One of the first pieces of advice I provide individuals looking to make lifestyle changes is to establish a routine. I am a firm believer in starting the day with positive choices and actions because that will set the tone for your day. I think a lot of people hear the word habit and associate it with something negative – smoking, biting nails, always being late, etc. Well guess what – habits can be positive – exercising regularly, volunteering, speaking only kind words, and eating vegetables can become habits as well. Sometimes our positive habits go unnoticed but I guarantee if you stop and think about it, you can name just as many good habits as you have bad!
Over the years I’ve developed a pretty solid morning routine. It probably helps that I love the mornings – it’s my favorite time of the day – but I believe that these six habits help me make the most of each day. All of these are pretty easy to adopt or implement and I guarantee you’re probably doing a few already! One I didn’t add to this list is brushing your teeth because, well, I hope you already do that.
Drink Water – When you wake up you are dehydrated. To get a better picture, think of what the soil of a dry houseplant looks like when you’ve neglected it for too long. That’s not too far from what our skin and other organs are like first thing in the morning. Before you have breakfast, which is next on the list, have a glass of water. For a long time I didn’t drink any water upon rising but a few years back I had to start taking a medication first thing in the morning and along with that I needed to drink a glass of water. I noticed a change in my skin and overall energy levels. Sometimes I like to make berry ice cubes and add those to give my water a little flair.
Eat Breakfast – Not only is the morning my favorite time of day but breakfast is my favorite meal! I posted about this earlier in the year so definitely check out that post to learn more about why I am a big believer in all things breakfast. Yes, some people aren’t hungry when they wake up and that’s ok. Eat something small to kick start your metabolism- a banana, a hard boiled egg, a piece of toast with peanut butter. It is true that breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day so for someone who doesn’t eat breakfast to start eating a lot first thing in the morning will be tough. Start somewhere; start small. Also, like any meal you must be prepared in order to eat healthy. Sometimes I make buckwheat waffles in bulk, freeze, and then have them for the week or two ahead.
Get Informed – I like knowing what’s happening in the world so when I’m getting ready I usually have public radio going in the background. If I drive to work I usually listen to that on the way. I rarely watch the news, something I think is quite common for my generation, so I rely on the radio, Twitter, and magazines to keep me informed. On days when I have more time I usually have a date with Esquire or New York Magazine. Don’t let a day go by without learning something new or learning about the goings on around you!
Meditate – I’ve been consistently taking a little quiet time each day since January when I read Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons. I find that on days when I close my eyes and focus on my breath for anywhere from two to 20 minutes, I feel a little less anxious and a bit more prepared than the days when I just get up and go.
Stretch – Sometimes while I’m having quiet time I stretch my legs and back. Like waking up dehydrated, we wake up with very tight muscles so it’s super important to do a little stretching before the day begins. Depending on how much time you have perhaps you can do something more like a yoga practice but I usually just do a few minutes and save my yoga or Pilates for later in the day.
Make Your Bed – Last but certainly not least, make your bed! In my opinion, when your bed is made, you start your day a bit more put together and organized.
Yes, there are mornings when I’m running around and not able to meditate or stretch but if you plan for these things and make the time you can accomplish quite a bit before your day officially starts!