All About You: A great day starts with a morning routine
EDITOR’S NOTE: Motivating employees to work safely is part of the safety professional’s job. But who motivates the motivator? In this monthly column, veteran safety pro and professional speaker Richard Hawk offers his entertaining brand of wisdom to inspire safety pros to perform at their best.
What’s your morning routine? When I’m on track, mine includes a bottle of water, 30 minutes of mindful meditation, a 10-minute journal entry and a healthy breakfast. A morning routine with healthy habits leads to a more fulfilling and productive day. When I don’t follow my morning routine, even for just a few days, I can tell my moods and focus are off a bit.
There’s no magical one-type-fits-all morning routine, but a few habits will serve you well after the rooster crows.
Pay attention to how you feel
Instead of jumping out of bed right away, take a moment to do a mind and body scan to notice how you’re feeling. Then, if you want to start your day right, think positive thoughts – be grateful you’ve got another day to experience, for example. We often start our day contemplating tasks to be completed or problems we might be experiencing. You’ll have plenty of time to worry about the future, so why not give yourself some uplifting morning thoughts?
Unless you drink water when you wake during the night, your body has been losing liquid for hours with no relief. A cool drink of water first thing in the morning will fix this. It also stimulates your metabolism and perks you up.
Do something physical
A guaranteed way to boost your morning is to exercise, or at least get your body moving. Even a short walk with your dog will send extra oxygen to your brain and the rest of your body. Doing a few easy stretches works, too, especially if your muscles and joints feel a bit stiff.
Eat a healthy breakfast
This one is a no-brainer. Yes, you may say you’re not a “breakfast person,” but all the research – and there’s plenty of it – reveals that you need to eat each morning to be at your best. Even if you don’t feel hungry, a light breakfast still will help you have more energy for your first few hours.
Only add one or two habits at a time to your routine
One way to fail at improving your lifestyle is to try to change too many habits at once. I fall into this trap sometimes. I’ll say, “Starting Monday, I’m going to …” and then I’ll make a list of several positive changes I plan to make all at once. It never works. However, I have had success adding one or two new habits to my routine. So if you don’t already have a stimulating morning routine that improves your daily life, add a simple habit or two, such as meditating for 10 minutes or reading an uplifting quote, and stick with them until they feel normal. (It takes at least a few weeks before a new habit becomes routine.) Then, if you want, include another habit or two.
Prepare the night before
Put your clothes out (workout clothes, too), decide what you’re going to eat for breakfast, pack your lunch or at least know what you’ll pack, and prepare for any other aspect of your morning routine. My morning meditations were hit-and-miss until I started setting out my meditation pillow the night before. Now, I see the pillow right after I get out of bed, which inspires me to meditate more consistently.
Why morning instead of afternoon or evening?
Is there something special about the beginning of the day that makes your morning routine so important? Yes! It sets the tone for the rest of your day. Having an afternoon and evening routine is important, too, but you can’t rely on them as much as a morning routine because you don’t have control over everything that will happen during your day. Also, your energy level may be depleted if you had an exhausting workday and/or an unexpected problem or invitation disrupt your plans. Those variables won’t disrupt your morning routine – it’s yours to mold how you like.
This article represents the views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.
Richard Hawk helps companies around the world create more vibrant safety cultures by showing them how to make safety fun. As a professional speaker, author and musician, he also inspires employees to focus better and enlightens safety leaders about ways to increase their influence. To learn more about Richard, visit makesafetyfun.com.
Direct to your inbox: Sign up to be notified in email about new "All About You" columns.