January 21, 2019


Do you ever have one of those days where everything seems to go wrong? Maybe you started the day by hitting snooze a few times, jolting awake when you realize how late it is.  Then you run around in panic mode getting ready for your day? No time for breakfast and just hoping that yesterday’s underwear isn't coming out the bottom of your pant leg!

Starting your day in emergency mode, reacting to the ticking clock, is stressful. And doesn’t it seem like those rough mornings produce a domino effect on the rest of your day? Some days you just never catch up. And you tell yourself you’re just not a morning person, so you can’t hope for better.

What if you were told that you don’t have to be a morning person to change your morning from chaotic to calm and controlled? Many of the world’s most successful people use a morning routine to start their day calm and focused. You can too.

Don’t let the word routine fool you into thinking you have to get up extra early or add a new page to your to-do list. You can pull it off simply by being more mindful of how you use the time you already have.

What will a routine do for me that my snooze button won’t?

Pressing your snooze button can mess with your sleep cycle and can leave you feeling foggy throughout the day. A good morning routine has the opposite effect. It helps you:

  • Start your day with intention, which means you’re choosing the direction and tone for the day, not just reacting to what gets thrown at you. You will be more productive and less stressed when you are in control of your day.
  • Sharpen your focus. Having a routine means you’ve already predetermined the first decisions of the day and know exactly what comes next. So instead of frantically making snap decisions about how to spend your time and energy in the morning, you can focus on what matters most to you that day.
  • Start the day winning! Checking off the steps in your morning routine means starting the day on a series of accomplishments. And that kind of positivity carries over to the rest of your day.

What makes an effective morning routine?

A good morning routine isn’t about brushing your teeth or making breakfast. It’s about taking purposeful steps to start your day with a sense of peace and intention, so you are prepared to focus on your day’s goals.

Mornings are hard. I get it. And the last thing you want to do is think about adding more to-dos to your list. Your morning routine needs to help you, not burden you. So if the thought of adding a handful of new activities before you’re fully awake makes you want to hide under your blankets, don’t worry. You can start slowly with one or two activities that pack a serious punch to your day in just a few minutes. For example:

  • When your alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze, prime your body with a few minutes of gentle stretches. This can help you to shake the groggy feeling and move from the cloud of sleep to being wakeful.
  • After stretching, try a few minutes of productive silence before getting out of bed. Deep breathing helps to bring focus to your mind and get some energy flowing.  If you have a process of mindfulness or meditation, then this can also be a good time to engage in those activities.  In less that 5 minutes you can ensure that you start your day with a sense of peace and control.
  • Sharpen your focus on what’s most important to you via affirmations or visualization exercises. Be your own biggest fan and focus on your positive traits and the actions needed to reach your daily goals.
  • Spend 3 minutes organizing the day’s priorities; this can help to purge the randomness in the tasks that come at you over the day.

If you’re ready for more, the possibilities are endless. Think about including:

  • 5 minutes mindfulness meditation
  • Affirmations while brushing your teeth
  • 5 minutes visualization while your morning coffee brews
  • 10 minutes of active stretching

Also remember that even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, food feeds your mind.  Try eating fruit in the morning.  And if you always find yourself in a rush to get out of the house, think about preparing a piece of fruit the night before so that it’s ready to go.  Cut the peel off an orange, pineapple or kiwi, cut it in chunks and put it in a container so that it’s there’s no work around it in the morning.  If you prefer apples, then make sure that you cut them up and put some lemon or lime juice over them to prevent browning.  Fresh berries also make for a super easy grab and go.  Some food will help your brain and body move effectively though the morning’s tasks.

Whether you have just a few minutes or an hour, think of your morning routine as a way to set yourself up for the rest of the day. The key is to choose what works best for you, and to do it consistently. It doesn’t have to be ambitious or fancy. It just has to serve you best. And even if you can only manage a few minutes every morning, taking that first step is a start to living your day with intention and an accomplishment to be proud of. You deserve a good morning!

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