Make the most of your day by starting it off right


The morning routine. Chances are, you’ve got a friend or co-worker who hasn't stopped emailing you to try theirs for the last few months. They’re touted by pretty much every self-labeled fitness, creative, or productivity expert out there, and at times it can be easy to write them off as quacks who watch maybe one too many TED Talks. We hate to hop on the bandwagon, but here’s the thing -- there’s actually a whole lot of science backing up the claim that if you start each day in a similar way, focusing on #positivevibes, productivity, and wellness, it’ll get your brain in the zone and ready to attack the day’s challenges with unexpected vigor.

Not to mention that it isn’t just your crunchy uncle Gary talking about the importance of a morning routine, it’s world-renowned creatives and innovators, the most famous of which being Steve Jobs, who began every day by looking in the mirror and asking himself, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?”

Now, we’re not asking you to talk to yourself in the mirror in your underwear (unless that works for you, and in that case, go for it!) but we are encouraging you to develop your own unique ritual that you enjoy and stick to over the long term. That way, you’ll begin each day immersed in a positive mindset, taking aim at the day’s goals and preparing yourself to reach them.

We know it can be a bit dizzying to sift through morning routines of the likes of Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, and Mark Zuckerberg to create your own; that’s why we’ve gone and put together a few options you can mix and match to create your own simplified, fluff-free morning ritual.

Get your sweat on

Gotta get that booty in shape

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Especially if you don’t exercise on a daily basis, a quick morning workout can help you enter the day feeling #productive, and will spike your endorphin levels to boost your mood. We’re not telling you to get up an hour early and hit the gym before work if you haven’t got the time for that (the last thing we’d want is to rob you of your precious zzz’s), but we do suggest taking ten to twenty minutes after you get out of bed to get your blood pumping. You can jump rope beside your bed while blasting your favorite motivational jam, do a few push-ups and sit ups on your carpet before you hop in the shower, or even do some high-knees as you wait for your coffee to brew. Try to pick something you know you’ve enjoyed in the past so you stick to it each morning. And as soon as you start to break a sweat, hop in the shower and start getting yourself ready to kill it a at work the rest of the day.

Munch on something healthy

Reach for the smart foods when you're hungry

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This one’s super easy! If you’re used to eating sugary cereal or a granola bar as you walk out the door, you may want to try choosing something with your health in mind. We’re not necessarily talking calories here, we’re talking vitamins and nutrients that’ll nourish your mind as much as they do your body. So if you’re a breakfast person, try mixing up a fruit smoothie with some veggies hidden in there, prepare yourself a nice serving of oatmeal topped with your favorite fruits, or try your hand at perfecting your avocado toast recipe if you can spare the time. That way, your stomach won’t grumble before lunch, and your brain will be grateful for those productivity-inducing nutrients.

Take aim at the day’s goals

Setting yourself goals for the day can set you on a productive streak

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If you’ve thumbed through hundreds of tried-and-true morning routines on wellness blogs and Instagram accounts like we hate to admit we have, you’ve probably noticed that most include a few minutes of honing in on the tasks at hand for the day. Whether you jot ‘em down in an app on your phone or use an old-school notebook and pen, we seriously recommend taking a few moments to think about what you accomplished yesterday and what you’d like to have done by clock-out today. Having an actual to-do-list with little boxes to check when you’re done not only holds you accountable and makes you look more professional, it gives your brain a little positive feedback whenever you get to check a box or cross something off the list. So while you’re eating breakfast or waiting for your morning tea to brew, take a few moments to zero in on some objectives you’d like to accomplish throughout the day, and save them somewhere you can chart your progress.

Learn something new


Learning is a passion that should never be lost.

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Whether it’s reading an interesting article on a topic you know nothing about or hitting up Pinterest for some creative inspiration, we seriously recommend using your morning moments of downtime, like on your commute for example, to learn something that has absolutely nothing to do with your work. While this may seem counterintuitive, just think of how the teensy bit of knowledge you gain each morning during moments you’d otherwise be staring into space will add up over time, and serve to make you a better-rounded, more opinionated, and better-informed individual. Plus, you never know who you’ll be able to bond with over something interesting you read that you thought would never be applicable to your career!

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Creating a morning routine that’s uniquely yours can make a huge difference in how you approach each day and how motivated you feel even when you’re sitting down to do something mind-numbing and tedious. With these little hacks in your morning routine, be ready to start knocking those #goals out of the park like you never thought possible.

Don’t have a job to get psyched for each morning? No worries, we’ve got you. Head over to Planted to start getting connected with companies that are worthy of your morning zen.

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Justin is a freelance writer, photographer, and Fordham University senior studying digital media and journalism. When he’s not typing away, he’s out on the street with his camera, schmoozing photogenic strangers and taking their portraits, eating prosciutto, or lounging on a roof somewhere in The Bronx.

Original version of featured image by Dapo Oni .