What you do in the morning contributes greatly to the tone of your day. When we roll out of bed after hitting snooze 15 times and neglect to plan for what’s ahead, we throw up a prayer for chaos into the ether… and more than likely, chaos is what we will get.
There are plenty of posts about the habits of the most successful people, but there really is a reason the way they begin their days impacts how well it goes. Not only on a functional, logical level (you have your ducks in a row, you have a schedule and a plan, you have organized the essentials for things to run smoothly), there’s something psychologically very powerful about beginning your day in a way that says, “I am a competent human and, man, do I have this day on lockdown”.
From getting on top of the logistics to the positive psychology tricks you can employ, here’s how to leap out of bed on the right foot—and stay on it until you get back into bed at night.
Make your bed
Sounds pretty simple and probably something your mom would remind you to do, but there’s a reason making your bed in the morning sets you up for success. This simple act of organizing—sheet, sheet, cover, pillows—and leaving your bedroom in a presentable condition reinforces to your highly impressionable, half-asleep brain that order and calmness abound. More calmness equals less stress, and less stress equals better mood, more productivity and (hopefully) a better day.
Your cells have been without water for several hours, so reintroducing water before any other substance (yes, that includes coffee) is key to prepping your GI tract for efficient work throughout the day. It’s an easy way to rehydrate your body if you do it on autopilot. Plus, if you sip water throughout the morning, you may end up consuming two of your eight recommended glasses for the day. Set the tone for great hydration first thing.
Plan your day
A simple list of the three big things you’d like to accomplish in the short term (i.e. before noon, before the end of the day) can go a long way in terms of helping you move calmly through the day. Putting it on paper or in your phone takes away the stress of remembering and can serve as a helpful reminder of your goals. Even if it’s “pick up dry cleaning, find birthday card and make quinoa,” a few small tasks to keep you on track will make for better time management all day. As they say, those who fail to plan plan to fail, so prioritize the big things to make the rest of the day run even more smoothly.
Play music you love
Regardless of your morning plans, a soundtrack of uplifting, energizing tunes will help prime your mind for positivity all day long. Pick whatever makes you happy and use it to get through your must-do’s for before you leave the house. Bonus: Great music makes a long commute way less stressful.
Want to feel better mid-afternoon? Make time in the morning to get your body in motion. Whatever it is—gentle stretching, walking the dog, going to CrossFit—starting your day with movement revs your metabolism and stokes your energy for the day. Plus, you’re more likely to make better food choices if you’ve done something positive for your body earlier in the day. You’ll get that great workout in (it’s harder to make excuses first thing) and you’ll reap the benefits for hours afterwards. It’s a win all around.