Morning rituals are important because what we do first thing in the morning sets the stage for the whole day. This is the time we’re least likely to get interrupted and can accomplish things we most want to get done. Rituals help us start off on a positive note and give us a sense of accomplishment—we’ve achieved some small wins already and we’re in control instead of reacting to what gets thrown at us; they also give us less to think about, so we can free up time and energy for other things in our day.
How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. – Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning
Ideally, your morning routine should consist of things that you like to do and make you feel good. I like the word “ritual” over routine, which sounds like more like drudgery. Ritual is usually associated with religious ceremony, but it’s also defined as “a series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner.” Rituals consist of habits that can be changed, so we have a lot of control over how our day turns out (and our lives).
Morning Rituals of High Performers
High performing people have rituals in their day that are important to their success. In Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans, interviewees like Tony Robbins do many of same things in the morning, such as meditation, gratitude practice, cold showers, and make their beds.
Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget. – Charles Duhigg
- Writing/journaling – many successful people, coaches and mentors recommend getting your thoughts down on paper first thing in the morning as it’s an ideal time for creativity. Here’s some ideas. Express gratitude: “I’m grateful for _____________.” Studies by positive psychologists show that grateful people are happier people (think of 3-10 things and vary them). You could write about what would make your day great and visualize what you want to create in your life (be clear about how you want every area of your life to look like). Affirmations: “I am successful,” etc. Have a plan and write down the things you want to do that day that will help you reach your long-term goals (be sure to schedule in some fun and self-care too), and do the most important thing you want to accomplish before checking your phone/e-mail.
- Meditation – more than 80 percent of Tim Ferriss’ interviewees practice some form of daily mindfulness or meditation. There’s tons of research on the benefits of meditation, such as increased memory, focus, creativity, improved immune function, and stress reduction. However, this is a hard one for many people, including me, especially first thing in the morning. But it doesn’t have to be for very long—it could just be for 10-20 minutes.
- Exercise – will help energize you for the day. It can be whatever you like to do; if you get can outside and get some sunlight too, that’s even better as it helps regulate your circadian rhythm. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective workout that only takes a few minutes.
- Learning – the morning is an ideal time for the brain to learn new things. Choose inspirational and motivational books, podcasts, videos, etc.
- Get up earlier – early risers may be more proactive and thus more successful, according to this study. Some coaches and mentors advocate getting up at 5:00 a.m. (“the 5:00 am club”). Robin Sharma says the first 20 minutes should be exercise, the next 20 on planning/goals, and the final 20 on learning new things. Of course, you don’t have to get up at 5:00 am, it can be whatever the ideal time is for you (don’t rob yourself of sleep).
- Listen to uplifting music – preferably something that puts you in a good mood and helps you focus. I listen to Wholetones, which is supposed to have healing frequencies.
- Breathing exercises – the Wim Hof method raises oxygen levels for more energy, less stress, and improved immune response.
- HeartMath – an app that helps you get into coherence (a state of synchronization between your heart, brain, and autonomic nervous system), which has been proven to have many mental, emotional and physical benefits like reducing stress and connecting to your intuition.
- Drink a glass of warm water (preferably filtered or spring water) with the juice of one lemon – lemon water has Vitamin C, helps to re-hydrate you, and aids in digestion and detoxification.
- Make a cup of your favorite tea or coffee – take your time, sit and savor it and think positive thoughts about your day ahead.
Whether the day is for writing, designing, or painting, the consistent practice of a morning routine is the doorway into it all. – Elle LunaI
What’s the best way to start your morning? It’s whatever works best for you. We’re all different, so your ideal morning ritual is whatever helps get you in the right mindset for a productive day.
I do most of the things listed above, not always in the first hour, though. I usually get up at 5:30 am and exercise at 6:00 am. When I get my healthy habits in first thing in the morning, I feel better physically and mentally. I have the hardest time with journaling regularly. I’m reading The 5 A.M. Miracle by Jeff Sanders for inspiration and may trying getting up earlier.
I hope this gives you some new ideas and you’ll try them out. When adding something new, you want to want to do it consistently so it becomes a habit, which can take more than 60 days, often longer.
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way. – Rodgers and Hammerstein from Oklahoma!
What are your favorite morning rituals that help you have a great day?