Morning Habits That Can Change Your Life for the Better
Win the morning, win the day — that saying has fueled the creativity and practices of morning habits across the world ever since people have been saying it. And it stands to reason.
Success often is defined by momentum. And if you start building momentum right when you get up, then you’ve got a full head of steam with which to attack the rest of the day.
In the following article, we’re going to discuss the 17 morning habits and philosophies that make most people successful. These were culled from the Internet and our own experiences. See if you agree.
1. Make It an Early Morning
Getting up early in the morning has its advantages. While you may not feel your most rested, you will be in a position to get a lot of things done before the distractions of the day and other people start coming to claim your time.
As you get older, you need less sleep. So this is probably going to be easier for you as a senior in college than it would be if you were in your last year of high school. But do try to get set up on a routine where your sleep cycle ends with a couple of hours before you have to be anywhere.
Use a sleep calculator. Be methodical about it so you’re not waking up in the middle of REM sleep. This will make the early part of the day easier to handle. And once you get the routine worked out, the hour won’t matter as much to you.
2. Think Positive Thoughts
Starting the day with a defeatist attitude will pretty much set you up for failure. You may get lucky a time or two. But all that pessimism will eventually catch up to you. And when that happens, your worst fears start to materialize.
A better approach is to start the day with an optimistic attitude. You really don’t have any reason to avoid positivity. If any defeats are going to come your way, they’re going to come later in the day. So why not use this time to put yourself in the headspace of a winner?
Use whatever tactics you can to keep those spirits up. Start by doing something you love. Repeat a mantra. Just don’t let the possibility of defeat enter your brain, or it will end up taking residence there.
3. Quit Stressing Over the Bed
Many people, when dispensing advice about morning routines, will tell you to “Make your bed.” It’s become so ingrained in articles like these that no one would dare question it. And truthfully, it comes from a good place if you look at the bed as a metaphor for getting started.
But don’t take it literally. There are so many other more important tasks you can accomplish in the mornings. So many things that could give you a better foothold on the day.
Think about it. Making your bed is a pointless exercise. One you’re destined to undo at the end of the day, and most of you won’t even be around to enjoy the neat look of a well-made bed once you’re dressed and ready for the day.
Instead of going this route, choose something like doing the dishes instead. It has a function beyond just “looking nice,” and it will probably make you feel way better about your room, apartment, or home.
4. Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is a prerequisite to successful interactions and relationships. But most people do it wrong. They think, “If I just brush my teeth, I’ll be fine.” Wrong. Brushing your teeth may help remove some plaque and tartar from the tooth itself, but it does nothing for the one core hot spot of bacterial activity.
The tongue. Your tongue has just the right amount of moisture for funk-causing bacteria to thrive and develop. Failing to brush your tongue as well means your breath won’t have the freshness that breeds confidence.
So make sure you’re brushing top teeth, bottom teeth, and tongue. All of it.
5. Prime the Body Pump…
Your body takes time to get going when you wake up. But there are plenty of things you can do to jump-start it. One thing we recommend is lemon water at room or warm temperatures. Lemons are high in vitamin C and give your body the extra jolt it needs to get going.
Additionally, you should incorporate some form of deep stretch in order to warm up the joints and elongate the muscles. This gets everything ready for use. Last but not least, you might consider working in light (10-30-minute) exercise and a healthy breakfast.
On the food front, eat between 20 and 30 grams of protein and try to keep fiber intake to around one-third of that. This gives your body a chance to stretch out its nutrient intake throughout the day instead of eating all of them at once. This is wise because your body works better when it has just enough energy — no more, no less.
6. …And the Mind
We’re not going to say this part is more important than priming the body pump. It isn’t. But it’s no less important either. That’s because body and mind are interconnected in so many ways you’re not even aware of, or never pause to think about.
Giving your mind the same intensity of workout that you do your body is a great idea at this point in the day. You can do that by setting aside time to speak to your higher power, whether that higher power comes from an external God or the spirit within.
Meditation and prayer work similarly, and they are both great for sprucing up your attitude for the day ahead. You also can channel gratitude and optimism through the written word in journal activities or list-making.
7. Get Creative
The older you get, the less time you have for fun and the more time you have to make for work. For many of us anyway, that’s a hard fact of life. No way around it! So to deal with this inevitability, we have to find time to be creative wherever we can. That often means morning time.
Schedule an hour or so to indulge in a favorite hobby or something that brings out your creative side, and you’ll be able to tackle the rest of the day in a fulfilled state. This will make you more productive at work and likely better to be around at home.
8. No Tech
Tell us if you’ve heard this one before. You wake up. You reach for the nightstand. Feel for your phone. Wrap your hand around the familiar shape. Then bring it directly up to your face in all its backlit glory.
