Why do some people seem to have a fantastic morning almost every day, while others often start their day feeling stressed and disorganized? The answer is found in their morning routine. There are distinct habits among those who possess fantastic health and a joyful attitude in the morning. Below, I share all nine tips on how you, too, can adopt positive habits as part of a fantastic morning routine.
The motivational video located lower within this article will help you get started.
Lemon Water VS Apple Cider Vinegar in the Morning
Which is better for you first thing in the morning – lemon water or apple cider vinegar? The surprising answer is: both.
Apple cider vinegar can be helpful because it’s acidic and so it helps to digest the fats in your stomach.
1. Have Apple Cider Vinegar to Balance Your Body’s Internal pH
By consuming apple cider vinegar in the morning, you’re helping to process any difficult fats that might be hanging around in your digestion from the previous night’s dinner or dessert.
By giving your body this acidic boost, you’re sending a signal to your body that it doesn’t have to churn out its own extra acid – and therefore you help prevent symptoms of over-acidity such as heartburn, esophageal acid reflux, or skin rosacea.
The most affordable solution is to have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted into a small amount of water.
In my case, I prefer to have a capsule of apple cider vinegar each morning so that I can keep the acidity off of my teeth (so that I don’t have to worry about any issues with tooth enamel erosion).
More research is needed, but indications are that apple cider vinegar may also help to reduce glucose spikes and suppress appetite.
2. Hydrate with a Daily Glass of Lemon Water Each Morning
Later, during mid-morning – long after I’ve already had my capsule of apple cider vinegar – I have a glass of lemon water.
More scientific research needs to be done on lemons and their benefits, but anecdotally I can tell you that I’ve found it to be helpful.
In my case, I like to use fresh lemon. I squeeze a chunk of a lemon wedge over the glass until I get approximately a half-teaspoon of juice into the water.
Lemon is interesting food for humans. Even though lemon is acidic, it converts to alkaline within the stomach almost instantly.
Overall, your body doesn’t want to be too alkaline or too acidic for long periods. But the modern human is usually way too acidic, so lemon water might be helpful for balancing pH (if you ever have hiccups caused by over-acidity, lemon water can often solve the problem within seconds).
Perhaps the biggest benefit of lemon water is that it’s hydrating. Many people wake in the morning dehydrated, and the routine of having a daily glass of lemon water is a lovely way to remedy that.
I’m astounded by the number of people who have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning before they’ve even had a tall glass of water.
Your body is dehydrated after 8 hours of sleep, so please give it the nourishment that it needs, especially if you’re a person who exercises intensely or frequently.
If you’re listening carefully to how your body feels after consuming that first tall glass of water right after waking, you’ll likely notice a positive improvement. This is a terrific way to prime your body for an enjoyable and productive day ahead.
By the way, research indicates that due to its citric-acid content lemon water is probably helpful in preventing the formation (and reducing the growth) of kidney stones.
To protect your tooth enamel, I suggest rinsing your mouth out with water after having lemon juice.
3. Experience the Benefits of Drinking Olive Oil in the Morning
Your hair and skin respond positively to healthy fats.
Olive oil can be particularly helpful as it contains vitamin E and antioxidants and is probably partly responsible for why the Mediterranean diet improves longevity.
For those of us who eat lower-carbohydrate diets, olive oil is an easy way to stay topped-up on the healthy fats that help make a low-carb diet sustainable – by suppressing appetite and providing ketones for energy.
I have a teaspoon of olive oil each day, usually in the late morning.
Researchers are establishing several benefits of the compounds within olive oil (see sources at end of article):
- Oleic acid and squalene for their cancer prevention and cancer-reducing potential.
- Antimicrobial activity of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and oleuropein.
- The overall positive impact on heart health, including reduction of blood pressure low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
4. Use Morning Journal Prompts to Guide Your First Thoughts of the Day toward Positivity
Everyone has an internal dialogue – the random chatter of thoughts that occur throughout the day.
There is a connection between what the dialogue sounds like inside your head, and what happens to you in your external life.
The more positive the dialogue, the better you feel.
- When you wake up in the morning, are you incentivized?
- After opening your eyes, do you lunge out of bed with enthusiasm and joy?
The key to having a fantastic rest of your life is to have an abundance of fantastic days.
And the key to having a fantastic day is to have a fantastic morning.
The key to having a fantastic morning is to awaken within a body and attitude that are primed.
Morning journal prompts can help you with this process.
However you happen to define success, you can increase that success by guiding those thoughts that play inside your head toward only the most positive.
