One of the best ways to make sure that you have a successful day, every day, is to build a morning routine that sets you up for success. Why do mornings matter? If you think of your day as a piece of music, how you spend your morning sets the tone, and rhythm for the rest of your day. Set your tone and rhythm for success, and success will follow.
To set yourself up for success each morning, here are the three ingredients you need to include in your morning routine, with some tips on how to get them.
Ingredient 1: A clear vision of what you want to achieve
Starting your day off with a clear agenda is your first, and most important ingredient for a successful day.
1. Write a to-do list
Whether this is done with pen and paper, or in your digital organizer, writing out a to-do list that you can refer to throughout the day is a great way to set the day’s agenda and focus your mind on a set of goals to achieve.
2. Visualize your perfect day
Picture how you want your day to go, if it could work out exactly how you want it to. Remember though, the unexpected can, and will happen. This exercise isn’t about setting expectations, it’s about setting an ideal, and working toward making it happen. If something comes up and you need to change course, you need to be flexible.
3. Write a short paragraph
If you’re not great at visualizing things, try doing the same thing but writing it down, instead.
Ingredient 2: The energy you need to do it
Now that you know what you want to get done, you’ll need the up-and-go to tackle it. Here are three ways you can get the energy you need.
1. Take care of your input
This could include a healthy breakfast, or if you’re fasting, it could be as simple as having your morning coffee, wellness supplements, or vitamins. The important thing is to give your body what it needs to achieve your goals for the day.
While this may seem counterintuitive, exercise is a great way to boost your energy in the morning. You may feel tired at first, but your energy levels will rebound higher, allowing you to get the energy you need for the rest of the day.
3. Take a cold shower or bath
While many people may cringe at the thought of plunging into cold water first thing in the morning, doing so has a range of health benefits, including dramatically increasing the go-get neurochemical, dopamine. One study shows that baseline dopamine levels can increase by a whopping 250% by briefly immersing yourself in cold water. So, if you can manage it, a cold shower is a great way to start your day with a bang.
Ingredient 3: Calm and focus for optimal performance
Now you know what you want to do, and you have the energy you need to do it, great! The final ingredient is to get into a calm and focused state for optimal performance and execution.
Meditation is perhaps the best way to calm and center the mind for a successful day. Whether you use an app, a guided meditation, or meditate on your own, meditating for 10-20 minutes every morning will help you calm your mind, and increase your effectiveness throughout the day.
Yoga comes with similar benefits to meditation, only with the added benefit of some additional exercise. It can be especially useful for the relief of physical tension or aches and pains that get in the way of a clear, focused mind.
3. Ditch the phone. read a book instead
According to this study, up to 80% of people reach for their phones first thing in the morning. This has been linked to decreased productivity, increased distractibility, and a reduced ability to prioritize tasks. As Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check Email In The Morning says that for at least the first hour of the day, you should avoid all digital media, especially when it’s work-related. She writes:
“You’ll never recover. Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless… there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”
Instead of reaching for your phone, try a book instead. Not only is reading a great way to accelerate your knowledge, but it also reduces stress, and primes your brain for focused attention throughout the day.