Ever wondered why most successful people have morning habits? No, it’s not because they’re OCD or odd in any way. They develop habits for this one simple reason: to reduce friction in their lives so they can focus on what they do best. Makes sense, right?
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” — John Dryden
Those who have tasted success, whether it’s big or small, will come to realise that time holds the most value in life — there is simply never enough time and there is always too much to think about. So, by adding, changing, or developing habits or routines will simplify our lives and save us time.
Here are a few questions to help you jump-start shaping your own ideal morning habits:
- If I could plan my ideal morning, what would it look like?
- What causes me a lot of anxiety and makes me lose my focus in the morning?
- Is there anything that is draining my energy in the morning?
- What morning activities can be repeated easily without having to make decisions?
- What is that one single change that I need to impact my morning habit?
Your First Minutes
About one year ago, I watched this YouTube video from Jim Kwik, Brain Coach, where he shared his morning habits on how he jump-start his brain for success, focus and productivity.
According to Kwik: “The first 60 minutes of your day can either set you up for maximum productivity and bring you closer to your long-term and short-term goals or cause you to lose another day to distractions and mental fog. Just like an athlete takes care of his body, we need to take good care of our brains to become who we aspire to be.”
And he’s right. What you do to start your day determines how the rest of your day will look like. Therefore, your morning habits are critical for lifetime success. Therefore, I started to change my morning habits bit by bit.
Do keep in mind that morning habits are different for everyone. For example, my morning habits usually take 120 minutes. Yes, that’s two hours. Knowing exactly how the first 120 minutes of my day looks like is powerful. It helps me feel in control, which in turn reduces anxiety and increases my productivity throughout the day.
Here are my top five morning habits to jump-start my brain towards success:
1. Remember Your Dreams
Often when you’re awake, you live your life through the everyday learning, facing challenges, and thinking about solutions and ideas in different aspects of your life. However, it’s not always the case that you find them in that exact moment of time.
So, when you’re asleep, your mind is still working on this search for solution and ideas. Did you know your dream could contain the very advice and insight you needed? Most of us don’t remember our dreams or don’t make the effort to remember them. When dreams are properly interpreted, they bring guidance to achieve what may seem impossible in the first place.
2. Brush Teeth With Your Non-Dominant Hand
This one is fun and challenging. Try to use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth. You will notice it is harder to be precise with your movements. When I first started to brush my teeth with my non-dominant (right) hand, it was hard to move my hand instead of my head.
Here is why it helps you jump-start your brain: Your brain is an organ that improves through mental stimulation, which adapts and rewires itself non-stop through the growth of new neurons.
Therefore, by using your non-dominant hand will support neural connections in your brain, and even grow new ones. Basically, it is similar to how physical exercise improves your body’s functioning and grows muscles.
3. Drink Up To Two Glasses Of Water
The recommended nightly sleep of six to eight hours is a long period to go without drinking water. Hydration is a must when it comes to daily productivity because your brain is made up of 73% water. So, staying hydrated is critical for maintaining optimal brain activity. Of course, it is a daylong process, but starting with a glass or two of water right away is a step in the right direction.
One of the biggest underestimated indicators of weariness or low energy is that you are dehydrated. Water helps in both body regulation and brain function. Also, it is closely related to balancing out our moods.
4. Hit The Gym
A recent study published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice suggests: “Exercise affects the brain in a variety of different ways, from preserving the brain’s nerve network that starts to decline with age, to boosting the function of neurons and improving blood flow to brain cells, as well as promoting the production of growth factors to help cells involved in higher level thinking tasks.”
Therefore, living an active lifestyle with regular physical activities greatly helps to keep every bit of tissues in your brain as young and active as those throughout the rest of your body. In fact, it seems to help slow or even reverse the brain’s physical degeneration over time.
5. Eat Healthy Brain Food Breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast can jump-start your brain and boost your productivity and focus throughout the morning. Try combining these five “brain foods” in your morning meal to give yourself a mental edge.
- Blueberries — These tiny berries are packed full of antioxidants that protect your brain from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation, helping to improve cognition and memory.
- Walnuts — Walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids which can enhance brain function. Multiple research studies showed how walnuts affect brain ageing and enhance brain health.
- Avocados — Avocados contain the good, healthy fats, potassium, vitamins K, C and E, folate, iron, fibre, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and can improve memory and concentration.
- Egg yolks — Egg yolks are the most concentrated source of choline, which plays important roles in brain and memory development.
- Green tea — Green tea contains polyphenols, such as flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants that protect your brain cells from free radical damage and improve brain function.
You can be creative in how you combine these five brain foods. Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast, even if you’re short on time. By skipping a healthy breakfast, you might save some time but at the cost of your creativity, as well as problem-solving ability. So, head to the kitchen before heading out the door in the morning. Your brain will thank you.