This is especially important in the morning, as the thoughts with which you begin your day have a way of creating momentum – they can determine that day’s experiences.
It’s not that you can’t create any success via the negative route: plenty of fortunes have been made – and power acquired – via bombastic methods.
But success is more than just money and power; it’s also fantastic health.
My own life experience has taught me that good health is attracted to positivity.
In his book The Law of Attraction, author Michael Losier tackles this notion in vibrational terms. He explains that a positive inner dialogue leads to a giving off of positive vibrations.
And positive vibrations attract positive outcomes.
The healthier the chatter is inside your mind, the healthier your outer life will become.
I encourage you to start paying attention to your inner dialogue.
Begin to focus on more positive thought processes. You might be amazed at the fantastic impact it has on your productivity, too.
How aware are you of your own internal dialogue?
Though many of us can appreciate that positive thoughts tend to lead to more positive circumstances, there still remains the actual practice of increasing our mindfulness of those thoughts as they randomly occur.
In meditation, they call it “watching the watcher.”
By learning to objectively witness your self-talk as it occurs and giving it a label (“oh, that’s my inner-critic talking…” “that’s my rebel talking…”), you can start to switch to more encouraging types of self-talk.
The process becomes simple, once you learn how to do it.
You can consciously:
- observe your negative thoughts only long enough to identify them
- then quickly guide your thoughts to what you feel grateful for, and what you admire most about yourself.
Does this mean you can improve your own health by simply believing that you can?
Even if you’re skeptical, let’s pretend that it does.
Act as if positive thoughts increase your chances of a positive outcome.
Look at it as an experiment and see what happens.
Positive thinking can even be helpful when it comes to getting fit – especially in midlife and post-midlife (when getting fit and changing long-entrenched habits can seem especially daunting).
If you happen to be over the age of 50 and are trying to get back into fantastic shape know that, yes, it is challenging. But also know that, yes, it is very possible. People do it all the time.
When you find yourself feeling skeptical (or frustrated because you find yourself slipping into old habits) the inner affirmation can be, “I am in the process of becoming more fit because improving my health is important to me.”
This process will be easier once you’ve had The Epiphany. There is a point in your life when it finally dawns on you that nothing is more important than your physical health.
At first, you might think it’s your family that’s most important to you, but once you think it through more fully, you realize that you can’t take care of your loved ones if you yourself have no energy for life.
You might already know that your good health is the foundation upon which you build everything else that truly matters. Before 50, many of us only realize this intellectually.
As we move past age 50, however, we realize it on a whole new level.
It hits us, bone-deep.
What we say to ourselves – inside our minds – makes a difference.
Your success – including your health – increases exponentially, when you eliminate negative self-talk and think more positive thoughts.
If you train your mind to do this, you will have unlocked one of the keys to how to be prosperous, in every sense of the word.
Be Phone-Free for the First Hour
The first hour of your morning can be entirely free from your phone. Once you get sucked into that black hole, you’ve lost a prime opportunity to build easy momentum for the day ahead.
Take 15 Fantastic Minutes to Just ‘Be’
If you have children in your home, see if you can awaken before the rest of the household, and go sit somewhere comfortable and quiet.
While seated, you can meditate, read your bucket list, look at your vision board, write in your morning journal, pray – or any type of contemplative, silent endeavor that allows you to look objectively at your life and celebrate your own human experience (for those of you who walk your dogs in the morning, you can take the quietest route and do a walking meditation).
Taking these 15 minutes of quiet contemplation will calm your mind and improve your focus for the entire day, especially if you do it each morning.
Morning Journal Prompts
During your quiet 15 minutes, you may want to sit down with a cup of tea and try these morning journal prompts to help you access positive thoughts and begin writing:
- What would I love to happen today?
- What’s one positive feeling I hope to experience today?
- What’s one thing I feel grateful for in this moment?
- What are 3 things I would love to accomplish today?
Establish Your Biggest Priorities for the Day
That last prompt was on priorities.
Determine which activities, if you completed them today, would give you the most positive return and write them down. Try to make at least one of those items revenue-producing, if you can.
Part of your new, fantastic morning routine should include clarifying for yourself what your three biggest priorities are for your day ahead.
Helpful Tips for Morning Journal Prompts
As you use the above prompts to write in your morning journal:
- Try things that you didn’t write about yesterday.
- Try not to intellectualize; instead, actually feel the feelings that you’re imagining.
- If your mind wanders into a negative thought, do not shame yourself. Instead, gently guide your thoughts back into a more positive area.
