With the start of a new year approaching, many of us feel the pressure to set ourselves ambitious and life-altering resolutions, which can often be unattainable to maintain, and therefore quickly fizzle out. Making smaller and more significant changes, even just to your daily routine, will ensure that your resolutions for 2020 are still here for 2021!
While there’s no single proven morning routine that works for everyone and guarantees success, establishing your own can help you maximise your creativity, energy and productivity throughout the day. Making this change at the beginning of the year will help to make the January slog feel more manageable and should be easier to adopt as a routine for the rest of the year.
Here, we worked with the experts from wellbeing charity CABA, to give you their top tips on making the most of your morning – setting you up for the day ahead!
Get up early (even at weekends)
Most high performers get up early, as extra time in the morning can help you prepare better for your day. Try experimenting with your wake-up time to find the best time for you. If you’re not a natural morning person, it’s possible to train yourself to wake up early, rather than just giving yourself enough time to get dressed and make a dash for the door.
Most importantly, get up at the same time even when you’re not at work, as habits are thought to be far more powerful when they’re practised every day. A regular bedtime and wake-time routine is also thought to help you get better-quality sleep.
Skipping breakfast can leave you with low blood sugar in the morning, which won’t help you feel energetic or enthusiastic about what lies ahead. Grabbing breakfast on the go isn’t a great idea either, as it can play havoc with your digestion.
Even if you’re short on time you can still eat something healthy to start your day – find out more about quick and easy breakfast suggestions by reading these healthy breakfast recipes.
Getting into a habit of exercising before you go to work can pay dividends too. Being physically active in the morning can increase your blood flow and release feel-good hormones called endorphins, putting you in a positive state of mind for the rest of the day.
According to a study by University of Bristol researchers, being active during your working day doesn’t just boost your mood but your performance too and can help you concentrate and make you better at problem solving.
If you don’t have much time, many experts believe short workouts are just as effective as long ones. Try simply going for a brisk 10-minute walk or a jog before breakfast – the fresh air will also help make you feel awake and ready to start your day.
Clear your head
Make time – even if it’s just 5 minutes – for something that helps make you feel calmer and more focused before you leave for work, such as reading, listening to music, stretching (doing yoga, for instance) or meditating.
Even sitting quietly with a cup of tea can be beneficial, especially when the day you have planned is going to be a hectic one. Whatever you do, try to make sure you do it every morning so that it becomes part of your routine.
Read more about the benefits of meditation, or try our one-minute mindful meditation if you’re really short of time.
Let emails wait
It may always be tempting to try and get a head start by checking your emails before you’ve left the house. But unless you’re waiting for a particularly important message to arrive, try to avoid logging on to your email account before you get to your desk. Checking your emails – or social media – usually means you’re dealing with what other people want or are doing, rather than concentrating on what you want to achieve yourself.
Set your goals
Whether it’s making a list of your priorities for the day or a reminder of your long-term goals, deciding what you want to do and where you want to go before your working day starts can help you focus on your plans more effectively.
It’s important to bear in mind that when it comes to resolutions, the problem tends to be that the changes we want to make aren’t possible, let alone achievable. Therefore, we set ourselves up for a loss before we’ve begun. Making changes to improve yourself and the quality of your day, will go further than a gym membership that is forgotten about by April.