15 Morning Habits for a Successful & Productive Day
Do you have morning habits? What does it look like?
Wait, before we even talk about that — how do you FEEL when you get up in the morning?
Are you usually snoozing your alarm too many times and scrambling to get things done before rushing out of the house?
Want to know how to start our mornings feeling fresh, positive and enthusiastic and ready to slay the day?
The answer lies in having a an effective, productive and amazing morning routine. A morning routine consisting of effective habits that ensure you start the day right.
Studies have shown that high achievers in life tend to have strict morning rituals which they religiously follow.
When you start your day right, you are mentally, physically and emotionally on a good footing. You are putting yourself in a successful and productive frame of mind to tackle what lies ahead.
So here are 15 morning rituals you can structure into your own day to get you started right:
Start your day in a great mood
Your mood in the morning sets the tone for the entire day.
How many of you are already moaning and groaning about the day ahead before you’ve even fully opened your eyes?
The Law of Attraction talks about how our subconscious minds are still extremely active just as we are waking up. It is the best time to inject some feel-good stuff into your minds before your feet even hits the floor.
Some people do that through gratitude exercises, positive affirmations or a very quick meditation.
Others do a braindump with Morning Pages. It’s a fantastic way of emptying the stuff in your heads.
Some people need to go to the gym. Others take the time to make breakfast and read the papers, it’s therapeutic for them.
So think of whatever feels good for you and do a little bit of that in the morning before you start your engines.
Hold off on checking emails
How many of us lie in bed just as we wake up and go through our inboxes? *Raises hand sheepishly*
Well, it’s time to stop doing that.
Studies have shown that doing that doesn’t put you in the best state — mentally and emotionally.
Checking emails stresses you out. Because when we do that — our minds are already racing through the day, we are already thinking of what we need to do. Things are already in motion and we have to race to catch up.
You don’t want to start the day feeling frazzled, frustrated or anxious.
Checking emails first thing also leaves you in a very reactive state.
You’ve started reacting with what the world throws at you and then just keep reacting to whatever lands on your plate.
Do this too often and it leaves you too exhausted to work on what you wanted to.
Have something to look forward to
Something joyful that is.
Go to sleep the previous night thinking (and hopefully dreaming) of it.
Joyful anticipation boosts your happiness by tenfold as it gives us loads of pleasure imagining future happy events.
READ ALSO: 10 Life-changing Things to start doing in your 20s — Part 1
Not scheduled anything happy? No worries.
Just plan something joyful into your day!
It could be something simple, like getting a latte from your favourite coffee shop, catching up with friends or just lying on your couch with netflix as company.
Do something you dread
Yes you heard me right. In the mornings, our willpower and self-control is at its highest. It’s the best time to get those dreaded tasks out of your way.
Our willpower is like a battery, it drains quickly. Leaving dreaded and difficult tasks to the end of the day makes it more likely that you will completely skip it altogether.
And that then triggers guilt, unhappiness and anxiety.
Tackling the dreadful stuff early in the day gives you a motivational boost.
Once those pesky things are cleared out of the way, it makes the rest of your day feel comparatively lighter.
The benefits of mediation are plentiful. Leo Baubata of Zen Habits and the Huffington Post has some great points.
Meditating at the start of the day empties your mind. You start the day feeling focused, refreshed and relaxed.
Daily meditations are part of my list of morning habits, and I’ve already noticed some changes. I am calmer, more present and I tend to take things in my stride. I am no longer anxious, irritable and frazzled when I awake.
Meditation sessions don’t have to take hours — though if you prefer longer sessions, go for it! They can be as short as 5 to 20 minutes.
You can hit up YouTube for some great meditation playlists. I personally use the ones from Mindful Movement as I love Sarah’s voice and I prefer meditations that are guided.
If you prefer apps — Calm and Headspace are great ones you can explore.
Give thanks, show gratitude
Like meditation, showing gratitude for the amazing things in our lives is a practice that has tons of benefits.
You can give thanks for anything — for the sunshine, for the good night’s rest, or even for being alive to get through another day!
When I wake up, The first thing i do besides thanking the Universe that I’m awake — and alive! — is to write down some gratitude statements.
I keep a gratitude journal and as I go through my day, I will jot down one-liners of things I’m grateful for.
Showing gratitude has been a great addition to my morning routine.
Having done this for awhile, I’ve found that I now have a greater tendency to see the good in the bad, to be more positive and present in the moment. I have a lower tendency to take things for granted.
