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Morning Habits To Ritualize

Why do you need a morning routine? 

Often times, what’s actually important and what our brain thinks is important are very different. Some days just suck from the get-go. As much as we want to believe it’s our own bad luck rather than the effect of our own actions – it’s usually the effect of our actions. 

We’ve all hit the snooze button too many times. Rushing to get ready for school, work, or an appointment. Left feeling sluggish, unprepared, and not fully awake for another two or three hours. 

We’ve all hit the snooze button too many times. Rushing to get ready for school, work, or an appointment. Left feeling sluggish, unprepared, and not fully awake for another two or three hours. 

Seriously, in college I think I was sleep walking during almost all of my morning classes. Every day felt so short because I wasn’t mentally present until around lunch time.

Our brains are super adaptable. To save us from being overloaded with decisions, our brain acts accordingly to our current situation. It focuses on what’s best for us right now. By snoozing the alarm or scrolling for 30 minutes, causing you to rush to where you need to be, you’re telling your brain that you are in survival mode. 

Your brain will do whatever it takes to get you out of the stressful situation by focusing all of its power on it. Thus, you end up forgetting about the other things you planned to do that day, i.e. put laundry away or practice guitar for an hour. 

Get out of survival mode. 

This is where the power of a morning ritual comes in. By crafting a good morning ritual, you will get our of survival mode and start your day relaxed, without the stress and anxiety. Your brain will be more open to think long-term. A good morning ritual will leave you prepared to be productive and make better decisions. 

I knew that one of the first steps I needed to take during my self-development journey was adjusting my morning ritual/routine. It’s like trying to light a fire without any supplies. You can scream and curse at the empty pit all you want, but you’re still not going to make a fire appear. However, by starting off your day rushed and filled with anxiety, that’s exactly what you’re doing – trying to start a fire without the things you need to prepare it. 

The fit morning routine for you will be the kindling to start your day feeling:

  • Relaxed 
  • Prepared 
  • Focused 
  • Ready to be productive

In this blog, I am going to share some of the morning rituals I’ve adopted that have already changed my life.

Make your bed. 

Do you know the feeling when you should start working on something, but you just don’t feel like it? A simple task like making your bed actually helps you break through that by starting with a task that literally takes 20 seconds to complete. It helps you start productively into every day with almost no effort. Tidiness is also very beneficial to your well-being. A made bed adds a little bit to that tidiness in your home with barely any work. 

You may have believed you are lazy, so you were. But now that your actions are proving to your subconscious that you actually aren’t lazy anymore, your brain will start acting accordingly. Let the habit of making your bed in the morning be a symbolic statement that you are now working on becoming the best version of yourself, pushing your brain into a different pattern of thinking. 

Meditate. 

Meditation can be the most powerful tool to utilize for those who use it in their morning routine. I’ll write more about meditation in future blogs, but I do want to talk about how tangible the benefits of meditation actually are. Practicing meditation reduces stress, anxiety, worrying, and even physical and mental pain. It teaches us how to be present and exist in the moment. 

Meditation requires intense focus and mental discipline, which are things we often lack these days. We constantly have the distraction of technology, and the access to information about any topic at any time definitely doesn’t help either. 

By practicing meditation, you’ll learn to focus your mind and improve cognition. It centers you, while calming you down, and it even reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying when continuously done over time. 

This is all scientifically proven – so meditation is more than a spiritual practice. It’s as real as taking vitamins. If you incorporate meditation into your morning routine, you’ll find yourself able to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, and make room for recognizing more good things in your day, and your life. 

A great tool I used to begin practicing meditation was the app “Waking Up” by Sam Harris. If you dig deep enough in the app, Sam offers a year of free guided courses if you are unable to afford the investment right now. Another app I use is called Fabulous. It is a science-based app, incubated in Duke’s Behavioral Economics Lab, that will help you build healthy rituals into your life, just like an elite athlete. You can set reminders, create routines, and follow guided meditations all within the app. I’ll leave links to both at the end! 

Visualize Your Success. 

Visualizing and manifesting success sounds silly to many people. Whether you believe in the power of manifestation or not, it is a true fact that by visualizing your success, you train your mind to focus on these goals. You start making good decisions and taking steps in the direction that points you to opportunities. 

As I said earlier in this post, our brains are very adaptable. The brain tries to make the outside world match our own beliefs. For example, if you believe that you are going to be late to work, your brain will do everything it can to “fix” that situation. If you believe that you are going to be successful (small successes count just as much), your brain will “fix” your current situation, because you are supposed to be productive and successful. 

