8 Morning Rituals to Improve Your Entire Day
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Morning Glory1 of 9
By Paige Brettingen
The secret to a good day? It starts with how you're spending your mornings, says Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. In fact, research shows that morning is the optimal time for setting positive habits that not only lead to a better day, but could also improve your marriage, career and overall well-being. Here, eight morning rituals to help you rise and shine!
Day Planner2 of 9
To start, set one morning aside to take inventory of how exactly you're spending your time. Writing down your a.m. activities will help you identify what it is you're doing versus what you need to be doing. "Again and again, I see people who are so focused on getting out the door that they don't realize everything else that can happen before they walk out that door," says Vanderkam.
Get Moving3 of 9
Vanderkam's favorite ritual? Morning exercise. In addition to the health benefits, it's pretty impossible not to feel awake after 20 minutes of running, she says. Plus, exercise is typically the first thing to go when you discover you need to work late or have a last-minute meeting, and by having your workout accomplished, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. "That win scored at the beginning of the day can make you feel like you're on a roll for the next 24 hours," she says.
Let's Eat!4 of 9
With kids' afterschool practices and rehearsals encroaching on dinnertime, Vanderkam suggests making breakfast the main family event each day. Besides being the one time everyone can be at the same table, breakfast foods are more kid-friendly and less likely to cause arguments. Serve up plenty of fruit to keep the meal nutrient-rich.
Date Mornings5 of 9
Too tired post-work to ever have a proper "date night" with your significant other? Try switching from "date nights" to "date mornings." If you can swing getting to work a little later, even just once a month, Vanderkam says that scheduling an a.m. rendezvous is often a lot easier than planning an evening one. Just drop the kids off at school and go—no sitter required.
Romp Around6 of 9
Even if you don't have a date morning on the books, you can still squeeze in a little quality time (wink, wink). Not only does a pre-dawn romp ensure you're connecting with your spouse on a routine basis, that boost of endorphins is bound to get the day off to a good start.
Feel the Power7 of 9
According to a recent study done by researchers at the Johnson & Johnson Co., willpower peaks at 8 a.m., typically right after you've eaten breakfast, says Vanderkam. If you have a looming project or task that seems to be taking longer than it should to complete, give it your attention in the morning. Willpower is like a muscle and gets fatigued as the day goes on, she says. (FYI, for most of us, 4 p.m. is typically the worst time to try accomplishing a new task.)
Good Vibrations8 of 9
An excellent way to start the day is to carve out time for quiet reflection. But instead of diving into a daily 20-minute meditation practice, Vanderkam recommends first challenging yourself to just sit quietly for a few minutes and repeat a word or phrase that you want to be your mantra for the day. Some ideas to get you started: "With gratitude" or "Be present."
Network It9 of 9
Happy hours may be the go-to suggestion when setting up networking events, but Vanderkam suggests inviting your professional contacts to morning coffee instead. The reason? Happy hours are more relaxed and can easily veer off professional course; and the likelihood of them getting cancelled is higher since work projects tend to pop up later in the day. Instead, try networking over morning coffee.
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