American businessman and entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga was quoted as saying, “Some people dream of success while other people get up every morning and make it happen.”
You may want to get out of bed full of energy to go after your goals. However, when that alarm starts buzzing, you often roll over in bed, slam the snooze button and wish you could go back to sleep. So, how are you supposed to “make it happen” then?
There’s no doubt that how you start the first couple of hours of the day can make a big difference in how your entire day plays out. If you’d like to boost productivity, experience more energy and feel happier, try these 10 tips to start your day off in the best way possible.
1. Avoid the Phone for at Least 30 Minutes
Most of us are so tuned into our cellphones that we have a hard time resisting looking at them the first thing after we wake up. Some people even keep them by the bed, which is a bad idea as a phone that’s on all night is likely to disrupt your sleep.
Cellphones emit radio frequency energy, which has been linked in some research to an increased risk of health problems. In December 2017, the California Department of Public Health warned that keeping a cellphone within arms’ reach while sleeping could create long-term exposure to this energy, which could impact human health.
Keep the phone out of your bedroom and, when you wake up, avoid it for at least 30 minutes. This gives you time to start your day your way. The second you look at your phone, you put yourself in “reactive” mode. That means you end up reacting to whatever you see there — an email, the latest tweet or Facebook post, and so on. Your thoughts are hijacked by something else that you may not have wanted to think about so early. These items may cause you stress and, just like that, you’ve created stress in your life within the first five minutes of your day.
Instead, resist the urge to check the phone. Use that time to create a more positive, uplifting morning for yourself.
2. Do Something That Makes You Happy
When thinking about what to do within your first few minutes of waking up, ask yourself this: “What would make me happy?”
In a 2011 study, researchers looked at how start-of-workday mood affected employees throughout the day. They found that those who started the day in a good mood were more likely to feel happy throughout the entire day, all the way through to quitting time. They also performed better on the job. Those who started the day in a bad mood, on the other hand, had a hard time changing that mood as the day went on, regardless of what happened.
That means it’s very important to start the day right if you want it to go well. Your best bet is to take at least 10 to 15 minutes — more if you can — to do something you enjoy. Listen to your favorite music, read a good book, do a quick yoga routine, take a nice jog, fix the perfect cup of coffee or tea or spend just a few minutes with a favorite pet. It may feel like a luxury, but it’s well worth it as it will help you have a better day overall.
3. Set Your Priorities for the Day
You may have things you want to accomplish, but then the day gets away from you and pretty soon you’re having dinner and those important things never got done. That tends to leave you feeling defeated and discouraged.
To avoid this feeling, set three priorities each day — three important things that you want to accomplish. Limit it to only three as if you set too many, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, choose three and get them done as early as you can in the day.
In fact, most experts suggest you tackle your most difficult project first, when your mind and energy are fresh. Get that one done, and you’ll not only feel a sense of accomplishment, you’ll also look forward to the rest of the day as being all downhill from there.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Do you often leap out of bed late, rush through your morning routine and then snatch something from the cupboard as you run out the door? This sort of beginning is likely to set you up for a hurried, stressed-out day.
Instead, give yourself enough time in the morning to truly take care of yourself. You need a good, healthy breakfast to sustain your energy throughout the morning, and you’d probably also benefit from a little exercise or stretching. A 10-minute walk or a series of yoga poses can help get your circulation going and encourage you to breathe deeply. A chance to take a nice shower and prepare your appearance for the day can help you feel more confident hours later.
What you do in that precious first hour can have a huge impact on your lifetime health and well-being.
5. Drink a Nice Tall Glass of Water
Did you know that even slight dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches and mood swings? In one study, researchers found that being even slightly dehydrated caused all these symptoms, particularly in women. If you want to maintain your mood at optimum levels throughout the day, it’s important to maintain your hydration.
Why should you drink first thing in the morning? For several reasons: water helps jump-start your system when you need it most. When you wake up, you’re already slightly dehydrated because you’ve gone for many hours without water, so you need that first glass to return the body to normal. It gets digestion moving, revs up your metabolism and can help you eat less throughout the morning.
You may think this is the last thing you have time to do in the morning, but this may be one of the best things you can do to set yourself up to have a good day.
Studies have found that meditation has a number of health benefits. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and may also be helpful in reducing high blood pressure, easing pain, improving insomnia, soothing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and more.
