With the new year comes new goals and aspirations, such as losing 10 pounds or reading one book a week.
I am a strong advocate for self-improvement, and I am the first to support friends and family in their personal life changes. But when it comes to my own aspirations, I’ve learned that it is the small, daily modifications that help me reach my larger, more daring goals.
This year, I decided to create a short, attainable list of things I want to accomplish every morning before I leave for the office to start my workday. Each time I look at the list I think to myself, “I should add more. I should do more.” And while that may be true, that is not the point.
I created my “2018 Morning Musts” checklist to hold myself accountable and to help me start my day fresh, inspired, and clear-minded. Near the end of 2017, I found I was spending much of my morning browsing social media, playing catch-up with emails, and wasting the first hours of the day.
Focusing on my purpose when I first wake up has positively impacted my productivity, creativity, and mood throughout the day. My new morning routine now includes the following six practices. These things help set me on a clear path.
- Drink 1 full bottle of water before getting in the shower. Drinking water has never been a hassle for me, but I am guilty of not hydrating enough in the morning. After going several hours without a sip, 8 oz. of water first thing hydrates the body while aiding digestion and metabolism, according to a study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Text my family. I am very close with all of my family members, but it is my mom, dad, and sister that I talk to on a daily basis. I don’t consider this a task, but it is an experience I look forward to each day. Often times, one of them texts me first or gives me a call on the way to work. It’s always nice to check-in and say hi before I kick-start my day. “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything,” says Michael J. Fox.
- Read a daily devotional. Since I was a child, I have been a weekly church goer. This year I want to dive deeper and study Scripture more. I downloaded an app called “JT Devotion” and each morning it highlights a few verses and a way to apply those verses to real life.
- Walk my dog. This gives me and my pup a chance to get moving in the morning while enjoying some much-needed fresh air. Some days are longer than others, but I make it a point to get outside and get moving. “Morning workouts result in better energy levels throughout the day and give you more mental alertness and sharpness,” says Dr. Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of the American Council of Exercise.
- Eat breakfast. This to-do is never a problem for me! I love meal time and I especially love breakfast. I try to make sure I have at least one serving of protein, vegetables, and fruit. Studies show that eating breakfast gives you energy for the rest of the day, improves your concentration levels, helps ignite your metabolism, and stops you from overeating later in the day.
- Send out 1 tweet. This may sound odd, but posting at least one tweet every morning forces me to stay current on the latest PR news and trends. Twitter is a vital platform in my professional world, but it’s also my least favorite social platform to share on. By putting Twitter on my “Morning Must” list, I have become more engaged in real-time news around the world.
These six items are listed on a sticky note on my work desk. Each morning, when I sit down to start my day, I see the list and I have a personal self-check to hold myself accountable for my year-long, morning to-do list. My hope is that I’ll eventually outgrow this list, and these six items will become healthy daily habits.
Mornings have always been my favorite part of the day. There is something so rewarding about getting up before the rest of the world does and doing something to make your day purposeful and productive. Even if you create your own “Morning Must” list with one item on it, I guarantee it will set you on a path to accomplish bigger, bolder tasks.
What’s your morning routine? I’d love to hear from you!