How to Start Bright and Win The Day

A cappucino in a cup and saucer is sat next to a lined notebook on a bare wood table.

Creating a morning routine, and sticking to it.

It’s 9pm. You’ve done all you need to do for the day and you’re finally settling down for the evening. You aimlessly scroll through the TV guide, trying to find something to watch for the next hour or 2. You find nothing. “Ok, let’s take a look on Netflix. There’s that new thriller series that everyone is talking about, maybe I’ll watch the first episode and then head off to bed.”

Six 30-minute episodes later and the clock has just ticked past midnight! “Oh no, I wanted to get an early start tomorrow and now it’s never going to happen! That’s tomorrows plan ruined!!”

Too often, we prioritise our evening activities – like that of binge-watching a whole Netflix series – or maybe endlessly scrolling through social media, gaming on the PlayStation or even working late into the evening when we should have clocked off at 5pm. Don’t worry, we’re all guilty of it!

Hey, some people find that they are more productive in the evening, getting more work done and feeling energised and awake while the rest of the world winds down. This population are affectionately known as the ‘night owls’, and operate with a slightly different body clock.

The opposite to the night owl is the ‘early bird’, those that are usually asleep before their head hits the pillow and are up at the crack of dawn. Each are shaped by biological and genetic forces, but also by their lifestyle, their mood, how they think and feel, and the quality of their sleep.

I like to think I’m an early bird, setting my early morning alarm to ‘work out’ before breakfast, but there have been more times than I care to remember where I have hit the snooze button! My wife will tell me I’m a night owl, still wide awake as she is there struggling to keep her eyes open for the 10 o’clock news.

Schools, workplaces, and society as a whole, are all designed with the early bird in mind. Have a dentist appointment, need to visit the local library or just pop to the post office? The chances are they won’t be open evenings and weekends.

The same goes for the working day. British culture is to set the alarm for 7am, to get showered, to get dressed, to have breakfast, to leave the house by 8am so that we can sit in rush-hour traffic, all in preparation for the 9 to 5 grind. Home by 6pm, cook, eat, wash up, sit down, scroll through social media, binge watch TV, go to bed – and repeat. Ok, maybe I’m overgeneralising a little here, but you get the idea.

Rarely do we put much emphasise into our morning routine to help set us for a successful day ahead. Do you rely on your partner’s movements in the morning to wake you up? Are you a walking zombie until you’ve showered or had your morning coffee? Or do you just roll out of bed last minute? [Maybe you have mastered the exact number of minutes (and seconds) it takes to do all your morning tasks, so that you can stay in bed for the longest possible time before heading off to work!]

For many of us, our biggest challenge is finding time to implement daily personal development such as creating a morning routine. Author James Altucher called it ‘the daily practice of choosing yourself: striving to improve every day 1% across physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health’.

So, regardless of what chronotype you are (early bird or night owl), there’s a trustworthy method that will help you fall in love with the first ½ of your day!

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Here’s how to win your morning in 6 easy steps; it’s called the SAVERS routine.

S stands for Silence

Once you have risen and made your bed, take a moment for yourself. Maybe a moment of purposeful silence whilst waiting for your coffee to brew, sat by the window with the early morning sunshine warming your whole body. Be calm, maybe meditate, breath and be present in the moment.

A is for Affirmations

Positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make significant behavioural changes in your life. Statements such as “Today is going to be a good day” or “I am grateful for this beautiful morning”.

V is Visualisation

Close your eyes and picture your goals in your mind. Now this might be your ultimate goal, such as having your dream job or your fantasy home. Or it might just be accomplishing your objectives for that day – ticking the tasks off your ‘to-do’ list. Visualise what it may look like, but also think about how it may feel when you achieve them.

E stands for Exercise

Begin your day with some movement. It doesn’t have to be vigorous or intense, but something to awaken the physical being. An early walk/jog, or possibly some Yoga or gentle stretches will help to loosen stiff joints, kickstart our metabolism and also aid blood circulation to the muscles, organs and the brain.

R means Read

I suggest a self-help book or a book of positive quotes, something that you could put to practice that day. Learn the knowledge of people who have accomplished the things you want to do, filling your brain with positive thoughts and ideas to improve yourself.

S is for Scribing

Writing in your diary, creating a journal or merely making a ‘to-do’ list can be extremely empowering when achieving both short- and long-term goals. The simple form of writing can be very cathartic, and an incredible tool for expressing feelings and emotion.

Make this daily practice your habit, and start winning the day with this stellar morning routine.

Adapted from Hal Elrod’s The (6-minute) Miracle Morning