On Wednesday we talked about the simple hack that will help increase your chances of building a morning routine that lasts. Taking just 15 minutes the night before to prep you for the next day can make all the difference in the world.
Now that you’ve committed to building a morning routine… the next logical step is determining how to make the most of your time.
Again, you don’t have to wake up 3 hours earlier to get the benefits of a morning ritual. In fact, just 20-30 minutes in the morning is more than enough to build at least a handful of powerful habits that will have a tremendous impact on your life.
While there are dozens of positive habits you can implement in the morning, I’ve found focusing on just these 7 keystone habits to be incredibly beneficial. Even just implementing one of these in your morning ritual can have positive ripples in all areas of your day.
Make Your Bed:
Out of all the keystone habits to implement in the morning, this one is my favorite. While it sounds silly on the surface, I’ve found a direct correlation in my mood for the day and whether or not I’ve made my bed. This is just one of those simple tweaks that put me in a good mood and gives me a quick win for the morning.
A glass of Water:
Another simple, but often overlooked habit is to drink a large glass of water as soon as you wake up. Overnight your body releases a disgusting amount of sweat so you wake up slightly dehydrated. One of the major benefits of having a big glass of water is it makes it easier to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially if you’re prone to drinking soda instead of water while at work.
Read 5 Pages:
It’s a common mistake to think that in order to get the ‘benefits’ of reading you have to block off 30-45 minutes or it’s not worth it. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I like to commit to reading just 5 pages each morning. Sometimes I’ll read a few more, and sometimes I’ll stop reading right at 5 pages. The important part is getting into the HABIT of reading. 5 pages might not seem much, but over the course of a few weeks or months this adds up to 1-2 books you may otherwise not have read.
Depending on how much time you have in the morning, getting your exercise in for the day is a great use of your time. Not only will you feel better from the endorphins released from exercise, you’ll have a “great” day no matter what else happens.
If you don’t have enough time to get a full workout in (check out the 7-minute workout) at the very least aim to do some light stretching for 5-10 minutes. Over time you’ll be much more flexible and your body will be in great shape to tackle the day.
Plan Your MIT’s:
If you’ve followed our secret for getting the most from your morning routine and planned your night before, this involves just reviewing your MIT’s you’ve set the night before. If not, take a few minutes and write down the 2-3 goals that you want to accomplish for the day. Think of these as actions that if done, would make your day “productive.” It’s amazing how much you can get done if you have the right focus.
Meditate Or Pray: While the many benefits of meditation have been shouted from the rooftops for the last few years, it really can help you have a much more focused and productive day. Again, the point isn’t to meditate for 90 minutes and do nothing else. In fact, just 5 minutes of focused meditation, breathing, or prayer can prime you to have a great day. If you need some guidance, download Calm or Headspace.
Another favorite keystone habit that I love doing in the morning is what’s known as the “morning pages” or “brain dump” popularized by the best-selling book – The Artist’s Way. Essentially you take 10-15 minutes and write whatever’s on your mind. You can do this by hand or in a web platform such as 750 words. The goal isn’t to write amazing prose or produce anything to share with the world. The goal is to dump everything in your head that’s taking up mental space so you have a clear mind heading into the day. Write whatever comes to your mind and don’t worry about it being perfect.
Bonus: Cold Shower
Admittedly not for everyone, jumping in an ice cold shower for 5 minutes in the morning is a GREAT way to wake yourself up. One of the main benefits of the cold shower is it’s a great way to exercise your willpower and improve your mindset heading into the afternoon. If you can take a 5 minute cold shower you can handle anything that life throws your way.
My good friend Joel Runyon, of Impossible, has an awesome app CST that helps you get started.
Putting It All Together:
Just adding one-or-two of these keystone habits into your morning can have a profound impact on your morning ritual.
Don’t try to add all of these into your morning routine right away. Start slow and start adding one or two to your ritual once you’ve successfully completed the ones before.
Over to you! We’d love to hear some of your favorite morning ritual habits. Share your ritual in the comments below.