You can’t control everything that happens during the day, but you can manage how it starts.
While the importance of a proper morning routine is inevitable, most advice is redundant.
Taking an hour for a proper ritual might be possible for a group of privileged individuals, but not for the majority. You might have to get to work, prepare breakfast, look after the kids, or follow other commitments that don’t leave much time for your personal growth.
Yet, these are no valid reasons to skip a morning routine. A great start into your day doesn’t need to take more than a few minutes. Even a short ritual can simplify your life and lead to a more focused, happier, and healthier version of yourself.
While we sleep, we recharge, our bodies rest, and our minds calm down. Thus, every morning is a fresh beginning with new opportunities.
We often take our lives for granted, not realizing that every morning is a miracle. Your lifetime is limited, so you absolutely deserve starting your days with a smile on your face and a calm mind instead of being in a rush.
Creating and sticking to a morning routine is not about how much time you have, but rather about your discipline. You can join the most excellent online programs and pay thousands of dollars for coaches, but if you aren’t willing to get up, you’ll always feel, do, and experience the same.
Of course, it’s more comfortable to snuggle in your sheets and stay in bed for a few more minutes. Yet, it won’t make you any happier.
Here are five simple yet powerful practices for starting your day happier, healthier, and with more energy:
Make Your Bed
By making your bed first thing after getting up, you experience the first win of the day early on. This might not sound like a big deal, but it is because it’s an act of discipline.
Tim Ferriss, for example, states that coming home to an arranged bedroom makes him feel good even if he had an awful day. William McRaven even wrote a book about why you should make your bed every single morning:
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
Making your bed only takes a few seconds, but it will help you to:
- experience your first win right after getting up
- not worry about what to do first thing after getting up because making your bed is always the first thing
- get moving because you’ll need to get up
- be happy about a clean bed when you go to sleep after a long, exhausting day
Hydrate Your Body
Studies found out that more than 70% of all grown-up Americans are chronically dehydrated. Given that large parts of our bodies consist of water, this is a scary number.
Dehydration makes you feel tired and lowers your performance, but it also comes with further negative consequences such as headaches. If you feel exhausted and slow in the morning, the reason might often be a lack of hydration.
If you don’t have more than a minute before starting your busy day, spend that minute drinking water.
The first thing I do each morning right after going to the bathroom is prepare a big cup of tea and a bottle of water. If I’m traveling, I make sure to prepare a bottle before getting to bed so that I don’t have to worry in the morning.
Buy yourself a few nice cups or a reusable bottle, your favorite teas, or fruits to add to your water and make drinking water the #1 priority right after getting out of bed. This barely takes a minute but is a massive win for your body and mind.
Activate Your Body
Most people feel uptight after getting out of bed. Poor quality mattresses or pillows and lousy sleeping positions combined with inactive jobs lead to unhealthy lives and inactive bodies.
That’s why slightly moving your body, e.g., through some stretching exercises or a short yoga practice, can help you to start your day with more energy and a fresh mind.
You might not have time to go for a run or hit the gym before starting a day, but you can certainly take five to ten minutes for a quick stretching session.
Additionally, stretching or some light yoga can help reduce muscle stiffness, increase your range of motion, improve your posture, and reduce stress.
Buy a nice sports mat, roll it out next to your bed before going to sleep, and move your body on the mat as soon as possible after getting up.
Calm Your Mind
After moving your body and getting rid of muscle tension, take a few calm minutes and practice mindfulness. Sit down, smile at yourself, and take a few deep breaths. You can also say a prayer or practice a one-minute meditation.
This might not sound like a big deal, but it’s certainly more peaceful than scrolling through social media or listening to the news.
If practiced regularly, you will soon realize how powerful your minute of silence is and how it can help you to stay calm throughout your entire day, even when difficulties arise.
You could also use your calm time to write down your dreams or anything else that comes to your mind. By doing so, you might discover new feelings and connect the dots between various happenings in your life. Another powerful mindfulness practice is writing down what you’re grateful for.
It doesn’t matter what precisely you do. Just choose one small act of mindfulness and practice it for as long as possible, no matter if it’s 60 seconds or minutes.
Feed Your Mind
My favorite thing to do right after my calm minutes is feed my mind with some inspiring content. I have various options from which I choose and often rotate between them.
For instance, write down or repeat positive affirmations. These are positive statements in the present tense. They are simple but powerful. Everything we believe about ourselves and the world is because we repeated it several times until it became our reality. Thus, repeating affirmations is a great way to transform our belief systems.
I have various affirmations written down in my journal and either read those in silence or write down new ones.
Here are some of my favorite affirmations to repeat in the morning — you can use those but also create your own:
I am always safe and divinely protected and guided.
I live in complete joy and abundance.
I am successful in all my pursuits.
Money making opportunities come my way all the time.
I am safe in all my relationships and I give and receive tons of love.
I am naturally filled with an abundance of energy.
Another way to feed your mind is visualization.
“Visualization is the process of imagining exactly what you want to achieve or attain, and then mentally rehearsing what you’ll need to do to achieve or attain it.”
— Hal Elrod
Just like with affirmations, our subconscious mind can’t distinguish between reality and the desired imagination. That’s why both techniques are so powerful and can help you to transform your mornings and, ultimately, your life.
You can prepare a vision board and scan through pictures every morning, or you can close your eyes and visualize your ideal day or life for a few moments.
I even have a separate Pinterest account, which I only use to create vision boards for different areas of my life. This is particularly helpful when I’m traveling or need an inspirational boost but don’t have more than a few seconds.
Another option is listening to an inspiring podcast or audiobook for a few minutes. The benefit of audio content is that you can do it while doing something else, such as preparing breakfast or brushing your teeth.
If you have more time, you can also read a few pages and feed your mind with a great book. And if you want to read but can’t make more than a few minutes for it, pick a few books with great collections of memoirs, such as The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
By practicing a morning routine, you won’t have less time for the rest of your duties. If practiced correctly, you’ll even have more energy for your daily activities. Mental strength can be your most valuable weapons during stressful times, and a morning routine is the best way to ensure these qualities.
Whenever you can take a few minutes and practice a morning ritual, do it. And while doing so, feel free to mix up your routines.
Having a morning routine doesn’t mean following the same pattern every single day. If you wake up and feel like going for a run, do it. If you don’t feel like doing one of the activities you usually do, skip or replace it.
Great things often result from combining structures and routines with a bit of a mess. So if you sometimes need a little flexibility to live your best life, go for it.
I’ve been practicing my morning routine for a few years now and regularly mix it up and change it according to my mood, needs, and wants.
Even if you don’t do the exact same thing every single day, having some sort of routine will help you to be more relaxed and focused.
A morning ritual shouldn’t be complicated or exhausting. Instead, it should let you feel energized and well prepared for your day. By waking up ten minutes earlier and doing these little things, you show yourself that you care about yourself.
Don’t ever let any self-help book (or post) make you feel overwhelmed and not good enough because you’re not practicing all the suggested steps. All these books and posts are here to serve you and help you live happier, more successful lives — not to let you feel bad.
Your life, your rules — do what feels best and fits your current lifestyle. Be aware that tiny changes can lead to massive transformations if you practice them for long enough.
By: Sinem Günel
Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash