37 Morning Routines to Start the New Year Right
Morning routines are helpful for anyone who’s ever had difficulty getting up, out of bed, and to class on time. They’re also great for those of you who simply want to avoid a Battery-1st Charge on the “morning person” in your life.
We know it isn’t easy facing the day head-on, but we also know these 37 practices will make you more prepared for it than anyone else. Ignore at your own risk!
Morning Routines for Waking Up
1. Place your smartphone or alarm across the room before going to bed. This will force you to get out of bed when the air raid siren goes off telling you it’s wake-up time.
2. Start the day with lemon water. Most people use coffee but all this does is give you an artificial high from the caffeine, which is responsible for the heavy lifting of getting your brain in the game. Lemon water in the morning is a metabolism booster that gets your actual body going.
3. Observe the day ahead. What do you need to accomplish before the day’s end? What are the things that can wait? Make a list of priorities at the start of the day. Start by being as extensive as you can. Then, from that list, select the 3-5 “must haves” for the next 8 hours.
4. Start with light exercise. Think yoga, stretching, walking in place. Anything you can do to get your blood pumping will put you on the right footing.
5. Focus your mind. Count breaths. Listen to calming ambient music. YouTube has tons of packaged files that focus on relieving negative energy or achieving calm. Pick one. Then, revisit the goals of your day and envision yourself taking each of the actions necessary to accomplish them.
6. Don’t even look at your phone before leaving the house. This can be a tough one to master, especially if you use your phone as an alarm clock. You don’t have to go to the extreme of ceasing the practice, but don’t linger on it. Just shut off your alarm and set the phone aside. Then, don’t pick it back up until it’s time to start working.
7. Drink enough healthy fluids (read water) to get your day going. About 24 ounces in the first hour of the day is a good way to start. You can feel free to combine this idea with No. 2 and make it a lemon water if you just need flavor with your H2O.
8. Train your mind to think hopeful thoughts. Don’t start the day assuming the worst. It isn’t the worst until the worst happens, and that rarely occurs. Setbacks exist, but they shouldn’t be enough to derail you unless you wake up from a defeated position. So get your mind right and start visualizing success instead of failure.
9. Be thankful for the opportunities ahead of you. Don’t leave the house until you can find three things you’re thankful for. Think of opportunities, past accomplishments you can build upon, or people who’ve been there to support you every step of the way.
10. Tidy up. This can be however you choose to do it. If you work from a dorm room or home office in your parents’ house or your own off-campus apartment, then clean your work area. If you go to a coffee shop, take some time to make your bed before leaving home. The act of physically getting something together will help you organize and mobilize for what you actually need to accomplish during the day.
11. Squeeze in a run, walk, or workout. Start where you are. Don’t overexert yourself. Just do what you have to do to get your blood pumping and your heartrate up. This is one that a lot of people have trouble accomplishing, particularly if the morning is not their best time. While it may mean going to bed a little later so you can get up early enough to take care of business, it’s an adjustment well worth making.
12. Forget the bed; make up yourself! The prep work for this may need to start earlier than the morning, like the night before just as you’re about to go to bed. Pick out clothes so you have less to worry about from your groggy-minded state. From there, you can focus just on brushing your teeth and hitting the shower. If you need to do your hair as well, allow time for that. Picking out the outfit in advance will make it possible without sacrificing more time than is necessary.
13. Eat light, eat right. You don’t want to start your day with a heavy or filling breakfast, but you do need a little gas for the engine that is your body if you plan on it working right. We recommend 20-30 grams of protein and 7-10 grams of fiber. Try to keep your calories as low as possible in achieving this. Protein bars and fiber cereals are good options.
14. You’ve heard of going to bed at the right time? Well try waking up at the right time, even if it means you have to sacrifice 30 minutes or an hour of sleep. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle can get you off to a bad start faster than anything else.
