If you’re anything like me, waking up in the morning is a hard task. Over the course of a number of years I’ve built a routine that helps wake me up and keeps me motivated.
For me one of the hardest parts of the day is actually waking up and staying awake. There are a few tricks to this.
Before you go to sleep, eat a spoon of nut butter (or sunflower butter if you’re allergic), this helps with blood sugar levels and can help you feel more rested the next day. Getting into bed from 9pm-11pm does have its benefits, as the body can have more non-REM sleep earlier in the evening, which is believed to be more restorative.
One of the major things I’ve learnt is going back to sleep after your alarm will only make you more tired, and research suggests even if you feel groggy when waking up, going back to sleep will do just that. The best way to shed that feeling of grogginess is to eat an apple and drink a glass of water. The apple has fructose, minerals and water which help kickstart you after 8 hours of no food and the water helps rehydrate you.
One hack I’ve also used is having a bottle of hot sauce on the nightstand. When I wake up I take a small amount of hot sauce and that hit of hot sauce gets my heart going enough that I can’t fall asleep again. Straight after this you want to get exercising. The reason is because you’re less likely to procrastinate and you’ll be feeling the endorphins that are a great motivation booster.
Any exercise that gets your heart rate up will help. Ideally either a 15 minute high intensity interval training or a short run, as this will get your breath and heart rate up. However, Yoga is great too as a form of body meditation and a good way to shake off slumber.
“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life.” – Hal Elrod
The Wim Hof Method
Post 15 minute workout, the 5 minute Wim Hof breathing exercise and a cold shower really helps. The cold water is a challenge but leaves you energised and has been shown to counter colds and flus and even anxiety. After this you can sit down to work and feel ready to take on any challenge (as a cold shower is a pretty tough one.)
Meditation and journaling
A quick 5 or 10 minute meditation before work can get your mind ready for any task. Post meditation, your brain emits alpha waves which can reduce stress and anxiety. You can use the time after to set your daily goals and remind yourself of your monthly goals. It’s also a good time to do a quick journaling, which is usually 2-3minutes of writing, which leaves you focused.
I have used a three part journal.
Part one is gratitude, being grateful for things in your life is proven to make people happier and less stressed. Even small things like your breakfast, the weather or a comfy bed are a good start. It rewires your brain to not focus on what you lack but what you have. It’s important to write these down and the action of writing helps cement these in your brain.
Part two is red/blue. This helps with discipline. I write the things I did well (meditated, exercised) in blue and if I did something I’m not happy with (went to bed late) in red. It helps hold yourself accountable and fix those behaviors.
Part three is remembering your successes and visualizing future ones. It’s a quick ‘what do I want’. Writing down your goals again and again reinforces them and makes it easier to work and focus if you know why you are working. It’s also a way to check in with yourself if you still even want those things. Remembering success is just a way to remind yourself of the hard work you’ve done and what you’ve achieved. It helps remind you you’re capable of more of these kinds of success.
For me a smoothie with some berries, protein, oats, nuts and spinach helps set me up for the day. Tonnes of fibre, protein and vitamins and it’s fast to make and consume.
Removing distractions and not to do list
A lot of successful people rely on “what not to do” lists as well as to do lists. For me the main things not to do is: multitasking, futurecasting, focusing on what I don’t want or dwelling on the past. Having these “not to dos” in front of you helps to remind you to reject those thoughts or behaviours when they creep in. One of the most important ways I can stay focused is to check my phone only after meditating and then put it in my bag or somewhere out of reach. This way it doesn’t distract me and I get out of the habit of checking notifications as they arise.
The whole process is about 45 minutes to an hour and sets you up for a day where your productivity and motivation will be noticeably improved from days you don’t.