Starting your day right is about more than just “waking up on the right side of the bed.” It requires purpose and intentionality.
This is one area where I have struggled my entire life. I have friends who wake up every day at the same time and follow the same routine, and I admire them immensely.
In the past few years, I’ve been convicted that I need to improve in this area of my life. So I’ve been working on different aspects of my morning routine — trying things out, breaking bad habits, and thankfully forming new, good habits. I learned a lot from my journey. Today I want share with you ten best practices to help you start your day right.
Plan for Tomorrow, Today
Spend the last 30-60 minutes of your day planning for tomorrow. List out your appointments, tasks, projects, and goals.
I’ve added the very simple but effective “Keep-Start-Stop” method of reviewing my days to this discipline and it has helped me sleep better and have greater focus at home. I ask myself, “What should I keep, start and stop doing to improve the weeks ahead?”
Get At Least 7-8 Hours of Sleep
Whether you are a leader at home or at work, you need your sleep.
Recent studies reveal that nearly half of all American get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Lack of sleep can have harmful effects on your ability to lead, make good decisions, and can lead to chronic health issues.
Get Up at the Same Time
Set your alarm to help you awake every morning at the same time. This discipline will become the anchor for your entire day. Eventually, your body will transform this into a habit and you will no longer need to use your alarm.
I’ve found this best practice teaches discipline and provides order in a world that can sometimes feel chaotic with kids, clients, meetings, and sports activities.
Pray or Meditate
Start the day with a clear consciousness, a grateful heart, and remembrance of those who are less fortunate or in need.
This enables you stay humble, thankful, and compassionate as a leader.
Drink a Huge Glass of Water
I recently learned there are significant benefits to drinking at least 16 ounces of lemon water first thing in the morning.
Since I’ve started trying to do this consistently, I’ve noticed that I have clarity of focus, less aches and pains, and more energy in the first 15 minutes of my day.
Writing has become a daily habit for me just in the past year. Each morning, I journal my ideas or thoughts and often write personal notes to friends and family members.
I have discovered that writing in the morning helps me be more logical and principled throughout the day, rather than being emotional and stressed. I make better decisions that are in line with my values and vision.
Read or Listen
Start your day with a minimum of 10-15 minutes of reading or listening to something that will not suck you into work or create stress in your life.
Better sleep, improved productivity, and greater mental focus are just some of the great benefits of working out in the morning.
The key is consistency. If a full-blown morning workout is not possible, then try doing at least 15-30 minutes of light cardio exercise to get the blood flowing.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
This is a non-negotiable for me and my family. I have a goal of praying, eating, and talking with my family every day before I leave for work.
This is so important that I have rearranged my start time at work to make sure it happens. If I am not able to do this part of my routine in person, I’ll use FaceTime to ensure we connect each morning.
Review Your Life Plan
Start your day with purpose by reflecting for 10 minutes on the key accounts of your Life Plan. I have found this helps me stay focused on my long-term vision, goals, and disciplines for the key relationships in my life and the areas where I want to live and lead with purpose.
Have the courage to start your day right with a consistent routine filled with best practices that help you live and lead with purpose.
What steps could you take to make the most of each morning? Download our guide to start building your best morning routine.
This is an updated version of an earlier post, originally published Jan. 1, 2015.