What happens when you wake up in the morning? Do you grumble, sleepily turn off your alarm and hide under the covers for as long as possible? Or do you get out of bed and start getting on with your day (and your life) full of motivation and looking forward to the day ahead?
If the first description sounds much more like you than the second, perhaps you feel that you’re just not a ‘morning person’, and that there’s nothing you can do to change this.
But morning routines are simply a matter of habit, and changing them is always possible. Make an effort to become more motivated in the morning, and you’ll find that you feel the benefits all day. In everything you do, you’ll be calmer and more positive for having started off that way.
Talk to the world’s most successful people in any field - business, sport or entertainment - and they’ll usually tell you that their morning routine plays a significant part in their success.
Think you don’t have time for anything other than a quick shower and a coffee before you dash out the door? All you need is 10 minutes to maintain a routine that will leave you feeling fresh, ready to go and ready to do more with your day.
Hot water and lemon
If you think you can’t manage without a morning caffeine fix, think again. Caffeine gives you a temporary boost, but you’ll soon crash when it wears off. Switch to hot water and lemon for a refreshing, comforting start to the day. Lemon is known to have liver-cleansing effects too, great for detox and general wellbeing.
Even a minute of meditation is enough to help you get into the right frame of mind for the day. Find somewhere quiet to sit, close your eyes and focus on nothing but your breath. You’ll feel your stress levels falling.
Create a positive state
Meditation helps you get into a positive state, but you can consolidate that with this simple self-coaching technique. Think of three things you’re grateful for and write them down. This will help you remember what’s great about your life rather than focusing on the things you’d like to change.
Fuel the brain
A healthy brain starts with a healthy body. Eat something nourishing in the morning that sets you up for a day of activity. A healthy source of fat such as a poached egg or some avocado with slow-release carbs in the form of wholemeal bread or oats is the perfect brain-fuel breakfast.
Train the breath
If you feel yourself getting panicky or rushed, force yourself to slow down by breathing deeply. You’ll feel instantly calmed and reassured.
Take a minute to write down your feelings about the day to come. What are your hopes and fears?
Set specific goals
Use the emotions you’ve identified in your journal to help you set goals for the day. Think ahead to the evening - what will you feel happy about achieving by bedtime? Make sure you have the time to work on all your goals, as setting goals you don’t have time to achieve just leads to frustration.
Move your body
Exercise helps you feel great, mentally and physically. Even a minute or two is enough to get your blood pumping and your brain cells whirring if you work hard. Try some high-intensity exercises such as burpees or lunges. Add some music to help you move faster - Treblab make some great wireless headphones that are perfect for listening while moving.
Do this morning routine daily for a week (including on weekends or non-work days) and then assess how you feel. Has it helped you achieve more and feel better? Now you’ve got to know the routine, you might want to tweak it to suit you, spending longer on activities you find particularly beneficial. You might also want to vary the routine day by day, spending longer on goal-setting at the beginning of the week, for example, or making extra time for meditation on particularly stressful days.
However you adapt it, stick with it. You’ll feel the benefits increase the longer you do it.