Updated: Jan 28, 2020
Find a productive and joyful person, and you will find a healthy morning routine.
Signs you’re not a morning person:
You hit snooze 84 times
The morning light burns your skin + makes you hiss
You sacrifice showering for another 15 minutes under the duvet
Anyone to say “Good Morning” puts their own life at risk
You cannot string together a sentence (before coffee)
Signs you are a morning person:
You go to bed early, because it's like a time machine to breakfast
That first ray of morning light is like coffee for your soul
You’re the always the first to say, “Good Morning!” (at your own risk)
You wake your alarm up, not the other way around
The Habits of the World’s Most Successful People
The internet is drenched with lists + tips + tricks on morning routines for success & productivity. Morning habits of ‘the world’s most successful people’ seems to pop up somewhere at least every few weeks, with both new and old trends. But why are the habits of those thriving folks so significant?
Because those people are often noted for strength of mind. They realise - trying to live your best life without structure, is like trying to build a house on water. Habits provide a solid foundation for a productive & fulfilling life. And a good morning routine - that embraces several positive habits - sets your day, career, and life up for serenity.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
Let’s Be Real
There’s no one-size-fits-all. Don’t get overwhelmed by these unrealistic lifestyles colouring your news feed. As much we can learn much from studying the morning habits of productive people, it’s important to create and take ownership over your personal morning dance, and what it does for you.
Maybe you have kids, an early job, or a forever-changing schedule. Notice your own patterns: your habits must be as intentional and powerful for you as possible. Your morning routine is yours to customise and enrich your own life.
The knack to any morning routine, is a personally unique one.
One Habit at a Time
It’s not morning roulette, so don’t feel like it’s all or nothing. Small changes add up. Overwhelming yourself with a whole new morning practise of things to do, say and remember is just setting yourself up for a fall (into back asleep land).
Vision your ideal morning: What time do you wake up? What’s the first thing you do? What’s the first words you say? What boosts your mood? What do you look forward to?
Make a list, and work toward this, one habit at a time. Example: If you want to transform from a grumpy bird to an early one, start setting your alarm one hour earlier each week until you wake at your aspired time.
Habits that cultivate Happiness
The science behind some well-known healthy morning habits to improve your body & mind are indeed sound. That is, there are select habits that absolutely everyone can benefit from, no matter what corner of the earth you’re from or what kind of wacky lifestyle you live.
So, after researching, experimenting, and analysing the world of it’s healthy morning habits, here are 12 of the most prevalent ways to build a positive routine to start your day.
1. Wake up early – and greet the world.
You precious breathing creature, you’re alive!
Start your day with more time to fill yourself up, both body & mind. The thing with early mornings, is productivity soars - a benefit from getting a head start. It’s an accomplishment that gives you instant gratification, a prompt to soak up your morning ritual, and leave you motivated to pursue your day.
2. Make your Bed – if you take anything from this entire post, take this video:
"It's about making your bed right, walking away and going: I'm proud of this little task I did. And that is really what I think sets the tone for the rest of the day."
If I’ve learned anything from making my bed every morning, it’s that the little things can change your life. Stay with me - It’s a simple but powerful task that closes the chapter of Sleep. Your rest is over, and you’ve completed your first task of the day. You’re right on track.
3. Be here now – not online.
Every morning you have a choice: to feed your mind or deplete it. The subconscious mind is especially heightened in the morning, open and receptive - like a mobile phone trying to pick up a signal. When you check social media first thing in the morning, you have absolutely no control over what you’re going to see. A simple way to keep your mind clean + focused in the morning is by cutting social media.
Tip: use your do not disturb setting, or flight mode, from the night before until your morning ritual is complete and your vibe is set for the day.
4. Open wide – and scrape that tongue.
If making your bed every morning doesn’t change your life, tongue scraping will, trust me.
An ancient Ayurvedic practice that takes seconds, with countless benefits. Before drinking water or brushing your teeth, use a tongue scraper, it’s a game changer my friends.
