Start Your Day The Right Way
Getting a positive start to the morning in the best thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful day, but not everyone manages to do it. Most people manage to get a very negative start to the day - see if this rings any alarm bells:
- Your alarm clock goes off. You turn it off and want more sleep.
- Instead, you pick up your phone
- Bad news. Awful emails. Social media notifications you could do without. You’re not quite awake yet, but your mind is already crammed full of bad things.
- Your mind affects your mood, so you grumpily get out of bed and stomp to the bathroom, stubbing your toe on the way
- You concentrate on the pain in your toe, set the shower too high, and burn yourself
- Now you’re really mad, so you kick the dog, shout at your partner, burn the toast, and scrape the side of the car on the way to work
After all that, you spend the day at work with people who manage to annoy you by their very presence - don’t you wish your day had started out a little better?
Of course, that’s all an exaggeration, but the point is that once something goes wrong, it can set the tone for the rest of your day. Starting your morning positively can only ever be a benefit to you.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE TO START POSITIVELY
If you already have a morning routine, now might be the time to change it. Your morning routine is made up of acquired habits. According to psychological theory, a habit is an action that happens automatically when we encounter a certain setting or situation in which that action has been performed in the past. (1)
This means that if you check your phone first thing, it’s a habit. But unfortunately, as you see in the example above, it’s not a good habit.
Here are some better habits to have that will give you a more positive start to the day.
START THE NIGHT BEFORE
Get enough sleep. There is nothing harder than trying to get up without having had enough sleep. Make sure you go to bed early enough to get up at the time you want to. You probably need between 7 and 9 hours sleep, but that amount varies. (2)
When you've been asleep for several hours, your body will have used up some of your liquid reserves. Make sure you drink water as soon as you wake to replenish your body.
FUEL YOUR BODY
There used to be a rule that said you should never skip breakfast - but this isn’t true. In fact, intermittent fasting is one of the healthier ways to eat, so you might not want to have breakfast. However, if you do, make sure it is full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats - so that means no cereal or pancakes! You’ll feel fuller for longer and have more energy with the former option, and it can help you control your weight. (3)
BUILD A BETTER “YOU”
Take care of your body and mind, as you may find you don’t have time to do it later. Do some exercise - which doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. Do a few push-ups, maybe some squats, jumping jacks, that kind of thing. It gets your blood pumping and your muscles active.
Spend a short time in mindfulness, too. Listen to a 10 minute meditation on YouTube, use a meditation app, or just relax and concentrate on your breathing. You might have heard of doing this before to calm your mind, and that it is good for coping with stressful situations.
What you might not realize is that the mind is like a muscle - exercise and train it whenever you can. Once your mind becomes used to being calm, it is easier to achieve a state of calm when circumstances make you want to fight against it.
Use a few minutes to write a journal. Make a note of a few things you are grateful for, and start your day with an “attitude of gratitude” - after all, you’ve had somewhere comfortable to sleep, which is more than many people have. You have a lot to be thankful for, so make sure you appreciate it.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
It is common for people to take a morning shower and then choose an outfit to wear. This can also be a mistake!
Research suggests that taking a daily shower can remove vital oils and bacteria from your hair and skin, effectively drying both out and potentially causing damage. Try only taking a shower every couple of days to see if your skin and hair improve. (4) Of course, you can still wash - it’s not an excuse to roll in your own dirt!
As for choosing what to wear, think about this. Science says that you only have the capacity to make a set number of choices in a day - after that, your mind gets tired, and you don’t do so well. Steve Jobs (late CEO of Apple) used to, and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) still wears the exact same outfit every day. Get up, get dressed, no choices, no worries. If you want to be a success, you might need to reduce the size of your wardrobe! (5)
PLAN YOUR DAY
Spend a few minutes planning your day. Sure, you know what you’ve got to do, but try and visualize succeeding at everything you have lined up.
Most importantly, plan to do your hardest task first - you’ll have more energy to tackle it if you do it early on, and once it’s done, you’ll feel better about the rest of the day.
So not only are you starting your morning positively, you’re carrying on for the rest of the day too!