Robert Kiyosaki once said, "Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow." If you want to improve your health, your finances, your relationships, etc. it all starts with what actions you take right now in this present moment. So if you are going to begin your journey of self-improvement today, how can you set up your day to maximize your time and potential? In my personal life I juggle being a 20 credit-hour college student, working 3 jobs, and running my own personal training business. I am able to do all of this and still have time to relax, spend time with my friends, learn new skills, and not feel overwhelmed in the midst of it all. I attribute my successful time management to developing a consistent routine, and it all starts when I wake up every morning. In this article, I am going to share my morning routine with you, and show you some different ways of designing your own morning routine.
I consider myself a true morning person. If I sleep in past 8am, I feel like I have wasted part of the day away. That's just who I am though, and I understand that plenty of people are the exact opposite of me. I am going to list out my morning routine with times, but understand that this routine is not time-specific.
Every morning I like to wake up between 5am and 6am. I try and keep this consistent because a consistent sleep schedule can help you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep. After waking up I thank God for another day, say some more prayers, and commence with the rest of my routine.
Proper hydration is super important in nearly all physiological processes, and most of us don't drink enough water throughout the day. I feel like getting a jump on my water drinking by gulping down 2 cups of water sets me up for success for the rest of the day, and wakes me up quickly.
Recently I invested in a light therapy lamp for the cold and dark winter months, and let me tell you, it is a game changer. I turn the lamp on for 20 minutes in the morning as I continue with my morning routine, and I feel more awake and energized throughout the day. I will explain more about light therapy later in this post.
Goal Setting & Visualization
Next thing on the routine list is to revisit some of my long and mid-term goals for the future, and to write out my goals for the day. I like to pick 3 primary goals for myself each day, and then write out a small to-do list of all the tasks that I need to get done. This helps me structure my days with my goals as the focal point for my scheduling. After doing that I will take 5 minutes to sit in meditation on how I plan on accomplishing both those short-term goals for myself, and my long-term goals as well.
I like to get up and get moving as soon as I can. Movement erases that grogginess in the morning and assists in waking me up. It also gets me prepped for a morning workout if my schedule allows for some morning exercise.
Typically I will do some form of cardio whether that be swimming, running, or biking in order to get it out of the way. I feel energized following a workout, so I feel like this helps me get amped up for the day. Not to mention, if I do it in the morning, I get it out of the way for the rest of the day!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right!? After getting some movement in for the day, I will take some time to make a high protein, nutrient-dense meal that will help energize me for the day and replenish my body from the morning's workout.
Shower, Get Ready, and Go!
After eating I hop into the shower (a cold one if I feel ambitious enough), get dressed, and get ready to work or do schoolwork!
Design Your Own Morning Routine
I am going to list out some of the main components that you should incorporate into your morning routine in order to set yourself up for daily success. Keep in mind, it is up to you on how you will structure your routine, or with how much you choose to structure your routine. I would encourage you to get on a consistent sleep-wake schedule, make sure you are getting 7+ hours of quality sleep per night, and you keep your goals in mind when designing this routine.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As I mentioned earlier, it is important to get a good start drinking water in the morning. A cold glass of water or two can help wake you up if you're dragging your feet a little. I know some people who have substituted their coffee in the morning with a large glass of ice water because they feel like it wakes them up just as well!
Most people don't get enough hydration throughout the day, so getting a jump on it early can be huge to hitting hydration goals. Another way is by filling up a motivational water bottle. This style of water bottle marks different amounts of water that is to be consumed by a certain point in the day, and also has motivational phrases on it! I've found this to be a great tool to making sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. You can buy them here.
Turn On Bright Light or See the Sunrise
Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University, is a huge advocate for immersing yourself in a bright environment as soon as you wake up. Ideally this would be seeing the sunrise, but for a lot of people (especially in the winter) this can be difficult to do. The idea is that your photoreceptors in your eyes send messages to the brain that tell the brain about the light, which then causes the body to believe it needs to be awake. This will suppress the body's production of melatonin, which will make you feel more awake and less groggy.
If you don't have access to direct sunlight in the morning, or dont have time to watch the sunrise all the time, there are a couple of alternative solutions. One solution that works pretty well is light therapy lamp as I mentioned before when discussing my routine. Light therapy lamps can also help with seasonal depression, and evidence has shown that it can significantly reduce the risk and treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). You can find a light therapy lamp with the recommended settings here.
And finally, if you can't do either of those, turn your lights on in your room! It is not believed to be as effective as the other two methods, but the light in your room can have a similar effect on your brain. Being in a dark room isn't going to wake you up at all!
Set and Revisit Your Goals
When you prioritize your goals, you tend to make quicker progress towards accomplishing them. I encourage you to incorporate some type of daily goal setting habit into your morning routine so that you start your day off on the right foot. Set daily goals, revisit long-term goals, or even just think about what you want to accomplish today! When you start your day off with some goal setting, you'll have them in the back of your mind for the rest of the day.
If you know me, you know I love my exercise and I am a huge proponent for using exercise as a way to benefit nearly every aspect of your life. Getting some movement whether that be through cardio, mobility, lifting, or even just doing a couple sets of jumping jacks or pushups can really help you wake up quickly, and help you feel good for the rest of the day. Find a workout routine that works best for you, or work with a personal trainer to write the best program for you and your schedule and start moving!
Fuel Your Body for the Rest of the Day
No, I'm not talking about 3 cups of coffee here. I'm talking about REAL energy, as in calories! I recommend a high-protein, nutrient-dense breakfast that you can digest well. One of my go-to breakfasts is a breakfast burrito with a fruit and vegetable smoothie. Be creative, and make a breakfast that you will enjoy eating. Don't stuff yourself with empty calories and too much caffeine, or else you're going to crash! A solid morning routine includes a nutritious meal that is going to bring you sustained energy throughout the rest of the morning.
I really hope this article has you thinking about what your morning routine is going to look like. Remember, a successful day starts with a successful moning that helps wake you up and keeps you alert and productive for the rest of the day. You don't have to be a morning person to have a phenomenal morning routine! I encourage you to share this article with your friends, partner, family, or anyone who you want to crush your morning routines with!