6 Ways to Improve your Morning Routine

In the past month, I’ve experimented with a morning routine that would help me jumpstart my day. I’ve found that waking up just an hour earlier allowed me to accomplish a bit more, and stress a lot less. It puts me in the right mindset and energy to tackle everything I have to do throughout my busy workday.

And with all the hustle and bustle of the new year, I find that taking a step back, centering myself mentally and physically before starting a busy day can really help with the mood, the vibe, and the energy of the entire day.

Breakfast with Protein

As someone who skipped breakfast for throughout his teenage and young adult life, I also rejected the idea that “breakfast is the most important meal.” My appetite tends to be lacking in the morning and I often woke up a bit too late to eat a proper meal.

However, since I’ve started eating a proper (but pretty light) meal, I’ve noticed the burst of energy that I feel as I start my workday. I still can’t eat a breakfast sandwich or burrito in the morning, but a yogurt parfait or a green smoothie is exactly what my body needs to provide me the boost of energy until lunch time. Plus, protein in the morning keeps you feeling satiated so you’re not snacking by mid-to-late morning, ruining your appetite for lunch.

The cognizant I’ve been with type of food I put in my body (and when), the more energetic and the healthier I feel.

Quick Exercise

Unless you wake up a couple hours earlier in the morning, it’s quite difficult to get a workout in before heading to the office. And I’m definitely not a morning person. However,  I find that incorporating a quick yoga flow in the morning gets my joints and muscles warmed up after a night of rest. A couple sun salutations, a few forward flows, and a quick warrior sequence and I’m feeling a bit more energized, endorphins flowing, ready to take on the day.

I try to incorporate a full workout later on in the day, but mixing in a quick five minutes of yoga in the morning has really impacted my energy levels throughout the day.

Keeping a Daily Journal

Self-reflection is an important aspect of self-growth and personal development. Whatever the contents of your journal, it allows you to stop, slow down, and reflect on the state and direction of your life.

I try to journal regularly, but I fall out of the habit. It’s a sporadic habit, but in the past few weeks, I’ve incorporated this into my morning routine as a way to hold myself accountable to document something each and every day. Sometimes, it’s just a quick list of 5 things I’m grateful for. Other times, I write about interesting things that have happened the day or week before. And other times still, I write about my goals and intentions and I feel I’m progressing on them.

Our lives tend to get pretty busy and I find that since I’ve made it a point to journal regularly, it forces me to slow down and reflect on what is happening in my life, rather than simply barely keeping up with everything that is happening.

Reading through your Intentions & Goals

Everyone has goals, both big and small. I’ve always kept track of my goals, and monitored my progress, whether monumental or miniscule. It started a couple years ago, during a period of unemployment where my confidence plummeted and my purpose questioned. So I set a couple goals for myself – learning new skills, getting in shape, and of course, landing a job.

I set smaller goals as indication of whatever “progress” I was making towards these bigger goals. The goals I set were pretty big, so I broke them out into smaller goals, such as reading a book a month on a new skill or interest, working out 3 times a week, and sending out 5 job applications a day. By setting smaller, manageable, and quantifiable targets, it would be easier  to manifest my intentions.

Ever since I actually landed a job a couple weeks after starting goal and intention-setting, I’ve continued to implement this practice into my life. And every morning for the past few weeks, I’ve incorporated reading through my intentions and goals as part of morning routine. It refreshes my memory of what my grander intentions are and how I can work towards them each day and week.

Planning out your Day

When you have a plan for your day, you know what you have to get accomplished. You have a plan of action, a plan of attack. It’s harder to get sidetracked and distracted when you have a list of “must-do’s” for the day to refer back to. It also resets your mindset to be a bit more productive, a bit more efficient.

I’m not necessarily the most organized person. I barely use my Google Calendar. My email has over 10 thousand unread emails (much to the anguish of many of my friends who can’t stand to see the red bubble). However, with this practice, I’m able to increase my productivity and avoid missing important events and projects. I know each and every day before I set foot out of my apartment what the top 2-3 things that I need to accomplish. That way, with all the distraction of city living, social media, and work meetings, I still manage to remain as efficient and productive as possible.

Meditation

Of course, meditation is good for you. It quiets the mind. It reduces stress. It does all kinds of wonders for getting you into a peaceful state of mind. Even so, I find myself in a tenuous relationship with meditation. I know the benefits, I’ve experienced them in the rare periods in my life where I miraculously find myself meditating regularly. However, it’s hard to incorporate into your regular routine. I wake up late for work on day and skip it for a day, and find that I don’t return to my meditation practice for weeks or months.

The biggest barrier I found to a regular meditation practice was that I felt that I needed to sit down for a certain amount of time (15-20 minutes or more) in order to experience the benefits. It might be ideal, but it’s not necessarily the most practical in my personal life. I’ve let go of the need to do it “perfect,” and I’ve started to be okay with shorter meditations in the morning.

I try to sit on my yoga mat each morning, before my breakfast, and focus on my breath, clearing the chatter of my mind (because I’m not worried about all the things I have to do for the day just yet, I’ll be dealing with that after!). Or since I’ve started using Spire, I will use the boosts that provide me with short, but effective guided meditative practices. I try to do this for at least five minutes, typically more, but on those mornings where I just can’t sit still or snoozed just once too many, I will at the very least take a couple deep, conscious breaths before starting the rest of my morning routine.

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