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Published on January 2, 2020

15 Ideas to Help Create Your Best Morning Routine

15 Ideas to Help Create Your Best Morning Routine

Your best morning routine is more than the ideal start to your day. It’s an opportunity to reset; to forget about what happened yesterday, develop a positive mindset about the day ahead, and to take care of yourself before stressors have a chance to crop up.

While most of us want to get the same things out of our morning routine, we go about starting our day in different ways. Some people love to get up early and exercise. Others are happy to lie in bed until the last minute. Some drink coffee, others drink only water, and some skip straight to breakfast.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those morning habits. So which is the best morning routine for you?

The key is figuring out what works for your schedule, body, and brain.

Your ideal morning routine might be three minutes or three hours. What matters is that it prepares you not just for a productive workday, but for a calm and intentional day from start to shuteye.

Only you can find your best morning routine for yourself. But you can build it by testing out ideas from some of the biggest names in business:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a big word, but what it means is simple:

Paying attention to your thoughts without judging or trying to change them.

You can practice it sitting, laying down in bed, while exercising, or at any time you feel stressed.

Mindfulness can take many forms. NuSkin President Ryan Napierski prefers to pray or meditate before leaving the house each morning.[1] By honing his focus through mindfulness, Napierski says that he’s able to be more productive and decisive at work.

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You can start practicing mindfulness easily too: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

2. Take a Walk

A great opportunity to practice mindfulness — and get some exercise to boot — is to take a walk as part of your morning routine.

If you want to make time for a walk, you may need to start your morning routine earlier. As a rule of thumb, plan to walk a mile in about 15 minutes. If your best morning routine involves walking three miles, for instance, you’ll need a 45-minute block of time.

3. Reach Out to a Connection

If you struggle to make time for networking, take Appointment.com CEO Jon Bradshaw’s advice:[2]

Start your morning routine by reaching out to an old acquaintance or by making a new professional connection.

There are multiple ways to do this. Shoot an email while you wait for your morning coffee to brew. Send a text asking how that new job is treating your old coworker. Do avoid calling people out of the blue before 9 a.m.

4. Drink Tea

If coffee isn’t your style, why not try out tea as part of your morning routine?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sips a steaming mug with his breakfast every day.[3] Green and black tea are popular picks, though Pichai does not specify what he drinks; alternative options include relaxing tisanes like chamomile, mint, and lemon balm.

5. Read

One of the most popular ways to wake up is with some light reading. Rather than scroll through your Facebook feed, pick up a newspaper. Make some progress on that library book you checked out last week.

Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, Warren Buffet, reads six different newspapers as part of his morning routine. After that, though, he doesn’t stop reading: 80% of his day, on average, is spent with a book; all told, Buffett aims for 500 pages per day.[4]

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6. Take a Cold Shower

Self-help guru and business consultant Tony Robbins advocates all sorts of unconventional self-care techniques. One of his most famous is his 57-degree Fahrenheit morning plunge into a cold pool.[5] Robbins does it for the shock to his system that, in his words, feels like “every organ, every nerve in your body is on fire.” There’re also more benefits of cold showers you should know.

If you want to add a cold cleanse to your morning routine, start by turning down your shower a few degrees. Decrease the temperature by a few more each week, challenging yourself to spend ever-longer amounts of time beneath the water.

7. Talk to Your Partner

If you and your spouse’s work schedules do not match up, you may not see him or her until late in the evening. Why not get quality time with your partner in the morning instead?

Tracey Grace, president and CEO of IBEX IT Business Experts, has said she starts every day with a cup of coffee with her husband. As they sip, they sit out on their deck and discuss upcoming events, meetings, and dinners.

8. Outline Your Goals

What better time to plan out what you want to achieve each day than right when you wake up?

One shortcut with this morning habit is to write down a singular focus for the day. Maybe you want to reconnect with family, or perhaps you’ve got a proposal to get out the door. Then, you can rest easy knowing everything else can be pushed to the side.

9. Ask Yourself a Powerful Question

Your morning routine is a time to reflect on what actually matters. Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO and co-founder, asked himself every morning:[6]

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

Your question might be something else:

If your goal in life is providing for your family, you might ask, “How will I help my family today?”

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If you’re struggling with self-care, “What do my my body and mind need from me today?” may be a good option.

Here’re even more inspirations for you: 100 Inspiring Questions That Make You Think About Your Life

10. Eat the Frog

When you wake up, what weighs on your mind? Solve it as part of your morning routine, generational marketing expert Jeff Fromm mentions in his book Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast–and Very Different–Generation of Influencers. By tackling the hardest thing first, Fromm finds that rest of his day tends to fall into place.

11. Fast

Listeners of “The Joe Rogan Experience” will recognize this tip:

After going for a run or doing yoga, the popular podcaster fasts for the remainder of the morning.

Rogan claims that the practice improves his brain function and focus.[7]

Like the cold-plunge routine, add this step to your morning routine gradually. After you wake up, practice going an hour, then two, and then three without eating. Soon, you’ll be able to stave off hunger until lunchtime, when Rogan eats.

12. Give Back

When Craigslist founder Craig Newmark wakes up, he starts his day with others in mind.[8] After spending an hour on customer service for the buy-and-sell platform, he works on projects that promote voting and support military families.

Whatever fires you up, embrace it with your morning routine. Pick up litter. Write letters to your representatives or local newspaper. Advocate for a nonprofit you believe in.

13. Listen to Relaxing Music

Each morning, Saagar Govil, CEO of industrial manufacturer Cemtrex, gets to work on his company’s five top monthly issues. To stay calm and keep his mind on track, Govil turns on some classical music.[9]

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If Bach and Beethoven aren’t your style, listen to whatever relaxes you. Who says 6 a.m. is too early for some head-banging metal or hip-hop?

14. Do Yoga

One of the best ways to work up a sweat in the morning is with yoga, according to media mogul Arianna Huffington.[10] After drinking a cup of coffee and riding her stationary bike, Huffington stretches herself out with yoga.

If you’ve never done yoga before, start with foundational poses like downward dog and child’s pose. After mastering those, challenge yourself with an online routine.

Learn more about yoga in this article: How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses)

15. Check in with Family

Almost none of us get as much time as we’d want with family. Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia’s CEO, makes time in his morning routine by calling a family member — typically his mother, father, or sister — on the way to the office.[11]

If your family members would not appreciate an early-morning call, send a text. If you haven’t checked in with multiple members for a while, send an email sharing what’s new in your life.

Kickstart Your Early Morning Routine

Starting a morning routine is about your mindset and perseverance. If you wake up thinking “This is going to suck,” then it probably will. To build the sort of mornings you want:

  • Set an alarm: If you want to have time for a morning routine, you need to wake up early. Give yourself at least an hour before work, and realize you may still need more time.
  • Get up at the same time every day: Tempting as it is to sleep in on the weekends, don’t. Make your morning routine a habit by doing it every single day.
  • Tell others your plans: If you tell your partner you plan to be awake at 5 a.m. and exercising by 6 a.m., you’ll be that much more likely to do it. Peer pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
  • Give yourself a reward: Humans are reward-oriented beings, just like other animals. If you like shopping for shoes, create a chart for yourself: If you stick to your morning routine for a full month, perhaps you’ll have earned a shopping expedition.
  • Forgive yourself if you slip up: Like it or not, there will be times when you hit “snooze” on your alarm clock. Don’t beat yourself up; tell yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow.

Nothing matters more to your productivity or overall happiness than how you handle your mornings. Change your morning routine, and you’ll quite literally change your life.

More to Help You Start Your Day Right

Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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