Creating a morning routine requires discipline and willpower at first, but not after long, becomes a valuable step in achieving the success and happiness you wish out of life. A morning routine requires that we wake up making deliberate choices. These choices then set the tone, energy and intention for the rest of the day. Through time, a morning routine brings pulse and rhythm to everyday life, allowing us to navigate through challenging situations as well as see beyond our existing circumstances. It creates greater self-confidence and empowers us to live our best lives, living with the unbroken notion that we are responsible for our own happiness.
|Results of Having Little to No Routine||Results of Maintaining a Regular Routine|
|Increased stress||Better stress management|
|Poor time management skills||Better decision-making skills|
|Poor sleep habits||Better sleep habits|
|Poor eating habits||Better eating habits|
|Poor exercise habits||Better exercise habits|
|More likely to lack direction||Empowered and focused|
|Scattered, flustered and unsure||Calm, peaceful and decisive|
If you’re feeling a little unsteady, or if you feel like it’s time to take life by the horns, then consider putting together your own personal morning ritual. Here’s a few guidelines to get you started:
- Commitment is key. It’s easy to simply say that you want to have more routine in your life, or that you want to have some time to yourself. But in order to see change, you really need to commit to the process. So your mind and body, along with your motivation and willpower all need to be onboard. Don’t get discouraged if you’re feeling tired or less enthusiastic after the first few days. Remember that habits take time.
- Become an early riser. Set the alarm earlier than usual – how much earlier depends on what you want to accomplish. And then do anything and everything you can to maintain that same wake up time each day! As you commit to keeping a morning routine, the body’s circadian rhythm becomes proficient, providing the body with more energy and the brain with more clarity. After a few short weeks, you will discover that your time management and productivity will go up! You will begin to see the benefits of getting up before the rest of the world. In the early hours of the morning, we are in a deeper place of presence.
- Don’t allow yourself to lay in bed contemplating whether you are motivated enough to fulfill your commitment to the morning ritual. As soon as that alarm goes off, go straight into your routine. For some, this might mean getting up and heading straight for their running shoes. For others, this might mean taking 5-10 deep, nourishing breaths before getting out of bed to meditate. What’s important here, is that we don’t start to question what to do. Remember your commitment and why you made it in the first place – just move!
- Consider your values. What is it that you value most? Whatever it is, you should include it in your morning routine. If you value your physical health, exercise should be in your morning routine; If you value mental clarity and your ability to stay poise throughout the day, slot in time for meditation; If you’re committed to learning something new (a course, designation, or hobby), carve out time every morning to accomplish this.
- We all know that drinking water is essential to sustaining life. During the night when we are at rest, our bodies are still operating and working hard repairing tissues and removing toxins. All these processes slowly utilize the fluid in our bodies leaving us dehydrated by morning time. Including hydration in your morning ritual, before digesting food or any other form of liquid, is beneficial to your digestive systems.
- Limit decisions. Think about what you can do to limit decisions in the morning. Planning out your intention for the day, your morning routine, what you will wear, what you will eat, what needs to be packed before you set off for the day are all decisions you can make the night before. These small decisions that hardly get noticed, accumulate to exhaust a lot of our morning energy if we must make them on the spot. If we can streamline these small decisions, this will leave us with more energy to take into the rest of our day.
- Avoid devices and media. Grabbing your phone or turning on the morning news first thing in the morning can jumpstart the sympathetic nervous system before you even get out of bed. Do yourself a favour and avoid being sucked in to media, news, email and social media until your morning routine is complete. These media outlets often leave us feeling anxious, nervous, incomplete, and depressed. Delaying our media consumption while the body and mind are at peace, allows us to take charge of how our day starts.
- Eat with your loved ones. Eating with family or friends can be therapeutic, even if it’s just for a quick meal. Sitting together and connecting for 10 minutes in the morning creates a sense of bonding. Some of us live pretty hectic lives with our daily work schedules and evenings occupied by events and activities. Sitting face to face for a few minutes a day fueling our bodies together fosters relationships along with healthy lifestyles. Plan ahead, keep it simple, but do it together.
- Work on inner development. It’s not essential but devoting time for inner development can lead to great things. Being forever a student is key to increasing energy and passion. When we find ourselves in a spot where we feel as though there is nothing more to learn, we become bored, stagnant, and unmotivated. Devoting time for inspired reading, study, or research is key to living with passion. Be creative in finding a way to squeeze this in. If it’s not part of your ritual, try downloading a pod-cast or audiobook that can be played during your ride to work.
- Practice Gratitude. Practicing this deep attitude of thanks can change your whole mindset and increase happiness. It only takes a minute or two and makes a big difference. But make sure you practice gratitude – the emotional part of being thankful, not just being thankful. We tend to be negative by nature. Anticipating bad news, bad weather, and bad situations have kept us alive by keeping us prepared for the worst. But this also makes us unhappy. Regular gratitude can assists in wiring our brains for happiness.
By Erica Matechuk, RYT 200