Morning Rocks

10 Morning Habits to Build Your Day Upon

Photos by Shenxy, Ali K. and Mikey.

Over the past year I have come to see the morning as the foundation upon which I build my entire day – mentally, physically, and spiritually. I find that if I start the day by doing the habits listed in this article, I am usually happier, healthier, more productive throughout the day. In contrast, if my morning is chaotic and rushed I find that my energy runs out later in the day and I generally get a lot less done. Here then are 10 morning habits I believe will provide you with a solid foundation upon which to go about your entire day:

1. Wake Earlier

It seems there are endless articles online espousing the benefits of waking earlier. But when you think about it, this really is the key to overhauling your morning routine. With more time, you are free to develop the habits listed in this article and actually enjoy the morning free from the pressure of having to rush out the door. If you would like to develop this habit, I suggest the following articles/ sites:

2. Have a ‘”Holy Hour”

One of my favorite personal development coaches, Robin Sharma, advocates taking a “Holy Hour” each morning. Basically this is an hour you devote to working on yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you do this, instead of turning on the computer soon after you wake up (as I know many people do in this modern age), you will set yourself up for a great day.

3. Meditate

Meditation is the practice of silencing the mind, and the morning is a particularly good time to do it. Just a few of its many benefits include improved concentration, better health, and increased knowledge of self. If you would like to learn more about meditation and how to get started, I highly recommend reading 4 Powerful Reasons to Meditate and How to Get Started.

4. Visualize the Day Ahead

A simple, yet extremely powerful, exercise to practice in the morning is to shut your eyes and visualize how you want the day to unfold. This will give you direction as you go about your day and help you to avoid getting distracted with “urgent” but unimportant tasks.

5. Read and/ or Listen to Motivational Material

This may sound cheesy, but one of the reasons I love the morning is that an entire day of endless possibilities lies ahead. One of the best ways to ignite this spirit of endless possibilities is to devour some motivational material, impossiblewhether it be in the form of a book, audiobook or podcast. If you want some help finding motivational audiobooks and podcasts, check out this Free Audio and Podcasts article.

6. Think the Impossible

Since we are on the subject of endless possibilities, why not try an exercise that is inspired by the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Allowing your mind to let go of the rational and, instead, to explore the world of the “impossible” is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. And Aristotle did once say that the mark of an educated or mature mind is that it’s able to “entertain a thought without accepting it.”

7. Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

A nutritious and balanced breakfast is essential if you want to fire up your metabolism and keep yourself powered up throughout your day. In his article 6 Practical Tips for Increasing Energy Using Food, Todd from We The Change explains:

“Simple carbs release sugar in the body at a faster rate than complex carbs, fats, and protein, and give the body an immediate “up” feeling. But it is short-lived, and if you are in the habit of a high carb breakfast you are constantly fighting a battle for energy during the day.”

So forget the carbs and instead eat whole-grain cereal, eggs, fresh fruit or a even a health shake for breakfast.

8. Exercise

There are immense benefits to exercising in the morning. First, it raises your metabolism which helps to burn calories all day. Second, it starts the day with a positive accomplishment. I always feel ready to take on anything after exercising, and it is great to carry this momentum into the day. If you would like to kickstart the exercise habit, I recommend the following articles:

9. Sharpen Your Brain

Exercising your brain is as important (if not more!) than exercising your muscles. Some fun activities to keep your mind sharp include Sudoku, Kakuro (my personal favorite), crosswords, quizzes, and brain teasers. I also highly recommend the site Sharp Brains for a variety of brain fitness resources.

10. Take Time to Look Good

It’s a fact of life that people judge us by our appearance. For this reason, it’s a good idea to spend a few extra minutes in risky businessthe morning to ensure you go out into the world looking the best you can. In fact, a recent study by two economists found “extra time spent grooming has a positive and significant effect on both men’s and women’s earnings”. This was found to be especially true for men, where “10 minutes daily grooming increases their weekly wages by 6 percent”. Just remember, though, at some point you will need to put your pants on and get on with your day…..

What morning habits do you have that are an essential foundation for your day? Please share them below in the comments.

Peter writes about how to change your life at The Change Blog. He is also the author of Starting a Blog and Audio Book Downloads.

  • Conibear Trapp

    By the time I got all this stuff done, it would be time for bed again.

    • http://www.pickthebrain.com Peter

      Ha ha! Well you don’t have to do all of them :) . Even one or two make a big difference.

    • Smoosh

      You obviously eat breakfast, groom, and have time to play games if you’re young… Exercising, and meditation can take time (which are worth it) but the rest are only thoughts that take seconds… I think its a beneficial article that summarized most important things to start ur day with… Prophet mohamed woke up at dawn, ate, prayed, sat in his place till sunrise, and went to build a civilization!

