You’ve probably heard about the benefits of having a “morning ritual”, but you may be unsure what it is. A morning ritual is essentially your morning routine. The things you do right after you wake up each morning.
While we all technically have a morning routine, I think of a “morning ritual” as being a scheduled morning that is mindful and thought out. A morning that doesn’t just roll with the punches, but that is actively planned.
Having a planned out morning helps you to be more productive by eliminating distractions and allowing you to focus on the day ahead. It puts you in a position to hit the ground with your feet running every morning.
In short, it supercharges your productivity.
So how can you take control of your morning? Here are 5 keys:
1. Recognize That A Productive Morning Starts The Night Before
A successful morning starts with planning the night before. Planning the night before can be as simple as setting out clothes for the next day, prepping your coffee maker, or making a list of goals that you want to accomplish for the day ahead.
Predetermine the night before that you are going to have a productive morning and a successful day. You can read our helpful article on How to Create an Evening Routine here.
Decide the night before when you’ll get up, then make it happen. As simple as these things may sound, they can be a game changer for your daily productivity and go a long way towards helping you optimize your brain health.
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2. Remove Variables From Your Morning
When you wake, your slightly groggy brain will want to follow the path of least resistance. Help your brain out by removing decision-making. Studies have shown that our brains get “decision fatigue”, that is, the more decisions we have to make, the more tired our brain gets. It makes sense then to remove the amount of decisions that you have to make early on in the morning.
An example of this would be having the same (or a similar) breakfast every morning. Instead of having to decide every morning what you want to eat, you’ll know exactly what you are having - and hopefully that includes a cup of coffee (which, by the way, is the healthiest energy drink out there).
You don’t have to remove all variety (it IS the spice of life after all), but having a straightforward routine can help you increase productivity and retain vital brain juice. Make the path of least resistance a productive path.
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3. Don’t Check In Online Right Away
So much of modern life can be reactionary. We see news stories that set us off, or we see a work email that gets our mental gears grinding within minutes of waking. All this leads to lack of focus and strips us of our peace.
My suggestion is that you isolate yourself from media in the morning. Don’t check the news right away. Don’t go scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
Take some time to think about the day ahead. Plan what it is that you want to accomplish. Breathe. You know that old quote about being a “human BEing, not a human DOing”? There’s a lot of wisdom in it.
Slow down. Plan an attack on your day, don’t let your day attack you.
4. Get In Some Fitness
This may not be the most well received or popular advice, but make it a goal to be active within the first hour of your day. After all, morning may be the best time of day to workout. Do some pushups or burpees to help wake up your body. Stretch your muscles. Go for a quick jog.
One of the best ways to turn your system “on” is to get your body moving. For more workout tips, check out our in-depth article on how to exercise.
Another thing you can do is to get some sunlight on your skin. Your body has an internal clock called your “circadian rhythm”, this regulates your energy levels and how your body functions throughout the day.
Sunshine early on in your morning helps to wake up your body and get you going. So throw open the curtains once you wake up, or go outside and have brain boosting coffee on your deck. Make it a goal to see the sun as early as possible.
5. Start Small
Begin with making small teaks, and adjust from there. Whether it’s productive or not, your body currently has a morning routine. Changing your routine to something more productive can be tricky. So start small.
As an example, you could begin by pre-determining the time you want to wake up and spend a week focusing on being up at that time. Even if your body feels super groggy and unproductive, stick with getting up at that time.
Eventually you will get used to waking up at that time, you can then add in something new, like stretching or prayer. Slowly build out your routine. Add what is beneficial and remove what is unnecessary. Replace old habits with new, better habits.
Go out there and makes the changes! Comment below any changes that you plan to make to your morning routine
Daniel Powers is a health and fitness enthusiast with a background in the supplement industry. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys Crossfit, reading large books, and drinking coffee.