The perfect morning routine. What does that even mean? Probably something very different to you than it does to me.
Growing up I was the furthest from a morning person. Given the chance, I would sleep well into the afternoon hours. They say youth is wasted on the young, right? But over the years (and especially after having my son), I now consider myself firmly a morning person. That’s not to say that it’s easy for me to get out of bed; it’s not. But once I do, I am ready to go and tend to get the most/best work done in the morning.
Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused. We’re able to have some strong contributions in terms of planning, in terms of thinking, in terms of speaking well.” – Psychologist Ron Friedman via Harvard Business Review
While I am still working on perfecting my own morning routine, there are a few things that everyone should include in their AM plans.
Make Your Bed
In his viral 2014 commencement speech, Admiral William H. McRaven shared some of the lessons he picked up during his career as a Navy SEAL. One of them was to start each day off by making your bed. Why? There are two simple reasons I can think of.
1. It helps your day get off to a good start. If all else fails, you can know that you accomplished something.
2. How much nicer is it to come home to a made bed? There’s something almost luxurious about slipping into a neatly made set of sheets.
Remember that time I claimed to be a morning person? Well, that applies to everything EXCEPT exercise. When my alarm goes off in the morning, if I know I have set aside that first 30-45 minutes to work out, odds are I’m rolling right back over in bed. I’m okay with that. Not everyone is meant to get in their work out first thing in the morning. HOWEVER, everyone should add some degree of activity to their morning routine — even if that just means a few minutes of stretching as you make your way out of bed.
If you don’t know where to start, check out these five morning stretches to get you going.
The Most Important Meal
Sure, it’s a cliche that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But things that become cliches usually have an element of truth to them, and that’s definitely the case here. Eating breakfast has been proven to kick-start your metabolism. Your body craves food to help your muscles and brain to work to their full potential.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the yogurt/chia/fruit/avocado/toast shown in the picture above; one of my go-to options throws many of those things into a blender for a simple smoothie. I combine a spinach/kale combo with OJ, yogurt, and frozen fruit (usually berries) for mine – simple, nutritious, and SO yummy!
Think Things Through
For me, this is the thing that can really make or break a day. When I get to the end of an unusually stressful day, I can often attribute that to a lack of thought on the front end. I like to split this part of my morning in two.
First comes Jesus. Since I am one of the first people to arrive in my office, I like to spend a few minutes reading and journaling/praying. Depending on your beliefs, this might look a little different. Maybe you want to meditate or start a gratitude journal to ensure your day gets off to a positive start.
After that comes planning. It’s so important to take a look at the day ahead and set some priorities for yourself. You’re much more likely to stay on track and get more done. What might cost you five minutes at the start of your day can save you infinitely more by the end.
Do YOU have any other must-do’s for your perfect morning routine? Need a hand figuring out what might work best for you? Let me know, and I can help you work it out! Whatever makes it into your AM routine, just be sure that you’re setting yourself up for a successful day ahead. That’s what this it’s all about, after all.