Being an early riser is one of the most beneficial habits you can have. But it also can be one of the most difficult to instill. Never letting the sun catch you in bed can increase your personal productivity and bring a greater sense of balance into your life. So how can you make an early start part your day? Here are seven healthy morning habits you can adopt to help you kick-start your days and put you on the path toward a happy and successful week.
1. Start the day off with some meditation or devotional time.
This is one of the most prized aspects of getting up early; you can take the time to get mentally centered before the demands of the day begin to set in. You can use those first few minutes of the day to read, pray, practice meditating, recite positive affirmations, do a little journaling or simply engage in quiet contemplation. Warning: If you're still getting adjusted to becoming an early riser, don't make this time too quiet, or you might fall back asleep!
2. Lay out your plan for the day.
Think over the different things you need to get done before the day is over. Try to think in terms of categories in order to organize your thoughts a little better; for example, work, exercise, relationships, finances, etc. Write down a to-do list that includes the most pressing items, i.e., the ones that are date-sensitive or require immediate attention. Focus on prioritization; in other words, you may not have the time to take care of everything on your list, but you'll always have time to take care of the most important things.
3. Drink a glass of water before having any food.
This is a quick and simple way to add to your overall daily water intake. It also helps stave off any nagging hunger pangs you may feel before you take the time to fix breakfast. Staying hydrated is extremely important, because every cell, organ and tissue in your body depends upon water in order to function properly. An early morning glass of water will lubricate your joints, help flush out waste and prep your body for the day's activities.
4. Squeeze in a morning workout.
This can be something as simple as going for a quick jog, or you can add a little intensity by heading to the gym for some strength training. Numerous studies have shown that early morning exercise will increase your cognitive function as well as your focus, both of which are critical for you to perform well in your other daily responsibilities.
5. Perform some basic stretches.
Stretching stimulates your connective tissue and increases your circulation. It also keeps you from feeling stiff or inflexible. You don't have to perform the stretching routine of a professional athlete, but you can do a few simple stretching exercises such as touching your toes, stretching your arms above your head, and slowly rotating your neck to keep your body limber and feeling refreshed.
6. Eat a good, nutritious breakfast.
A healthy breakfast will kick-start your metabolism and help you stay alert during the morning hours. It should be emphasized that only healthy foods (e.g., fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.) will provide you with the long-lasting energy that you need; if you opt for the oversized cinnamon bun and a soft drink, your energy level will crash and burn in short order.
7. Focus on productivity, not busyness.
There is a huge difference between being busy and being productive. Nothing is worse than being busy all day long, but then when you lie down at night, you realize that you actually didn't accomplish anything of importance. Identify your "big wins"--in other words, the activities that, when accomplished, will let you know that you have actually made some progress. Take time to clearly identify which activities those are, and focus on getting them done above all else.
Committing to become an early riser and starting your day with purpose will help you make progress towards accomplishing those worthwhile goals you've established. Putting the above tips into action will only boost your productivity and energy levels. So go out and make it a great week!