As you sleep, your body is detoxifying. The film you wake up with on your tongue is literally pure toxins excreted from your body. Mmm... do you want to re-ingest that? Didn’t think so.
Scraping your tongue first thing in the morning removes this sludge from your body and vastly improves your overall health and immune system. ‘Since the oral cavity is one of the main gateways between your mind/body and the environment, maintaining the health of this connection is critical to general well being’ - Dr. Sheila Patel.
I just can’t shut up about this - taking on this simple practise has improved my life in so many ways & on so many levels – if you want a full post on tongue scraping, tell me!
Use a copper scraper, it’s the best metal because the mouth is loaded with both good and bad bacteria. Copper is toxic to the bad bacteria, but provides important enzymes needed for the healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.
5. Just add water – lukewarm.
A glass of lukewarm water? Yes. While a glass of cold water is refreshing, it certainly doesn’t match the benefits of drinking lukewarm water first thing in the morning (ideally on an empty stomach).
The body needs to absorb water in order to hydrate, cleanse digestion + flush out toxins. But in order to absorb water, or food for that matter, we need heat + energy to move it through the body. Because of this, warm water is more readily absorbed by the body and we don’t lose energy in the process. In that way, it gets things moving lot quicker, so it’s not uncommon to visit the porcelain throne straight after!
Tip: add lemon during the daytime.
Think about it - when you splash cold water on your face, how does your skin react? Just like our face, our stomach has tiny little pores that absorb nutrients + minerals. Add warm water, and these pores are happy to be hydrated asap.
6. Breathe – fresh air.
Crack open a window or go outside to exercise those lungs.
The air tastes different early in the morning; it’s crisp + clean, and your nervous system is built to reflect the very same qualities after waking, ready for renewal. The more you tune into the morning energy, the more you can receive from it. Even if you live in the city, there’s something pure about this time of day – have you experienced this? Let me know!
Just 5 minutes of morning breathing exercises can greatly transform your energy levels - wake yourself up with the world.
In yoga, this is called ‘pranayama’ - prana meaning ‘vital energy’ and the practice of pranayama is a way to supercharge your whole body with energy.
‘Breathing in that good ass Prana baby!’ – Ralph Smart
7. Move – your body.
Walk, run, stretch, work-out, dance, do yoga – whatever the exercise (that you enjoy), do it. Adding movement to your morning opens a whole world of benefits. Enhance your metabolism, release endorphins, trigger a positive feeling between the mind + body, and improve your physical health + mental capacity. Exercise gives you energy, wake up. A 5-minute run is better than none – whether you have 5 minutes or 50, moving your body will shift you into a new state of liveliness.
For me, it’s yoga. A gentle 30-minute flow in the morning completely alters my mood + energy levels. Usually, I set an intention for the practice - like being focused – and this filters through the rest of my day. During this time is when I express my morning gratitude too, another very powerful practise. About twice a week, I take a 75-minute class at the crack of dawn from my favourite studio and literally rise up with the Sun – it’s magical!
As well as boosting your circulation + immune system, the mood boost received through a morning yoga practice can lift you into a positive mindset for the day. In a study conducted by the Yoga Biomedical Trust in London, 94% of participants with anxiety were significantly helped by practising yoga regularly each morning, and 82% of those with insomnia reported valuable benefits too.
8. Be Still – and observe.
You know this - meditation improves stress management, emotional awareness & state of being. Likewise, the cognitive and social effects of morning-meditation has proven enhanced job performance.
Spiritually speaking, meditation is a mindful practice that connects one to something much greater, vaster + deeper than oneself alone. Perhaps a little paradoxical, but stillness, self-connection, + observation opens us up to the life that passes through us all, from source to self, the breath. In a way, meditation helps us become the best version of ourselves.
