How you choose to wake up in the morning is how you choose to set the tone for the rest of the day. If you wake up late and rush your way out the door, chances are you will be quite irritable. On the flip side, if you spend time enjoying your mornings, you will feel more relaxed and ready to conquer your day.
Creating a morning routine that works for you can be the most invaluable lesson of a lifetime.
Not a morning person? Don’t worry – you can follow some of the below examples of how top leaders and highly successful people start their day.
Brad Lande, head of Birchbox Man, said he wasn’t ever a morning person. Once he realized how positively effective a morning routine could be on his health and well-being, he now has a set routine. He says, “I did not arrive at them overnight. I discovered them along the way, and they have shifted my mornings from a sleepy blur to a clear awakening.”
- Wake up early
- Wake up early enough so that you have time to yourself before you start the rest of your day. Know that many successful leaders wake up before 6 a.m., so think twice before hitting that snooze button. Start small by setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. Once you get use to that, adjust to a time that suits you best. For example, Indra Nooyi, Pepsi CEO, wakes up at 4 a.m. and is at work no later than 7 a.m. (wow!)
- Drink water
- As soon as you get out of bed, hydrate yourself with a glass of water. Your body is dehydrated from 5-8 hours of sleeping, so you need to replenish. Pick your fancy: iced water, room temperature, or with a lemon. Water is the life of your body; the average adult human body consists of 50-65% water. Kat Cole, group president of FOCUS brands (Auntie Ann’s, Carvel, Cinnabon) drinks 24 ounces of water every morning. She says “We are so lucky to have access to clean drinking water, and I think about how grateful I am for that almost every day.”
- Be Thankful
- Express gratitude towards yourself and where you are. Appreciate that you have a roof over your head, a family, dog, significant other, and/or food to eat. If you are working towards a goal, recognize the progress you have made whether big or small. Celebrate the fact that your passion is still there and living. Write down the things you are thankful for in a journal to make them concrete. You need to be able to learn the value of your current situation before you can really bloom and go to the next level.
- Make Your Bed
- Something as little as making your bed can influence your mind into establishing order that day. By doing so, you are setting the precedent for an organized day, which can bring you a sort of serenity that can ease your mind. Besides, it’s great to come home to an already-made bed! A disheveled bed represents chaos, and you want to ensure you are creating peaceful order around you instead.
- Eat a solid breakfast
- I’m sure you’ve all heard this before: you are what you eat. Try not to pick up that pop tart or chocolate chip muffin. They are full of sugar and carbohydrates that will surely give you a quick boost of energy, but they will also give you a fast crash. Opt for a healthier option like oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, or eggs. These types of food are packed with lots of nutrients that will continue fueling your body for the rest of the day.
- Write Down Your Goals
- Writing down your goals gives you a clear-cut agenda to what you want to accomplish for the day. Visualize your life goals and write down how you are going to get closer each day. Because your tasks will become more manageable, you will see that your dreams will become true a lot faster.
- Clear your Mind
- Tackle your day by clearing your mind. Try exercising in the morning to give you a boost of energy and ease of stress. Take meditation classes if you can so you can learn the practice of being still and resetting. If classes are out of your budget, download apps like Headspace and Stop, Breathe and Think to download some free guides to help you meditate. There are lists of meditations that are specific to gratitude, joy, forgiving yourself, falling asleep, and dealing with anxiety. Once you learn how to meditate, you’ll find that you are able to deal with each day more productively.
- Eat the frog
- Mark Twain puts it like this: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” In other words, tackle the largest task first and do not procrastinate. Get the frog out of the way. The rest of your day will feel easier and you will have more energy to devote to the smaller tasks.
- Watch or Read the News
- Leaders like Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, and many others have made reading the news part of their everyday routine. You can think of educating yourself about the rest of the world as a productive break. Give yourself a global perspective of things before you try to gain perspective of your own.
Everyone has a different morning routine. Find what best suits you. For those of you who have a morning routine that works, what is it?
Photography: DCP New York