I used to dread that moment every morning when my alarm would reverberate around my room, reminding me it was time to roll out of bed and start a new day. I often ponder, “Why would anyone in their right mind want to leave their irresistibly warm cocoon of blankets?”
If you’re like the 57% of Americans who love to stay curled up in bed, and rejoice at smashing that snooze button again and again, you are likely setting yourself up for a bad day.
The reason why you’re not feeling excited and energized in the morning is because you are not putting in any effort to change the way you feel when you wake up.
In order for you to kick off the day with a bang, you must create a morning routine that inspires and empowers you to step up, be your best self, and strengthen your discipline.
Why Snoozing Can Ruin Your Day
There are few things in life more satisfying than silencing your alarm, turning over, and dozing off again. But this small act of defiance could ultimately cost more than a few minutes of your day.
By hitting snooze, you are interfering with your body’s natural waking mechanisms, tricking your brain into thinking it’s going back to sleep.
“When your alarm goes off again, your body and brain are confused, resulting in that foggy feeling called sleep inertia. Brain fog can stay with you throughout the day, making you actually feel more tired throughout the day,” explains Adam Tishman, sleep expert and co-founder of Helix.
Sleep inertia can last up to 4 hours, during which time you are at a reduced level of brain capacity and functioning, resulting in serious impairment when carrying out simple tasks.
This is that groggy zombie-like feeling you get after a hardcore snooze session.
So What Does a Typical Morning Look Like For Me?
I’m going to share with you the activities I engage with after I wake from my slumber. This is just what works for me. I’m not saying you should incorporate everything I’m doing into your morning routine; just take what you want and try it out.
To get off on the right foot, you must create habits around certain practices that will help you feel more alive and awake every morning. If you just roll out of bed, scroll through your social media, chug a coffee, and throw down whatever cereal you have in the cupboard before setting off for work, it’s no surprise that you feel like the living dead.
I’m going to detail below some practices and techniques I use daily that you should consider selecting for your morning routine, even if it means waking up an hour earlier. Don’t feel the need to do everything––just slowly add one new practice at a time and keep whatever works for you.
My alarm rings around 6:30 a.m. I make sure to charge my phone as far away from my bed as possible so I actually have to stand up to deactivate my alarm. This is an important step. If your phone or alarm clock is in arm’s reach, you’re more likely to hit snooze and wake up with brain fog.
I complete the morning section of my Daily Stoic Journal (5 minutes). This helps me review how I’m living my life in relation to specific philosophical principles. Today, many professional athletes, CEOs, artists, and executives are all influenced by the idea of stoicism. Although this article is not designed to dive deep into this particular line of philosophy, you can find out more here.
Then I plug in my headphones and turn on one of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s guided meditations (30 to 70 minutes). The focus is to change my energy and shift into a state of love, compassion, and gratitude. I intensely visualize the future I want to create and often finish my meditation with tears rolling down my face, overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude for the life I have and the future I’m creating.
I have developed somewhat of an obsession with coffee over the last few years, and I always travel with a bag of high-quality, light roast beans, an Aeropress, and hand-grinder. This equipment ensures I’m able to craft the perfect cup of coffee wherever I go.
Health Food Supplements
I have a pretty specific stack of supplements that I usually throw down with my coffee. I’m not going into the specifics of what I take; I have done my own research and figured out what helps my body function more effectively.
I sip my coffee while I journal my thoughts and experiences, reviewing the events from the previous day and pondering what I want to focus on (30 minutes). If you want to know how to get started journaling and what kind of things you should be writing about, I detail a list of questions in my guest post on Pick The Brain, which you can find here.
Getting stuff out of your head and onto paper is one of the easiest ways to clear your mind and develop creative solutions to the problems in your life. Get yourself a journal and commit to writing for 15 minutes every morning, and soon you’ll notice a massive weight being lifted off your shoulders as you start to view your life with more clarity.
Create a “Win-List”
After some journaling, I create my “win-list,” which is essentially a short to-do list of 3-4 things that I must complete for my day to be a success (5 minutes). Getting clear on the things you’d like to accomplish for the day helps remove that lingering sense of ambiguity, and directs your attention towards the things that matter––instead of defaulting to your Facebook newsfeed.
Move Your Body
After creating my “win-list,” I usually head out for a 30-60 minute run or work through a 15-minute stretching routine. Science has overwhelmingly proven that moving your body in the morning is essential to starting the day feeling energized. Beyond that, morning exercise is shown to improve focus and mental abilities all day long. Not only will you feel awake and have more energy after your workout, but your mind will be ready to take on whatever tasks you have lined up that day.
Moving your body is not always about intensity. You don’t have to throw around heavy weights or bust out some sprints. A brisk walk through the park or along the river will do just fine. Whether you’re just heading out for a walk or putting in a session at the gym, get into the habit of doing something every day no matter how small, for a minimum of 15 minutes. You could even listen to an audiobook and hit two birds with one stone!
Instead of bombarding your brain with fear-based mainstream news and pointless social media updates from your friends, spend some time deepening your knowledge on a specific topic of interest. Perhaps you’ll even learn something that takes your life in a completely new direction!
Keep Your Phone Off
Your mornings should be a technology-free zone when possible. If you’re waking up and instantly checking Facebook or Whatsapp, you are giving away your attention and energy right from the get-go. Keeping your phone in aeroplane mode until you have completed your morning routine will bring a sense of peacefulness that is hard to explain until you try it out.
Fasting For Energy
If you’re wondering where breakfast fits into my morning routine, well… it doesn’t. Sorry. If breakfast is the saviour of your day, and you’d rather cut off your own arm than go hungry in the morning, what I’m about to share with you might break your heart.
Instead of wolfing down your usual scrambled eggs on toast, porridge, or cereal, try fasting until lunchtime. The scientific benefits of intermittent fasting far outweigh the short-term boost you get from your breakfast.
Intermittent fasting offers a whole host of proven benefits you can take advantage of, that:
- Enhance heart health by improving blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels;
- Improve brain function and help prevent neurodegenerative disorders;
- Aid weight loss by limiting calorie intake and boosting metabolism;
- Increase growth hormone secretion, which is vital for growth, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength;
- Could delay ageing and extend longevity.
For a more detailed explanation, including links to scientific studies and of all the benefits I have outlined above, take a look at this article on Heartline.com.
Why Morning Are So Important
Many successful people like Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey all engage in a morning ritual with the belief that if they master their morning, they will master their day. This is the ultimate benefit of establishing a strong set of practices in the morning, with the effects compounding over time so that you will always look forward to getting out of bed each day.
What happens in the morning usually sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Getting up earlier to complete your daily practices will give you a sense of accomplishment and clarity of mind before you’ve even gotten started! You will begin to value and fiercely protect the time you have dedicated for yourself, and the morning practices you engage with will soon become non-negotiable.
Maybe someday in the near future, you’ll be jumping out of bed full of energy––before your alarm has even gone off!