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  • http://bettermentandwealth.org Cornelius

    This is a really good post.
    Some really good ideas for the morning that can flow on through the day. I really need to learn to rise early and try some of the points raised.
    Thanks.

  • Adam

    I love getting up early before daybreak and getting a good start on the day. Only problem is I only seem to sleep every other day since my biological clock tends to run a bit longer than 24 hours, so each week I might get one or two actual mornings as my schedule comes back around. The upside is that I get a ton of stuff done, and it really impresses people when you come in on a Friday night to start a big project and are still there on Sunday finishing it up.

  • http://www.etavitom.com etavitom

    These are some phenomenal suggestions for starting the day right. Thanks for all the wisdom…

  • http://www.srichinmoybio.co.uk/blog Tejvan

    I like all these suggestions, especially the meditation, which I usually do for 45 mins.
    Although, I don’t spend much time trying to look good, bit of a lost cause anyway :)

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com John Wesley

    The biggest one for me is exercise, first thing after I wake up. If I can get that done I know it will be a good day.

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  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    I currently do a lot of what you recommend and can’t stress enough how great doing so is. I wake up at 05:00, do yoga (which incorporates meditation and visualization of the day ahead), have a hearty breakfast, and finally make my way to the gym for an invigorating workout (which also incorporates some affirmations and impossible thinking). I can’t imagine doing anything else!

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    • http://www.rainbowbeautymassage.com Tania Donnelly, LMT

      These ideas are great! Yoga is always a great way for me to start my morning! I usually just slip in a yoga DVD, then make some HERBAL TEA, or just HOT WATER with lemon, and then plop down on the floor and sip before my workout.

      And forthose who have trouble sleeping, MASSAGE THERAPY totally helps relaxation and can induce a good nights sleep!

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  • http://www.under21lifestyle.com dream

    Cool post but I disagree with the breakfast options. Fruits/veggies are cool, but pounding the grain/eggs is like throwing an entire roll of toilet paper into your toilet every morning to keep it running smoothly…

    You want more energy? Eat raw fruits and veggies for breakfast, not grain/eggs etc which take a solid 4 hours to digest.

    • Scarlett

      Isn’t that kind of the point? I want a breakfast that will fill me up and keep me full until lunch time. 4 hours sounds right to me. :)

      • Karen

         Eating fruits and veggies is the better choice as the fruit can provide the initial energy boost along with the most important aspect of feeding the body important nutrients after ‘fasting’ all night. Vegetables, depending on choice, take more time to digest but they too provide much needed nutrients for the body. A great choice is to create a ‘green’ drink with fruits and veggies. Look at Dr. Oz site for a recipe. Over a period of time your body will be healthier and not as ‘hungry’.

  • http://www.lawofattractionforbeginners.com Dean

    Nice article on starting a great day.

    Years ago I conditioned myself to wake up without an alarm clock. The “blaah, blaah, blaah” of the alarm was jolting. Waking to radio sometimes had stuff going in my head I didn’t necessarily want.

    Now, when I wake without an alarm, I can spend a few minutes in that wonderful space between slumber and wakefullness to plan my day peacefully and calmly, visualize my goals, etc.

    Glad I found this post while Stumbling today.

  • http://www.wisdomgettingloaded.com/ tracy ho

    Great to know that ,

    Thanks

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  • http://www.stephenmartile.com Stephen Martile

    Great article Peter.

    I have followed James Ray’s suggestion for a morning routine. I affirm every morning how grateful I am for everything I have, everything I do and everything I am.

    This practice sets me to the right rhythm for the day ahead. For more tips you can always read,

    10 Tips to Get Into the Groove of Gratitude
    http://www.stephenmartile.com/?p=76

    Enjoy,

    Stephen Martile
    Personal Development Made Simple
    http://www.stephenmartile.com

  • Kunal

    like the idea of visualizing how you want your day to unfold. don’t usually project positively and could help to put your mind in the right place.

  • Sangrail

    Waking up more efficiently, yes – getting sufficient sleep, yes – getting the things you want to get done in a day, done, yes…

    But I’m still not seeing why to get up early?
    If you’re meeting all those requirements, why would you need to get up before say, 7am?

    There are a lot more things on in the evening, so if you want to take in classes, movies, or dinner with friends, you might not get home til 10pm, making a bedtime of say 11pm, and if you want 8 hours sleep (and for me, my needs are closer to 9), then you want to get up when you’ve had a sleep. Not to mention, if you want to stay up late on the weekends, you’re better off having a sleep schedule that is reasonably consistent through the week.