There are so many meditation techniques, look and you will find yours. Meditation is not limited to any faith or religion, nor is its effects - the fruits of your morning mediation has the potential to ripple into the lives of those you meet.
Think about it, vibes are contagious, raise yours. What’s 10 minutes of your morning?
The goal of meditation isn't to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting your thoughts control you.
9. Affirmations & Mantras – a large dose of confidence and happiness.
Affirmations & Mantras are a soul nourishing form self-care that cultivates positive states of being. Words are very powerful, like everything else, they have energy behind them. The ways in which we communicate with ourselves + others affect us in more profound ways than we realise.
Mantras and positive affirmations are two unique ways to spark self-care all day + nourish your newly wakened mind. So, give yourself a large dose of confidence and happiness for the day ahead.
Affirmations are specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualise and create positive changes in your life. An affirmation might be a cute little note that you see each day as a reminder.
Mantra is a Sanskrit word, 'ma' meaning 'mind' and 'tra' meaning 'that which protects.' A mantra is a sacred utterance recited aloud or repeated internally during a spiritual practice. It is practised in a more devotional way.
10. Plan - your day ahead.
Alrighty, your nearing the end of your morning dance. The routine is winding-up, your clean, hydrated + the vibe has been raised. You’ve already completed your first task of the day (making your bed), and it’s time to plan the day ahead.
At this fully awake + focused stage, it’s the perfect time to plan your day. Open your diary or planner + simply familiarise yourself with the day ahead.
What’s happening? What does it look like? Where will you be? What do you need to do?
Prioritise your top 3 tasks for the day (the magic number), and don’t overwhelm yourself with lists of to-dos. Jot down the 3 most important things that need completed today, and decide what needs doing first. Likewise, confirm any meetings or appointments scheduled. Now you have a vision for your day, you’re right on track.
11. Ready, Set,– get dressed.
Clean yourself up, put on your positive pants + get ready for the day. Hop into a fresh zesty shower + find your look. Whatever your wear (both on your face + body), make sure you feel good in it, confident + comfortable.
I like to listen to something inspiring when I get ready; music, a podcast, an audible book, or sometimes just the wind outside! It’s one of my favourite parts of the day.
12. Breakfast - finally.
This deserves its own post, right?!
The best + most important part of the morning, breakfast.
Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism by helping you to burn calories. At the same time, to gives the energy you need to start your day + helps maintain focus. A healthy + hearty breakfast both fuels us until lunchtime and gives our brains the essential energy to function and focus better on our tasks.
There’s nothing worse than being hungry at work + counting the minutes until lunchtime – am I right?
Be happy, not hangry. The foods we eat are intrinsically linked to our moods, it’s a gut health thing. Even if you’re ‘not a morning person’ I promise you’ll be less grumpy with a good breakfast in you! This is because a healthy breakfast balances blood sugars and thus, prevents those tired and cranky feelings. And if you need any more convincing, eating breakfast controls your appetite. So, don’t skip just to snack later instead, enjoy your breakfast to the fullest.
My favourite thing for breakfast is fully-loaded oats: berries, nuts + seed, oat my goodness – it’s delicious!
As a final note – Morning habits are just that, habits. Your routine doesn’t need to be a strict sequence of actions, if you still practice all your habits. Think of making a ‘skeleton-routine,’ where you always practise your habits, but the length of which you do will change depending on the day.
And remember to always, always - Handle with Care.
Luberto, Shinday, et al., (2017). A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Effects of Meditation on Empathy, Compassion, and Prosocial Behaviors. Mindfulness. 9(3):708.
Shiba, Nishimoto, Sugimoto, Ishikawa, (2015). The Association between Meditation Practice and Job Performance: A Cross-Sectional Study. 10(5).
Cheng, (2016). What Does Meditation Contribute to Workplace? An Integrative Review. Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture. 6(4):18.
Pilkington, Kirkwood, et al., (2005). Yoga for depression: the research evidence. Journal of affective disorders, 89(1-3), 13-24.