Positive affirmations and visualisations
Do it in the mirror. Or write it down.
“Today will be a fantastic day.” “I am open to receiving any sort of opportunities that come my way today.” “I am amazing!” “I am beautiful!”. Whatever uplifts you and encourages you
Some people write pages and pages of these. I have a handy list in my phone. Whenever life is starts to suck a bunch of lemons, I pull up the list.
READ ALSO: How to save money and be rich in your 20s [Part 2]
It has been very effective in switching my perspective and emotion state — almost immediately. I’ve recently tried this daily and it has made a huge difference to how I feel.
Others positively affirm their day by visualising all the good stuff that will unfold in the day ahead. This process does not have to take long — 5 minutes is sufficient.
Get some exercise
Or just move around in some way.
Exercising releases endorphins and makes us feel good, more awake and less distracted throughout the day.
Working out in the morning also helps to boost metabolism, allowing us to burn more calories throughout the day.
Again, your exercise routine does not have to be long and drawn-out, doing some simple stretching exercise or light routines that don’t require weights are also great.
I personally make use of this app: Lose Weight in 30 days on Google Play. I’m not a fan of the gym, long exercise sessions or complicated equipment.
Each of these exercise “circuits” take about 10-15 minutes to complete, depending on the level of difficulty and require NO equipment – except maybe a mat. Perfect for time-strapped people.
Ever heard of being hangry? Yup it’s a real thing (and its now an official addition to the English dictionary). It’s when you feel grumpy, anxious or on edge when you’ve had not eaten.
If you are always feeling annoyed with your dog, the traffic and the world – it could be cause you’ve not had enough food in your system.
And. Don’t rush through your breakfast or eat it on the go – that’s pretty unhealthy by the way. Take time to enjoy your food.
And no, don’t scroll through your IG feed or check your emails either.
Savour your food, chew slowly and just be present.
Plan your day the night before
This always make me feel so much more organised and relaxed when i wake up the next day. I know exactly what I have to do. I use my goal setting planner to do this.
Ladies, this goes for your outfits too. Plan what you’d like to wear the next day and have it all in the same area, so you aren’t scrambling around looking for your skirt or earrings.
Deciding what you want to do before you start the day means you start the day knowing exactly what you have to do.
Planning beforehand removes the cognitive load on your mind to have to think through choices and make decisions first thing in the morning. It frees up your mind and you are more at ease.
Get enough zzzzzs
A great day starts the night before.
It starts with having quality, restful sleep.
Make sure that you have sufficient hours of quality sleep, that you are in a sleeping environment that is cool and dark and that you aren’t checking your laptops/phones just before bed.
It’s best that all these electronic devices are left outside of the bedroom – and not right beside you! – so you won’t be able to make a habit out of checking your emails or whatever just as you wake up.
READ ALSO: How to save money and be rich in your 20s [Part 4]
Listen to podcasts
It’s a great way to start the day, positive and calm.
I use this amazing app called Stitcher, it has a great selection of podcasts.
I just load them up and listen on my way to work or whenever I feel like, really – on the subway, in line at the grocery, whilst I’m exercising.
The great thing about podcasts is that it’s accessible, you can find anything on any topic you like, and you are able to learn new stuff very quickly. No need to lug books around!
Warm water – plain – or lemon water is known to have health benefits. From helping you lose weight, to preventing premature ageing to improving blood circulation and lots more.
I start each morning with a glass of warm water.
I think it’s a great morning habit especially since our bodies have been without it for many hours as we slept.
Start the day before everyone else
Wake up before everyone else is up. Get in to work before everyone else.
For some reason, when you start the day before everyone, you are able to buckle down, focus and end up getting lots of things done.
It’s not like you are getting more hours than the rest of the human race, but it just feels that way for some reason.
Also, you get an amazing sense of accomplishment when you’ve already ticked stuff off your checklist before the day has even started.
Get some sunshine
Getting about 15-30 mins of sunshine early in the morning is a great way to start the day.
First off, it helps you shed those pounds:
Light sends an extremely strong signal to your body and brain to wake up and also helps regulate your body’s circadian clock. Messing with your body clock, then, and missing out on early rays may alter the way your body processes the foods you eat, leading to weight gain. – Dr. Kathryn Reid
It ensures you a steady supply of Vitamin D, enhances your mood and lowers your blood pressure, amongst other great stuff.
How does your morning routine look like?