5 easy steps to take each morning to set you up for the day.
There are countless of posts and articles out there with great advice on a good morning routine. Some claim to be the aggregated advice from successful people, some to be based on science and some to be simple habits to practice.
Well, I read a lot of them, tested much of the advice myself, and here is my quick list of 5 things to add to your morning routine for a good start to the day. I could write much more about this, but I have tried to keep this short and stick to things I do every morning.
1. No snoozing!
As soon as you hit snooze ones, you start the day trailing. Snoozing serves no purpose, 5 – 10 min extra of interrupted sleep doesn´t have any benefits whatsoever, but 5 – 10 minutes extra to think, read, write, plan or play with the dog does. Even more importantly, if you snooze you practice indiscipline, and start the day with a small defeat. If you get up the minute the alarm ring, you start the day with a victory, one of many to come!
Snoozing is in general counterintuitive, you are not less tired the next time it rings, the only reason why you find it easier to get up is that you have to.
Hack: I have 2 alarms, one on my FitBit that only vibrates, so it doesn´t disturb my girlfriend who doesn´t need to get up at early as me, and an old analog alarm clock in the hall that will wake up the entire neighborhood, set 3 minutes apart. This means I know that when my FitBit vibrates, I have 3 minutes to get to the other alarm and turn that off as not to wake up my girlfriend.
As soon as you get up, gulp down a few large glasses of cold water. There are many different opinions as to why drinking water is a good idea upon waking up, from it helping keep illnesses away to it being the reason why Japanese women are slim (?!). However it is a fact that you have just gone 7-9 hours without drinking any water, so your 70% water body needs a top up. Another point many agree on is that drinking water helps flush toxins from your body, and it is even claimed that it helps kickstart your metabolism.
For me personally what drinking water just upon waking does is that it feels good. I feel like it wakes me up and set me up for the day. After having made it a habit I almost feel like I am not getting into gear if I do not get the chance to drink a lot of water when waking up.
I know there is a lot of health advice that goes against drinking coffee, however, I don´t get my brain fully up to speed before I have had my coffee and water. And I aim for both of those things first thing as I wake up, which means that 10-15 minutes after my alarm rings (vibrates), I am at full power and ready to attack the day, starting with a bit of exercise. Also, antioxidants!
You will read this everywhere, but it is true. I only do a little bit of exercise at home in the morning, as I most days go to the gym before work anyway, but I need 5 – 15 minutes of exercise to get ready for the rest of the day. I do this both to get the blood pumping and get my muscles working already early for the health benefits, but also because I feel it is another small win to be out exercising, while the rest of the world is still sleeping.
I usually just do a small kettlebell routine, and then add in some myotatic crunches on a BOSU ball, squats, flexibility and mobility exercises. Just enough to get the blood pumping and every muscle moving.
If you decide to do this, you need to do it consistently, every morning. If you set yourself to do it, but fail to do it, you will have had a small defeat which is a bad way to start the day. If you set yourself to do it and do it, you will have had a small win.
Hack: Make it a habit so you don´t have to convince yourself to do it, but just do it per automation. Make sure that every morning consists of the same steps done in the same order. Therefore doing the exercises will be a natural step before you go on to the next. To help you kickstart a habit, allow yourself a “reward” after doing the exercise, but only if you complete the exercise. And the reward, in this case, can be as simple as a cup of tea or coffee, the important part is to only allow it when you have done your exercise.
5. Write down your thoughts or your plan for the day
Just when you wake your mind is free from the clutter of a long day full of impressions, as it has just had 7-9 hours to digest and sort it all. This makes the morning the perfect time to come up with new ideas, be it business or otherwise, or find new solutions to issues or problems you couldn´t find a way to solve yesterday.
To help set you up for the day, remember to also sit for a bit and look at your day, plan it if you have not before and go through it in your head to prepare yourself for it. I find this to be very useful, especially when I have busy, difficult or stressful days coming up. Just make sure you don´t use this time to over analyse and make small things seem bigger, but use it to write down, consider and plan what will happen and what you will do to get the most out of it.
You have noticed that there is nothing in here about a good nutritious breakfast, the “most important meal of the day”, and there is a simple reason for this. I used to be an advocate for eating a big and nutritious meal in the morning, but the more I study nutrition and different diets, the less convinced I am that breakfast is so important. I am currently doing Intermittent Fasting (IF) for 16 hours a day, from dinner one day, till lunch the next. I will write a lot more about IF in a later post.
Ps. Remind yourself this every morning before going out the door:
Remember to have fun today
Remember to learn today
Remember to have a positive impact on someone today
Thank you for reading,