    If I woke up at 5am, what would be the point? I can’t go into work any earlier than 8am, and there’s not anything I can do in the mornings I can’t do slightly later… o_O
    And if you’re an owl, rather than a lark, which is genetically influenced, then push it to the earliest reasonable time you can manage to fit in with the rest of the world, but no more – that really will be ineffective.

    I totally get that depending on your circumstances it may be useful, but I’m getting a little tired of this blanket advice to ‘Get up early!’, disregarding just how UN-useful that advice might be.

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  • Irrevenant

    Good article.

    One point though: “So forget the carbs and instead eat whole-grain cereal, eggs, fresh fruit or a even a health shake for breakfast.” Whole-grain cereal and fruit contain quite a lot of carbs. Did you maybe mean “forget the EMPTY carbs”?

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  • http://www.feedbacksecrets.com Feedback Secrets

    I think that point # 9 is absolutely fascinating. The idea that 10 minutes of extra grooming a day can cause such a significant increase in earnings is definitely a point to consider in arranging a morning schedule.

  • Mike Miller

    Hi,

    I attended a Workshop on Brain Fitness hosted by Linda Schaumloeffel with http://www.powerbrainfitness.com and even bought some of her books. It is so amazing how this works and never know that we can reprogram our brain to such extend. I am getting more and more into that.

    wow…. I love it,

    Mike

  • http://www.performancefoodcenters.com/ Bill

    Thanks for this excellent article.

    I’ve been giving some thought on how to work on myself a bit recently and your “10 habits” have given me a place to start. Furthermore, it makes me feel good that I have a “head start,” since I already wake early, exercise and eat a nutritious breakfast.

    Hey, I’m workin’ on it.

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  • Ray

    Good Stuff!  I like reading about the things other people do.  After reading this it makes me feel good about what I am already doing and gives me more ideas to tweek my routine a little.  You have to change it up or else it will get stale and not be as effective, just like a gym workout.  Anyway, I enjoyed reading this on my rainy labor day Monday afternoon!   -Greetings from Baltimore. – Ray

  • Jerry

    Always make your bed.  A made bed finishes your nights sleep.
    As soon as you are dressed , turn off your bedroom lights and move on with your morning. Look ahead , not back into your night.

    • Allison

      Ooo, I like this concept, Jerry – good one!

  • Pipy

    very interesting,, how the habit of waking up is actually difficult. Butif you listen to these tips up in the morning rather than be a difficult but fun, I’ll prove it. thank you

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  • Guest

    Pick a goal and set an AlarmQuote. http://www.TheAlarmQuote.com sends quotations and daily countdowns to your phone when you want. It’s inspiration for morning workouts, afternoon lulls, and more!

    For example, an AlarmQuote text message may arrive just before you
    wake-up with a quotation and notice of how many days remain before your
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  • Guest

    Pick a goal and set an AlarmQuote. http://www.TheAlarmQuote.com sends quotations and daily countdowns to your phone when you want. It’s inspiration for morning workouts, afternoon lulls, and more!

    For example, an AlarmQuote text message may arrive just before you
    wake-up with a quotation and notice of how many days remain before your
    event (e.g., 1/2 marathon, Ironman, anniversary, graduation, etc.) or goal (e.g.,
    lose 2 lbs, run 5 miles, start new business, etc.).

  • Dj

    want to know what to do first after wake up- meditation first then running or first running and then meditation..pls tell me the order serial among these two

    thank you

    • Citlalli

      Or, multitask and let your morning run double as contemplation time. What’s the point of running, if your mind doesn’t love it as well?

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  • http://www.atlumschema.com Andy Mort

    I like to write. I usually get about 1000 words done before breakfast. Then, everything else in my day is pure bonus!

  • Dee

    Good article. As Muslims we are actually required to wake up early in the morning to perform our morning prayer. Thus, this is more or less similar with what this article is propagating. Just sharing. Peace and smile :)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/QDFDSQBCARLRJN7ESFEYB4KBYU Linda

      I’ve been told that when we pray, we talk to or at God; often with our list of requests.  When we meditate, we are allowing God to speak to us.  Both are important.

  • Jpiaget

    So, I need to start getting up around 1 AM

  • Joshua

    you can do all that while siting in the can

  • Serah

    I don’t think morning habits should be following a list. it’s a personal preferance, and everyone can make use of his morning hours in the way that suits him the best. Thus we should figure out our priorities and adapt to a list of our own. Just sayin’ :)

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  • Robin Fruth

    Great article. Easy to do and I have also blogged it to my readers too. Thank you thank you so much as it has helped me and I will be back for more too. Cheers !

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