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9 Healthy Hacks to Supercharge Your Morning Routine

June 8, 2014

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The world’s most successful people have one thing in common: they have a morning routine that sets them up for a productive, fulfilling day. It makes sense, considering that the way you spend those first precious minutes of consciousness can set the tone for the hours that follow. This is great news, because it means that adopting a few simple habits and making some small tweaks in your morning routine might be all it takes to make a big difference in your life.

If you’re not a morning person, that becomes even more true, since establishing a regular routine can motivate you to get out of bed in the morning. Make your mornings count with these 9 healthy hacks to get you energized, organized, and ready to seize the day!

Start the Night Before

It’s all too true that the things you do the night before will determine how you feel in the morning. If you go to bed at a reasonable hour and sleep well, it makes a world of difference in how good you feel the next morning. On the other hand, if you had one too many glasses of wine at dinner, or stayed up an hour too late poking around on Facebook, or got in bed right on time but couldn’t fall asleep, you’re not going to feel that great. Experiment with your limits and needs to determine just how many hours of sleep your unique body needs to operate at its best. If you have trouble turning off your brain and getting to sleep at night, try some of these tips for a better night’s sleep.

Make a List

It may sound silly, but make a list of the elements in your current morning routine. Even if you don’t think you have one, look closer—do you always hit snooze, then roll over to the left, then finally get up, then go to the bathroom, etc? Look at all the current “steps” in your morning routine. Then, decide which ones you want to get rid of and which you want to add in. Make a new list of what your ideal routine would look like, step by step. Having this written out clearly will help motivate you to achieve this new reality. 

Sit Quietly

This crazy simple step might be the most important part of your routine. If you don’t have a meditation practice, this is a great way to begin to introduce some of the benefits of meditation into your life, and if you meditate regularly, it’ll be an added bonus of balance. Just wake up five minutes earlier than you normally do, get out of bed, find a comfortable place to sit, and let yourself be still for five minutes. Try to keep your mind as clear as possible, without getting caught up in the racing thoughts trying to grab your attention. Breathe deeply, and be calm.

Set an Intention

Every day is a new opportunity to be happy, accomplish something, connect with someone, learn something new. Take a moment sometime within 10 minutes of waking up to establish your specific intention for that day. Do you want to focus more on not wasting time, or make an effort to connect more with the people around you? It could be something big, like finishing a large project you’d started, or small, like smiling at as many people as possible. Do what feels right to you that day. 

Drink Up!

And no, I’m not talking about coffee. When you wake up, your body hasn’t consumed anything for a long time, sometimes more than 12 hours, and this includes water. Water is absolutely essential to your body’s functioning, and starting off the day dehydrated will set you up to be dehydrated for the rest of the day. Keep a big glass of water by your bed, and drink the whole thing when you wake up. You’ll be amazed at how energized you feel almost immediately.

Eat Right

This applies not only to your morning meal, but also to the night before. Don’t eat anything heavy too close to bedtime, or your body will not have the time to convert it into energy, and you’ll likely wake up feeling sluggish rather than refreshed. In the morning, opt for high-protein and high-fiber meals to keep you full and energized until lunch. We love this healthy breakfast quinoa recipe, as well as these gluten-free zucchini pancakes. Oatmeal is always a great choice (check out the 29 delicious oatmeal variations), while versatile eggs provide a healthy dose of omega-3’s and protein. There are also plenty of super healthy eggless breakfast options.

Connect with Someone

You’ve just woken up after being in your own world of sleep all night long. Connecting with another person is a great way to prepare your mind for the day of social or business-related interactions ahead, and to transition to the people-centric nature of being awake. Plus, having a positive interaction with someone you care about will make you feel good for hours afterward. Tell your significant other you love them, let your roommate know how great she looks, give your kids extra big hugs. If you live alone, send a text message to a good friend or family member.

Smile!

The Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh advises that the most powerful thing you can do upon waking is to give the world a big smile. Even if you’re bleary-eyed and it’s raining out and you have a meeting you’re dreading in a few hours, stretching a grin across your face will help you feel better. It’s a new day, and you’re alive, and that’s something to be grateful for. Take a moment—just a moment—to celebrate that. And don’t be surprised if the smile lingers afterward.

Have a To-Not-Do List

In addition to those steps that you listed when you imagined your ideal morning routine, identify the pitfalls that could derail your morning. Do you tend to get sucked into social media sites instead of getting ready, or trying on dozens of different outfits and ending up feeling bad about your body? You know the habits you have that leave you feeling worse, not better. Write them down, and notice when you return to one. Without judging yourself, step back, take a deep breath, and move on to a more productive and feel-good activity.

How do you set yourself up for success in the mornings? Tell us in the comments section below!

About the author

Kate Willsky is the Editorial Manager for Wellness Today. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and loves experimenting with new vegetarian recipes, scoping out farmers' markets, and making never-ending lists of restaurants to try out. As a certified yoga instructor, she enjoys taking classes from other yogis and exploring different styles and philosophies whenever possible.