Mornings are supposed to be about waking up with a smile on your face. You should be full of energy and eagerness to get out of bed and conquer the day ahead. For some people, a cup of coffee can give them that rush early on. For others, it’s a good healthy breakfast to fuel your body first thing in the morning. There are also people who like to spend some time with their family or significant other before they get on with the busy day ahead. At least that’s what the idyllic mornings look like in most romantic comedies. But is this what your morning ritual should look like?
From what I have seen, most people get up 15-20 minutes before they have to leave for work or school. Rushing through everything, they take a quick shower and get dressed in a blink of a second. They don’t have time for breakfast and need to take something quick on the go. They seem agitated and nervous, and they just don’t have any time for themselves as they’re also in a hurry. After that, they go to work and by the time they get back home, they are so tired that the only thing they feel like doing is turning the TV on, making a quick dinner and falling on the couch. And that is most people’s idea of relaxation.
If 5 (or 6) out of 7 days in the week start this way, when do we have time for ourselves? How can we organize our lives and chase after a certain goal? Can we be at peace with such a routine? If all we do is sleep late, rush our mornings, work all day and relax in front of the TV because we are tired, how can we grow and progress? Well, according to numerous gurus from all over the world, the answer lies within a little miracle we can all incorporate – a Morning Ritual.
What Is A Morning Ritual?
The basic explanation of a Morning Ritual is to consistently take the same (or very similar) actions in the morning before you go to work or begin the regular daily schedule. It usually consists of 3 to 7, sometimes up to 10, repetitive actions.
Actually, most people are having morning rituals and not even realizing it. If every day you do the same things, in the same order – you wake up, brush your teeth, make yourself a cup of hot coffee and drink it while you’re getting ready or on your way out of the house, then you already have a morning ritual. We, as human beings, are creatures of habits. And when we find something that makes us comfortable, we tend to stick to it and this is not a bad thing.
The problem comes when that Morning Ritual you have established is not as productive or as healthy as you want it to be.
A healthy morning ritual should be getting you excited once you open your eyes in the morning. To be easily implemented, it could start from the evening before. For example, if your goal is to wake up earlier but still have plenty of good night sleep, then you should go to bed earlier. If you want to go to the gym first thing in the morning, prepare your bag, gym clothes and sports shoes from the evening so that you have simplified the morning process.
What Should Your Morning Ritual Include?
As mentioned before, simplifying the process is a must as no one likes to have complicated mornings (or days in fact). Think about what you want to have done and how you can make it easier as we looked with the gym example.
By following many experts on the topic, numerous examples appeared so I summarized them here. Please have in mind that there is no such thing as the perfect morning ritual. Just because someone you admire is doing it, doesn’t mean that it will fit your life and goals the same way.
– Wake up earlier – this one was the main point. Why? Because when you wake up before the rest of your world, it’s less likely that you will be disturbed with emails, phone calls, facebook and etc. The peace and quiet of the early morning will make you more productive and it gives you some extra time you wouldn’t have otherwise.
– Don’t hit the snooze button – If you want to wake up early and start the day successfully, then you should not be snoozing. If you do press the beloved button, that means that the first thing you say to your body in the morning is “hey, it’s okay to fail and stay in bed for longer”
– Make Your Bed – there is a famous saying going about this – If you want to change the world, make your bed first. As per science, this habit will help with organizing your thoughts. It also immediately makes you feel accomplished first thing in the morning.
– Forget About Your Phone – another “must” according to guys like Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Tim Ferris, Jim Rohn and etc. Notifications take away our attention and focus and we start to worry/think about everything else but not ourselves. The mornings are to be owned by us and to make it all about us. So, ditch the habit of checking your social media accounts on email right when you wake up. Leave this for later on in the day.
– Drink Water – during our 6-9 hour sleep, our bodies dehydrate a lot and the first thing we need to do is refuel them with the most important liquid. Make sure that it’s not too cold – in fact, a bit of warm water is perfect, especially with a squeeze of lemon juice.
