It’s 6am on a Monday morning and you’ve woken suddenly to the sound of your oh-so-annoying alarm clock. Your automatic instinct is to roll over and to hit the snooze button, like every other day. But as you hit the button, your thoughts from the night before come running back to you. You said that this week was the week you’d wake up earlier, go for a morning run, read your book or get into the office sooner. Those thoughts are quickly forgotten as you drift back to sleep. And when you do eventually wake up, you’re late, and feel exhausted.
Sound familiar? It must be time for a change-up in your routine. And the quickest and easiest way to change what we do day in and day out, is to start changing how we approach our mornings.
Why are mornings so important?
How we start our mornings, essentially sets up the rest of our day. Imagine waking up every day feeling inspired, ready and excited to tackle the day? Believe it or not, small, simple changes to your morning routine can have a profound effect on the rest of your day, if not, the rest of your life!
This is because self-control is at the highest in the morning. Most of us struggle with our self-control all day, and it's what makes us battle to achieve all the tasks we set out to do throughout the day. That's why it’s important to make the most of the morning hours when our self-control is high, mind is clear and body is rested. Starting your day right will increase your energy levels, happiness and productivity for the rest of the day.
Tips to start your day right
Wake up earlier
The early bird gets the worm, they say. But why do they say that? It's because it's true! According to Business Insider, the extra hours provide less distractions and fresh energy, giving some of the world's most successful people a chance to fit in a workout, do some creative thinking or spend time with family. Resist the urge to hit the snooze button and try wake up as early as possible (spoiler alert: this is probably the most difficult part of changing your routine). If you find this difficult, start small and set your alarm half an hour earlier each day to ease into it.
Drink lemon water
As soon as you're out of bed, make yourself a cup of warm, fresh lemon water and sip on it slowly. You can use this time to be quiet and still, read, journal or meditate. Not only are lemons full of nutrients, the lemon water will wake you up and set you up physically and mentally for the day to follow.
No screens until after breakfast
A strict rule you should try and stick to in the morning is no screens before breakfast. It's easy to get lost into our phones, laptops and gadgets, especially in the morning when we're waking up. Social media, emails and messages can all distract us for far too long, and the next minute, we're late and haven't used the morning to achieve anything we wanted to. Use the morning hours wisely and make a conscious effort to not be distracted by your screens. Rather focus on waking up properly and starting your day right.
Stretching is a great way to start your morning right. Our body actually naturally stretches with a yawn most mornings. That's our bodies' secret way of telling us that it needs a stretch. Stretching improves your posture, makes you feel great and is good for blood circulation. (You can read more about that, here!)
Exercise if you can
Many wake up an extra hour earlier to fit in their exercise for the day. It can be difficult to fit in your exercise time after a long day of work, so waking up an extra hour or two earlier is a great way to get you to the gym or go for an early morning run. Starting your morning by exercising will also increase your energy levels for the rest of the day. And besides, there's nothing quite like an early morning run, when the rest of the world is still asleep. Try make the most of your morning exercise and watch the sunrise if you can!
Eat a proper breakfast meal
A lot of us have a habit of being 'on-the-run' all the time, rarely thinking about food. We grab what we can, and if we can, because we're too incredibly busy to have a proper, nutritious breakfast. And no, a quick cereal meal does not count as a proper breakfast and skipping breakfast is always a terrible idea. If you wake up earlier, you should have more time to make a proper breakfast, or at least eat it sitting down and not 'on-the-run'. Eating breakfast will stabilise your blood sugar levels and you'll be less hungry over the course of the day, as well as be able to function productively throughout the day.
Spend a moment in the morning just thinking about what you are grateful for. It doesn't have to be a long exercise, even just a few simple thoughts over your lemon water will do. You could be grateful for your healthy, working body. Or perhaps you are grateful for your spouse, children or a friend. Whatever comes to your mind, recognise that thought and truly feel the gratitude. By expressing gratitude for what we already have, we set our day up for positivity, ridding negative thoughts. As humans, we tend to constantly focus on what we don't have, but rarely pay attention to what we do have. This small shift in thinking and being grateful for what we already have can do wonders for our overall happiness.
There really is something so powerful about a morning routine, and the proof of it is in the successful people who praise it. Adjust your morning routine to what feels right for you and more importantly what works for you. Remember, it will take time and discipline to make these habits stick. Focus on one at a time if you have to. Because the way you structure your morning is greatly linked to the way you'll structure your life.