Every sunrise brings with it a new day, a fresh start, and a chance to make progress towards your overall goals. Plenty of successful people count their morning routine as (at least one of) the keys to their success, so it may be time to re-evaluate yours.
Which morning habits are helping to make you a more successful person? Which habits are dragging you down? Here are some ideas to use your morning routine to propel you towards success.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough ZZZ’s
One of the most important morning habits starts the night before. The CDC recommends that adults aged 18-60 get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If you’re planning on waking up early, it’s important that you’re getting to bed early enough to account for those 7 hours of sleep.
If you’re getting enough sleep, a 5 AM wake-up call means that you’re going to sleep by 10 PM. Sleep, not bed. Make sure that you leave time for bedtime routines without encroaching on your recommended daily allowance of ZZZ’s.
Practicing good sleep hygiene can help you get the most from your time between the sheets. Some of the most important sleep hygiene tips include:
- Stick to a routine, going to bed, and getting up at the same time each day.
- Put down the electronics a couple of hours before bed.
- Keep your bedroom cool. About 65° is ideal.
- Clear your mind before bed. Meditate or write down the things you need to do the next day, whatever you need to do to allow your mind to relax.
Rise and Shine…Maybe Earlier Than You’d Prefer
Some of the most successful people in the world attribute their success to waking up early to engage in a morning routine that works for them rather than against them.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to begin your day with plenty of time to get off to a great start. That might mean getting up earlier than you’d like. While the perfect time to get up will vary from person to person, aim for getting up by 6 AM.
The early morning hours are often the quietest and least stressful. If you have kids, they’re generally asleep. The phone doesn’t ring. Even noise from outside is less intense early in the morning. There are fewer Amazon delivery drivers or dogs barking to distract you. It’s the perfect time to relax by doing something for yourself (exercising, painting, reading, whatever piques your interest), focus on what needs to get done, and get in a mindset to do it all.
Get Moving Early
There are a ton of benefits to getting up and getting moving early in the morning. For one, exercise releases endorphins that can give you an early morning mood boost. It helps you feel energized and more focused, both of which are key components in a successful morning routine.
Exercising in the morning also means that you’re more likely to get enough physical activity throughout the day since you’ve already gotten a jump on it. Plus, vigorous exercise in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep, so it makes sense to get your workout in early.
Your morning exercise doesn’t need to be an intense Crossfit routine. A walk or jog around the neighborhood or on the treadmill, a half-hour of yoga, or even just a dance party in your living room will do the trick.
Feed Your Body and Brain Well
Another key to getting your morning off on the right foot is a healthy breakfast. A morning meal that contains protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber is ideal. Avoid sugary breakfast cereals and processed pastries filled with unhealthy fats. Try fruit and yogurt with healthy granola, eggs, and whole-grain toast plus fruits or veggies, or a simple protein shake or smoothie to help kick start your brain and keep you from feeling like you need a snack by 9 AM.
Coffee and the caffeine that comes with it is a little controversial amongst successful people when it comes to their morning routine. Some swear by it and others vilify an early morning cup of java. Just remember that moderation is key.
Your mind needs attention beyond simple nourishment as well. Take time to get yourself into a productive mindset – however it is that you do that. It could be a few minutes of quiet meditation, repeating a mantra that helps you make the most of your day, or journaling.
Prioritize Your To-Do List
There are so many suggestions out there for how to make an effective to-do list and there isn’t one right answer for everyone. However, they pretty much all begin with writing down the tasks you need to accomplish.
You could try Eating the Frog, a method where you pick the biggest, ugliest task on your to-do list and knock it out first thing in the morning. You could also split your to-do list into Top Priority, Medium Priority, and Low Priority categories. Time blocking is another popular way to plan out your day for maximum efficiency.
It’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to successful mornings. For some people, mornings simply aren’t their most productive time, or maybe work or family schedules simply don’t allow for an early-to-bed, early-to-rise approach. The most important part of a successful morning routine is just that: a routine. Create a routine that serves you well and stick to it.
What are a few daily habits you’re currently implementing in your morning routine?