Every morning is filled with the promise of a new day, a chance to start anew, a fresh lease on life. Not to mention exhaustion. Mornings are also filled with exhaustion.
Why? Turns out we make the same common mistakes pretty much every day, starting with going to bed too late and continuing into choices in the morning that can sabotage the rest of the day.
Even self-described morning people could use a tuneup on this important time of day. Here are three proven ways to maximize your morning routine and set you up for a successful day.
- Actually Get Up
Whoever invented the snooze button probably did not realize the great debate he or she was going to set off. Many consider the snooze button a savior, allowing another 10 or 15 minutes of precious sleep.
In reality, experts say that the snooze button could result in feeling groggier, not only when you wake up, but also throughout the day. You end up getting up at your first alarm at 6:30 on Monday, but Tuesday you are up at 7 a.m. after hitting the snooze a couple of times, and then 7:15 on really slow mornings. This makes it impossible for your body to set its internal clock, meaning you’ll probably stay up later, creating a tiring cycle.
Instead, set your alarm for when you need to get up, and wake up at that time every day. Position your alarm clock across the room if you have to. Because it turns out, if you snooze, you really do lose.
- Add an Activity to Your Routine
If you put off exercise until after work or after the kids go to bed, most likely you won’t make it to the gym at all. Life gets in the way, and by the time the evening rolls around, there are a million other more pressing, or more fun, things to do.
There are other benefits to exercising in the morning, like the boost in energy and long-lasting calorie burn it provides. If you just can’t see yourself making it to the gym or out for a run, try to incorporate a challenging yoga practice into your morning routine. You will find that it provides focus and inspiration for the rest of the day.
- Make Your Time and Calories Count
We’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but most of us are lucky if we find time to chug down a cup of coffee before heading out the door. A little preparation will ensure you get the most of this morning meal.
Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating later in the day, In fact, studies show that those who eat breakfast are thinner than those who skip it. A bowl of fiber-rich cereal or whole-grain toast are go-to choices for many people, but this meal can be so much more.
A warm breakfast doesn’t necessarily mean getting up early to stand over the stove. Sure, hard-boiled eggs are an easy, nutrient-rich food that can be made ahead of time, but that can get monotonous. Instead, try slow cooker steel-cut oatmeal, which can bake safely overnight while you sleep. Wake up to a house that smells great and enjoy heart-healthy oatmeal.
Fresh fruit is an important part of any diet, and the morning is a great time to snack on berries on the way to work or bite into an apple while walking the kids to the bus stop. Add some peanut butter for a bit of protein.
Mornings set the tone for the entire day. Waking up without the snooze button, exercising and eating breakfast will set you up for 24 hours of success.