It’s your mornings that already set the tone for the day. I have experimented with different morning routines for the last year and can honestly say that having healthy morning habits can improve your productivity and general well-being in so many ways.
Let’s be honest, we have all experienced this before. When you already feel sluggish and uninspired in the morning, usually your day won’t be the most productive.I live according to the mantra that every day counts. Every day is a new opportunity to show up as your higher self and spread more love and kindness into the world. I also believe that habits either make or break us. It’s the culmination of all our routines, habits and behaviors that shape who we are as a person.
The truth about “finding motivation”
Many people believe that they are not able to form new habits because they lack the motivation. However, motivation is not the actual problem here. Everyone is able to perform new habits and stick to them but it’s all about automating them. Once you know how to automate habits, you don’t need motivation anymore. Before we start with the toxic morning habits to give up, let’s dive into how a new habit gets automated.
3 Hacks for Habit Automization
1. Make tiny habits
In order to eliminate the excuses not to perform a habit (because let’s be real, it can be super daunting at first), you can start with forming really tiny habits.
Example: Do 2 push ups instead of a 30-minute extensive workout
Even the laziest brain will give this a go!
2. Find a trigger
This is how it works. Find an existing habit (for example brushing your teeth) and use it as an anchor moment that triggers your new desired habit.
So you basically stack a tiny habit on top of an already existing routine in your day. Pretty clever, right?
Example: After I brush my teeth (existing habit), I do 2 push ups (new tiny habit)
3. Reward yourself – it’s time to celebrate (YAY!)
After you performed the behavior that you want to make your new habit, it’s important to celebrate yourself! It sounds funny but tell yourself you’re awesome or jump in the air – any positive emotions work. That’s how the brain learns. As humans, we always long for pleasure and are looking forward to feeling that positive emotion at the end.
Now, that you know the framework of how habits are created, we’ll continue with the toxic morning habits to give up if you want to be successful. You will also find tips on what to do instead.
Toxic morning habits to give up if you want to be successful
1. Hitting the snooze button
I wanted to start with this toxic habit because it’s something many people do right after waking up. There was also a time in my life where I continued to push the snooze button believing that it would actually give me additional restorative sleep. It’s important to know that the 5, 10, 15 or 30 additional minutes of sleep you get by hitting the snooze button won’t give you any “high-quality sleep”. At this point, you don’t get REM sleep anymore, so it’s better to just get up and start your day. It also doesn’t set you up for a productive day when your willpower is so low to begin with.
The reason why you keep hitting the snooze button could also be that you go to bed too late and don’t get enough sleep. Most people need around 7-8 hours of sleep but it’s different for everyone. Start a little experiment and try out what feels best for you.
Tip: Put your phone or alarm clock across the room or even into another room. In this way, you will have to get up to turn it off and you’re much less likely to hit the snooze button.
2. Checking your phone right after waking up
This is also a really common toxic habit. It might already feel natural to you but looking at your phone first thing in the morning can already have a negative effect on your mental health and well-being. Instead of being proactive and taking action, you are already in a reactive state of mind. The first thing to check in on should be yourself, not emails, messages or Instagram.
Tip: Take the first hour of your day to just look after yourself and only turn on your phone after that time has passed. It will make a huge difference in your day and mental health.
3. Taking hot showers
As pleasant as steaming up your shower can feel, it’s not the best thing to do in the morning. When taking a hot shower, you are very likely to feel tired and sluggish afterwards. It also dehydrates your body which makes you feel even more sleepy. I recommend taking cold showers in the morning. You might probably think now “Oh my god, this is the hardest thing to do” and you’re right. It is very challenging in the beginning, simply because you are not used to it. However, overcoming this fear and pushing yourself to do it anyways, promotes emotional resilience. That is exactly what you need to have a productive day and don’t give in to the distractions around you.
Plus, cold showers wake up your body and make you feel overall more alert. I started taking cold showers after listening to a podcast episode with Wym Hof. To find out more about the benefits of the cold, you can check out his website.
Tip: Start with one minute of cold water at the end of your regular shower and increase the amount of time every week. In this way, your body gets used to it and it doesn’t seem as daunting as stepping into a cold shower right away.
4. Skipping your morning workout
In order for your body to wake up, it’s so important to move it. In this day and age, we spend most of our time sitting at desks but our bodies are not designed that way. Try to do a quick work-out in the morning and don’t judge yourself if you end up exercising 10 minutes, instead of 30. Just reward yourself for showing up every day and make it all about the process, not the end result. Make it part of your morning routine and once you got it done in the morning, you don’t have to worry about it anymore for the rest of the day. You are also more likely to make healthier food choices when you exercised in the morning.
Tip: If you go running or to the gym, already lay out your workout gear the night before.
5. Forgetting to hydrate
After sleeping 7 or 8 hours, your body is in need of hydration the next morning. Starting your morning with a big glass of water is one of the best morning habits you can implement. It helps you to wake up, boosts your immune system, helps with constipation and strengthens your brain.
Tip: Put some lemon in your glass of water.It helps to flush out the toxins in your body and cleanses the liver.
You might also like: How To Create a Joy-Inducing Morning Routine
I hope that this post inspired you to opt for healthy morning habits. It always amazes me how the sum of tiny, healthy habits can make all the difference in the long-term. Of course, it’s never easy to start a new habit but just try the hacks for habit automization mentioned in this article. They helped me a lot with beating my “lazy brain” and getting out of my own way. If I can do it, you can do it too.
I’m here rooting for you.
Sending you much love,