15. Regiment your routines. We’ve given you a lot of great ideas for morning routines to start the new year already. That said, it may seem a little chaotic and disorganized to this point. To keep it all straight, create a timed regimen that forces you to squeeze as many of the good things in as you realistically can in a span of 10-15 minutes. This will help your brain snap into clarity better than stumbling around from one good idea to the next.
16. Invest in morning trinkets that get you excited about the adventure ahead. One of the most obvious that comes to mind is a coffee mug since you’ll probably be drinking coffee anyway (against our better wishes, no less). If you’re excited about the cup you’re pouring your morning drink into, then you’ll find it easier to get excited about the other parts of your day that are still to come.
17. Two words: audio adrenaline! Tune your alarm to some favorite music, or crank it up as soon as you wake up. Doing this will wake you up quickly as you move to the rhythm and start to sing along with the words of each new song. For an added boost, keep your playlists on “random” so you don’t get used to the ordering. And change playlists out every so often. Let your moods guide you on genre.
18. Sleep longer. We’ve warned against this if it means getting up in the middle of the sleep cycle, so keep that in mind. That said, more sleep is the ideal path if you can time it right. If you find yourself sleeping a little longer than expected, that’s okay. Just think of other areas where you can save on time and make the necessary cuts to allow for the essentials.
19. Get your creative juices flowing. You can do this by journaling or working on a novel. If you’re a visual person, design something or head outside for a little nature photography. There are all kinds of forms of creative expression you can get involved in, and doing so jars your brain out of its zombified state while getting you excited about the opportunities to come. Furthermore, you may not have time later to do any of these things. Focusing on them now gives you a sense of fulfillment that might not otherwise be available to you.
20. Create a beat sheet for your day. Beat sheets are common when fashioning a blueprint for a television show, movie, or work of literature. They hit the high points of the piece. The things that happen on camera. In other words, the moments the audience will explicitly see. You can do the same thing for your day. If you don’t actually stick to it, that’s fine. It’ll at least give you a functioning roadmap while allowing you to visualize your successes as well as the possible challenges to come.
21. Clear the sink. Nothing stresses us out worse than a sink full of dirty dishes with standing water and those annoying gnats that are only too happy to congregate around each saucer or cup. Here’s the saddest part of it all. If you really buckle down and focus, you can clear the rowdiest of sinks in about 15-30 minutes. The return on investment is a feeling of peace and rejuvenation that far surpasses making your bed. Try it out when you can, and you’ll see what we mean.
22. Hit the headlines. No one needs to read news story after news story in the mornings. It’ll make you crazy, and at least half of it will be biased or flat-out wrong anyway. So do yourself a favor and skim the headlines. This will give you the chance to know what people will be talking about. It’ll help you make current-event connections to whatever material you’re tackling in class. And it’ll help cement in your mind the way all media outlets try to present the news to get a specific reaction out of you. Anything you can do to be on your game instead of one of the easily manipulated is worth the effort. Besides, once you’ve skimmed those headlines, you probably know as much or more as any one writer of the drivel that passes for hard news these days.
23. Set clocks ahead. You may know it’s BS, but it’s still an effective trick for instilling a sense of urgency at the start of your day.
24. Open the blinds. If you’re the type of person who has trouble waking up to an alarm, try natural light instead or as a failsafe in conjunction with the regular alarm clock. Having all that natural sunlight pouring in will not only make it difficult to sleep in, it’ll give you an extra boost of energy over your dark and quiet bedroom.
25. Start with a daily dose of positivity. It could be a video of motivational speeches. Maybe a favorite moment from a movie or a short piece of good news. If you feed off good news, find a way to work it into your wake-up-and-go time. Note some favorite sources of positivity so you’re never short on material. This will put you in a good mood, and it’ll prepare you for spreading that positivity to friends, family, classmates, and co-workers.
26. Write out your dreams. These could be literal dreams. These could be life dreams and goals. Just find a way to capture your first thoughts and images of the morning because sleep is the state where your brain works out problems and thinks of new and more effective solutions to existing and future scenarios.
