I’ll share 7 essential morning ritual habits that will help you create your own morning routine that sets you up for a productive, energetic, and successful day.
Habit 1: Meditate For At Least 10 Minutes
Meditation has been one of the habits that helped me to massively improve my focus over the last few years. And you don’t have to be a highly spiritual person in order to take advantage of the benefits of meditation.
By meditating for about 10 minutes per day, I notice that I can make better decisions, focus with more intensity, have a calmer and decluttered mind, feel less stressed and overall just feel great. That’s why I love to start my day with this superpower habit. And no, this is not just some feel-good placebo. Scientific data actually backs up the benefits of having a meditation practice.
A number of studies have linked meditation practice to differences in cortical thickness or density of grey matter in the brain. In other words, your brain literally, physically, changes because of meditation. One of the most well-known studies to demonstrate this was led by Sara Lazar from Harvard University, in 2000.
The study by Sara Lazar demonstrated that regular meditation practice is correlated with increased grey matter (aka, better brain performance) in the following areas of the brain:
Pre-frontal cortex: The area of the brain responsible for self-discipline, willpower, emotions, behavior, judgment, focus, and our overall ability to make choices.
Left Hippocampus: The area of the brain that assists learning & memory and regulates emotions
Temporo-Parietal Junction: The area of the brain responsible for perspective-taking, empathy, and compassion
Furthermore, meditation correlates with a decrease in grey matter in the amygdala (the fight or flight instinct), which means that people experience less stress.
This is why you hear meditators (including myself) claiming these benefits of having better focus, feeling more empathy and compassion, making better life-choices and feeling less anxious, stressed and judgemental. All simply because the areas in the brain responsible for these benefits have strengthened and improved due to meditation.
Remember, the better your brain is able to perform, the better you can focus and the more productive you become. This is why meditation is probably the single most important morning ritual habit to implement in your daily routine.
Habit 2: Planning Your Day
One of the main reasons why so many people are unfocused and struggle with being productive is because they don’t know exactly what to do right now, today. They might know that they want to earn more money, lose weight or build a business, but those are all goals somewhere in the future. But what about right now? What about today? Despite your long-term goals, procrastination will kick in when you don’t know exactly what it is that you’re supposed to be doing today.
If you lack clarity about what it is that you should be doing today, your mind will start making other plans. Easier plans, lesser important plans, plans that might be pleasurable and rewarding in the short-term, but not in the long-term. In other words, you’ll procrastinate, lose focus on your main goals and take a hit on your productivity levels.
Therefore, as part of your morning routine, set your goals and intentions for the day, schedule your tasks in your calendar and identify your priorities that will help you get a step closer to achieving your #1 goal. Planning your day like this will help you work with a lot more focus and determination.
Habit 3: Reading
Reading an inspirational or educational book in the morning has been one of my oldest morning routine habits. I aim to read for at least 15 minutes, which is usually long enough to learn a few new lessons without it getting overwhelming.
By reading in the morning I not only make sure I don’t fall behind on my reading list, but I also feel incredibly motivated for the rest of the day. Either I learn new things that I can implement during the day, or I simply get inspired by reading about someone else’s success story.
Habit 4: Eat A Healthy Breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast high in fats and protein is key for setting yourself up for an energetic, high performing day. Most people already know that they need protein, but a lot of people are unaware that they need to eat more (good) fats.
Fats are amazing for your brain and an essential fuel of energy for your body. In fact, your brain consists of 60% of fats, and it needs good fats in order to help you think clearly, stay focus, solve problems — and overall just feel happy and at peace.
Did you know that the low-fat diet is actually killing us? In fact, the sugar industry bribed Harvard Scientists in the 1960s to influence their research in order to make fat the #1 enemy instead of sugar. And shockingly enough, billions of people still think that they should avoid fat at all, which results in terrible drops in cognitive performance, energy levels, and overall health issues.
Therefore, in the morning, aim to eat a healthy breakfast that consists of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals — which will set you up for a highly energetic day. Think of foods like 10% fat Greek yogurt, almonds, avocados, seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, flex), eggs, organic bacon, spinach, or almond milk. Not only does it taste amazing, but your brain and body will also thank you for it.
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your health, energy, and performance through nutrition, I highly recommend you check out the books ‘Headstrong’ by Dave Asprey and ‘Own The Day, Own Your Life’ by Aubrey Marcus.
Habit 5: Movement or Exercise
The quickest way to feel more awake, generate more energy and stop feeling foggy in the morning is by exercising or simply moving for a few minutes with your body. You don’t have to do a full-blown workout in the morning (although, you can), but merely doing a few push-ups, jumping jacks or some light yoga is enough to get the blood flowing, get out of that sleepy feeling, and generate the energy to crush the rest of the day.
Habit 6: Review Your Goals
In the morning, review your bigger goals such as your yearly, quarterly, monthly, and even weekly goals to make sure that today you act in alignment with those goals. This way, you never fall off-track anymore and you prevent those situations in which you set a goal for yourself, but 2 weeks later you already forgot that you set a goal at all.
Furthermore, being confronted with your goals and your reasons for setting those goals is incredibly motivating, which helps you to overcome procrastination easily, work hard and tackle your most challenging tasks with more conviction.
Habit 7: Drink A Lot Of Water
One of the simplest but most overlooked ways to generate more energy, improve your cognitive performance, and feel more awake, is to drink enough water. Especially right after waking up, it’s crucial to drink enough water. Your body has just been about 8 hours without water, so it needs to be refueled — and quickly too — to generate energy and start feeling awake instead of sluggish.
Drinking enough water is incredibly important to your overall health. In fact, a lack of water leads to a few nasty downsides that you can’t afford if you want to reach your full potential, such as: problems with focus and atttention, brain fatigue, brain fog, headaches, sleep disturbances, irritability, and depression.
The brain consists of 75% of water, so it’s no wonder that we start to experience immediate effects when we don’t drink enough water. The truth is, most people start their day dangerously dehydrated. The first thing they do is grab a cup of coffee, which is actually bad for your hydration. Maybe they drink one glass of water in the first 1–2 hours of their day, leaving the house foggy, low on energy, and unable to focus.
I personally aim for at least 2 glasses right after waking up (it’s literally the first thing I do after waking up) and continue to drink another 2 glasses of water throughout the morning. I clearly notice the improvements in my mental performance, energy level, and overall mood when I do this versus not drinking enough.
Now Do It! Reading about these habits and simply ‘knowing’ them is not going to do the trick! Taking action is the key.