There’s a reason many of the world’s most successful professionals adamantly follow morning routines: mornings are what set you up for the day. Research supports this. Studies have found that those who start their day in a good mood are likely to retain a good mood for the rest of the day. And vice versa: if you begin your day in a bad mood, researchers suggest your day is only going to get bleaker from there.
So, can a morning routine change your life? If so, where should you start with creating one? Keep reading to find out.
The benefits of morning rituals
You may not have realized it, but the routines that were set out for you in childhood have probably impacted aspects of who you are today. Studies have linked family routines to the development of social skills, academic success and resilience during tough times. Daily routines in childhood are also attributed to positive time management during adulthood.
So, if you’re a parent trying to set up your own morning routine – don't overlook the benefits of also setting up a morning routine for your kids. If the concept of a morning routine is new to you, don’t fret – plenty of research suggests that it’s never too late to implement and benefit from creating new routines for yourself. A study published by the National Library of Medicine found that those who have healthy daily rituals in place are more likely to be in good health overall. One survey of over 1,000 people found that those who have strict morning routines in place are likely to earn more than those who don’t follow morning routines – an average of +$12,500 per year!
How to create a morning routine that works for you
We're firm believers that the most effective morning routines are realistic ones. To create a simple morning ritual that works for your lifestyle, try the following steps:
1. Set a wake-up time you can commit to
If you’re guilty of ever complaining “I’m not a morning person”, it turns out there’s research to support this. While there are some things you can do to try and become more of a morning person, you might be among a minority of people who operate on an evening chronotype. If this is the case, waking up later and being most productive in the evenings might feel much more natural to you than going to bed early and waking up early. Rather than trying to fight your body’s natural rhythm, it might pay to keep your morning routines short and sweet. If, on the other hand, you’re naturally a morning person: congratulations – you already have a head start!
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, waking up at a set time every day is key as it helps to set your body’s circadian rhythm (aka your internal body clock). This crucial step will help your body recognize when it’s time to wake up and move into your morning routine. When our circadian rhythms are synchronized with all of our bodily functions, it "gives us an edge in daily life”, according to Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California.
2. Give it time to become a habit
Once you’ve decided on what your morning routine will entail (more on that later) ensure you give yourself enough time for your new rituals to become habits. This won’t happen from day one: research suggests that it takes an average of 66 days for habits to become automatic – more if the new habit involves physical activity. Don’t worry if a day or two gets missed occasionally: studies suggest that a day or two missed will not impact how long it takes for your new routine to become habit.
3. Cue your new rituals after existing habits
An easy way to train your brain to remember new habits is to cue them with existing habits. For example, after your normal routine of having breakfast, try adding in a ten-minute walk or, after your morning cup of coffee, add in five minutes of stretching. Research suggests that this habit cuing (also known as habit stacking) can help to turn new behaviors into habits.
Things to consider including in your morning routine
According to a recent OnePoll survey, the top three morning rituals among Americans are 1) drinking coffee, 2) eating a tasty breakfast and 3) exercising. But just because these rituals are popular, doesn’t mean they lead to success. High-income earners are more likely to work out, take a cold shower and meditate first thing in the morning, according to a survey conducted by The Sleep Judge. Aside from being correlated with higher incomes, these morning rituals also have multiple health and wellbeing benefits.
The benefits of meditating in the morning
Yes, meditation is very on-trend at the moment – but there’s a reason for that. Just ten minutes of mindfulness meditation a day has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and help people focus.
“Our results indicate that mindfulness training may have protective effects on mind wandering for anxious individuals,” says Mengran Xu, a researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo. “We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand.”
The benefits of working out in the morning
When it comes to morning rituals for good health, working out always seems to be high on the list. But there are pros and cons to starting your day with exercise. Yes, it helps to produce those feel-good endorphins that can help you to start the day in a good mood. But, according to Professor of Biomedical Engineering Michael Smolensky, the best time to exercise is between 3pm – 6pm as it reduces the risk of injury, and physical performance is usually at its peak. If you do prefer to exercise in the early hours, be sure to warm up correctly to avoid any injuries.
The benefits of taking a cold shower in the morning
While a cold shower in the morning might not be for everyone, there are a few potential benefits to this morning ritual. Studies have found that cold showers can support immunity, speed up your metabolism and may help to improve cognitive function. If you don’t mind the cold and like the sound of these potential benefits, this could be an easy step to include in your new morning routine.
Morning routine inspiration
Now that you know what research has found about the benefits of various morning rituals, it’s time to create your own. For some morning routine ideas, check out how these MitoQ ambassadors have crafted their morning rituals for success.