Are you a morning person? Did you know that every single morning that you are here on this earth you have a choice to make today a better day? So get ready (and get up), I’m going to talk you through how to design your own Morning Ritual that will supercharge your day.
Simply put, a morning ritual is a set of actions you do immediately upon waking up to prepare and optimise yourself for a more productive and laser-focused day. As a person who wants to reach goals, this is really important, so listen up.
Most people get into habits, and the morning habits seem to be the hardest to break. Take breakfast for example, do you have the same style of meal every day? Most people do and it’s the reason hotel buffets cater for a broad variety of tastes – we don’t like to change much – even on holidays.
Then of course there’s the habit of waking up late. It leads to rushing out the door, grabbing coffee and breakfast on the run and feeling frazzled. Over time this habit leads to a routine that sets a ‘tone’ for the rest of your day. It’s not enjoyable to be rushing around, it makes you swear at red lights and causes your sympathetic nervous system to kick in leading to high blood pressure and digestive issues.
It’s all common sense.
What if I told you there is a better way? No, I’m not about to quote a bunch of human psychological studies – although the scientific evidence is out there – I’m going to talk common sense. Scientific evidence shouldn’t be the only motivational factor here.
Let’s look at two scenarios to starting your day:
You wake, immediately grab your smart phone, and scowl because you are blinding yourself by the bright blue light hitting your still sleepy eyes. You notice 12 notifications between various apps, social networks, emails and text messages (likely some urgent and some not so urgent things to deal with). You turn on the TV while you’re getting ready and watch the morning news (it’s all crime, heavy traffic, maybe some rain). You’re running late for a meeting so you head out the door without breakfast and rush to your first meeting to start your day.
You wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal and immediately spend several minutes in silence, appreciating the stillness before you start your day. You sit up in bed, close your eyes again and spend the next few minutes meditating, just focusing on your belly breathing and practice controlling your thoughts. In your own time, fix yourself a fresh fruit smoothie. While you’re taking the time to enjoy breakfast (allowing digestive system to do its job), you write down your goals for the day. The most important one first, followed by the rest, less important goals. Finally you pick up your smartphone to check notifications from the night and adjust your goals and priorities accordingly. With some time to spare before your first meeting, you take the walk that crosses through the park.
It’s not rocket science to make an estimate as to which scenario leads to a better day. But which is closer to your real-life situation?
These two morning options might sound like they are worlds apart, but really it is only a few small choices that make all the difference. Even if you are closer to #2, I’m sure there is room for improvement.
Why starting the day right is so important
You wake up and morning happens every. single. day. So why not spend time to make it work for you? Make it work to create an even better, more productive day – everyday.
Because you can’t borrow tomorrow, today is all you have to work with.
Ask yourself, is it possible that you can feel better each day? Is it possible you can work harder? Is it possible you can be more alert, focused on your goals and relaxed if you changed a few fundamental things on starting your day? Is it possible?
A logical person would likely say yes.
Four examples of what a morning ritual looks like
1. Wake up 10 minutes early
- Meditate for 10 minutes.
- I use an App called Smiling Mind – it’s free – so no excuses. There are also loads of meditation workshops available to learn to do it yourself without an audio guide. See Soho Yoga who often run workshops and also The Nourished Soul.
2. Wake 30 minutes early
- Hop out of bed (the hopping is optional) and stretch for 10 minutes
- Write down your goals for the day – it’s important to write, oldschool, not type. Make sure you write them in order of importance!
3. Wake up 1 hour early
- Read or meditate for 20 minutes.
- Write down some ideas you have – a new business idea, poetry, plan a dinner party – it doesn’t matter – it’s all about getting the creative juices flowing.
- Make a green smoothie – Blend: avocado, kale, cucumber, lemon juice and two dates
- Drink it while you write your list of goals for the day
- Start work on the most important task of the day
4. Wake at 5.00 am everyday.
This isn’t hard in Queensland, it’s the best time of the day. You need to go to bed by 10.00pm the night before.
- Meditate for 10 minutes.
- Drink two tall glasses of water
- Exercise for 10 minutes – I prefer yoga (and I have an App for that too – Yoga Studio) – but you can do body weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, jacks or jogging
- Define your tasks and goals for the day
- Begin your day
Extra bonus round…
If you have children – wake up an hour before they do (OK if your toddler is still waking at 4am you have my blessing to sit this one out and just take him back to bed with you for doona cuddles until a more appropriate hour).
Do any of the above morning rituals, shower and get dressed before they wake.
They will think the world of you and the awesome example you set, you scrumptious Mummy!
