The key to getting your day started off on the right foot is to build momentum. If you can manage to successfully string together a series of small “victories” — which may only entail the simplest of tasks, like immediately getting up, making your bed, and getting out the door on time — you’ll set yourself up for success for the rest of the day. Morning routines are paramount to success, as many of the world’s most capable and accomplished people will attest to.
Truthfully, no one wants their day to get off to a bad start. But as unfortunate as it is, it’s incredibly easy to sabotage yourself and completely throw off your routine and momentum with any number of small missteps.
What kind of mistakes are you making? Are there things you could be doing differently that can make a big difference in improving your routine?
We’ve broken down seven of the worst things you can do each morning. Let’s take a quick look at the list and see what you can do to improve your morning routine.
1. Ignore your alarm clock
Sleep is important — this can’t be stressed enough. But the cornerstone of a solid morning routine is to actually get up when the alarm goes off; this means no complaining and no hitting snooze. Just get your feet on the ground and you’ll have an early and important “victory” on which to build momentum.
Hitting the snooze button is an unhealthy habit you should try and break for two reasons: It makes you a little drowsy upon waking because those extra minutes of snooze sleep are not real sleep, and those extra few minutes can be the difference between you being late or on time. Try going to sleep a little earlier to avoid having to hit the snooze button, or keep your alarm clock (or phone) far enough away from your bed that you can still hear it but will have to get up to turn it off.
2. Check your phone
Workaholics beware: Checking your email before you’ve even tossed the covers off is sure to send you into panic mode before the day has even begun. “It sets your day off to a negative start,” Susan Bartell, a psychologist who’s a work-life balance expert, told Men’s Health. “And if you’re responding to an email when you’re half-awake, you’re more likely to make mistakes.”
Do yourself a favor and don’t even look at your phone until after you’ve had some time to wake up and collect yourself.
3. Not exercise
Getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning can be a useful psychological trick, especially since it’s easier to bail on the gym at night when plans with friends, exhaustion from the day, and work projects slowly erode your will and discipline. Your best bet is to wake up a little earlier and work out in the morning. Even if it’s just a 10- to 15-minute session, it’s still worth doing. Eventually, you’ll be able to fit in an entire routine.
If you need some tips for helping you establish a morning workout routine, we have you covered.
4. Take a hot shower
Sure, a hot shower feels great when you wake up. It’s nice and relaxing — but that’s actually the problem. The heat is telling your nervous system that it’s time for your muscles to relax and your heart rate to slow down, which can make you even more tired. If you want to really wake up, opt for a quick, cold shower. It may be unpleasant, but it’ll definitely wake you up and speed up the amount of time you spend standing in the tub half-asleep.
In the morning, your body needs fuel. Though muffins, bagels, pancakes, and waffles are all delicious and comforting, they’re not really doing you any favors. Your body needs resources to kick itself into gear, and calorie-heavy, carbohydrate-dense foods like those are really going to slow you down. If you want to get ready for the day, opt for foods that will boost your creativity and productivity by supplying healthy vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Aim for lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables to get your day started off right.
6. Brush your teeth right after you eat
Who would’ve thought that something as simple as brushing your teeth could actually backfire on you? Well, it can. Brushing your teeth after breakfast can push sugars to the surface of your teeth and eventually erode your enamel. Instead, brush your teeth immediately after waking up.
7. Spend too much time on clothes
One of the best things you can do the night before work is lay out what you’re going to wear the next day. Those early morning hours invite enough chaos and you should do your best not to add to them. Since you need to look refined and put together for work, plan your outfit the night before and make sure you iron your clothes as well. Try it out for a week and see how it feels. Not only will you be able to look more stylish because you’ll know ahead of time how your outfit will look, but it will actually leave you extra time to sleep longer if you plan accordingly.