Every morning is a fresh start. It's a precious time that should be spent wisely. The foundation of your day. I know that now. For a very long time my morning routine consisted of hitting “snooze” until I was left with 15 minutes before I had to leave the house. This meant rushing to the bathroom to splash some water on my face and brush my teeth, then put on the first thing that I saw in my wardrobe, brush my hair and make sure that I take my makeup bag before leaving the house, so that I can then do my makeup on the train while commuting to work. This left a negative impact on how I felt later on that day - beating myself up for not waking up when my first alarm went off (again!), not being comfortable or happy with the way I look and just mentally not ready for the day. This was far from being mindful and calm during the day.
I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and it was a game-changer. He talks about how establishing a consistent morning routine helps you to tap into your full potential which then leads to success. In this book he suggests to change the approach to waking up in the morning. If you begin your day with resistance, not wanting to wake up, you're surrounding yourself with negative energy first thing in the morning.
Creating and sticking to your morning routine truly makes a huge difference in setting tone for the day. I cannot stress that enough. How wonderful it is that we have the power to design our morning the way we want it, fill it with things, thoughts and actions that inspire and motivate us? That's a gift that we sometimes take for granted (well, I know that I was guilty of that). Adopting positive morning rituals makes you feel accomplished and energised even before the day has started. Most importantly, it's a precious opportunity to check in with yourself, be mindful and present. An opportunity for rejuvenation, which also helps the rest of the day feel more manageable, so that you can get excited about it!
One of my suggestions before you develop your morning routine is to get into the “right” mindset and ask yourself “What are my intentions? How will this help me be better or do better?”. You have to believe in it and it has to be important to you. It will make it easier to adopt these habits and feel motivated to stick to them. Also, it's important to be honest with yourself when you decide on how much time you are willing to devote to your morning rituals. Can you wake up an hour earlier or is it a few minutes? Instead of setting expectations that are too high and not really accomplishable, start with baby steps, observe your progress and challenge yourself to do even more the following week.
The morning rituals I talk about below have made a big difference in how I feel in the morning and help me make my day. You know, the well-known saying “Win the morning. Win the day” :)
1. PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Even though this is not an activity that you do in the morning, it has a huge impact on how your morning will go and how many things you'll have time to accomplish. Firstly, do a quick 10-15 minute tidy-up. Put all the clothes and other things laying around your room back to where they belong. I suggest setting up a timer, as it will make you focus on this task better and it will be fun to see how much you can do in this short period of time. Just a few minutes in the evening used for a tidy-up will help you begin your day in a clean space, where everything is nicely organised and ready for you.
Secondly, take time to pick and prepare the outfit you'll wear the next day. I believe that the way you look affects how you feel and how confident you are. This will help you get excited about the next day and wake up quicker, because that pretty outfit is waiting for you to rock it.
The same goes for breakfast. Plan what your healthy meal will be in the morning. If necessary, make sure to cut up the ingredients or place them where it's more convenient.
2. WAKE UP EARLY TO YOUR PERFECT MORNING ANTHEM
Most of the time it feels like the days just fly by, however, if you set that alarm 30 minutes earlier (or perhaps an hour earlier, you daredevil you!) it can make a huge difference in helping you achieve more or just simply having a more relaxed and calm start. Plan enough time for your body and mind to get physically and mentally ready for the day. After all, it's a fresh start and should be taken very seriously. Robin Sharma talks about the Ritual of Early Awakening as one of the rituals for Radiant Living in his book Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (a very inspiring read, by the way).
For me personally one of the hardest things is the actual waking up process. Every morning I'm so tempted to press “snooze” and quietly say to myself “it's okay, it's just 10 more minutes”. And every single morning that's a big fat lie to myself. An hour or two later I would wake up and feel angry at myself for wasting the day and not getting up with the alarm. Fredrik Eklund made me change my thinking towards this. In his book “The Sell” he suggests to think of waking up early as the way to change your life, to be more successful and to “leave others in dust, including the old unsuccessful you”. Another tip that he gives is to set up a wake-up call that motivates you. He wakes up with Abba's “Money, Money, Money” and it's a great way to start the day in “rich man's world”. It's brilliant! :)
Whether it's a nice and soothing melody or energising music, experiment with it. Find what lifts your mood and gets you out of the bed quicker. Another tip is to move your phone across the room, further away from your bed, so that you have to get out of the bed to switch it off. Remember, pressing “snooze” is not an option!
3. NO TECHNOLOGY UNTIL YOU'VE COMPLETED YOUR MORNING RITUALS
I know how tempting it is to pick up your phone as soon as you open your eyes, glue your face to your iPhone screen and just get lost in the busy world of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. I was guilty of that. Committing to avoid looking at my phone first thing in the morning has made such a positive difference - I now start the day the way I want, consume selected and inspiring information that will for sure get me motivated, ready to conquer the day. Don't disrupt your mood in the morning and be in control of your emotions. Most importantly - be present and remember that all of that content will still be there after an hour.