Put your stamp on it! It doesn’t have to be yet another set of rules you’re gonna hate. It can be as simple as you like. The idea is to focus on the things you want that will give the greatest benefit to your day. Do you want to feel more relaxed, happier, more in control of cravings? Ask yourself what really matters.
It can take 30 days for a habit to form, so be patient with this. Test different elements and over time what feels right will feel really wrong if you miss it for a day – like not brushing your teeth.
The elements to create a morning ritual
We are all individuals. It may be 15 minutes of drawing that creates space in your day to manifest greatness, or perhaps it’s talking to the plants (or the chickens), you might like to do a full hour of yoga…play with the dog…whatever it is the idea is that it will put you in a good state of mind for the rest of the day.
Here are a few popular elements to get you started:
Water – hydrotherapy is key to many ancient healing philosophies. It’s a simple way to start your brain and digestion.
Breakfast – all bodies are different. So whether it’s a heavy breakfast of eggs, salmon, potato hash and spinach or a lighter one of yoghurt topped with nutty granola and fresh fruit take your time with the eating part! Try experimenting with what makes you feel best. You might be surprised at how different a different food can give you more clarity and more energy throughout the day.
Just be wary of sugar at breakfast. What goes up must come down, this goes for caffeine too. Also, avoid caffeine with a meal – it can deplete nutrient uptake – particularly in pregnancy.
Exercise – no need to go too nuts here – save that for the gym or your 5km run. In a morning ritual the goal is simply to get moving. Stretching out your muscles and doing a few gentle twists or back bends will keep your spine more youthful, it will warm you up and with a few empowering yoga poses you will be ready to face whatever the day has to throw at you.
Family – whether you are a work from home entrepreneur or a commuter, we spend too much time at work. It’s no longer 9am to 5pm more like 7am to 11pm! Create the space for family in the morning and you have already started your day with the most important people in the world. This one isn’t only for you – it’s for them too.
Reading – it expands your mind, challenges your thoughts and opinions. What’s not to love about reading? Make it a book, as in paper and ink. Remember, the goal is to set the tone for the day so you should stick to positive books.
Writing – There are so many benefits to writing. It helps you better form thoughts and flush out ideas that are stuck in your head. This doesn’t mean you need to write a book, a blog post or even a journal. Just a few ideas can be extremely beneficial and help spark your day.
Silence – I sleep with Airplane mode on my phone, so there are no beeps or pings (or WiFi signal) and it doesn’t switch back on until 7am. A few moments of pure unadulterated silence first thing in the morning, except for the birds and distant traffic noises, can be an excellent way to make your day pure gold.
Meditation – the brain is amazing and giving it a little treat is a brilliant way to start the day. My three- and five-year olds tells me “that was soooooo good” each time we meditate together (which is every day).
Meditation can be really as simple as silence+focus. Do you think that some silence and focus can help you? It’s pretty hard to argue against a bit of silence and focus in your life.
Set your goals for the day – If you are like me, you likely have hundreds of tasks on your list. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and lose focus on your goals for the day.
Try writing down the three most important things you want to achieve and do them before 11am. The trick is not to write down unachievable goals like ‘write the novel’, but something like 1) write the new 100 word product description, 2) prepare a powerpoint presentation and 3) pick up stationery order, are all achievable with a start and a finish that can be ticked off as you complete them.
Recipe for success
- Pick your anchor item – what will give the most impact to your day? Can be as simple as waking up earlier.
- Add elements as desired – don’t make it too hard on yourself – don’t overburden your morning or overcommit. This is supposed to be adding benefits.
- Switch things up and change it around. I like to think of this optimising my productivity – so if an element isn’t serving you, toss it out.
- Stick to it – it takes 30 days to create a habit – and that is basically what we’re going for here. Great habits to replace bad ones, like sleeping too late and being a grouch because the lights were red all the way to work.
You got this.
The take home
Your morning without doubt will set the tone of your entire day. So make it work for you! Do this by making sure that every morning YOU are in charge of the decisions that start your day. Appreciate the little things like a good whole body stretch and a few moments of meditation.
A morning ritual will take time to establish, but it will be worth it. With a whole lot of mornings ahead of you there is no reason not to make these small changes to upgrade your life and take yourself to the next level.
What is your morning ritual?
What morning rituals have you developed? What have you found, that above all else, supercharges your day and helps you take your focus, clarity and productivity to the next level? Let me know in the comments.
If you’re struggling with changing your diet and lifestyle, you may want to consider seeing a naturopath or hiring a health coach. The idea is pretty simple – you want to make the changes necessary to be your best – but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way. A health coach can help you listen to your body first and use that information to best work for you.