Lexington Health Network

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4 Powerful Morning Habits to Set the Tone for Your Day

What do your morning habits look like? Are you the type who goes out for a jog or fits in a sunrise yoga session before breakfast? Or, are you like most of us, dragging yourself out of bed and then running around to get dressed, get your caffeine fix, and get to work without consciously setting an intention for the day?

What you do in the morning defines the rest of the day: your mood, what you accomplish, what you do for yourself and to move closer to – or further from – your goals.

So, if you aren’t getting what you want out of life, change the way you wake up. Make any of the following habits a part of your morning ritual and see how different each day can be.

1. Wake up early

The number one rule of productive people? Don’t sleep in.

From Aristotle, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” to Ben Franklin, “The early morning has gold in its mouth,” great minds have been touting the benefits of rising early for centuries.

When you get up early, you have more time in the morning for you. Whether you designate early morning hours for creating your to-do list, exercising, or sipping tea and quiet contemplation, as an early riser, you are more in control of your day. You’re also more likely to be proactive. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that morning people tend to have a proactive mindset, which helps people be more productive and more successful.

Try setting your alarm an hour earlier in the morning. Then, use this time for your ideal morning routine. Experiment with different morning habits until you create a routine that leaves you feeling motivated and energized. If you work an overnight schedule or late into the evening hours, your waking routine can differ as far as the actual time goes. If you’re able to carve out some “you” time to set positive intentions, it can help set the tone for the rest of your day.

2. Meditate or practice mindfulness

It may sound counterintuitive to hit the pause button right when you wake up, but beginning the day with meditation is one of the best ways to boost productivity. This is because, with a meditation or mindfulness practice, you’ll start the day feeling focused, calm, and de-stressed.

Whether you spend a few minutes doing breathwork or listening to a guided meditation, these practices can change how your brain responds to stimuli and alter your ability to cope with challenges. They can prevent negative habits such as self-rumination and teach you to stay relaxed, even when faced with a stressful event.

New to meditation? Start small with five or ten minutes. Download a meditation app such as Calm or Headspace. You can also work on mindfulness and skip the deep meditation altogether. Sip a cup of tea, watch the sunrise, and immerse yourself in the moment!

3. Read a book

Spend part of your morning hour reading a good book. Not only will reading allow you to have time for yourself before you jump into a hectic routine, but it also gives you the chance to learn something new and to expand your mental horizons.

Don’t underestimate the power of reading. Join the ranks of Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates and make reading a part of your morning routine.

4. Practice self-care

Make sure to include some type of self-care in your morning routine. This can be anything from a high intensity workout with your favorite trainer on YouTube to walking in nature or drinking a green smoothie.

Whether self-care is about movement, nourishing, relaxing, or all of the above, taking time for yourself fills you up so you have the energy and mental capacity to be there for others during the day.

All the actions, thoughts, and emotions that unfold throughout the day are influenced by what you do in the morning to set the tone. Create a routine with your favorite morning habits and start getting more out of every moment.

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