4. A FEW MINUTES OF GRATITUDE
One of my favorite quotes says “Start each day with a grateful heart”. The first few minutes after you wake up is the perfect time to reflect on all the things and people you are grateful for. This will increase happiness levels and help you get out of bed more joyful, energised and simply start your day on a “bright note”. How you express gratitude is totally up to you. Again, this is one of the things I suggest to experiment with and see what suits your personality better. You can either simply devote a couple of minutes to say a little thank you out loud, write them down in a plain notebook, use a gratitude journal or make an entry in your personal journal if you're keeping one. I personally love to use my Five Minute Journal. It's a guided journal that focuses your attention on the good in your life. I also keep a personal journal to reflect on my thoughts and experiences. In the mornings when I can spare some extra time for writing, I love to devote a separate paragraph in my journal simply focusing on the things I'm thankful for.
Read this article to learn about some of the amazing benefits of inviting more gratitude in your life.
Meditation in an experience of relaxing the body, training your mind and promoting deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. If you don't already practice meditation, I suggest starting with a 5-10 minute meditation each day. Make sure you find a pose and space that feels comfortable, with no distractions, where you can allow yourself to be present and get to know yourself better. While meditating, remind yourself of your goals, get excited about all the great things that are coming your way. Visualise how you want your day to go - things you want to accomplish. Use whatever form of mediation works better for you. The main goal is to quiet your mind and start the day with calm thoughts. Do what feels true to you. Details don't matter, just practice and commitment.
I love using Headspace. It's a course of guided meditation that helps me stick to my meditation routine best.
The A.M. workout ritual gives me that much needed energy boost in the morning. It's what makes me feel energised, focused, organised and healthy. Plus, committing to a short workout every morning is the best way to make sure you stick to a regular workout schedule. Going to the gym, going for a run, a simple short workout at home, stretches or a sun salutation - add to your morning routine what's more convenient and most enjoyable to you. It doesn't have to be high intensity, just get the blood and oxygen running. The main goal is to take some time to move and stretch your body well in the morning.
Tip: After my workout I make sure to dance around to my current favourite upbeat tune. It does wonders to improving my mood, so that I can go and continue singing in the shower, hehe :)
Positive and motivating affirmations work wonders. It's another ritual that will help you set the right tone for the day and get yourself into a motivated and can-do mindset. Most importantly, they will help you believe in your own strength and potential. You can whisper them, say them out loud or think them, but I suggest you stand in front of the mirror and say inspiring things to yourself that will help you achieve your goals. This will give you lots of confidence, focus, happiness boost and feel in peace. Read this article and get some ideas for affirmations that you can add to your a.m. routine.
8. EAT A DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST + SPEND TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
I'm sure that you've heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” way too many times. I'm here to say it one more time - it's the fuel for the day. Not only does it give you energy to start the day, but also improves your performance during the day. It's also a perfect time to spend with your loved one, family or friends (depending on who you live with) before you all rush off to complete your daily agendas. Take this time to connect, share positivity, tell each other about your aspirations and what you're looking forward to on this day. Healthy & delicious breakfast in lovely company is definitely something to look forward to the night before.
9. SOMETHING FOR INSPIRATION AND CREATIVITY
I usually get most done and feel most creative when I'm feeling inspired and motivated. Sometimes I just wake up having this feeling and some mornings I need some help with this. In order to make sure that I get my daily dose of positivity and inspiration, I make sure to schedule it in my morning routine. Do this by making your inspiration intake a seamless habit. Read or watch something that inspires and motivates you. It could be a podcast, a video or a blog post. Plan it the night before, so you know exactly what you will be reading, watching or listening to, as it will save you time browsing in the morning.
Lately I've been listening to Brendon Burchard's podcast “The Charged Life”. #1 New York Times bestselling author shares his thoughts and insights on success, motivation and performance. I find it very easy to relate to almost every single one of his podcasts, as he covers topics, situations and feelings that most of us experience during their lifetime. I feel that listening to podcasts like this fills my brain with positive ideas and thoughts that help me understand myself and others better, makes me want to be a better human being or simply allows me to learn something new. Plus, you can listen to a podcast while you are putting on your makeup, therefore saving more time in the morning while still getting your daily dose of inspiration. Win, win! :)
10. MAP OUT YOUR DAY
Lastly, before I leave the house or simply get ready for doing some work at home, I sit down, open my notebook/agenda and create my to do list and plan how I will tackle all the tasks. Mapping out the day helps to achieve that feeling of being organised and ready to complete your to-do-list. Just remember to be realistic about the things that can be achieved in the day. Instead of making yourself feel overwhelmed, schedule your most important tasks and get excited about a productive day ahead. Use the morning to do big-picture thinking and prioritise your tasks. Now go out and make wonderful things happen!
You might not have time in the morning for all these activities, so I suggest you choose some that you find the most motivating/inspiring or convenient to fit your routine. These are habits that need to be practiced and with time it will be part of your day, where you won't even have to think about it and instead you will just do it automatically. But to start, whatever morning ritual you decide to do, make it a habit. Set up a routine and do your absolute best to stick with it every day. Eventually the routine that you tailor will become so effortless that you will just do all the positive and inspiring activities without thinking. Then it will become an essential part of your life.
What are your morning rituals? Do share with us :)
Thank you so much for reading!