'Morning routines' are the hype of the moment. But why is it so trendy? Where is the scientific evidence it helps our productivity and wellbeing?
A morning routine—as its name invokes—is a set of habits that you go through when you wake up. It helps you set your mind to the right mode and gets you ready for the day.
A proper morning routine creates positive momentum, but routines take time to establish. So instead of changing everything all at once, you should implement one or two changes at a time and build up on that.
For example, if you are used to waking up at the latest possible time before work and your morning is a rush to get dressed and leave the house, a morning routine of journaling, meditation, and exercise would be extremely difficult to start with and stick to.
However, it is important to stay focused throughout the day when you have specific goals that you want to accomplish. If you feel like you are not utilizing your full performance capacity, maybe it's time to consider developing a morning routine that can help you boost alertness and productivity throughout the day.
HERE ARE THE TOP 5 SUGGESTIONS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MORNING ROUTINE:
First, Drink Water.
Sometimes the simplest is also the most efficient. When you wake up, your body needs hydration. Water is the most important drink for various immune processes, such as regulating body temperature and transporting nutrients to cells.
Do you want to think straight? First, drink water!
Get Daylight Exposure.
As soon as the sun is up, you should aim to get at least five to ten minutes of daylight exposure (ideally thirty). You can take a short walk around the block or stay on the balcony for a while.
Sunlight exposure increases your serotonin levels, giving you more energy and focus for the day. It also gives you the vitamin D that your body needs to maintain bone health and fight infections.
Moreover, your body's circadian rhythm (biological clock) responds to light/dark signals. Daylight exposure in the morning tells your body that it's time to wake up and boosts alertness.
Start your day with positive thoughts and a thankful mind. It's easy to get into our busy days right after we open our eyes. We all have emails that await to be read, work deadlines, family worries, etc. All of these can wait a few minutes to set things on a positive note.
Give yourself some time in the morning before you touch your phone to think about three things you are thankful for. Spend a few moments to meditate upon their positive impact on your life. With this simple practice, you'll be more likely to notice the good things throughout the day and find out more and more to be grateful for. If you can pair this gratitude practice with meditation, it's even better. If meditating isn't your think, keep the gratitude practice.
Remind Yourself What Your Long-Term Goals Are.
Even reflecting on your goals for one minute every morning can have a significant impact on your focus and awareness during the day. Spend as little or as much time on this as you can.
We tend to sacrifice our progress on long-term goals for short-term rewards, such as skipping the gym to watch Netflix, browsing through social media instead of working on your side hustle, etc.
It is not enough to just set your goals—you need to remind yourself every day what they are. Every morning, choose one activity for the day that will get you closer to your goals and make it a non-negotiable action.
Working out is not only great for your health and body, but it can also increase your mental focus and productivity.
If you don't have the time for a complete workout session in the morning, choose a few drills that will help the blood flow and dedicate a few minutes to it. Fifty Jumping jacks and squat jumps should do the work.
Research shows that moving in the morning increases work performance and improves mood and alertness. (3)
When introducing new habits to your life, they should be challenging but also realistic and sustainable. If adding all at once seems overwhelming to you, start small with only one or two. Then, once one change is integrated, add another habit to the routine.
Remember that you will not be motivated to do your routine every day; motivation is temporary. It comes and goes; discipline is more reliable. Discipline is the drive that pushes you to keep going when motivation fails. Every time you choose to do what you need to do instead of what you want to do in the short term, you strengthen your discipline.
Keep working on your goals and take control of your morning. This will help you make better decisions throughout the day and will elevate you. Don't forget to have fun with it and enjoy the journey!
David Benton, Kimberly Jenkins, Heather T Watkins, "Minor degree of hypohydration adversely influences cognition: a mediator analysis"
Na Zhang, Song M Du, Jian F Zhang, "Effects of Dehydration and Rehydration on Cognitive Performance and Mood among Male College Students in Cangzhou, China: A Self-Controlled Trial"