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:
- How to Become An Early Riser – Steve Pavlina
- 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It – Zen Habits
- How I Won the Battle of the Bed – Iwillchangeyourlife
- How to Wake Up Early (an entire site devoted to waking early tips)
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.
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, whether 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.
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:
- How to Make Exercise Last – Pick the Brain
- 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit and How to Keep It – Lifehack
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 the 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.