Visualizing success makes your primal instincts work for you instead of against you. You can try to go against your subconscious all you want, but having it on your side is so much easier. So how do you do it? 

vision board

A great way to do this is by creating a vision board, where you cut and paste photos or magazine clippings of things that represent your future onto a piece of cardboard or inside of a frame. You can create a vision board for life goals, or short-term goals. 

Hang up positive affirmations around your house. I’m a sucker for inspiring quotes and affirmations.

Placing sticky notes with affirmations around your house (on your mirror, next to your coffee pot, on the door to see before you leave, etc.) can increase your focus on your goals and attitude for the day. I keep a stick note on my bathroom mirror that says “I love myself.” I see it every morning when I wake up and when I am getting ready. Saying those three simple words out loud to myself in the mirror takes maybe two seconds, and it changes your thought process. Loving yourself is a success too!

However you decide to practice visualizing your success, give yourself 10 or so minutes each morning to think about your future. Your day will start with your mind in the right place, and you will feel more prepared to take steps towards those goals.

Now you might be asking yourself, “What are my goals?” Well, let’s figure that out…

Work on personal goals. 

First you need to set clear, realistic goals. Something I learned in college that has really helped me is the SMART goal method. Following this method helps create Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. It helps push you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals. You are providing yourself a target to aim for. 

Track your progress and stay motivated. Using some time in the morning to further your personal goals can be much better than trying to make time in the evening. I mentioned this in my previous blog, but we all sometimes wish we had more hours in the day. You might struggle to find time for all of the things you want to do, like a side job or assignment. If you feel this way often, try setting aside 20-30 minutes each morning to work on your side job, or other tasks that you know need done that day. 

Make time every morning to work on personal goals. It will become more than “something you do in your free time.” Now, it’s rather something that you dedicate yourself to, even if it’s hard. 

Exercise 

I know… You probably didn’t want to see this one on the list. I was very shocked to learn that working out in the morning actually gives you twice as much energy as coffee does. Even if you only have time for a 20 minute workout, you’re still getting your body moving. You may be the type of person who runs or bikes a ton of miles as soon as they wake up. Or, you may be the type of person who hates the thought of exercise.

If you fall in the latter, pick a simple, at-home workout plan that is fun and challenging so that the exercise is something you look forward to. 

  • Do yoga 
  • Go for a walk 
  • Stretch
  • Bike, skateboard, rollerblade, etc.
  • Lift weights
  • Swim
  • Download an app like HIIT Workouts, Sworkit, or Workout Women. These apps have a ton of easy workouts to choose from depending on your goals, experience level, and allotted time. (I’ll also link these at the end!) 
morning yoga

Practice Gratitude 

An old mentor of mine once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will never know if you got there.” How can you achieve your goals if you don’t even know what they are? Now imagine practicing gratitude like planning your goals. What’s the point if you never take time to celebrate everything you have already achieved? 

Don’t be the person who spends twenty years of their life constantly looking forward, and ends up forgetting how to simply enjoy what they already have. Practicing gratitude is taking the time to appreciate what you have, and to enjoy everything good in your life. 

Glorify your morning cup of coffee. Glorify doing your skincare routine. Glorify taking your dog for a walk. These are again some of the small joys that we often sweep under the rug. And if you know anything about the law of attraction, you know that practicing gratitude is a key tool in manifestation. 

One of the easiest ways to do this is to take a pen and piece of paper. Write down a list of ten things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a bunch of grand things. Be realistic – what actually made you happy? Maybe you had a your favorite meal for dinner, or you had a heartfelt conversation with your roommate. Let this simple exercise bring your attention back to happiness, and away from worries about what you don’t have or what you haven’t accomplished. 

Moving Forward 

Us ambitious people can be full of motivation and ready to make big changes to improve our lives. If you try to pick up 10 new habits at once, you are going to fail. Adapt your morning routine slowly, giving your mind and body some time to get used to it. Start by writing out a draft of your ideal morning routine, and change it as you see fit. 

It’s so important to remember that just because something works for someone else, does not mean it I’ll work for you. Allow some wiggle room for your routine to be adjusted. Align your morning rituals with your own needs, and don’t just copy someone else’s morning routine. 

I hope you finish reading this with a sense of readiness and motivation to make time for yourself in the morning. No more hitting snooze. Let go of the rushed, anxiety filled mornings, and open up your mind and body to starting your day with healthy, positive habits. If you stick with it, I know you will find yourself surprised. I would love to hear about your experiences too, so please feel free to leave your favorite morning rituals in the comments!

I’ve also included links below to some of the resources I talked about in this blog.

Useful Tool Links

Waking Up | Meditation app by Sam Harris
Fabulous | Science-based healthy rituals & meditation app
The Law of Attraction | What is the Law of Attraction?
Sworkit | At-home fitness planner
HIIT Workouts | At-home workout app
Workout Women | At-home workout app

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