3 Ways to Supercharge Your Mornings in 2018

Morning routine talk is all the rage these days — but they aren’t just fashionable, they really do work. Managing your mornings can set you up for a positive and productive day, it is worth setting the alarm the few minutes earlier it takes to make time for them.

There are a variety of different rituals that people do in the morning to kick start their day. The three that have changed my life for the better, helping me approach my day with energy, clarity, and optimism are Meditation, Running, and Breakfast. These might seem like no brainers, but I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss the benefits I have found from each of the three and how to avoid common pitfall of not having enough time that prevents people from doing them — even when they know they should.

Meditation

The proven mental and physiological benefits of meditation are boundless, and it is becoming seen as a natural performance enhancer that can set people apart above the competition. But even when we know this conceptually, making the time to actually sit down and do it is easier said than done. Many people think that if they don’t start a long arduous practice, they won’t be getting any of the benefits. In reality, even a short meditation session has great benefits, and can be done anywhere that you can find a quiet space.

I have been practicing meditation on and off for the past several years, but recently I made it into a daily ritual right when I wake up in the morning, and it has forever changed me. Don’t have a lot of time in the morning? I start at five minutes a day, and if I’m inspired, I sit for a little longer. Five minutes is enough to help slow me down, clear my thoughts, and be more alert and present throughout the day. Don’t have five minutes, start with three, or two, or one — any amount of time is better than not doing it at all.

Some days you will only go five seconds between thoughts, other days, five minutes, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are building a practice that sets you up to be less reactive, more self-aware, and present in the current moment.

Exercise

A healthy mind is stronger when paired with a healthy body. By now I imagine everyone is aware of how important it is to get up and move throughout the day. Whether it comes naturally for you or not, finding a way to enjoy and actually crave exercise is critical for building it into a daily practice.

A lot of people find it hard to wake up early enough to exercise in the morning, but many people find that after work they also don’t have the time or energy. I have built exercise into my morning routine because no matter what happens later in the day, I still will have gotten it done. As with any practice, the more you do it, the more it becomes a habit, so I strongly recommend you do something, even if it is just stretching or a walk, every single day.

Develop a few forms of exercise that you can cycle through if the weather prevents you from doing a specific thing — if you like running outside, find something to supplement this with like yoga or a workout video when it is raining or snowing. I also recommend figuring out a few different workouts that you can do with different amounts of time — I typically run outside for 40 minutes each morning, but also have a go-to at home yoga workout for when it’s raining or I only have 20 minutes.

Breakfast

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a lot of people still don’t eat breakfast. Whether you’re not hungry or don’t have time, eating a healthy breakfast helps kickstart your metabolism for the day, helps you to be alert and focused, and gives you energy to face the day.

“Healthy” is the operative here, eating a sugary breakfast can lead you to crash right from the start. Incorporate protein and fiber and healthy fats, and you’ll have the right nutritional balance to keep you satiated until lunch.

Even when we’re rushed in the morning, it’s critical to make time for a quick breakfast. Avocado toast, a berry smoothie with almond butter and protein powder, or a protein bar with a handful of almonds are all quick breakfasts you can make in under 5 minutes that you can take with you on the go.

Just start!

To incorporate these three habits into your morning routine, all you have to do is start. Prep your breakfast the night before so that it takes minimal time to put together in the morning. Put out your workout clothes on a chair or onto the floor by your bed so that they’re ready to grab then you wake up. Program a 5-minute timer into your phone so that when you meditate, all you have to do is press start.

The more you make these three things a habit and as routine as brushing your teeth, the more natural they will feel — and the more noticeable it will feel when you skip them. In the new year, start with committing to 30 days and trust me, at the end of the month you will be glad you did it.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 277,994+ people.

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