JJ Ellis Personal Trainer

Morning Routine

How you start your day has a bigger impact on your life than you probably realise. Here are some ideas on how to get yourself in a positive frame of mind right from the start.

The idea behind a morning routine is to get you in a happy state of mind. Your state of mind is so important because it affects your outlook on life which will affect how you interact with people (including how they perceive you ) and all of your decisions (both consciously and sub-consciously). So if you can start the day off in a good mood, you are on track early to have a good day. And by a good day, I mean you will be more likely to achieve what you set out to achieve, but even more important than that, you will be much more likely to be living in the present moment and enjoying your life ( and isn’t that everyones’s ultimate goal? Sidenote; if you are able to achieve a present state of mind and happiness, you will find yourself much more productive at the things that matter to you and you will achieve more.)

Below are some ideas on how to go about achieving this state of mind. Have a think about it and see if any of them would work for you. One way to kick your day off well is by simply doing one or more things that you like – even if for only a moment or a few minutes.

Xerox Vice President (Kevin Warren);

  • Listens to music in the car on way to work
  • Meditates
  • Has a shower
  • Exercises

Is adaptive with his routine so that he still does it even when he travels, but realises that SOMETIMES it isn’t always the best course of action (for example if he is exhausted and needs a rest). In this situation he will give himself a rest, realising that things aren’t always black and white.

Todd Davis is the Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at FranklinCovey. 

This is an excerpt from an interview that a reporter conducted with him;

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

“I will read something uplifting or meaningful for ten minutes or so each morning. Years ago I wrote what’s called a ‘personal mission statement’ that outlines my values and my highest priorities. I often read through that and just spend a few minutes on personal reflection before the day begins.”

 

 

Personal note; this is something worth giving serious thought. If you feel like you are living in accordance to what you value and your beliefs, and also moving towards the goals that are most important to you, then you are making large in-roads to being satisfied with your life.

Here is another interview – this one was conducted with Hilary Matheson, a designer, photographer, ultrarunner, and climber. I have added this just to highlight the need to manage your rest/sleep. (A morning routine will be less effective if you consistently wake up tired.)

What time do you go to sleep?

“I try to get at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night, which means I’m in bed with the lights out by 11:30pm. When I need to be up earlier, I work backwards with my bedtime so that I consistently keep those seven and a half hours reserved for sleep.”

L’Oreal Thompson Payton is a blogger and freelance writer, and director of external affairs for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

“There is no one-size-fits-all. What works for me may not work for you… and that’s okay. Find your groove and don’t be afraid to adjust.”

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

“A few years ago, I made it a point to exercise in the morning, and it worked for a while, but I found that it often left me feeling rushed and flustered when getting ready for work. Now I focus on self-care in the mornings with prayer, meditation and journaling. I’ve found this to be the routine that makes me happiest and calmest.”

Do you have a morning workout routine?

“Not anymore. But if I’m feeling particularly stressed, I may do a quick yoga video or stretch.”

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

“I listen to my guided meditations on the Insight Timer app, which I love!”

Productivity coach Zack Sexton’s morning routine looks like this:

  1. Water (20oz. often w/ lemon)
  2. Cuddles (w/ fiancée Nikida)
  3. Coffee
  4. Meditation
  5. Read something inspirational (often in sauna)

Kevin Kruse, author of “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, starts his morning with five minutes of yoga stretches, while doing the following:

  1. Mentally recitation of his personal mission statement
  2. Listing three items of gratitude
  3. Reminder of his three big goal areas (Health, Wealth, and Love)

William Styron, novelist

As evidence that our mornings do not all begin at the same time, look no further than William Styron. He slept until noon, and his “morning” routine involved staying in bed for another hour to think and read.

 

For many of us, checking email or listening to voice mail is practically automatic. In many ways, these are among the worst ways to start a day. Both activities hijack our focus and put us in a reactive mode, where other people’s priorities take center stage. They are the equivalent of entering a kitchen and looking for a spill to clean or a pot to scrub.

If you find yourself in an anxious state, worrying about things, a cold shower might snap you back to the present. If you feel that what you’re worrying about is something that really needs your attention, try having the cold shower anyway – it will take you less than a minute and by the end of that time you might find yourself a little more balanced and ready to tackle whatever is worrying you.

Anonymous blogger;

“Keep a diary of things that you have achieved, things that you are proud of. Also add to your diary things that you are grateful for or things in your life that you are happy about. You don’t need to add to this every morning, just glance at it. In the good words of Ferris Bueller, “If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you’re going to miss it.” This will help lower stress levels, get focused on what really matters, recognise progress, become more self-aware, and connect with those you love. When I first attempted this I was in a dark place and it took me a long time to find things I was grateful for, but with time I began to feel its effects and more good started showing up in my life.”

Morning-Routine

Waking up early gives you plenty of time so you don’t need to rush and offers you opportunities that few get to enjoy – watch the sun rise, hear the sound of birds chirping, and just be still. We are always on the move. Sit and enjoy the morning calm. It’s a brief time where you can be alone with your thoughts. Just breathe. If your morning isn’t rushed and stressful then you’ve started the day well.

Eat breakfast; time is a luxury, enjoy it and feed yourself a wholesome breakfast. Set aside plenty of time to sit down with your family and enjoy their company. Fuel your body for the tasks that lay ahead of you. It will help you maintain a steady focus throughout the day. Plan your morning – get up early enough – this also means planning your day so that you can get to bed early enough to do this.

Other ideas include stretching and/or exercising. Both of these may only take 5 minutes. The idea here is to do something that makes you feel good (you are doing this for your state of mind , not for your physical health – so if you enjoy stretching or exercising, take a moment to do them).

During your morning routine you may also choose to add some sort of healthy shake. If so, you could make up your own concoction – just aim to create one that is nutritious and will give you energy for your day. Here is an example;

  • big handful of raw kale
  • small handful of baby spinach leaves
  • large tablespoon of flaxseed meal
  • tablespoon of chia seeds
  • ½ cup of frozen berries
  • water (mix to your desired thickness)

Blend for 30 seconds.

 

Or you might find that something inspirational gets you in a good mood. Try typing ‘motivational videos’ into YouTube and see what you can find. You don’t necessarily need to watch the clips until the end – you only need to watch them until you’re feeling good.

 

If it seems daunting to overhaul your morning routine all at once, introduce one new practice a week and see if you notice improvement.

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