First you create your habits, then your habits create you. - Jim Kwik
I’m only on day 3 of a new morning routine, and I am already hooked. I love the way I'm feeling and my productivity and mood throughout the day has definitely improved. I was inspired to revamp my AM ritual after listening to a Mind Valley lecture with Jim Kwik on unlocking your super brain. It makes sense that the first hour or so of your day is critical: it sets the tone for how the rest of your day unfolds. I shared my list on Instagram and got a lot of positive feedback and questions, so I thought I’d take the time to dive a little deeper into each item and it’s purpose.
Don’t touch your phone for an hour (or at least don’t make it the very first thing you do…. And hold off as long as possible) Most likely, you use your phone as an alarm so it’s easy to turn the alarm off and while your phone is in your hand, check your notifications, emails, news, social media… it’s a black hole. Give yourself a chance to wake up without this information overload that can overwhelm your recently sleeping brain. Turn your alarm off and put the phone DOWN. Then move on to #2
Remember your dreams. Jim Kwik pointed this out as a good habit to create for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you’re getting into the habit of recalling and thinking- can’t hurt right? Secondly, so many brilliant ideas have been inspired by dreams. One of my favorite stories about Einstein is that he used to take nap sitting in his chair, holding a spoon with a metal plate on the ground directly beneath him. He’d drift off to sleep, let go of the spoon, and be jolted awake by the sound of it hitting the plate. This half-asleep/ half-awake time was when he came up with some of his greatest ideas (not sure if it can be proven to be true, but I like it ). His theory of relativity was inspired by a dream, along with Larry Page’s idea for Google, James Watson’s idea for the double helix structure for DNA, and Dmitri Medndeleev’s inspiration for creating the periodic table of elements.
Make your bed. And do the best damn job you can. Not only is it awesome to come home to later, doing a great job at one of the first tasks of your day carries momentum forward into future tasks. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything, so try your best even at the smallest tasks.
Brush your teeth- with your opposite hand. This one has been fun...and a little drooly and messy if I’m being honest. According to Jim, this challenge stimulates your brain in a different way and improves creativity.
Hydrate with a large glass of water. I’ve been doing this one for a while, combining it with taking my assortment of morning supplements. I take each pill with a gulp of water to make sure I get the whole glass down. (Plus I am really bad at swallowing pills). Even though it seems like we aren’t doing much, we lose water through sweat and breathing through the night, so starting the day with a glass of water fights against that slight dehydration.
Dry brush. This is my warm up for the next thing on the list… dry brushing exfoliates dry skin, stimulates your nervous system, increase circulation, and helps with lymphatic drainage.
Take a cold shower. Oof. This one was tough, especially because I am super sensitive to cold and always freezing. BUT I had to give it a try. I started with lukewarm water and gradually turned it down to the coldest setting. For 30 seconds day 1… up to 2 minutes today. Yes- It's f*cking cold. But then it gets better! And you seriously feel SO energized after. Reasons why you should try this: -Reduces inflammation -Increases your metabolism -Improves immune response -Its uncomfortable! Mentally it’s a challenge, and using mindset to push through spills over into other aspects of your life
Meditate, anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. Whatever you have time for, start small! I find that doing this after the cold shower works best for me, I feel alert and awake, so meditating doesn’t put me back into a sleepy state. Sit somewhere comfortable. Eyes open or closed. Don’t worry so much about clearing your mind completely, just try to find the pauses between thoughts and gradually, those pauses will grow and your mind will get quieter.
Journal. I love my 5 minute journal and highly recommend this to anyone who is short on time or doesn’t quite know where to start with journaling. It is a great way to practice gratitude and takes no time at all. There's an inspirational quote or challenge on each page, then space for you to write out 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things that would make your day great, and 1 mantra or intention for the day. You end the day with a similar practice, reflecting on your day. What I really love about this is it's short and sweet, and sets a great tone for your day. Looking back on all of your past pages, you build an amazing collection of the things in your life you’re grateful for, which can be especially inspiring to flip through when you’re not having the best day.
Move. 5 minutes. Whether it is burpees, squats, sun salutations, walking a lap or 2 around my apartment building. Whatever I'm feeling to get my heart rate up and blood pumping.
Read. This one I usually save for last and if I am short on time, I make sure I get some reading in later. But if I can spend 10 minutes reading a book (still no phones!), I take that time to put my brain into curiousity and learning mode.