In the words of Aristotle,
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
It makes sense that starting your day on the right foot is a sure-fire way to have a productive, easy-going day.
The Miracle Morning
by Hal Elrod
⏱ 16 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
Rise and Shine
The first step, obviously, is waking up, but there is an art to waking up. The trick to starting off your day right is to wake up early and to do it right. This goes beyond those who say “the early bird gets the worm.” Early risers get to reap so many benefits it’s unbelievable.
For the first few hours of the day, you’ll feel a certain peace and calmness, knowing that you’re sharing the morning with the birds and other early risers. You’ll feel like you have all the time in the world. You’ll be able to go through your routine to prepare for the day ahead in a relaxed, unrushed manner instead of, you know, being stressed about being late and attempting to cram a 30-minute routine into 5.
These early, quiet morning hours are guaranteed to give you a beautiful rush of dopamine accompanied by a sense of accomplishment. Why? You just fit more hours into your day, and these hours are when you’ll likely be wildly productive, so as an added bonus, you’ll get a ton of things done.
Let a Little Sunlight In
This next tip actually predates the act of waking. It’s meant to make the process of waking up in a good mood easier. Let a little sunlight in to wake you up slowly. When that beautiful, refreshing light from the sunrise slowly lights up your room, your brain starts slowing down its melatonin production. In its place is an increase of adrenaline.
This basically means that your brain quietly signals your body to start waking up. Soon enough, you won’t even need an alarm! And really, who even likes waking up to an alarm? The answer is nobody.
Ignore Your Phone
Sure, the first thing Mark Zuckerberg does as soon as he wakes up is check Facebook and his work emails, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to follow his routine. It’s actually pretty unhealthy to pick up your phone and have that artificial light shine in your eyes first thing in the morning.
If the first thing you do in the morning is to check your text messages, social media, or work emails, you’re setting yourself up for failure. See, by doing this, you’re starting your day in what is basically a defensive state– forcing a reactive mindset instead of a proactive one.
Ignoring your phone for the first hour or so of your morning will have a dramatic effect on the day ahead.
Start Your Day on a Positive Note
Let’s start off your day on a positive note. Sure, there may be plenty of things to stress about, work, personal life, et cetera, but these negative thoughts have no place in the forefront of your mind first thing in the morning.
Make it a habit every day, before you even get out of bed, to take a few moments to think about all the incredible things that you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude releases feel-good neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, into your system, effectively lifting your mood. Numerous studies have found that the act of practicing gratitude, even if it’s just for a few moments every morning, reduces stress hormones, improves your mood, and relaxes your body.
Read an Inspiring Quote
Do you know who else reads a motivating quote every morning? Oprah Winfrey.
In fact, she reads no less than five. Consider signing up for an app or have a few pre-saved quotes ready on hand to kickstart your day.
Make Your Bed
Do you know what over a hundred wildly successful people do as part of their morning routine? They make their bed.
This unexpected factoid was revealed by Tim Ferriss, author and podcast host of The Tim Ferriss Show.
When you’re first starting out, making your bed seems almost childish, like it’s a waste of time or as an unnecessary act since you’re just going to mess it up again later. But making the bed is a very simple action you can take to start your day off feeling accomplished. Then you’re set for the day ahead already feeling proud and productive. The next task thrown your way? You’ve got this. And hey, when you get home, there is nothing better than fresh sheets and an aesthetically pleasing bed to crawl into.
Alright, the bed’s been made, the motivating quote has been read, and your phone is a safe distance away. It’s time to get a move on– literally.
Some people actually recommend moving even before you open your eyes. So, stretch your body to help increase your blood flow and to send oxygen into your tissues. Start off by stretching your arms, your toes, feet, ankles, and legs before moving on to that satisfying stretch of your neck and back. By the time you’re finished, you’re ready to jump into a happy morning.
Or, alternatively, you can choose another, more taxing sort of physical activity. A lot of people like starting off their day with a simple yoga routine or a set of sit ups or push ups.
No matter which form of exercise you choose, you’ll end up energizing both your mind and body for the day. See what kind of exercise feels best for you and your routine.
Indulge in a Little Self-Care
Now, it’s time to talk about indulgence and self-care. Barely dragging yourself out of bed, already a few minutes too late, skipping breakfast, and throwing on whatever clothing is closest at hand is the farthest thing from a good morning and is even further from the right track to a good day. Self-care is limiting the amount of stress you expose yourself to.
Feeling confident and put together will help you embark on your day in a good, reassured mood. The first step in indulgence is taking your time in the shower. After that, take your time to brush your teeth, wash your face, apply lotion, follow a skincare routine, and overall attend to whichever grooming habits make you feel good about yourself.
Set Goals for the Day Ahead
Do you know what happy people and successful people have in common, if they’re not already the same person? A sense of purpose.
Wandering aimlessly through life is no way to live. Every day should be about trying to make progress on their dreams and accomplishing tasks. This sense of purpose is motivating. So start your day by setting goals for yourself. Think about what you want to accomplish. Consider taking a few minutes each morning to write out a to-do list.
This helps you keep from wasting time later on and to stay focused on the things that matter most. And hey, isn’t the secret to happiness and productivity to live each day in its entirety?
Get Enough Sleep
The last step towards starting your day happy and prepared for the day ahead is actually done the night before, and it’s probably the most important step of all. It’s getting enough sleep.
In order to get through all these habits and morning routines, you need a solid foundation to build upon, and that means having a well-rested body and mind. That groggy feeling when you wake up already irritated and exhausted isn’t how you’re meant to wake up. It– and your mood– depend on your sleep habits. If you often wake up even more tired, dreading having to get out of bed, you probably aren’t getting enough quality sleep.
See, sleep plays a dramatically large role in supporting healthy brain functions. Its role includes improving your overall physical and mental health. That means that getting anything less than the recommended six to eight hours of restful sleep each night is likely to affect your quality of life. How you move through the day, how you think, how you react, how you learn, and how you interact with others are linked to your sleeping habits.
After all, an exhausted person isn’t a happy person.
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