– Do Some Exercise – there are several benefits here. If we start with some light stretching, we are less likely to get injured during the day. This also gets your blood flowing, lubricates your joints and can help with muscle stiffness. However, if we put more into it and actually sweat – that helps further. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins that react with brain receptors and reduce our perception of pain and positivity exponentially growths. Jumping jacks are a great start.
– Keep a Journal – According to Robin Sharma, if you put your worries on a piece of paper, the negative part is largely reduced and they affect you less. And if we write down our positive thoughts, it’s more likely that we will accomplish them. This works best for writing down our daily plans and goals. Organizing our day on a piece of people will save us time and will make our schedule easy to follow. Especially if it’s a busy one.
– Read a Book – this can be easily misunderstood by many people. Reading is good, but not all types of reading are beneficial. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – obviously to be avoided. Focus on books that can help you grow. Avoid fiction books in the morning and emphasize more on autobiographies of successful people, self-help books, motivational readings as well. If you prefer listening to something, then go for an audiobook or a podcast.
– Have a Healthy Breakfast – If you need to have breakfast in the morning, then don’t skip this. However, don’t go with pancakes with syrup. Try to keep up the momentum going with a good healthy breakfast. This way you are more likely to continue eating healthy foods throughout the day as well.
These are some of the best things you can include in your morning ritual. And if you decide to stick to some of them for a few weeks, you will start seeing improvement in your daily rituals, mornings and days in general.
My Morning Ritual
I have just recently begun implementing the “no snooze” habit and I have to admit – it’s not easy! But it does help you get up and you never regret it (after the first 3-4 minutes, of course). Then I start with jumping jacks – at least 30 and this gets me going efficiently. Then I breathe deeply for 30-40 seconds and exhale loudly to emphasize on the process. I take a moment to sit down on the end of the bed, close my eyes for a second and then look on our vision board. After I’m done visualizing at least one of the goals on our vision board, I wash my face, brush my teeth and all that stuff.
Next comes hydration. However, I add lemon in my water as well. Lemon is extremely alkaline and helps to raise the pH balance of the body. It also contains vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Warm water with lemon juice increases the metabolic rate. It also helps with digestion and weight loss. I drink two glasses of lemon water and simultaneously I do stretches or light exercises. I usually go to the gym or play tennis in the morning, so this is a good warm-up.
When I finish those things, I go to my journal which serves as a daily planner as well. I begin with three things I am grateful for. We can only feel so much emotion at a time. So when we express what we are grateful for, we neglect negative emotions.
Then I write down 3 small accomplishments from the day before. It can be something as simple as holding the door for someone, finishing a good book, improving on a certain skill. I organize my day and put down something like a “to-do” list but with more emotion put behind it. Why am I doing this? A simple to-do list, might not get the job done as emotions are our biggest engine.
The last thing in my diary is the “financial” part. This includes our incomes and expenses.
I should mention that I have made numerous modifications on my morning routine throughout the years. The most important one is that I removed reading from the mornings. The reason is not that I don’t love doing it, but just the opposite. When I was reading during my mornings, I was spending around 10-15 minutes per day. However, that was not enough for me. I’m quite a book nerd so now reading is a whole separate category in my daily routine and it is usually around an hour per day.
You have probably seen a huge amount of articles or vlogs saying that you MUST be having a morning ritual where you do this and that and then this again and you will become Elon Musk’s boss. The fact is that most successful people do have a certain routine they follow. But it’s not all about it. Yes, the morning ritual is helpful. And yes, it has numerous benefits. Yes, it can actually change your life (probably not as a dramatic change as you might have hoped).
And yes, I do recommend that you try some form of it. However, don’t listen to anyone. It’s not a “must” do, it’s a “must” try in my opinion. Take your time to make a research. Write down 3-5 of the healthy habits that we mentioned, try them for several weeks and see how you feel. And try including things you actually enjoy doing. My wild guess is that you will actually be quite happy with the results and that you will LOVE your mornings.