Originally written for www.stuff.co.nz, published 26 June 2018

According to Hal Elrod in The Morning Miracle, if you want a fulfilling and happy life, start with your morning routine. A morning ritual describes what you do from the moment you wake up to the time you actually start your day and it sets the tone for what’s to come.

Here’s some things for the ultimate morning routine:

Resist snoozing

Start the day well, stop hitting the snooze button and change how you think about sleep.

Hitting snooze keeps you from waking with a sense of purpose and every time you do it you’re subconsciously telling yourself you don’t want to rise to your life, your experiences and the day ahead. This lowers your chances of having a satisfying day.

It’s hard to resist when it’s so dark in the mornings, but the ‘extra’ sleep you get after the alarm goes off isn’t high quality so either set your alarm for when you absolutely need to get up or make the most of your time.

The first thought you have in the morning is usually the last thought you had at night. If you go to bed thinking this isn’t enough sleep and you’re going to be tired tomorrow, you’ve spoiled the morning before you’re even asleep. So, affirm the night before that you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.

Rehydrate

Without water overnight, you may be dehydrated which can make you feel tired. So drink some water and maybe add lemon juice to get your digestion going.

Quiet time

Purposeful silence in the morning can help keep your stress levels in check. Call it meditation if you want but it doesn’t have to be for long and you don’t have to chant.

Take a few minutes, set a timer, get comfortable and close your eyes without falling asleep. Focus on breathing slowly. Use an app if you want but if you fall asleep, you need to get to bed earlier.

Set your intentions

It’s easy to just go through each day without considering what it’s all about or why you do what you do. If you can articulate your goals, motivations and what you’re committed to do to get there, it will help you to set intentions for the day.

Ask what you want to achieve today to get you to your goal. This will give you direction and you’re more likely to get it done.

Reading and writing

Focusing on personal growth with reading or writing is a great morning routine activity. Even if it’s only a few pages of a personal development book or writing for five minutes, it will expand your mind. Writing each day helps you review what you learned, gain clarity on problems and acknowledge achievements and progress.

Exercise

Whether it’s some stretches or mobilisers, a walk, or a high intensity workout, exercise can help increase your energy for the day.

You don’t have to spend hours on a morning routine, just start by adding 1 or 2 things to your morning, even if it’s just a few minutes and find what works for you.

Wake up to your life and set your groundwork for success.