Decision, decisions! How many choices do you make over the course of a single day? Perhaps, more than you think. Should you workout or sleep in? Should you check your email or dive straight into work? Should you cook breakfast or opt for a protein shake? When you consider the multitude of options facing us each day, you’ll soon realize that these daily decisions begin to add up quickly.
Psychologist Roy Baumeister proposes that humans have a limited amount of willpower that is depleted by any decisions made, whether large or small.
Each decision you make depletes your supply of willpower and can lead to a state of mental exhaustion by the day’s end.
Creating a morning routine that eliminates as many questions as possible can not only kickstart your day but will also help to preserve your mental clarity and reduce decision fatigue. Don’t expend your precious mental fuel wasting time considering these standard morning questions….knock out decisions by developing a series of morning habits that fit your needs and set you up to seize the day. Here are a few, healthy habits to kickstart your mornings:
Make your bed
Start off with a win by making your bed first thing every morning. Not only will you initiate a positive trend of accomplishment, but you also prime your brain to automatically search for the next task. This mindset can help you build positive momentum as you get your day rolling. By making your bed as soon as you hop out of it, you also dull some of the potency of the “call of the sheets” that seems to always have a way of inviting you back to bed.
Sip a glass of water
After eight hours of counting sheep, your body gets dehydrated! By drinking at least 16 oz of cold water, you can rehydrate your freshly detoxified brain and jumpstart your metabolism by as much as 24%. You will also help your body flush toxins and get your systems all rolling more efficiently. Bonus Tip: Mixing lemon juice into your water jumpstarts your digestive system which prepares your body for coming meals, boosts your metabolism, and freshens your breath.
Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast
In the rush of the morning, breakfast is typically the first meal of the day to get dropped; unfortunately for you breakfast skippers out there, it is also the most important! Eating a healthy breakfast packed with lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains can help jumpstart your body and kick it into productivity mode. Getting a healthy dose of protein early in the morning helps control hunger urges throughout the day while giving you more concentration and better focus.
Activate your body
According to WebMD.com, getting your blood flowing first thing in the morning can help boost your energy by as much as 20% while decreasing perceived fatigue by up to 65%. Start with a 5-minute stretching routine to wake up your muscles and then launch into whatever activity you have planned.
Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after; because you start your day in a state of dehydration, you must be intentional if you ever hope to reach ideal levels of hydration. Go for a run, do a half hour of yoga, or enjoy some time with your partner between the sheets to really get your blood pumping!
Engage Your Mind
Studies have shown that regular meditation may help reduce blood pressure, ease anxiety, and reduce respiratory illnesses like the flu. Set aside a block of time each morning to center yourself for a balanced mindset that will carry on throughout the day. Here’s an excellent guide to get you started.
If you have tried meditation in the past without much success, that’s ok! Set yourself up to win by beginning with bite-sized chunks of 3-5 minutes. As you deepen your practice, slowly work up to longer time periods until meditation becomes a habit. It’s okay to start small…just start!
You may also choose to engage the mind through reading, listening to a podcast or audiobook, or journaling. Your goal is to start the day with mastery over your thoughts; whichever method of attaining this state you choose, engaging your mind will help you start your day on a positive note.
It is easy to flip on CNN while making breakfast or scroll your favorite news site during your morning ritual to catch up on the current events. Outside influences will always be there to fill your morning with negative news stories that can- even without your conscious recognition- put you in a sour mood that throws off the rest of your day. Instead of listening to the news, throw on a podcast or a good book. If something major happens overnight that you miss, you will inevitably find out and can catch up on the pertinent details in minutes. Fill your morning with positivity and the rest of your day will not be far behind.
Plan your attack
Take five minutes at the end of your morning routine, and identify the three most important tasks that you want to accomplish during the day. Write them down, and begin plotting the best way to accomplish each. Your brain will unconsciously start to work on the tasks even when you are consciously doing other things.
Before bed each night, review your notes and revisit your three-task to-do list. If you have not accomplished them, think through what prevented you from doing so, and try to develop a few ways to avoid those hindrances in the future. Let it go…tomorrow is another day. If you have knocked them out, celebrate and clear your mind for the satisfying night of rest that awaits you.
When developing a morning routine, don’t forget to set yourself up for success ahead of time. Preparing the night before creates the perfect blueprint for a productive, balanced day!