11 morning routines that might be holding you back from reaching your full potential

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When the morning alarm goes off, most of us have one thought in our heads: more sleep! 

I definitely know the feeling of wanting to crawl back under the covers, but it’s often a bad idea.

This is because the habits and routines we do every morning set us up for failure or success in life. 

Here’s a look at the top 11 morning mistakes that can sabotage success. 

Cut these out of your schedule, and your life will get a lot better much quicker than you might think. 

1) Sleeping late and getting up late 

Going to sleep late is a habit I’ve struggled with for many years. I end up watching a film or series and sleeping much later than I should. 

The result is waking up late and being exhausted the next day. 

This is a poor way to start the day, because there are really only two options:

  • You force yourself to get up early for work or to hit your goals and go through the day feeling one second away from falling asleep, or;
  • You sleep in and wake up late with half the day gone, feeding into the cycle of staying up too late and oversleeping. 

2) Focusing too much on the needs of others when you get up

The next morning routine that can really undercut your own success is jumping straight to helping other people. 

If you live with a partner or are a parent with kids and your first move is to check on their needs when you get up, you’re sapping your own energy for somebody else. 

It’s important when you get up to take care of your own necessities first, even when it comes to simple things like brushing your teeth and having a moment or two of solitude to get ready for the day. 

Being thrust right away into focusing on others is not an effective way to start the day.

3) Having no set schedule for your day and winging it

Depending on your job you may be self-employed or not have a schedule that is given to you. 

But it’s still important to have your own schedule that you adhere to in some way. 

Winging it is a recipe for ending up procrastinating and letting the day go by without getting closer to your goals. 

In fact, winging it is also one of the big reasons why many people get up late:

They figure that if they don’t have to get up or it’s their choice, why not just sleep in? 

The best answer is that it’s because if you sleep in a lot you eventually make a habit of it and lose out on many goals and experiences you could be having.

This also ties into the next point… 

4) Taking extremely long showers and time for grooming

On the flip side of being too focused on others when you get up is taking too long on yourself. 

It’s great to have a morning routine when it comes to hygiene, grooming and showering.

But if it starts to stretch beyond an hour or more, this can slow down your whole day and also use up quite a bit of energy that would otherwise be going towards your daily tasks. 

By all means ensure that you look great and feel great, but limit showers and grooming to a reasonable length of time.

5) Under-hydrating or drinking sugary drinks first thing

One of the top mistakes many people make is they wake up and don’t drink enough. 

This begins a cycle of dehydration first thing in the morning, leading to headaches, low energy, irritability and all sorts of other problems. 

Our bodies are 60% water on average. 

That water needs to be replenished, especially after a night of not imbibing liquids. 

When you get up, ensure that you drink at least 500 ml of water and avoid sugary drinks like cola. Coffee and other drinks should not be used as a replacement for the 500 ml of water.

6) Skipping breakfast or eating junk food in the morning 

The next morning routine that can really throw a wrench into your day is eating unhealthy snacks or skipping breakfast altogether.

Our bodies need food to function, and giving them unhealthy over-salty or over-sugary food or no food at all is the wrong choice. 

If you find breakfast a bit stressful to organize and get together, try preparing something simple and having it ready and waiting in the fridge from the night before to heat up. 

7) Overusing social media and digital devices after waking up

Social media and digital devices are intertwined with our lives in so many ways, including our jobs. 

But one of the most unhelpful habits that we can get in is digital flooding early in the morning. 

If you find that your first instinct is to spend 20 or 30 minutes on your phone or scrolling through various devices and your computer, it’s something to think about more. 

Not only is it bad for your eyes physically to immediately focus in on the pixels of a small screen, it also tends to be an energy-sapping pursuit that leaves you less ready to tackle the day in an empowering way. 

8) Allowing negative news to sidetrack you first thing in the morning

There’s always plenty of negative news out there as well as gossip-jammed headlines and tales of woe. 

This is not the best thing to start your day with, and even if it’s a radio or TV in the background, my advice is to turn it off. 

Negative news right off the bat is likely to change your day in ways you might not realize at first, bringing a depressive tone to the day and creating a sense of anxiety behind everything. 

If you need to know the news for work, then by all means listen, watch or read the news. 

But try not to saturate your whole morning with dramatic and upsetting news, as it can get your day off to a poor start. 

9) Dashing to get ready for the day at the last minute 

If you find that each day is a mad scramble to be ready, it can hold you back significantly. 

If you want to reach your full potential, you need to be prepared for the day and heading out into your day with a full stomach, energy and the clothes and equipment you need. 

If every day is a stressful scene of chaos to even know where your car keys are or figure out where you have to meet a colleague in 10 minutes for a conference, then you’re on the road to burnout. 

Do your best to have a schedule and have things ready ahead of time so that the mornings don’t become a crucible of pressure and chaos. 

10) Relaxing too much in the morning and procrastinating from starting work

On the flip-side, it is possible to relax too much in the morning and end up wasting your time. 

This can happen with digital devices and getting lost on social media like I talked about, but it can also happen just as a result of being tired or not being very into what lies ahead for you in the day. 

If that’s the case, then more needs to be done on finding your purpose in life and motivating yourself to want to work and set goals. 

If you find that you’re just relaxing because you physically feel exhausted, then more needs to be done about ensuring you’re getting the sleep you need and proper nutrition and rest. 

11) Jumping straight into full socializing and front-facing roles

Earlier I mentioned how it’s important to take care of your own needs first and not jump right into helping others. 

The same goes for when you arrive at work and are getting your day set:

Don’t jump straight into a front-facing role or being extremely extroverted before you feel ready to do so. 

Gather your own energy, set your own schedule and figure out what you want to do before you exert a lot of effort outward. 

The reason for this is that centering yourself will ensure you have a firm foundation for interacting with clients and the public. 

It will also lead to having a better and more productive day overall and a much higher chance of hitting your long-term goals and reaching your potential down the road. 

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