A good morning routine can be the difference between having a bad day and one that kicks so much ass that you achieve everything you’ve set out to do. Sure, you’re not going to change the world because you happen to eat a hearty breakfast, sneak in a workout to clear your mind and find the perfect work life balance, but it will go a long way to keeping your mental health stable.
Unfortunately, too many of us refuse to believe that a good morning routine can go a long way in how productive we are each day. And, to those people, we say it’s time to make a change!
To quote Tim Ferris’ Tribe of Mentors, “Lose an hour in the morning, chase it all day.” That’s something that has really stuck with me. It’s an old Yiddish saying, and it’s one that many young people need to understand and process better. We’ve been beaten over the head with ‘early bird gets the worm’ messaging since we were little, but it’s not about jumping out of bed and whistling into work, it’s about priming yourself for the rest of the day.
As a copywriter, I try to start writing by 9:00 a.m. with continual focus until at least 11:00 a.m. But the preparation starts much earlier in the day, giving myself a morning routine that sets me up for success. Here are eight ways that I’ve found help get my mind, body and soul in a good place before leaving the house.
Admittedly, this is something I only started doing a few months ago, but what a difference it has made! Five minutes seems too short, and ten minutes seems too long, so I’m all for eight minutes. My chiropractor had a great analogy, telling me: “When you wake up, your body is like a rubber band that’s been in the freezer all night.” Loosening and warming your muscles is a great way to bring your body out of the coma it’s been in from the previous night, so this is a great morning routine to get into.
As we’ve mentioned before, mental health is the real deal. Choosing to read something in the morning for enjoyment or learning purposes is a great way to start the day on your terms. Most of us are slaves to our inbox when we get to work, so why not gain an edge with new information that’s not an obligation? Warren Buffett and Mark Cuban swear by it, and when you compound everything you learn, you’ll be better informed to attack the day’s challenges.
Like stretching, hydrating helps wake your body up and gets it going. A little hack that I use is putting a pack of Emergen-C in 4-5 oz. of water. The magnesium, electrolytes and vitamin C make me feel like I’m starting the day out on the right foot. It’s also great daily maintenance for your immune system.
However you need to add eating breakfast to your morning routine, do it — even if ti’s just a pop tart on the go. Fiber helps you “go” in more ways than one. It keeps you full longer so by 10 a.m. you hopefully won’t be hitting the vending machine. Here’s a cereal combination you can try at home: Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey Protein Granola, raw almonds and shredded wheat. I know, I know, old man cereal. But your gut will thank you!
You could also substitute this with making your bed (made famous by Admiral William H. McRaven’s bestseller Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life.And Maybe the World). McRaven explains that this first win of the day can create momentum. If you make your bed, you might just run the dishwasher, and if you run the dishwasher, you might just get to work and knock out that tough meeting or sales call. It’s all about priming, and earning a win at home can give you the confidence to earn a win when you get to work.
So if reading early in the morning isn’t your thing, and the news makes you depressed, I have a solution: Record The Tonight Show or The Late Show from the previous night. As you’re making coffee or making your bed, watch the first five minutes from either Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert’s monologue. They’ll touch on the news of the day and, better yet, will find the lightheartedness or funny truth behind it. It’s a more uplifting approach to begin your day.
If you can swing 20 minutes on the elliptical, than nice work, because there are so many benefits of working out! If you can’t, you can always incorporate some small exercises into your stretching like push-ups or crunches. I do chin tucks to build up my neck strength from sitting at a computer most of the day. A holding crunch is a great way to prime your core, too.
After all the stuff you’ve accomplished, take a moment for yourself to breathe deep and exhale. You woke up, you read, you stretched, you ate something and now you’re on your way. All these things take discipline. Now your mind, body and soul are stronger than they were just few hours ago. Way to go!
Josh Womack is co-founder and head writer of Laugh Staff, where his team writes hilarious wedding speeches.
Lead image via Getty
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