Your mornings set the mood for the whole day ahead.
When you think about it, that’s kind of a big deal. If you have a terrible morning, it’s a bit like trying to read a book and getting stuck on the first chapter.
But the good news is that turning your mornings into something good and productive isn’t some incredibly elaborate process.
As long as you get the basics right, you’re entering a much better mindset from the get-go, increasing your chances of having a successful day.
I’ll keep it short. If you want to be successful, start doing these 8 things every morning.
1) Put your alarm clock out of your reach
Let’s admit it. We all love the snooze button.
But the thing is, your alarm is the very first thing you encounter upon waking up.
And the way you deal with it – either postponing it and dragging it out so you can get five more minutes of shut-eye, or getting up to seize the day like the champion you are – sets the mood for everything that follows.
When designing your mornings, try to make it so that:
- You wake up in the light stage of your sleep cycle (a sleep cycle usually lasts 1.5 hours, so ideally aim for 7.5 or 9 hours)
- You immediately have to get up to turn the alarm sound off
- You don’t stumble right back into bed (for instance, you can place it close to the bathroom and build a habit of immediately washing your face with cold water)
And ta-da! You’ve already conquered your first challenge. You’ve woken up without shocking your body five times within the span of thirty minutes.
2) Take it slowly
“Well, that’s easy for you to say. You don’t have kids/a shift that starts at 4 AM/a long commute to work.”
However, if you can – and I’m aware that everyone’s circumstances differ, so feel free to skip this point if you can’t make it work for you – try to prioritize longer mornings over longer nights.
An extra fifteen minutes in the morning can go a long way. It’s when you can put on some nice jewelry, have a refreshing shower, or make yourself a nutritious breakfast.
Go to sleep a tiny bit earlier, and your mornings will be all the better for it.
After all, the last thing you want to do is rush immediately upon waking up, throwing on random clothes and having a piece of carrot for breakfast because you can’t be bothered to make porridge (I used to be exactly like that, so I know what I’m talking about – it’s not fun).
3) Wake up your body
If you can (for example, if you work from home, have flexible working hours, or wake up very early), give your body the attention and care it deserves.
Yes, I’m talking about exercise.
But before you roll your eyes, hear me out – I’m not saying you should go for a jog or hit the gym at 6 AM. You might not feel like going out at all, especially in the winter, and that’s completely valid.
That’s why I love yoga. All you need is a mat, a beginner-friendly YouTube video, and fifteen minutes to show yourself some love and get into a relaxed state of mind.
Your body will thank you for all the stretching.
4) Wake up your mind
No one wants to do math first thing in the morning, but waking up your mind – that is, doing something that has cognitive benefits and that puts you in the right mind space – doesn’t need to feel like hard work.
Did you know that mindfulness meditation is so highly effective that one single session could potentially lead to cognitive improvements?
It’s kind of crazy.
As someone who practices meditation and mindfulness on quite a regular basis, I can attest to its power – it really does make a difference.
I know what you might be thinking. “I’m rubbish at meditation.”
Are you, though? Because having your thoughts reel off in different directions doesn’t mean you’re failing at meditation. Not at all. It means you’re practicing it.
Even experienced meditators can’t focus on pure nothing for hours. I’ve been meditating for years, and I can only manage a few minutes at most.
If you incorporate five minutes of meditation into your morning routine, you’re boosting your cognitive performance and promoting a sense of peace within yourself.
5) Set your goals for the day ahead
Mind you, your plan doesn’t need to be elaborate. Everyone functions differently. If I were to schedule my day into one-hour brackets, for instance, I’d feel too constrained and wouldn’t be able to reach a creative flow.
Sometimes, a simple to-do list will do the trick. Other times, you might want to be more organized and categorize your day into larger blocks that give you a sense of freedom while boosting your productivity.
As an example, I like to split my days into 3 blocks:
- The first bloc takes place in a café where I get a lot of work done
- The second bloc occurs after lunch, and it also revolves around wor
- The third bloc usually comprises admin tasks and hobbies, such as going to the gym or meal prepping for the week ahead
Your organizational style might be completely different, but that doesn’t matter. As long as you have a goal and a way to get there, you’re good to go.
6) Get into the right mind space
When I write non-fiction, I’m in a very different mind space from when I work on my fiction book. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the vibes are just not the same.
This means that I have to switch between different mindsets depending on what I have planned for the day, a bit like walking from one house to another.
To accomplish that, there are a few different things I do:
- I put on my headphones and play a specific kind of music I associate with a specific type of work (for instance, low-fi beats are for non-fiction)
- I write fiction at a café A and non-fiction at a café B
- I read a non-fiction/fiction book for twenty minutes before starting work
The latter is especially helpful. When you’re consuming content that puts you in the same mind space you need for work, it’ll be much easier to feel motivated and get started on your workload.
If you work in finance, read an interesting book on investing. If you’re a personal trainer, watch some fitness content on social media. The options are plentiful.
7) A little bit of self-care goes a long way
Success isn’t just about material wealth, right? It’s also about the way you feel. If you go about your day in a good mood, that counts as a success.
It may sound strange, but that’s exactly why self-care matters.
Your relationship with your own self is the most important one you’ll ever have, and if you show up for yourself every morning – be it by taking the time to choose a nice outfit, putting on skincare, or trimming your nails – you’re essentially telling yourself that you matter.
You’re worth the time and effort. You deserve to be looked after.
And it feels good. So good, in fact, that it might elevate your whole day to a brand new level.
8) Embrace the beauty of routine
Humans love routines. We love to do the same kinds of things in the same order day in and day out.
Sure, it’s good to switch it up occasionally. But overall, setting up a morning routine is an excellent idea.
Well, Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, says that “for the vast majority of us, routine helps us cope with the continual flow of decisions that face us in everyday life.”
On average, one person makes dozens of thousands of decisions per day, and a routine is exactly what helps us turn those decisions into instinctual actions we don’t have to spend too long thinking about.
Simply put, having a morning routine will help you focus on what truly matters: your goals for the day and your well-being.
And there’s your recipe for success.
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