AFM

Five Ways to Win the Day

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Ever get to the end of the day and feel like you just spun your wheels, didn’t accomplish anything particularly important and weren’t that happy and energetic along the way?

In my opinion, the best way to avoid this and set yourself up for a successful and healthy day is by having a simple but solid morning routine. If it gets too complex or lengthy, the chances of you staying consistent with it obviously drop off — so let’s keep it simple.

In this article, I’m going to share my personal morning routine that I can get through in 10-15 minutes, and when I’m consistent with it, there’s not much that will keep the day from being great and feeling successful.

Hydrate

Unless you are drinking water in the middle of the night, your body is usually at its most dehydrated when you wake up. I like to drink at least 16-20 oz of water right away (Tip from Carter: add in some freshly squeezed lemon — it’s alkalizing).

I have to admit, I struggle a bit without a morning cup of coffee, but one change I’ve made in the last couple of years is to drink black coffee and avoid other calories until noon to turn the day into an intermittent fast. I’m usually able to do this 2-3 times per week. (AFM tip: still hungry? Opt for Bulletproof Coffee — trust us, it works!)

Oxygenate

The Yogis out there have been enjoying this practice for a long time, and more recently has been popularized by folks like Wim Hof. The vast majority of people are not in the physiological habit of breathing deeply and calmly. Stress levels, especially these days, among other things have led to Chronic, shallow and interrupted breathing that can have significant long-term consequences. 

I think having a regular reminder on your phone or laptop to take a deep breath is a great idea, but specific to the morning routine, I suggest a 1-3 minute hyperoxygenation exercise like this one from the interesting dutch gentleman mentioned above. If you’re pressed for time, just do the first round in the video (I’d suggest laying down the first few times you do this because it can cause light-headedness in some cases). With these exercises, you can infuse your tissues with much-needed oxygen that will have a cascade of beneficial effects throughout your day.

Meditate

Though many place a religious connotation on meditation, there doesn’t need to be any religious component to this part of your morning routine. A simple focusing, mental exercise or mindfulness practice has been promoted by top performers from every walk of life and religion out there. Try this one for 2-5 minutes and watch what happens to your mood and effectiveness throughout the day. 

Mindfulness practice is quite simply a way to create the mental habit of being mindful and conscious of the present moment, which has been linked with elevated mood and effectiveness.

Appreciate

If you haven’t yet heard about the power of a gratefulness practice, I’m excited to be the one to tell you about it. This is a practice that has been taught in many cultures for thousands of years — and for good reason. According to an article from Harvard Medical School, giving thanks can actually make someone happier. 

Some folks like to keep a gratefulness journal where they write down one or more things they are grateful for each day. I kept a journal for a while but eventually just combined it with my meditation practice, and now I simply think about a few things I’m grateful for at the end of my meditation.

One little addition here is to choose one task that will make your day feel successful if you complete it. Then, focus solely on completing that task before checking email or getting caught up in other parts of your workday.

Palpitate

Okay, this title may not be the best one for this part of the morning routine but I obviously had a grammar theme to stick with; by “palpitate,” I actually mean to get your heart rate up. You can certainly roll from your morning routine into a full workout, but even if you’re a mid-day or evening exerciser, getting your heart rate up and muscles pumping at least briefly in the morning has hugely positive effects on your metabolism and multiple of your body’s functions throughout the day. The details on those positive effects could take up their own series of articles, so just trust me on this one. 

For me, this is often as simple as 50 push-ups and 50 body-weight squats after my meditation. Just spend 3-5 minutes doing any form or movement or exercise at a moderate/intense level and you should be breathing pretty heavily by the end of it. 

Try it out

Okay, there you have it. If you move quickly from one to the next, there’s no reason you can’t get through this incredibly effective morning routine in 15 minutes or less. Give it a try for a week and see how quickly the effects can set in. If you have any parts of your morning routine that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments below.

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