by Carthage Buckley, Stress and Performance Coach
Does your morning routine consist of staying in bed as late as possible while barely making it to work on time? Getting the day off on the wrong foot can negatively impact your entire day. I have to admit that there was a time when I was like this. I convinced myself that I was a night owl and would make up the work time by working later. When I finally found the time to view things objectively, I had to accept that when I was late getting out of the bed; I would spend the rest of the day chasing my tail and would rarely, if ever, complete a full day’s work. I didn’t have a positive morning routine to get me going. Instead, I started the day like a zombie climbing out of the grave. Not exactly the type of start you would expect from a high performer.
Imagine how different your life would be if you had a positive morning routine that ensured a good day, instead! A positive morning routine does not have to be anything complicated. It merely needs to help you get your day started.
If you’re like most people, your morning probably goes something like this:
- Alarm goes off.
- Hit snooze (3 times, at least).
- Lie there and think about how much you don’t want to get up. Or maybe you think about how much you dislike your job.
- Get dressed.
- Run out the door with a granola bar (or nothing) in your hand.
How can you expect to have a great day when that’s your morning routine?
Developing a positive morning routine
A good day requires preparation and a solid foundation. Consider these ideas when developing your positive morning routine:
1. Wake up earlier
The key to getting up earlier is to go to bed at an appropriate time. For some reason we tend to want to stay up as late as possible and squeeze as much out of the night as possible. If you want to get more important work done during the day; your efforts must start the night before.
You’ll need some extra time in the morning to accommodate your constructive changes. So, a positive morning routine starts with an early night.
2. Get up immediately
I remember on my 25th birthday I did a firewalk across burning coals up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. I was psyched up and didn’t think about it. As soon as I was standing in front of the coals I went for it without delay. The fact that I didn’t delay prevented me from making excuses and backing out.
On the other hand, I did a bungee jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand. I did not jump immediately and my mind quickly began to focus on negative thoughts. After a few minutes of hesitation, a group who were climbing the bridge at the time began to cheer me on. This distracted me to the point that my mind cleared from all thinking. Immediately, I jumped and enjoyed one of the best experiences of my life. Hesitating and allowing my mind the opportunity to think negatively almost caused me to back out.
If you want to start the day effectively, you cannot afford to give yourself the opportunity to become distracted. Avoid lying there and thinking negatively about your day, life, job, challenges, or anything else. It’s harder to think negative thoughts if you’re up and doing something. As soon as the alarm starts to sound, jump out of bed. Do not turn the alarm off until you are upright and get up immediately before you convince yourself that five minutes won’t hurt.
3. Drink water
You’ve likely gone 8+ hours without a drink. Have a big glass of water. Leave a bottle of water on the bathroom counter if that’s more convenient. Just be sure to get your water – you’ll feel 10 times better in 10 minutes.
On days where I have to travel, I make a point of filling a water bottle and bringing it with me. I would estimate that I have consumed at least 1 litre of water within an hour of waking.
I have had to get back into this habit this year but since I have done so I have found that I am ready to go much earlier and as an added bonus, my body is working and feeling significantly better.
4. Enjoy a little exercise
Take a walk, jump on the treadmill, do some pushups. It doesn’t matter which exercise you do, but do something. Focus on positive thoughts and get your body moving. Emotion comes from motion so by getting your body moving, you are also getting your mind warmed up with some positive feelings for the day ahead.
This is the perfect time to use affirmations. You’re not doing anything intellectually stimulating anyway. Use the time to tell yourself how great you are and how wonderful life is.
Throughout a normal day, you will experience many thoughts and receive many different messages. You can take responsibility for ensuring that you receive many positive and reaffirming messages by practicing affirmations. The shower provides a great opportunity for you to do this.
It sounds silly, but try it and you’ll like it and your confidence will grow.
6. Eat a good breakfast
One very bad habit that I have developed over the years is skipping breakfast. I believe that this made a big contribution to my sluggish start to the day. How could I possibly expect to achieve high performance if I was not going to fuel my body for the day?
Having breakfast before I leave the house is another habit that I am trying to develop this year. I don’t go overboard; a bowl of healthy cereal is a big improvement in itself. I am now finding that I have more energy for my morning efforts.
Have some yogurt and fruit. Maybe a healthy cereal is more your style? But sit down and have at least a small meal. This also provides another opportunity to focus on the positive affirmations.
7. Meditate or read something inspiring
Take 10 minutes to meditate or read. Meditation provides the opportunity for you to still your mind and allow the worries of the world to drift away. I find that once I have meditated, I am more focused on what is important and prepared to take the necessary actions.
Inspiring reading material will motivate you and get you ready for the day. Reading broadens your mind and develops your thinking. Just 10 minutes per day will add up to a lot of positive, inspirational and educational material over the course of a year. Nowadays, with Kindles and eReaders, it always possible to bring some inspirational material with you.
8. Review your goals
Take 5 minutes and review your goals. When you are trying to be more effective, every decision that you make should be made with your goals in mind. You don’t want to be wasting precious time on tasks which do not bring you closer to achieving your goals. That is why you should review your goals each day to make sure you stay focused and moving in the right direction.
Goals that are reviewed regularly are far more likely to be met. Make your goals a priority.
9. Attack the day
Now you’re ready to get out there and accomplish something. How could you not be successful? Continue thinking positively for as long as possible. You’ll find that you can make it a little longer each day.
And, while you are feeling positive and your energy levels are at their highest, start the day by tackling the most important task which you can complete with the time and resources available to you. You will find it easier to get the task completed and once you have completed it; you will realise that you have already had a successful day, thus motivating you to keep going make the most of the day.
This routine outlined above may take 90 minutes or more to complete. If that’s longer than you can spend, come up with an abbreviated version that works for you. A well thought out positive morning routine can have a significant impact on your life, happiness, and success. Give it a try and see how it changes your day. I am confident that over time you will see far greater results than you had previously achieved.
About the author
Carthage Buckley is a Stress and Performance Coach who helps entrepreneurs, management and driven professionals to identify and eliminate the sources of stress while developing and implementing strategies to realise their objectives and create a happy, healthy and successful life.
The principle philosophy of Carthage’s coaching is that the individual can shape their own world, rather than waiting for their world to shape them. Working from the inside out, it is perfectly possible for each person to create their own life, allowing them to fulfil their personal desires while living in harmony with the world around them.
Carthage has lived and worked in 5 countries and continues to work with clients all around the world, both in person and via the Internet.