What do all the most successful people have in common?
They all have a morning routine that primes them to have a productive day. Below I have compiled the 5 most common aspects of successful morning routines and how you can adapt their practices for yourself.
I’ve made a handy checklist of these 5 habits so that you can download here!
If you don’t give direction to your day, someone else will. When you wake up in the morning reflect on what your priorities are for the day. What are the 2 to 3 tasks that you absolutely will get done today?
Because willpower depletes as the day goes on (think of it like a battery), one way to make your morning routine productive is to determine what you want to spend the bulk of your energy on.
In a commencement speech, Steve jobs said that for 33 years he looked in the mirror and asked himself “if this was my last day of life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” His question puts into perspective how we are spending our precious time and it’s a reminder that everyday we get to choose.
There are innumerable benefits to meditation! Comment below if you want me to cover that in a future post. Many of the most successful people from Oprah to Lebron James, and even the dudebros in Silicon Valley meditate daily.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that meditation is fun or easy to do, but I can give you some alternatives that satisfy the purpose of meditating, which is mindfulness.
You can breathe deeply for 5 breaths. Just count and pay attention to 5 complete breaths, 5 inhales, 5 exhales at the beginning of your day.
Drink something hot. Give your full attention to a herbal tea or cup of coffee. Really savor the experience by feeling the steam on your face all the way to tracking the liquid as it moves down your throat. Just give yourself 3-5 minutes of total immersion in the sensation of drinking something hot.
5-4-3-2-1 Mindfulness Method
This is a mindfulness practice that I used as a gateway to meditation. The process is explained in the graphic below. This is quite fun to do outside and can be done at any time of the day in any location.
All of these practices are just meant to get you on the path to mindfulness.
Take a Cold Shower
Everyone’s favorite bwahaha! Cold showers have incredible benefits including making your hair shiny (eyebrow wiggle) and slowing down aging of the skin. Cold showers also reduce inflammation and incite norepinephrine into your body both of which energize the brain and body.
Speaking of willpower, if you can stand a cold shower at the beginning of your day, you can literally conquer anything.
Here’s a little hack if you don’t want to do an entirely cold shower. After you’re down cleaning yourself in warm water, just turn the water cold and stand in it for 20 seconds. Of course the longer you can stand the better, but to start out just count to 20.
It might seem like gratitude has nothing to do with making a productive morning routine, but I promise it does!
Gratitude primes your brain to seek the possibilities in the rest of your day. By focusing on all the things you do have, you cultivate an abundance mindset.
Gratitude also ties into mindfulness because it makes you acutely aware of how fortunate you are. Practicing gratitude helps to bring some joy to the forefront of your day.
Move For A Few Minutes
Move your body. It activates your brain and similar to cold showers floods your body with dopamine and other happy chemicals.
So get your blood flowing and circulating to the brain! Adding just a few minutes of movement to your morning routine will improve your cognition for the rest of the day. Plus you’re giving yourself a natural energy boost.
Because we spend so much time in front of screens now, it’s worth getting a few minutes of movement in your day. This doesn’t have to be your full workout for the day, just something physical like dancing to your favorite song or 15 burpees or a 5 minute stretch.
BONUS: My Routine and 2 Actions to Avoid in the Morning
My Productive Morning Routine
- Wake up and whisper “Thanks Universe!”
- Drink 400ML of water
- Meditate for 15-20 minutes
- Do the 4 bending styles in the ATLA opening sequence and 15 burpees
- Wash face with cold water (I shower at night and rinse in cold water)
- Make my to do list and top 3 tasks
Things to avoid
Checking email or social media right away. Back to the beginning, don’t start your day by being reactive to everyone else’s priorities. Even if you don’t answer those messages, they will still take up conscious and unconscious brain space.
Staying in bed for too long. Once you’re awake, you should do your best to get out of bed immediately. Don’t cause bed confusion by doing too many different activities. It can prime your subconscious for sluggishness throughout the day.