It is no secret that a consistent morning routine can set you up for a productive day ahead, helping you get closer to your goals and targets, allowing you to feel more energized, focused with greater motivation.
It is also no secret that during the past 8 weeks our regular, winning morning routines might just have slipped down the drain! What with the kids and whole family at home, home school pressures, juggling work loads and general lockdown life, the last thing you might be thinking of is taking time for yourself in the morning (chances are we are grasping every second of extra sleep we can get) but here are some reasons why we should dodge the snooze button and start our day with purpose.
Research suggests that when you accomplish things from the minute you wake up (no matter how small the activity), your brain produces the much – needed dopamine. Inadequate amounts of dopamine can lead to problematic symptoms such as:-
- Depression / anxiety
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of focus
- Cravings / addictions
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of motor control
All things that we want to avoid – now more than ever! Take working out for example. If you’re not a natural early riser, the thought of getting your kit on as soon as you wake up might not be overly appealing. However with a routine comes a habit. The more you encourage your mind and body to practice these good habits, the easier it becomes. Once you associate rising bright and early with that post – workout feeling, full of endorphins and motivation, it becomes less of a chore and more of a choice.
So, how do we go about building this strong, consistent morning routine. Your morning routine will play a key role in setting your day up for success. However it is important to note that YOUR routine is personal to YOU as an individual. When creating your own routine, be sure to factor in your personal needs and requirements – it will literally work because it was your creation and made for you. Here are some ideas for how you can develop your very own routine:-
- Find your WHY. By this I mean what is it that is important to YOU and only you? Mindtools have a brilliant article on deciding your core values and deciding on what is important to you – have a read here https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_85.htm. I have 3 values that are important to me: family, health, continual self – growth and development. Once you recognize your 3 – 4 values, it becomes really easy to align your routine with these values. Closely followed by what are your goals? And what makes you happy. I find writing these things down and checking them on a regular basis to be a really helpful tool. Of course we can’t always factor in everything that makes us happy to our morning routine, but we can certainly include a few – mine would be getting a good sweat on and a nice cup of coffee!
- Identify your daily ‘to do’ list. I know this is something I talk about a lot. But I cannot stress to you enough the importance of a good list! Again this might not cover everything, and things are likely to pop up along the way, but starting your day by listing your core daily tasks can really get your brain engaged and ensure you are off to a good start.
- Next, think of some activities you can include that align with your values. For example – if health is something you’re focusing on, you might schedule in some yoga, a workout, a healthy smoothie or a run. If family is in there, you might plan to drop your loved ones a text, or practice some meditation to help you focus on your working tasks later in the day.
- Plan to execute. Once you have figured out a rough idea of actions – it is time to piece it altogether. Some people will find this relatively easy (if your schedule is similar everyday) for others this might take some more planning. For those with irregular schedules, focus more on what you want to achieve rather than a scheduled time – simply execute these plans at your convenience. Work out the time you need before your day begins (this may involve waking up a little earlier but trust me it will be worth it).
- Start small. You will not just wake up one day and nail everything on your morning routine list. Routines are something we build on everyday, making them habits and habits take some persistence. Start with waking up and drinking a glass of water. The next day add some meditation or a walk, and so on. Take your time, there is no need to feel a sense of overwhelm by trying to add a million and one things into your morning. Focus on a few, once these become easy, add some more. Eventually you will have a hand crafted, strong and consistent morning routine created by YOU making your day more productive, easier and generally something you look forward to.