This process of journal writing quiets the mind and improves focus.
5. Be Mindful of the Differences in How (and When) You Feel Fantastic
As you start experimenting with the first two steps, pay close attention to the short and long-term impact of these small changes that you’re making.
When I first started making improvements in my schedule, I was able to exercise more, and then I began to notice that I was sleeping more deeply.
I also felt like I was more focused while at my desk at work (so many of us have jobs that are more or less sedentary, and engaging in regular exercise helps bring balance to our lifestyle). I felt less stressed.
When we exercise our minds shift their focus from the mental to the physical – allowing us to clear our heads of all the anxious information and emotions that often cloud them.
Many of the articles, videos, and podcasts that I create for this site are designed specifically for your Stage 3, PREPARATION. This is the most crucial and most overlooked stage of permanent change.
“…when people are not able to make changes stick, it has been proven that it’s most often because they skip stage 3: preparation”
6. Cultivate Your Relationship Garaden
A productive place to begin increasing your awareness is on your tribe – the people in your life – and I encourage you to reflect objectively on your relationships.
What I’ve learned, first-hand, is that prosperity springs from relationships. The more people you know and like, the more potential for money to enter your life.
Beware of counterfeit intimacy.
Superficiality and isolation are two of our most discouraging and harmful habits.
Reconnecting with others improves health and prosperity.
We need that opportunity to develop records of trustworthiness with each other – so that we can interdepend on one another.
It’s in our best interests to make the effort to reach out and connect with others, to be genuinely curious and interested in others’ feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
In my case, when my relationships improved, my net worth significantly increased. Also, my physical health improved dramatically.
Quality social connections are a verified component of a long life expectancy. Healthy relationships are a fantastic investment.
Send a friend a text to let them know you’re thinking about them.
7. Take a Fresh Look at Your Own Vegetable Intake
Nutrition remains the easiest and most effective way to overhaul your own health.
More specifically, increasing your daily intake of vegetables can be absolutely transforming.
I know no better way of getting more of the right kind of vegetables into your body consistently than freshly made green smoothies.
The right recipes can help to take you from beginner to intermediate, to advanced smoothie-making.
I recommend nutrient-dense, delicious recipes comprised of ingredients that are uniquely beneficial to your own body’s chemistry.
Though smoothie ingredients can cost a bit upfront, many last a long time; ultimately, green smoothies help me save money because I rarely eat out anymore.
And I no longer have to grab “emergency” food on the go when my blood sugar drops, because my blood sugar rarely drops unexpectedly anymore. Green smoothies are fantastic at providing me with sustained energy.
It requires less time to make a green smoothie than it does eggs or oatmeal, especially when you factor in clean-up.
Also, I don’t spend as much money on nutritional supplements, because I get many of them naturally now, from whole-food sources, within my green smoothies.
One of the key tricks to unlocking your longevity potential is to consume high amounts of dark leafy greens each day. Green smoothies provide an easy and delicious solution.
8. Listen to the Best Morning Podcasts
Each person’s day is unique but, for most of us, there are certain household chores that need to be completed daily. To make that time more productive and enjoyable, I like to listen to the best morning podcasts I can find.
I especially like podcasts that make me laugh.
I do a lot of meal preparation each day. I’m careful with my daily diet and for that reason, I don’t usually eat takeout or at restaurants. Listening to podcasts while I do meal prep, chores, or driving helps make my day more enjoyable.
Here are some podcasts that make me laugh:
- Did You Get My Text? with Meredith and Patton Oswalt. This funny husband-and-wife team learn to laugh at the struggles couples face during modern life.
- Social Studies with Joe Dombrowski. This kindergarten teacher tells funny stories about how kids like to tell the truth.
- Juicy Scoop with Heather McDonald. I listen to this show because I don’t follow current events and the host is so enthusiastic about pop culture that it makes me feel like I’m participating in society even though I don’t watch the Housewives tv franchise or follow celebrity gossip.
- The Flex Success Podcast. Dean and Lizzy are a funny, married Australian fitness couple who speak frankly about what’s required to stay in stellar shape.
You likely have your own favorite podcasts, my only recommendation is that you stay away from anything political or contentious. Keep it light and positive so that the rest of your day proceeds with good mental health.
9. Make Improvements to How You Allocate Your Time and Energy
It’s worthwhile to take a fresh and honest look at your typical morning routine and challenge yourself to make small improvements.
There actually are enough hours in the week to do what you need to do.
There are 168 hours each week, and that means that you probably have more time than you think.
