The most effective way to prime yourself for success everyday is to design your morning routine intentionally instead of stumbling out of bed and beginning your day haphazardly. Doing the things you know will bring you joy, fulfillment, and a sense of well being before you ever step foot in the office ensures that you’re in the perfect frame of mind to be productive and in good spirits throughout the day. It brings you one step closer to creating a life you love.
First things first, get enough sleep. Although this is often talked about, many of us brush it off time and time again. It’s understandable; we’re in the age of twenty-four-hour news and endless entertainment at our fingertips. Between family, friends, career, Netflix, and Facebook, it’s a wonder that we sleep at all but boundaries are key.
If you find yourself falling asleep on the couch every night in the wee hours of the morning, you may need to put some parameters around your evening routine as well. Set a time for all electronics, including the television, to be shut off and even consider what time you should be in bed by routinely. If you can set a regular bedtime, you’ll have an easier go of it in the morning.
Speaking of the morning, as delicious as those few minutes of sleep are during your alarm’s snooze cycle, get up with your first alarm. Although it feels good to have just a few more minutes of shut-eye, it’s actually making you groggy and sluggish throughout your morning. Worse yet, it’s shortening the time you have before work and producing a morning that is harried and rushed. Does that sound like a good way to start off your day? I think not.
After your alarm goes off, resist the urge to roll over and check your social media, email or the news until at least after breakfast. It’s way too easy to get sucked in for considerably longer than intended without realizing it which, again, can leave you feeling rushed. There is nothing so important happening that it can’t wait until after breakfast.
Do your very best to stay consistent with when you go to bed and wake up. Your body will adjust and come to expect it which will make everything else easier.
Before getting out of bed, practice some intentional gratitude. Make a mental list of 10 things you’re thankful for or even keep a journal on your nightstand to jot them down. It’s essential that you focus during this short process and don’t let your mind wander. Feel the feelings of gratitude wash over you for each item before listing the next one.
Phrase each item as a complete thought starting with, “I am so thankful and grateful for…” to make this a full-fledged ritual each morning.
Starting your day with a gratitude practice helps to keep the small annoyances of the coming day in perspective. Sloshing your coffee on the floor on your way to the breakfast table doesn’t affect your mood when you begin your day with so much to be thankful for.
As soon as you sit up in bed, be sure to hydrate. Can you imagine not drinking anything for eight or more hours? Well, that’s what most of us do when we’re asleep.
Before bed, fill a 16oz or larger water bottle with filtered or spring water and set it on your nightstand. By morning, the water will be room temperature which is exactly what you want so you’re not shocking your system. Drink the entire bottle before the next step in your morning routine, either with or without your preferred vitamins and supplements.
Even if plain water isn’t your favorite thing to drink, commit to consuming at least 16oz every morning. Remember, your brain tissue is up to 75% water, and the rest of your body is 60% water. Both get dehydrated throughout the night. Women experiencing mild dehydration frequently find themselves with headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. They also perceive routine cognitive tasks as more difficult when slightly dehydrated.
1) Drinking a fair amount of water upon waking goes a long way
Re-hydrating your skin which can give your face a healthy glow, moving along your waste systems, and ensures that your kidneys don’t have to work overtime to rid your body of toxins. Did you also know that there’s research indicating that water wakes you up better than coffee? If you have trouble sticking to this piece of the routine, try requiring yourself to finish your water before having your regular coffee or tea.
Next up: move your body. Not only is physical movement good for your health, but it also allows you to reconnect your mind & body. Reconnection is especially needed after eight plus hours spent horizontally.
Choose whatever type of movement or exercise you prefer like yoga, walking the dog, floor exercises like planking and stretching or even weightlifting, but it needs to be a part of your daily morning routine. The most common excuse here is that people don’t have time to exercise in the morning. That’s nonsense.
Even if you don’t have time for a full hour-long workout, find ten or twenty minutes just to get started moving. Once you’ve successfully integrated that into your routine, it’s easier to expand a bit at a time by getting up a little earlier over the span of a few weeks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, just 25-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day leads to a better mood, deeper sleep, boosted energy, and an improved sex life, among many other health benefits.
2) All those rewards for such a small effort seem like a fair trade-off!
After you’ve finished exercising or moving your body, remember to fuel your brain and body properly with a quality, balanced meal. According to Eva Selhub MD, Contributing Editor to Harvard Health Publications, “Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions. What’s more, the function of these neurons — and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin — is highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome. These bacteria play an essential role in your health. They protect the lining of your intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they limit inflammation; they improve how well you absorb nutrients from your food; and they activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain.”
Dr. Selhub also goes on to recommend, “Start paying attention to how eating different foods makes you feel — not just in the moment, but the next day. Try eating a “clean” diet for two to three weeks — that means cutting out all processed foods and sugar. Add fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha. You also might want to try going dairy-free — and some people even feel that they feel better when their diets are grain-free... Then slowly introduce foods back into your diet, one by one, and see how you feel.”
3) Last but certainly not least, indulge your senses.
Play some energizing music while in the shower and light a scented candle or diffuse essential oils while getting ready for your day.
When you design your morning intentionally and stick to the routine every day, you really can’t help but be more successful in your life and career. Your family will notice a marked improvement in your mood, and you’ll start looking forward to each day.