27. Brush your mouth. That’s a funny way of saying it, we know. But to practice good dental hygiene, you need to brush more than your teeth. Try the tongue, under the tongue, and the roof of your mouth. Everything past the lips is a haven for bacteria that can cause all kinds of trouble. Targeting every spot and using a non-alcoholic mouthwash, followed by a good water-rinse will give you the breath and dental strength to feel confident with who you are. This confidence enables you to tackle all manner of challenges from social to academic.
28. Always plan something you can achieve. You may be facing a task or two that are not capable of completion in a single day. That’s okay. Either cut to one overarching goal or break the two goals into multiple steps and cross off the steps you’re able to accomplish during the day. Having something you can achieve will help you keep your head held high. It also will get you closer to accomplishing the goal while keeping you from getting discouraged by the task ahead.
29. Make accommodations for other roommates or family members. Bottom line: whomever you live with is likely to follow similar routines and patterns. Be mindful of that when planning your day, and don’t get caught in a trap where you both need the bathroom or other necessities at the same time. This adds to personal stress. It breeds tension. And it can make coming home from your day as hectic as going into it.
30. Use automatic timers on your coffee maker. If you have trouble with time in the morning and you love your coffee, then get the pot set up to automatically brew the night before. That way, you have a little sensory incentive to get out of bed. At the same time, you’re not rushing around trying to get that much-needed caffeine into your system at the last minute. Lastly, it goes along with the concept of making your bed or doing the dishes. It helps you feel like you’ve got it all together before it has a chance to fall apart.
31. Get your must-haves in one place the night before. We’re talking three essentials here: car keys (if you drive), ID/payment cards/cash, phone. That way, you’ve got the method of transportation set along with your means of payment and proof of identification. Last but not least, in a real emergency situation, you’ll be equipped to summon help. And as an extension of that…
32. Have your phone charging overnight. That way, you won’t have to frantically search for a charger or carry one with you when the wear-and-tear of the day leads to a draining battery.
33. Set aside two outfits the night before: what you want to wear and your emergency. This may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s actually simple after you’ve done it the first time (provided you’re not a spiller). Should you always be able to wear your outfit, then the emergency will just be the next mainline outfit the day after. But inevitably, there’ll be moments when something rips or you don’t notice a stain until the last moment. In those situations, you’ll be grateful you followed our advice.
34. Keep the quick shower on standby. If you’re rushing around, remember three things: pits, nether-regions, feet. Wash those three stink-havens, and you’ve got a 1-2-minute long shower that’ll make you smell just as good as if you bathed in cologne all night.
35. Learn to love the calendar. This requires two steps: first, that you actually use it; secondly, that you check it every morning. Doing so will keep you from missing important appointments, and it’ll give you peace of mind that you’re taken care of in the event that something slips your mind. Just make sure there’s enough advance-warning on the calendar reminder so you won’t have to rush around making too many adjustments.
36. Cuddle time! This one especially is important if you’re a student with children. (We know there are more and more of you!) About two solid minutes of cuddles will put your son or daughter in a better mood, depending on their age, and it’ll help you wash away the negative feelings you may be experiencing at the start of your day. Besides, you never know what may happen out there, to you or to them. You wouldn’t want the worst to happen without knowing they know you love them or without expressing every last bit of the love you have for them.
37. Don’t interact with others until you feel equipped to do so. This was one that I had to learn the hard way. I always sounded like an idiot when I tried communicating with co-workers before my morning coffee and planning time. That made the walk to my office as socially dangerous for me as any other portion of the day. Eventually, I learned to give polite nods — no words — on my way there. I saved my attempts at conversation after I’d taken the steps I felt that I needed to take to feel ready for it.
Your Morning Routines Can Make or Break the Day
It’s up for you to decide the direction your day is going to go. While it’s true other things will happen throughout the day to sway the flow, you can maintain control over yourself even as those things aren’t breaking the way you figured they would.
Don’t fall into the trap of victimizing yourself through poor planning. Embrace these morning routines, and each new day will be one filled with possibility!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]