Are you a skeptic? Do you find all the reports of a morning routine improving your motivation hard to believe? Would you rather hit that snooze button again? Do you wonder how having a morning routine could affect your motivation?
I know, it sounds like a lot of hype but there are scientific facts that support the theory that a morning routine can affect your motivation. Everyone’s morning routine does of course vary in one aspect or another, but there are three major ways that a morning routine can affect your motivation.
But first, how would you define motivation? According to Mullins (2002), motivation is a person’s driving force to succeed and achieve a goal, fulfill a need or even uphold a value. Needs are the basic force of survival, physical or psychological for example friendship, hunger, love, and thirst. Values are those things we consider important, for example, family friends, health or wealth. Lastly, goals are the end results a person is working towards. Therefore, anything that affects these three areas would affect your motivation.
Having defined the term motivation, it becomes much easier to clarify how a morning routine can affect your level of motivation. Maintaining a morning routine can give benefits to your mental (needs), physical (value) and productive (goals) well-being as explained below.
Productivity and Focus
Mornings are when people are more focused. By getting up in the morning and following a routine to begin your day, arranging the hardest tasks for the beginning of the day, you are organizing your day to follow your natural bodies rhythm. This increases your motivation and productivity. So often with a heavy work schedule, it feels hard to find time for yourself. By structuring your morning to include 5-10 minutes intervals dedicated to taking care of yourself, you will increase your motivation and show up more powerfully throughout your day. Some of the things that you can do with this time are meditate, journal, exercise, read and eat breakfast.
A morning routine that mostly includes waking up tired after repeatedly hitting that snooze button can invariably leave you rushing around trying to get ready for work and leave you with the feeling that you are never on top of things. The heightened stress levels this creates can make even the simplest of tasks seem hard. This, in turn, can leave you feeling more depressed and fed-up which lowers your will to work harder and your levels of motivation.
Whereas having a morning routine that gives your morning structure takes away the stress and worry of achieving everything that must be done. You know you will have time for the shower, the cup of coffee, or quiet read, which in turn leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed. This lessens depression, giving a sense of motivation and increases a feeling of satisfaction and achievement at completing the day’s tasks. A healthy mind and a happy disposition increase your motivation and productivity levels.
A morning routine that includes you racing out of the house without breakfast or running to catch the bus can leave you feeling fatigued, hungry and lower your ability to concentrate. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it wakes up your metabolism, reduces the feeling of hunger and boosts energy levels.
Therefore, a morning routine that includes eating breakfast will leave you with reduced hunger levels and boosted energy levels. A ten-minute walk will increase those energy levels and a cool shower has been proven to increase alertness, the immunity system, circulation, help with weight loss, give stress relief and aid with muscle recovery. A healthy body and boosted energy levels increase your stamina and your will and motivation to succeed.
Everyone’s morning routine differs depending on a number of factors such as work hours, children and the type of person you are. The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night. By counting backward from the time you have set your alarm to determine a sleeping time, you can increase the chance of waking in the morning feeling rested. The time you set your alarm depends on how much time you need to get yourself ready (and children if you have them). Any morning routine should include, breakfast and 5-10 minutes of ‘My Time’. A cold shower and a 10-minute walk are also very beneficial. One of the biggest hindrances to motivation is tiredness, hunger, and stress. By redressing a morning routine to lower stress levels, reduce hunger and eliminate stress your level of motivation and determination to succeed will be increased.
Here is a morning routine that I use and help my clients with to create amazing results in their life. It is called the P.O.W.E.R Hour and it has revolutionized their productivity, focus, and sense of fulfillment throughout their day:
P-eace- Dedicate the first 10-20 minutes of your day to some form of quiet time like meditation and expression of gratitude. Give yourself the gift of your own attention when you wake up.
O-penness- Take 5-10 minutes to journal about your intentions in your day
W– Who, What, Why= I ask these questions every morning and include them in my journal. Who needs me today? What do I need to do? WHY am I about to do the things I set out to do?
E-xercise- If you don’t make it to the gym, dedicate at least 10-15 minutes to some kind of movement, stretching, yoga or workout.
R– eading- Take time to read something and stimulate your mind as you prepare for your day. Another alternative is to listen to an audiobook, podcast or TED Talk.
Try out the P.O.W.E.R Hour over the next 30 days and see how it changes your attitude, productivity, and fulfillment.
Don’t forget to send me an email or tweet me to let me know how it’s going.
This article originally appeared in Huffington Post.