Beyond that, when you meditate first thing in the morning, you give yourself a chance to quiet the mind among all the demands of your daily life. This helps you create a calmer approach to everything that may come at you, including family, work, and home challenges. Some studies have even linked meditation to improved memory and learning, which means it can set you up to be more focused and productive throughout your day.
The reason why most people haven’t adopted this morning habit is that they think it has to be complicated, but it doesn’t. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable place for about 10 minutes and focus on one thing — could be a candle flame, a picture, an image in your mind, your breath, a sound that you chant or whatever works for you.
The important thing is that every time your mind wanders — and it will — bring your attention back to this one thing. Let the thoughts come and go and focus. About 10 minutes of this can leave you refreshed, alert, ready to tackle your day.
7. Give Thanks
You may have heard that an attitude of gratitude is good for you. Research suggests that giving thanks for what’s good in your life can help lift your spirits, improve your physical health, reduce stress and, in general, make you a happier person. Some studies looking at how gratitude affected relationships found that those who took the time to express gratitude for their partners had stronger, more satisfying relationships.
What are you thankful for first thing in the morning? You may want to jot down five quick things in a notebook, express your appreciation to a family member, put a Post-it Note up on the refrigerator stating what you’re grateful for or take 30 seconds to go over your blessings in your mind. Starting the day this way helps you to realize that you can’t take anything for granted and will also help boost your positive energy.
8. Think Positive Thoughts
If something went wrong the day before, you may wake up with worries. You may start the day thinking that this is going to be a difficult day or dreading some activity you have to do. Unfortunately, if you begin with negative thoughts, it’s likely your day is going to go downhill fast.
Instead, require yourself to think as many positive thoughts as you can. Positive thoughts are linked with increased productivity and creativity and can give you that extra boost you need to face any challenges you may have awaiting you.
Remind yourself that you can only do your best and that often things work out better than you think they will. Believe you can accomplish what you set out to accomplish and try to notice everything that’s going well for you. Keep things in perspective and try not to get too wound up about the little stuff, and your day will start off in a much more positive light.
9. Smell Something Nice
Here’s another way to start your day off in a good mood — follow your nose. Research suggests that aromatherapy can help boost your spirits, inspire energy and ease stress. Lemon energizes you while lavender can help improve your focus. Orange is uplifting and positive and peppermint invigorating. Cedarwood can help soothe nervous tension while vetiver can help you start the day feeling more grounded.
Experiment to see which one works best for you. Knowing you have a lovely scent awaiting you can also help you look forward to getting out of bed. Try an aromatherapy diffuser or create your own spritz with your favorite essential oil mixed with water. You can also put a few drops on a cotton ball and place it near you while you’re meditating.
10. Prepare the Night Before
One of the best things you can do to make your morning go smoothly is to prepare as much as possible the night before. That’s because making decisions can be tiring. Every time you make a decision — no matter how small it is — you use an area in the brain that is sort of like a muscle. Over a period of an entire day, this muscle can get tired, leaving you less able to make good decisions that evening.
Instead, see what you can do the night before to limit the decisions you have to make the next morning. Lay out the clothes you’re going to wear, decide what you’re going to have for breakfast and set out the tools you’ll need, make sure your lunch is ready to go, have your three priorities already written down, and set your coffee maker to start automatically. If you’re going to exercise, have your exercise clothes resting by your bed. Anything you can do to make your morning easier will create a calmer, more enjoyable experience for you.
If you want to increase your energy and feel better every day, then check out the 10 Easy Movements For Increased Energy program.
CDPH Issues Guidelines on How to Reduce Exposure to Radio Frequency Energy from Cellphones. (2017, December 22). Retrieved from https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR17-086.aspx
Harvard Health Publishing. (2015, May 20). Giving thanks can make you happier – Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2017, September 7). Meditation: In Depth. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm
Rothbard, N. P., & Wilk, S. L. (2011). Waking Up on the Right or Wrong Side of the Bed: Start-of-Workday Mood, Work Events, Employee Affect, and Performance. Academy of Management Journal, 54(5), 959-980. doi:10.5465/amj.2007.0056
Why you should drink water first thing every day. (2017, March 14). Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/03/14/why-you-should-drink-water-first-thing-every-day/99123938/
Williams, S. (2012, January 20). Mild Dehydration Triggers Moodiness & Fatigue in Women. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/36106-mild-dehydration-triggers-moodiness-fatigue-women.html