6 Steps to Supercharge Your Morning
Each new year is like the dawn of a new day. You have the power to own the first hour of your morning and set the tone for the day. So here are 6 steps to supercharge your morning:
1. Before you go to sleep, leave your phone in another room (for now)
This one may be hard, but it’s totally worth the initial effort and it will get easier with practice. Later in the supercharge hour, you will have a designated time to check the phone —so just be patient and give yourself some space to rise and greet the day. If you must stare at something, try the morning sun or the eyes of your partner. This is key a commitment for the supercharge. Give this practice at least two weeks. At the end, you’ll experience the power of a new routine and thank yourself.
Reality Check: This is both the easiest and the hardest change to add to your routine. The reality is time spent with your phone in the morning is like click addicting trip down the Internet rabbit hole. You will not miss out on any key articles or news that will come across your feed later in the hour. Say goodbye to deleting time. This change will work — if you work it.
Let the phone sleep some more. Cute Overload will still be there for the mid-morning coffee break.
Pro Tip: Get another alarm system other than your phone so you are not tempted… or follow advice of the next change:
2. Wake up with the Sun
When camping, the sun rises and the forest comes to life. Do the same at home, open those shades before you sleep and allow the light to enter the room in the morning. Most of the year this means waking up before 6:45 am every day. Rising with the sun is key for a supercharged morning. Even if this seems difficult at first, you may discover you will rise naturally without an alarm.
Reality Check: The sun rises 6 minutes later or earlier each week depending on whether you are approaching the summer or winter solstice. Daylight savings was made for rising with the sun. Just go with the flow in the winter — because it’s a great time to make deposits in the sleep bank. And in the summer? Enjoy that extra time in the sun!
Pro Tip: Set those other alarms in close proximity to when the sun rises. Depending on the orientation of your bedroom window — you might invest in some light therapy alarm clocks — or a dog — or cat — or rooster (if you live in Portland) — or baby (according to my co-workers)— since they all are naturally in synch with the sun. All may be equally effective, though some in particular may require your help to manage their own morning routines.
3. Move your body and get the blood flowing
Pick some type of warm up routine that you can do in your bedroom, bathroom, hallway, living room every morning for 10 minutes. Start with stretching or foam roller work. To change it up you could add a series of basic yoga poses like sun salutations. The point is to give yourself a set period of time devoted to getting your body warmed up and blood flowing. This is not a workout — but can be the prelude to a more intense exercise, which we will discuss more in step 4, but that’s for the advanced class.
Reality Check: This is part of the routine you are now doing everyday, so get it done everyday. Use this time to allow your mind to relax and focus on accomplishing this step for a full 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised that making and keeping this small commitment every morning will have measurable impact on how you approach tasks later in the day.
Pro Tip: Get a foam roller and work it through your muscles. They are inexpensive and can have a huge impact on myofascial muscle release and your overall flexibility. Almost every fitness trainer, professional athlete and physical therapist will include foam rolling in their regimes — so add this technique to your morning.
4. (Optional Workout) — Followed by Shower, and Getting Dressed
If you enjoy a more intense workout at home, like a quick run, or cardio, or home gym then get to it. This is the time to give yourself to those routines. If you prefer to go to a class a few days a week now is the time to get going. Either way you’ll want a shower at the end.
Reality Check: If you’ve followed this guide you haven’t checked your phone yet. Patience grasshopper, you’ll get a chance soon. No reason for distractions just yet. Stay on task!
Pro Tip: Use the shower time to create some positive thinking routines for the upcoming day. Focus on positive emotions and positive thoughts that occur in and around you on a really great day. If you don’t know for sure what those emotions and feelings are yet, use this time to contemplate what made you grateful the day before.
5. Make your own coffee (or tea) and clean up for 10 minutes
Simply set some water to boil, or start the coffee machine. I’m partial to a French roast for both coffee and tea. Instead of impatiently watching the pot boil — use this time and make a game of it. See how much of the kitchen, living room, bedroom you can clean in 10 minutes. You’ll be shocked how much you can get done in just the time it takes for water to boil.
Reality Check: Cleaning for only 10 minutes a day is not going to give you a clean house. That said, if you rarely clean, then adding 10 minutes a day is a great start. And if you already keep your place clean, limiting yourself to only 10 minutes every morning is also a good practice.
Pro Tip: Consider picking up a Dyson Stick Vacuum. The charge only lasts for 5 minutes on high power — so the question is: how much can you vacuum in 5 minutes? Ready … Set …Go! Now stretch it out to the very last second! One side note, for some reason, this particular vacuum seems more popular with guys I know then with women. Maybe guys appreciate that 5 minutes is the right amount of time anyone should spend vacuuming each day.
Coffee’s ready! you earned it — enjoy — and check your phone for work emails and calendar just be sure you’re on schedule. Save the news feed and podcasts for your commute.
6. Make a green smoothie — and enjoy on your way to work
While they may sound unappetizing, green smoothies are yummy. They’re also super transportable. So unlike breakfast you have to stuff down or take on the go, a green smoothie you can drink on the spot and take the rest with you to work.
Green smoothies should involve equal parts green — like kale, spinach or cucumber and equal parts fruit, like apple, grapes, kiwi, pomegranate, berries. Mix it up sometimes with frozen acai, kiwi, and mango to mix it up. Play with the recipes to your own taste. Advanced smoothie drinkers might try a 4 veg to 1 fruit ratio. Or choose from this awesome list
Reality Check: The green smoothie does require you get a pretty decent blender, just know it’s worth the investment. I calculate my vegetable and fruit intake ramped 500% in my first year of green smoothies.
Pro Tip: Green smoothies are better with almond milk, or soy, or coconut, and while it’s easy to pick up at the store it’s just as easy to make and you’ll know for sure it contains almonds. Make your own almond milk with this seriously easy Almond Milk Recipe: 4 parts Water, 1 part Almonds, one date, half a teaspoon of Vanilla. Throw in the blender for 3 minutes then strain through a nut bag…and Yes, nut bags are real.
Extra Tip: Buy enough large shake containers to always have an extra, in case you leave one at the office.
This is the first in a series of articles in a short series in my new collection Know Thyself
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