3 Morning Routine Must Do's
Bonus Optional Actions for a Successful Start to the Day
The words "morning routine" are all the buzz in the world of personal development these days. The most successful people are locked into their morning routines, and claim it is an important component of their success. People become obsessed with the morning routine of the successful people they look up to, but morning routines are not something that can be copied to achieve success. Morning routines need to be a personal journey for you in order for them to become a meaningful part of your day. However, there are three consistent actions that are required to help you start your day with success.
Time is a non-negotiable necessity to create a morning routine that works for you. Getting up early enough to complete a worthwhile practice in the morning is the only way to discover a routine that works for you. Giving yourself enough time in the morning will help set you up for a low key, stress-free morning every day. Not only does waking up earlier help you complete your goals for the morning, but it also helps you face any unexpected challenges that come your way in the morning such as spilling coffee on your shirt requiring a wardrobe change, texting your best friend back, because he/she got into a huge fight with their boyfriend or girlfriend last night, or finding your child's misplaced homework or missing shoe, etc. These little miscellaneous events take time, and if you have set your alarm with just enough time to get ready and get out the door, your reaction to these will cause unwelcomed stress, which could set the tone for the rest of the day.
Setting the alarm for earlier is not the only way to add time to your morning. You will need to rethink the way you get out of bed too. Many experts in the self-development field talk about the snooze button being your worst enemy when it comes to slaying your morning. Mel Robbins, the author of The 5-Second Rule explains why the snooze button can rob you of four hours of productivity in her video "Why Hitting 'Snooze'" Ruins Your Brain," included at the end of this article. This is one of the hardest changes a person can make, and trust me, it is a challenge I am still trying to overcome. However, it is a change you must work towards to maximize your potential for the day.
A quick note about kids. As a mother, I completely understand the wrench kids can throw at a morning routine. This is why time is so important. You need to build in enough time to put out any morning fires that inevitably pop up when we have children. Also, kids thrive on stability and routine. Create a morning routine that provides your little ones with consistency to help them also start the day off right. Make sure you work a little time into their schedule for them to face any unexpected challenges that mornings seem to bring.
The second most important part of a morning routine is breakfast. Your brain and body is a high functioning machine that makes thousands of decisions, and completes hundreds of tasks in one day. Breakfast provides the fuel needed to get you through the day. You would not take off on a road trip with an empty tank and expect to make it to your destination, yet many of us start our days on empty by skipping breakfast, and then wondering why we feel exhausted without accomplishing everything we needed to do. I have heard all the excuses from I don't have time to I don't tolerate breakfast well. First of all, if you don't have time please go back and re-read the first part of this article. You need to make the time. Second, if you don't tolerate breakfast well, its because you have created a habit your body has become accustomed to. Just because your body is used to skipping breakfast does not make it a healthy habit, and I promise you, you can make this change, and your body will adapt to the change the more you include breakfast as part of your routine.
What you eat for breakfast is also an important part of having a successful start to your day. Protein is a necessary part of a healthy breakfast. Good sources of proteins are eggs, greek yogurt, and nuts. The right amount of protein will sustain you through a productive morning without having to take the time to break away for a snack. Minimizing sugar for breakfast is also another effective strategy for sustained energy throughout the day. Sugar is another enemy of productivity. It creates false energy with a crash that will kill momentum in an instant. Don't get me wrong, I love waffles, pancakes, or french toast for breakfast, but I know when I eat them, my morning will not be as productive as if I had eggs and fruit. Try it for a week, and watch your energy and productivity improve.
The third most important part of an effective morning routine is accomplishment. Starting your day with an accomplishment will help set the momentum for the rest of the day. Your brain craves achievement, so start your day by completing a task that helps your brain feel successful, and it will automatically start looking for the next challenge it can overcome. Morning tasks do not have to be elaborate or challenging. It could be as simple as making your bed, or cleaning up the breakfast dishes. The good news is, you get to decide what you want to accomplish first thing in the morning. You will know it is the right action if you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. Other examples of accomplishments include a quick workout, creating a to-do list, checking email, or sending a text to a loved one letting them know you are thinking of them. Whatever it is, it needs to be authentic to you. You need to feel energized and ready to take on the day after you have completed this task.
Morning Routine Options
Above I have explained the three most important elements that make up a successful routine but I want to also include some options for you to consider to help you create the best morning routine for you.
Meditation provides you with a way to reset your brain for the day. Focusing on your breathing, and paying attention to your body at that moment gives your brain a break from thinking of all the things it should have done the day before, and what it needs to do today. This does not have to take a large portion of your morning. I take ten minutes at the start of every day for this practice. It is amazing how patient, and less stressed I am throughout the day when I have taken the time to start my day with meditation. If you don't know how to meditate, it is never too late to learn. There are plenty of free apps out there to help you get started.
As I mentioned earlier in the accomplishment portion of a successful morning routine, exercise is a great way to start your day. There is science that proves exercise can help relieve stress and combat depression. The endorphins released during a good cardio workout can help you get your day started on the right foot. Not only will you feel accomplished, but you will start your day with an energy that is hard to beat.
Listening to a motivational or inspiring podcast gives your brain the ability to start focusing on the positive right from the start. The podcast you choose needs to inspire you, and make you feel like you can take on the world. This will be different for everyone. You might choose a podcast that discusses your passions or interests, or you can choose a podcast from a motivational self-development guru. The good news is podcasts are free and you get to choose what gets you fired up for the day.
Starting your day with reflection is one of the best practices you can choose. I recommend creating a gratitude journal, and starting your day off with everything you feel grateful for that day. This could be as simple as being grateful for your water heater (because it's no fun getting a surprise cold start to your day), or being grateful for all the amazing people in your life. However, your journal needs to be authentically yours. Take this time to reflect on what is important to you right away in the morning, and watch yourself focus on those priorities the rest of the day.
Your Morning Routine
Now it's time for you to customize the morning routine that is right for you. At first, things might feel uncomfortable and hard, and you might have to make a few adjustments to find the right protocol for you. Keep working at it and you will find a way to start your day energized and fired up—you will become unstoppable.