If I told you that you could be happier, more successful and less stressed would you listen? If I told you that you could be all of these things for no money down would you really tune in?
What if I told you that you could be happier, more successful and less stressed for no charge AND you wouldn’t have to work hard for it?
Do I have your attention now?
Don’t worry, there’s no catch, hiccup or red herring. All you have to do is start your morning off right!
You don’t have to adopt some crazy work ethic or work years to achieve a distant goal. All you have to do is start!
For a lot of us, it’s difficult to get off on the right foot everyday. I know i used to be a part of that group. I often stayed up late, slept in until the very last minute that I could conceivably get to work on time and often skipped breakfast. Every morning I felt rushed, hungry, tired and annoyed. Most of the time it took me a few hours and about 6 cups of coffee to get any type of work done, if any at all.
But that all changed once I changed my morning routine.
Now I wake up refreshed and motivated and my productivity has increased 5-fold. My stress is a fraction of what it used to be and my well being is at an all-time high.
So what’s the secret?
I don’t know! The secret recipe for a great morning is different for each person. Everyone prefers a slightly different variation of activities to start their day.
However as an example, the secrets to my personal perfect morning are described below. I implore you to integrate some of these aspects into your own routine as you sculpt your ideal morning.
APPRECIATE THE MORNING
Many of us see the morning as a means to an end. We see it as simply a time to get ready for work. We see it as a monotonous crawl as we slowly wipe the crust from our eyes to head out of the door.
For many of us, the morning is a blur of yawning and frustration until that first cup of coffee touches our lips.
The first step to starting the day off right is to visualize your morning as an OPPORTUNITY. The morning is a chance to relax, to inhale the crisp morning air and to center yourself as you plan out a wonderful day.
The morning is a collection of magical moments in which we have no pressures, no errands to run, no bosses ordering us around and no deadlines to meet.
In other words, the morning is the best part of the day.
My great morning starts the night before. Through trial and error, I have found that I need 8 hours of sleep to be my personal best. Depending on when I need to be up in the morning, I schedule my sleep the night before.
The key to any good morning is a good night’s rest.
So it’s time to turn off Game of Thrones at 11 and silence our phones because quality sleep is the number 1 springboard to a great morning.
Raymonde Jean, MD, the director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City says, ”If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It’s pretty clear.” He says, “Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure.” He also adds, “A lack of sleep can contribute to depression…A good nights sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety. You get more emotional stability with good sleep.”
So start your morning by planning out your sleep habits the night before. Make sure that you get the required amount of sleep that makes you feel your best, and make it a habit. You may be fine with 6 hours or you might need 9, but do not compromise with your sleep because it affects your entire life.
The first thing I see when I open my eyes are five of my favorite quotations motivating me to start my morning. I have them pinned on the ceiling above my bed.
I am not someone who has the internal motivation of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or Elon Musk. I don’t have the money to pay for a success mentor or life coach. So I motivate myself. I choose to inspire myself every morning.
My favorite quote above my bed is, “Every morning you have a two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.”
After I feel motivated enough to jump out of bed, I choose to simply sit up instead. Still in my bed, I center myself in the moment and try to appreciate the little things.
I watch the morning sunshine glisten through the cracks in my window. I feel the threads in my sheets. I watch my chest move up and down with each breath.
After about 5 minutes of meditation I jump out of bed refreshed and motivated for the day ahead.
MAKE THE BED
Once I hop out of my covers I immediately turn around and make them.
Why? Because making your bed is a signal.
It is a signal to your brain that you successfully completed the first task of the day. This creates a momentum of completing the habits that are beneficial to your health. It is also a terrific reminder that it is the little things that make the biggest difference.
As Robert Collier put it, ”Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”
Next, I drink a glass of water while I make my coffee. Then I plug my headphones in (motivational music of course) and go for a 30 minute walk.
On my walk I focus on the light shining through the leaves in the trees. I breathe in the fresh morning air as the sun radiates on my skin. I stretch out my legs and feel my muscles perking up for what lies ahead. I sense the light exercise pumping blood into my brain and my soul.
With the addictive stimulant of my iced coffee, the refreshment of the morning air and the motivation from my music, I effectively charge my body to power through a wonderful day.
“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau
Upon returning, I shower while my oatmeal heats in the microwave, gather my pre-planned outfit, eat calmly and head out of the door 15 minutes earlier than I need to to get to work. A rushed morning is a rushed day, and a rushed day is a stressful one.
The key to this routine is the routine. I do not compromise. I do not skip my walk. I do not get 7.5 hours sleep. I get 8. We are creatures of habit and sticking to good habits is essential to long-term health and success.
Many of us see routine as limiting. We see it as giving up a freedom or sacrificing our “time” and autonomy for something that makes us unhappy for the time being.
If you feel this way, you need to adjust your morning routine. I don’t have a routine just to have a routine.
I have a routine because it makes my life better.
This routine motivates me, calms my mind and gives me energy to win the day. I keep to my routine because I can FEEL the benefits in my life. Keeping this routine gives me the freedom to be anyone I want to be and do anything I want to do! From my relationships, to my work, to my stress and anxiety levels, my morning routine is critical to my happiness and success.
We can’t be happy all day if we don’t start in the morning. The love, peace and energy from a good morning routine trickles into the rest of our day.
Even though I know my morning routine is essential to my well being, there are days that I do feel unmotivated. There are days that I would rather hide underneath the covers. There are days that I feel that I need 10-15 hours of sleep before I move a muscle.
This is completely natural.
The only way to follow through is to put the right systems into place. I took time to pin my motivational quotes on my ceiling. I pre-plan my outfit the night before work. I schedule my sleep window appropriately to 8 hours. I wake up an hour and a half before I need to LEAVE for work in order to complete my morning ritual with ease.
I give myself the best opportunity for a good morning through preparation and consistency.
In the beginning it will be hard to change your sleep patterns and give up staying late watching TV. It will be difficult to meditate and commit to morning exercise. But through consistency you create habits, and habits come with their own natural biological motivation.
Once you habitually create the perfect morning for yourself, you are never going to want to compromise.
A good morning routine leads to a good day. If you string enough good days together, it makes for a pretty good life.
So start now. Take action now. Mark today in your calendar as the day that changed your morning routine forever.
Who knows? Maybe a few years down the line you will return to re-name it, “The day that changed my life forever.”
Have a great morning.