How to Get Your Morning Started Right
Morning people get a pretty bad rap but let’s face it: if you want to start your day off right, getting a good start is crucial. Thanks to the work of Florida State University professor Roy Baumeister, we now know that we run out of the energy to make creative and challenging decisions as the day wanes.
Ultimately, if you want to make sure it gets done, get it done in the morning! That said, if you’re like the rest of us, mornings can be something of a mess you’re hitting the snooze button, skipping breakfast, and rushing into work, late as usual. Here are eleven tips, tricks, and hacks to help you turn your morning into a productive, enjoyable routine.
1. Start With Meditation
Meditation has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, increase your ability to focus, and help you battle depression. While there are more time-consuming meditation practices that require extended study and practice with a meditation guru, you can still benefit by meditating with the help of an app on your phone (Headspace is one such app).
Another reason it’s worth waking up for?
Whether you got a good night’s sleep or not, an extra ten or twenty minutes of hitting the snooze button probably isn’t going to help, but because meditation puts your body into a state of relaxation, you’ll get a rush of endorphins that will increase your morning motivation and leave you feeling energized and awake.
2. Change Up Your Coffee
Don’t worry! We’re not telling you to skip your coffee, but we are suggesting a potential change to it. Bulletproof coffee has become popular among champions of the paleo, keto, and low-carb diets because it makes it easy to get lots of good fats and even protein first thing in the morning, without resorting to carbs.
Bulletproof coffee is coffee blended with coconut oil and grass-fed butter. It sounds gross, but the result is rich and frothy, similar to your morning latte. If you’re looking for a way to boost your cognitive function, kill sugar cravings, and start your day with a bang, bulletproof coffee is worth trying!
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Routine physical activity has been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease, help you manage anxiety and depression, and even help ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The problem with working out in the evening is that often, you won’t (think about how often you finish work for the day, exhausted). Plus, working out within two hours of bedtime can interrupt your ability to fall asleep, which will kill your morning motivation.
Running, taking an exercise class, or working with a personal trainer first thing in the morning is a fun way to get all the benefits of working out with none of the problems! Plus, you’ll find it helps you better manage stress and feel more energized and productive throughout the day.
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4. Wake Better
We’ve already mentioned how miserable waling on your snooze button can make you, but how can you avoid it? Here are some tips:
- Utilize natural light by sleeping with the blinds open or opening the windows and stepping out into the sunshine as soon as you wake up. Your circadian rhythm loves sunshine!
- Use an app or progressive alarm clock on your phone, so you’re not jolted awake during a deep sleep cycle.
- Turn off your wifi radio on your phone, so you sleep better at night (some studies indicate wifi can interfere with your sleep).
- Leave your phone or alarm clock in another room (or across the room), so you’re not tempted to hit that snooze button!
5. Morning Pages
If you’re an artist, a writer, a creative person, or a person who wants to be more creative, morning pages are an incredible way to clear your mind, focus your day, and get your creative juices flowing.
Morning pages are also known by the names freewriting, brain dump, or journaling. It’s simple: first thing in the morning, sit down and write whatever is in your mind. You can set a timer (ten or fifteen minutes is common), or you can have a page goal (two or three pages, for example).
Making morning pages part of your morning routine helps you get into the rhythm of creating without editing your work, which can benefit you no matter how uncreative you consider your life currently!
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We know, we know breakfast is the most important meal of the day! But sugary, carb-filled cereals don’t seem to be good options, and who has time to make a full breakfast? Not to worry; there are great options that can get you out the door fast without leaving you hungry (or stopping for a donut).
One breakfast we love is the green smoothie. You can prep these the night before so that it takes just a few seconds to whip up in the blender. You don’t even have to drink it at home; pour in a travel mug and enjoy your commute!
Another fun option is a DIY protein box, with hard boiled eggs, nuts, cheese, and fruit. Or, whip up some delicious egg and sweet potato muffin cups to warm up quickly in the morning talk about a yummy morning motivation!
7. Drink Water
You’re probably stumbling into the kitchen for your coffee as soon as you wake up, but an even better option might be to drink water right away. Starting out with a glass or two of cold or hot water can help jumpstart your metabolism, rehydrate your body after eight or more hours of no water, and help you feel awake.
Starting your water intake right away will also help you stick to the healthy goal of eight glasses of water a day. Not interested in plain water first thing? Try heating it and adding a squeeze of hot lemon and sea salt for your adrenals!
8. Remove Distractions
One of the reasons mornings can be so jarring is that we reach for our phones right away, and are immediately bombarded with email, social media notifications, and urgent text messages. To help counter this and get your morning off to a more relaxing start, turn your phone to Do Not Disturb the night before.
Remove your work email and social media apps you can’t resist from your phone or tablet. Avoiding these things will help you start the day with a clear mind and focused goals, instead of getting caught up in the latest celebrity drama or urgent news cycle.
9. Get Grateful
It turns out; gratitude isn’t something to practice only at Thanksgiving! Science now recognizes some incredible benefits to thankfulness, including:
- Better mental health (psychologists believe there is a strong link between gratitude and well-being, in part because practicing gratitude helps negate toxic feelings like resentment and regret)
- Better physical health (a 2012 study found that grateful people report experiencing less pain and more feelings of health and that they visit their doctors more often, which leads to a longer lifespan)
- Improved mental strength
- Improved self-esteem
There are many different ways to practice gratitude; they range from utilizing a gratitude journal to simply speaking the things you’re grateful for out loud. However you choose to do it, making gratitude part of your morning routine can have long-lasting benefits.
10. Start With the Most Important Thing
If you agree with the idea that we lose self-control and the ability to make good decisions as the day progresses, it stands to reason that the thing you should do first thing in the morning is the thing that is most important to you.
Whether that’s spending time bonding with your children or with your spouse (who says quality family time needs to happen at night?) or working on a passion project or big work project, carving out the time to focus on what matters the most to you can help you feel more relaxed and ready to deal with the challenges of the day.
Even if each morning starts with a different task, for many of us, that’s one thing we can guarantee to cross off our to-do list, and it feels great!
11. Make Your Bed
Can making your bed change your life? According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, it might! Studies have found that people who make their bed have a better sense of productivity and well being, as well as a better ability to follow a budget.
Duhigg believes this is because making your bed is a keystone habit, something that will lead to other good decisions later in the day (like working out and eating healthy).
Will these eleven habits automatically change your life? No, but they will increase your morning motivation, and that’s something money can’t buy!