Last updated on September 6, 2019 at 11:19 am
Morning routines can help you set yourself up for success. It’s no surprise that many titans of business have a morning ritual that includes things like meditating, exercising and motivating.
Steve Jobs in a 2005 commencement speech said he looked in the mirror every morning and asked himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer was, “no” for too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something.
Oprah hits the gym, meditates, eats breakfast and goes through her schedule for the day. The last thing she does every day is write down what she’s grateful for.
Benjamin Franklin spent the first half-hour to hour of his day sitting in the buff reading and writing. He was also meticulous about planning his day.
Science proves there’s power in certain morning activities. Does your morning routine set you up for success? Do you even have a routine? Here are nine hacks for successful morning routines – starting with five that are proven by science.
- Set your goals for the day. Your list will be more effective if it’s broken into achievable, manageable steps. One small step = one giant leap (at least that’s what psychologist John Norcross says).
- Get moving! Research shows that exercise is the most potent, reliable way to improve quality and length of life. While working out around happy hour can be good for you (nighttime is the worst time), exercising in the morning helps your consistency, ensures you have time and jump-starts your day. Plus, it helps you sleep better that night.
- Meditation is proven to have significant health benefits, including slashing stress levels, increasing positivity and decreasing depression. Why not give it a shot in the morning? Not sure where to start? Try mindful meditation over your cup of morning coffee (focus on the steam, smell and warmth).
- Smile! It’s proven to help you cope with stressful situations and lower your heart rate. Say cheese!
- Take a shower. You have your pick of temperature. Taking a warm shower relaxes you, serves as a distraction for your brain and increases your dopamine flow, which can lead to great ideas. Or you can try a cold shower, which may help circulation and reduce stress. It may even serve as an antidepressant (according to a 2008 study from the National Institutes of Health).
So there you have it. Science says. Nothing on that list you’re interested in trying? Here are four more that probably aren’t scientifically proven, but could be beneficial to your morning routine.
- Clean up the night before. Who doesn’t like waking up to a clean kitchen or bedroom? The mess won’t be hanging over your head all day. It’s like waking up to a clean slate.
- Give yourself five extra commute minutes. Rushing out the door is a perfect way to help set yourself up for a stressful morning. Has rushing ever lowered your stress level? Plus, by taking your time, you’ll help protect yourself and your car.
- Try a sunrise simulation alarm clock. Forget about jolting awake. These alarm clocks start at a soft, orange dim light and work their way up to full brightness over the course of 20 minutes or so. This one has four stars from over 1,700 reviews – must be something to it.
- Make coffee before you go to bed. You shouldn’t be expected to make coffee before drinking coffee – that doesn’t add up. Invest in a coffee pot with a timer. Set it up before bed and wake up to a fresh pot.
What about breakfast?
The long and short of breakfast is take it or leave it. There doesn’t seem to be anything magical about it. If you do have breakfast, put down the cereal and reach for foods with lots of protein and good fats (like eggs or avocado toast).