This practice is hell on your eyes. But it’s also something millions and millions of Americans do each day. While it may seem like you’re off to the races by checking emails and headlines first thing in the morning, it essentially slows you down.
Before you know it, you’re going down rabbit holes and ignoring the things you have to do or the things that could make you better in favor of sheer, casual, droning curiosity. A better way to live is to put your phone in a different room. One that forces you to get out of bed if you’re going to use it.
Do this, and put something like a pad and pen or a book you’re reading on the nightstand. Feel for that instead.
9. Get Dressed
Of course, you may not have a choice with this one if there is somewhere you have to be and it has any kind of a dress code. While we may seem a little Captain Obvious here, we should point out that getting dressed shouldn’t be about throwing just any old thing on.
We recommend planning out your outfits in advance. Preferably at one time. When you do this, you have something to look forward to during that part of the morning.
When you’re tired, you need every ounce of motivation you can muster. So take some time to shower, shave, clean up however you prefer, and put on your best outfit.
10. Adjust Your Sleeping Schedule If Need Be
If mornings are hard, you can make them less hard by going to bed earlier. How much earlier? Well, if you go back to the aforementioned Sleep Calculators available online, it doesn’t have to be much earlier. You just need to make sure you’re not waking yourself up in the middle of a REM Cycle.
You seriously may only need a 30-minute adjustment in the time you go to bed, but it can end up making a big difference in how you feel about starting the day.
11. Invest in Trinkets
A trinket like a decorative coffee mug you feel strongly about can really change your attitude towards the morning. If you feel like a good cup of Joe would help, then make sure your kitchen is well-stocked for it. You can do this by buying a mug, coffee maker, customized basket for your assortment of different coffees, the coffees themselves.
This same behavior might translate to other things as well (i.e., teas, smoothie supplies, etc.). By creating a “culture” around whatever your indulgence is, you make it that much more exciting to look forward to.
12. Inject Some Musical Adrenaline
Have a tough time getting your blood pumping in the mornings? Consider cranking it up a notch by injecting some audio adrenaline into your day. Choose an artist or album or playlist filled with the type of music that gets you dancing, and then have it be your alarm clock.
Music does trigger endorphin releases that can motivate us to work harder, play harder, and think harder. Don’t underestimate its effect. But do make sure it’s something that speaks to you personally. Some might find Ozzy Osborne great while others may prefer Mozart. There are no wrong answers with this one.
13. Bolt Through the Headlines
Once you’ve gotten yourself awake, dressed, and adequately pampered, it’s okay to pick up the phone and look at the news. Just make sure you’re not pausing to read whole news stories. They’re usually written with bias and the lack of objectivity anyway!
No, you have the rest of the day to worry about details. Just browse over the headlines and get away from the screen as quickly as you possibly can. By doing so, you can give news stories (and the facts that are supposed to support them) a chance to catch up to the hype and hyperbole. That way you’ll come closer to knowing the truth than some “journalist’s” view of the truth.
14. Leave the Blinds Open
If you’re like so many of us who live in fear of missing an important appointment, then you know leaving the blinds open is a good tool for making sure that never happens. The natural light sort of knows when to wake you up, and it does it like clockwork every day that you leave those pesky slats in the inviting position.
Natural light also does something that no alarm clock would ever do. It wakes you up gently. Not with the harsh EEEK, EEEK, EEEK sounds that are so commonplace among alarm devices.
15. Find the Routine That Works Best for You
Once you’ve got the first 14 morning habits on this list worked out, you need to set them all down into a schedule or a routine that you can repeat indefinitely. (At least until they stop working for you or it’s time to shake things up a bit.)
Remember, your snooze button is not an option here. You want to get out of the bed and roll. And the only way to do that is with a clear set of objectives that you can knock out one after the other from the moment morning breaks into your room.
16. Start the Night Before
To help make sense of your routine, you should start things off the night before. Cull together your outfits, program the coffee maker, make sure what you need to get to is readily accessible and what will distract you (phone) is not.
Taking care of these needs in the last 30 minutes before bed will help you wake up feeling more rested and focused.
17. Decide How You Will End the Day
The easiest way to explain what we mean here is to have something you can look forward to at the end of each day. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do. It could be something as simple as walking at the mall until you’ve gotten your 10,000 steps. Just give yourself an activity that makes you feel happy or satiated.
These Morning Habits Will Take You Far!
Adopting each of these morning habits will give you a better depiction of what mornings re all about and what you’re capable of accomplishing if you’d just get up with a great attitude and embrace them. We hope you will. Now it’s your turn.
What are some of your favorite morning habits? And are there any that are not on this list? Sound off in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by The Today Show]