Ten best ways to start your morning (do it now!)
We all know yoga, meditation and gratitude are the best best ways to start your morning but if, like me, you haven’t reached that level of spiritual enlightenment just yet, here are ten other best ways to start your day off right.
Why does it even matter how I start my morning?
Look, you might not be a morning person, in which case I would say it doesn’t matter. Your day’s not ruined just because you didn’t get up and crank out a sun salutation or downward dog while you count your long exhale through your mouth. Just plan yourself a mid-morning or lunchtime routine instead.
But it can set the tone for the day, and it’s a really great opportunity to bring some intentional thinking into your day. To proactively decide on what your day might look like and what you want to achieve, rather than stumble through the day reacting to those around you and getting around to nothing that you wanted to actually get to.
Ways to start your morning off right
1. Set the soundtrack for your day
Whether this is the tune you pick for your alarm, or the playlist you listen to while you make your morning coffee, pick something that points you in the right direction. Maybe you like something calming to start your day off gently, or something a bit quicker paced that gets your booty shaking.
According to Healthline.com “new research shows that even sad music can lift your mood, while other studies suggest music can boost happiness and reduce anxiety.”
Music is a great way to set the tone without even having to do anything yourself!
2. Focus your thoughts
Recognising that we choose our thoughts is the first step towards a positive mindset. We are not bound to a rambling inner monologue if we don’t want to be. Much like a gardener cultivating their garden, pull out the weeds (the unhelpful thoughts) as you see them, and leave room for the intentionally planted positive thoughts to bloom. An easy way to do this is to have your favourite quotes pinned up somewhere you can see them first thing in the morning.
3. Write a to-do list
What does a successful day look like to you? What would make you get to bedtime and think “phew, that was a good day well spent!” Make a list of the things you have to do, the things you’d like to do, and the things you want to get to at some point but doesn’t have to be today. And then cull it. Do you really have to do it? Is it going to contribute to a successful day? What are the most important things? And make sure they stay on the list and get done. Every day that you practice this habit, look at anything that didn’t get done from the day before. Does it still need to be done? Has it become more or less important? The more you practice this, the better you’ll get at writing up a worthwhile list AND achieving it.
4. Spend a moment with your pets
Ok – any loved ones really, but pets are well known for keeping us calm and adding years to your life. Unless your chickens get into your early carrot crop and dig it all up. Speaking from experience, that’s not calming! But that’s a story (and lesson) for another day.
My cats, on the other hand, love to sit in the early morning sun rays. Their wee faces pointing up to the sun in complete contentment. And that makes me love it. So I sit on the deck with them while the house is quiet, hot coffee in hand, and I point my face to the rising sun and enjoy the moment.
5. Habit stack
Here’s one for you productivity lovers! Habit stacking is the practice of consistently doing short jobs back to back so they form a routine. Doing this regularly helps embed the habit, and doing one habit acts as a trigger to the next. This way you can get through a number of chores barely thinking about it, and even better to get them out of the way first thing in the morning. This might be simple household chores, like emptying the dish washer, or putting washing on.
In fact, a fairly common morning routine that uses habit stacking is something like opening your curtains, making the bed and brushing your teeth. They each only take a few minutes, and doing them together bundles the effort and makes sure each one gets done every day.
6. Start the day with a healthy breakfast… that suits you!
A full cooked breakfast isn’t for everyone, so definitely pick something that suits you. But a healthy breakfast is something everyone can do, and is one less meal of the day for you to go astray. Whether you like to start with a light smoothie, a hearty bowl of porridge or a breakfast frittata, keep it healthy and easy and you’ll avoiding over eating later in the day.
7. Swallow the frog
Have you heard of this one? Eat the frog?
I’ve previously written about this in a post about productivity. Bringing it regularly into your morning routine will build consistency with tackling the hard jobs first and not inviting procrastination into your day.
8. Breath to start your morning right
Ok, so this is a pretty obvious precursor to yoga but you don’t need any prior knowledge or ability for this one! Just sit quietly, or stand out in the morning air and breath slowly – in for ten, out for ten. Or if you want to get fancy, try the box breathing technique; breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, breathe out for 5 seconds and hold again for 5 seconds. You can build up to ten seconds on each count, or longer, as you feel up to it.
Something as simple as this can start your morning from a place of calm and set you up for a great day ahead.
9. Easy, gentle stretching
I think stretching in the morning is a good practice for multiple reasons. It’s a great thing to do regularly just to maintain flexibility. It’s a pleasant way to just re-connect with your body in the morning, feel where any aches and pains might be and give them a little attention. And a bit of movement helps to get both your blood (and therefore oxygen) and your lymph moving around your body. Your lymph system doesn’t have a pump of it’s own – it relies on your body’s movement. So after a night of regenerating and cleaning out old cells, this can help support the final steps of throwing out the trash.
10. Lift your head up and drop your shoulders
One of the very earliest lessons I remember learning from self-help guru Tony Robbins was how our posture can affect our mood. In his early teachings he would take you through an exercise of sitting slumped, with your head down. And thinking about how it made you feel.
Then standing up, chest out, head up, shoulders down, big smile. And recognising that you felt more optimistic, happy, ready for anything, simply by changing your posture. Not your thoughts, or your circumstances. Just your posture. Isn’t that a great way to start your morning?
So my friend… stand up, relax your shoulders down and straighten your back. Raise your chin up, take a deep breath, smile widely. And embrace the day ahead!
Go get ’em tiger. 🙂