. You’re pro-active, focused and grateful. In this state, you control the day.
2) Roll out of bed, scroll Instagram, check text messages and answer email. Shower, rush down a bowl of cereal and worry about what’s on the news. You’re re-active, anxious and distracted. In this state, the day controls you.
The choice is yours. But how you spend those first minutes and hours upon waking will determine how much you achieve throughout the rest of the day.
I am a firm believer that a great morning routine sets the tone for a happy, productive and successful day. I believe that structure in the early hours will help you create freedom in the later ones, rather than the state of distraction and anxiety that so many of us find ourselves falling in to as afternoon and evening come around.
A great morning gives the rest of your day momentum and energy. And having a solid routine in the morning will also help you to avoid mental fatigue later in the day.
Think about it this way. Every day we have a limited amount of energy and decision making capacity, and the more we spend on thinking about small and meaningless tasks, the less we have to focus on the important stuff. Having a routine for the first 60 – 90 minutes of your day helps to preserve this precious energy so you can be more creative and more productive later in the day.
I’ve been tweaking my morning routine for years, and it’s still not perfect. Finding the right morning routine to allow you to conquer the day will take time and patience. But if you want to be healthier, happier and have more freedom, I promise you it is worth it.
Here are 10 easy steps to get your morning routine started!
1) Never hit the snooze button
Hitting the snooze button is synonymous with everything else you will do today. By hitting snooze you are actively choosing to delay all the amazing opportunities, incredible adventures and fearsome challenges that await you on the other side of consciousness. The moment you hit snooze, you decide to continue sleeping with your dreams instead of waking up to chase them.
You can’t dominate your day if you don’t dominate your morning, so how the hell can you dominate your morning if you can’t even dominate your alarm clock?
If you struggle with the temptation of the snooze button, I recommend trying out a Lumie Smart Alarm clock, which uses light to gradually transition your body into wake mode. If this isn’t possible, put your alarm at the other side of the room.
No one ever became happier, healthier or more successful by hitting the snooze button. So wake up and take action
After sleeping for 8 hours, the most important thing to do is re-hydrate. I recommend a tall glass of warm lemon water to wake up your digestive system and kick start your metabolism, leaving you feeling healthier and more energetic throughout the rest of the day.
I also like to add a pinch of Himalayan salt to this glass of water, which will help to replenish electrolytes we lose throughout the night. Himalayan salt is also very nourishing to the adrenal glands, so a pinch in the morning helps to preserve our energy and focus throughout the rest of the day.
Stretch and mobilise your muscles and joints to get the blood flowing and increase your core temperature. Start from the bottom upwards – rotate your ankles, stretch out your calves, hamstrings, and mobilise your hips, elbows, shoulders. You’ve been lying in one position all night, so it’s time to get moving!
Taking a few minutes to clear your mind first thing in the morning will help you improve your focus and prevent distraction later in the day. Just take a few minutes to sit, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Watch your thoughts as they drift into your mind and let them go without control or judgement. Anchor yourself in the moment and just be.
5) Show gratitude
Write down 3 things that you are thankful for. This can be a person, a pet, a place or a possession. Take a minute or two to visualise it, hold it in your heart, and be sincerely thankful for what it brings to your life.
Why is this important? Because showing gratitude first thing in the morning literally hardwires your brain to look for the good in everything you will encounter that day. Before you know, you’ll see greatness in everyone you meet and opportunity in every challenge you face. And maintaining a state of gratitude will help you attract more positive things into your life, so you’ll have even MORE to be grateful for the next morning.
6) Get outside
Weather permitting, getting outside early in the day is one of the best hacks you can use to upgrade your energy levels, boost your mood and sharpen your focus.
Exposure to sunlight is essential for the production of vitamin D, which boosts brain power and protects the immune system. It also stimulates the release of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, a powerful trio of ‘feel good’ hormones that will increase feelings of pleasure, reward and motivation throughout the rest of the day.
Furthermore, sunlight exposure first thing in the morning also helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, helping you to feel more awake in the daytime and get to sleep easier at night.
Getting outside in the first few hours of the morning is a sure fire way to boost your mood and productivity, and all you need are 10 – 15 minutes to feel the benefits. Go for a walk, take your training outside or just have a cup of tea in the garden and the benefits will spill over into the rest of your day.
7) Eliminate distraction
We’re already on step 7 and you still haven’t checked text messages, Facebook or email. Think of all the notifications, man!
It’s a virtually unconscious habit of the modern day man or woman to log onto their favourite social media platform first thing in the morning. But before they know it they’re sucked down a black hole of selfies, puppy videos and avocado toast. They’re distracted, unfocused, and questioning their breakfast choices before the day has even begun.
If you want to have a happier and more successful morning than everyone else, you’ve got to ditch the bad habits that everyone else has. You’ve got to eliminate distraction and focus on the stuff that matters. So keep your phone on airplane mode and leave your email off.
Your notifications will still be there later, I promise.
8) Nail your M.I.T
It’s at this point in the morning you are in the perfect state to focus on your Most Important Task.
Why focus on your M.I.T first thing in the morning? Easy. Your mind is clear and in a prime state to produce your most creative work. As the day draws on and more and more distractions filter into your consciousness, it becomes harder to get back ‘in the zone’ and get meaningful stuff done.
This is why ticking off your M.I.T at the start of your day is so crucial. Not only do you start your day with a win, but this winning mentality creates momentum for the rest of the day. You’ll be more focused, more creative, less distracted and less stressed.
But even if that doesn’t happen, the universe throws you a flaming hot boomerang and you get nothing else done that day. You can still go to bed that night with a genuine sense of achievement, because you completed your Most Important Task.
Scrolling Facebook and Instagram is never an M.I.T. Answering your notifications now will shift your mind into a distracted state before you’ve even achieved anything.
Answering email is the biggest time suck of the 21st century and is definitely not an M.I.T. Responding to email first thing in the morning is allowing other people to prioritise your day for you. This is not a habit of happy, successful or productive people.
Find the ONE thing that would help you get closer to your goals and make today a winning day. There you have your M.I.T
9) Break the fast
Some people do best breaking the fast soon after waking up. Others prefer to push their break-fast back a few hours. When you break the fast isn’t important to me – what matters is how you break it.
Personally I’m a huge advocate of fruit in the morning. Fruits are light and easy to digest, freeing up valuable energy for your mind and body. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. They’re healing and they’re hydrating. With it being summer here in the Northern Hemisphere I’m currently on a massive watermelon kick, which is one of the most refreshing ways you could possibly start your day.
You can also blend fruits into a smoothie or smoothie bowl. If you want a breakfast that will keep you fuller for longer, add some protein powder and healthy fats like hemp seeds or nut butter to the mix.
Whenever it is time to break the fast, try to do so consciously and with gratitude, rather than scoffing something down in a rush on your way to work. Take a moment to slow down and enjoy your first meal of the day. It will make you feel more relaxed, more grateful, and will set the tone for how you approach the rest of the day ahead.
10) Conquer the day!
You’ve completed your most important task, your mind is in a state of gratitude and your body is flooded with all the nutrients and feel good hormones it needs to operate at optimum capacity.
You’re focused, energised and ready to take on the world.
You’ve won the morning, and you’re now in a perfect state to conquer the day.
Go get it.
What are your top tips for winning the morning?