Author Shaziah Zuberi
For some time now, I have followed a practice which has become my deeply ingrained habit. When I wake up, I open my kitchen’s window to let the fresh air in, and drink a cup of hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This helps me clear my mind, and provides me the ability to focus and improve my powers of discernment before I start my day.
I love my morning routine because it makes me energized and motivated for the tasks of the day ahead, and influences how the rest of my day turns out. Indeed, a big part of my morning routine is about its transforming impact on my thoughts, moods, and overall energy level. This routine provides me the happy and energized feeling to communicate well and plan strategically, while avoiding errors in judgment during the day.
I believe that the well-informed choices that we make during the first hour or so after waking up help to ground us, and set the tone for the rest of our day. We focus on the brighter side of the day ahead, rather than the challenges. It motivates us to achieve a positive mindset to tackle the challenges, achieve our goals, and increase our effectiveness and productivity.
Oftentimes I have seen that people do not focus on creating a positive morning routine. They’re reluctant to do so because of habit, lack of will power, or simply out of inertia or laziness. In some cases, people do not even have the intention of modifying their routine. This is simply wrong. Without good intentions and motivation we cannot achieve much. We need to take ownership of our behavior and choices particularly if it impacts our well being. Importantly, we need to be honest with ourselves because our choices impact our overall well being. Also, we need to take responsibility and put in effort so that we can maximize our productivity. I think the best way to deal with this is to motivate ourselves to get started on something today, divvy it up into the smallest possible units of progress, and act on them one at a time. This way we can make incremental changes in our lifestyle. An important consideration in this respect is a positive morning routine.
For a sound morning routine, we need to focus of our night time sleep. I firmly believe that there is a strong connection between the two. A lack of adequate sleep can contribute to weight gain, put us at a higher risk of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and even makes us less resistant to the common cold. Not sleeping properly results in an energy deficit from not being fully rested and recharged. In my case, I pay special attention to creating a sound environment to sleep well. I remove my smart phone from my immediate surroundings, or put it on “silent” mode while I’m asleep. Before falling asleep, I reflect on the day that has passed and the coming day. I read. I make sure I am well hydrated. And I plan my goals for the day ahead. I particularly avoid social media or anything negatively stimulating. All of this helps me sleep soundly when I want to.
I strongly feel if we make these changes, we can provide ourselves with small wins which are highly motivating when we wake up. This helps us focus on crafting a positive morning routine. This routine could be a combination of any of the following activities: showering, meditating, having a healthy breakfast, exercise or simply going for a run outside the house, writing down three things we’re grateful for, reading, and making mindful notes etc. This list is naturally not exhaustive.
A friend of mine recently shared her favorite morning activity. She enjoys tidying up her home. I appreciate her idea because putting our home in order can be a great path to self-discovery. When we finish putting our house in order, we can gain a sense of achievement and gain new perspectives. We could end up focusing on overall self-improvement and being more mindful in our choices. In Japan people believe that activities like cleaning your home and keeping your bathroom spick and span brings good luck. It may have more than a kernel of truth. Having a clean environment can guide us to creating order in other dimensions of our life, and becoming a more organized and effective person. We can gain self-awareness and get to know ourselves better.
Similarly, early morning exercise and meditation have significant health benefits. They are a complete game-changer. Research suggests that morning exercise improves sleep, a benefit that could also help weight loss. The fact is people who work out in the morning may stick to their exercise routine more as compared to those who exercise later in the day. In the same vein a cup of freshly brewed coffee boosts early morning productivity. Furthermore, there’s a strong case for the health benefits of morning coffee. Studies have demonstrated that regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of diabetes, fewer strokes and heart problems, and lower rates of certain cancers. All of that may help explain why coffee drinkers tend to live longer compared to people who don’t drink the brew.
There is no doubt that positive early morning choices can make our day more invigorating. We need to keep in mind that these choices are our own and are typically self-taught. Importantly, this represents conscious effort, a dawning or realization, taking ownership, and constantly reminding ourselves to do the right things. By doing this we can also avoid negative choices that can sabotage us. These conscious positive choices can permeate to other aspects of our lives, including work and family. In addition, it helps us identify our core values, develop our passions, and make the right life decisions. We should commit to “creating” our mornings in a mold that makes us feel happy, and be grateful and motivated. This way we will be able to develop the confidence, self-assurance and focus to accomplish our goals enthusiastically. If we’re going to start a positive morning routine, now is the time to start and stick with it. Trust me!