Why does everyone but me have a morning routine?

12 April 2017 - Mindful Practices

“I think that a routine is necessary to feel in control and non-reactive, which reduces anxiety. It therefore also makes you more productive. […] If you win the morning, you win the day.” – Tim Ferriss

We often hear people talk about their morning routines and wonder how they do it. Many of us probably hit the snooze button 5 times, roll out of bed, rush to get ready and leave the house feeling tired. Who’s got time for a morning routine?

All of us do, if we make it a priority. We often don’t pay much attention to morning routines because we don’t realise how starting the day well impacts the rest of it. Research by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his collaborator Amos Tversky explains the ‘endowment effect’: Starting your day by doing things that move you forward gives you positive momentum, so it’s then more likely that you will continue doing positive things.

We share 5 simple tips to help you create a morning routine. There is no universal routine, only the one that works best for you.

1. Make small, gradual changes.

Don’t make drastic changes immediately as they are always harder to maintain. Small wins give you the motivation to take on more changes.

2. Start the night before.

A good morning starts the night before. The most important thing is to have enough sleep. Other things that help:
• Create a realistic to-do list: Pre-planning tasks gives you a peace of mind and a sense of purpose in the morning as you know what to expect.
• Create anticipation: Schedule dinner with a friend. Think about an exciting work task. Plan an awesome outfit to wear the next day. Research shows that anticipation is a powerful happiness booster.

3. Start early.

What makes you feel good in the morning? Breakfast, catching the sunrise, writing in your gratitude journal? Wake up earlier to make time for the things that put you in a positive frame of mind. Waking up early may seem difficult at first, but the benefits are worth it.

4. Do the difficult things.

Research shows that we have the most willpower, self-control and creative energy in the morning.

At home:
Do the things you usually dread, such as making the bed or exercising. At the University of Texas at Austin’s 2014 commencement speech, U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McRaven said, “If you make your bed every morning […] it will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."

At work:
Do creative work or the most important task and leave reactive work (like answering emails) for later in the day.

5. Hug it out!

In Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness, researchers found that people who gave or received at least 5 hugs a day were happier than those who didn’t. This is a nice reminder of what a simple hug can do!

Did any of these tips improve your mornings and the rest of the day? Let us know at hello@mindful-company.com.

- Your friends at The Mindful Company