168 is a lot of hours. In those many hours, you can earn income, spend quality time with your family and friends, and do all of your self-care and health protocols – including exercise.
Yes, it can be done. However, it requires one thing: preparation.
If you’d like to try optimizing your own schedule, then the first – and perhaps most helpful – question to ask yourself, is simply: am I a morning person, or a night person?
Most people tend to slightly favor one time of the day over the other, in terms of their physical energy and mental clarity (even if only by a small margin).
First, you must know what your “peak” time of day is, that way you can leverage it to your maximum benefit.
“Reading Dane’s Quality of Life Newsletter has become part of my weekly routine. It helps me to focus on managing my time, energy and nutrition. It’s like my ‘reset’ button. I can tell you that it’s changed the quality of my life in ways I never imagined and I’m certain it will do the same for you.” — Angela Porisky-Khan
One of my primary goals during my recent 4:15 Experiment (30 consecutive days of waking up super early) was to integrate exercise more consistently into my weekly schedule. I found, for me, early mornings are definitely advantageous to accomplishing this goal.
On days I traveled to the gym, early hours helped me avoid much of the car traffic, reducing my round trip drive time from 2 hours to only 30 minutes.
I saved time by getting my exercise in before work. I used to try to slip out of the office in the early afternoon for a quick lunch-hour workout, but I found I was showering, dressing and prepping for work two times, instead of one, which was inefficient.
A good way to optimize your schedule is to create a time budget – by doing a mock-up of your “ideal” calendar:
- First, just scribble down on paper – quickly, without over-thinking it – everything that you would fit into a perfect week. Let’s say that your fantasy is to do one yoga class a week, one outdoor run, one CrossFit class – any appointment that you can think of that you want to do each week.
- Next, start with a blank 7-day calendar and block out the times you work and the times you sleep. This calendar represents your “typical week” (just use any calendar app to do the mock-up). Remember: it’s for standing, reoccurring appointments only — don’t use your real calendar.
- Then fit in any other standing appointments too, such as helping your kids with their homework, your weekly farmers market, etc.
- Finally, start taking those exercise sessions from your wish list and start dropping them into available time slots within your 7-day standing appointments calendar.
This calendar represents your time budget.
Any blank spaces left available means you can create even more self-care appointments (“meet John at the stadium steps for our weekly climbing workout,” etc.).
On the other hand, if you have more appointments than you have blank spaces, then you’ll need to prioritize (If you really want to dive even more deeply into this process of optimizing your schedule, check out Laura Vanderkam’s book You Have More Time Than You Think).
Take a Fresh Look at Your Own Productivity Style
The bottom line is this: longevity requires self-care.
And self-care requires time and energy.
Efficiency systems – or productivity tools – are fantastic at freeing up the time and energy necessary for self-care.
Efficiency can also be integrated into the self-care protocols themselves, freeing up even more time to spend with your friends and loved ones.
You can use productivity systems to leverage your success in these two ways:
- be more professionally competitive and get more done in a day than other professionals do, on average
- get more done in less time, creating more free time that you will then use to spend with your loved ones, or doing good-for-you stuff… like exercising.
Finding clever ways to improve your own personal productivity is a smart investment of your time.
Go to Bed Early Each Night Whenever Possible
Each evening, the feeling of sleepiness tends to come in intermittent waves.
For most people, the first wave of sleepiness washes through sometime between 8:00-9:30 pm.
Most people ignore this first wave – but what would happen if you honored this first wave, and used it to retire early?
I’ll tell you what would happen: you’d wake up early the next morning feeling fantastic and with more time to enjoy your morning routine and get a jump on your day.
In order for this to work, it’s best not to have any more coffee after 3 pm (I’m not saying you wouldn’t fall asleep anyway, but would the quality of your sleep be as restful and restorative?).
Use a Quotidian Checklist for Your Morning Routine
While most checklists are used for “one-offs” (tasks that need doing only once), a quotidian checklist is a roster of your daily rituals.
Included on this list are the items that, when feeling rushed, you might be tempted to skip, forget, or do out of their ideal sequence.
Tasks that are already built into your muscle memory (“brush teeth”) are not included on this list.
IDEA: this list can be written in a Google Drive document that you keep on your computer and can print up a fresh copy each Sunday night for the week ahead, yet can also access on the phone app.
EXCEPTION: if you have children in your household under the age of 6, this perhaps will not work well. Though small children benefit from some structure, they are too soulful and in-the-moment to thrive under a strictly linear regimen. Instead, just enjoy your time with them, be present and take comfort knowing that when they’re a bit older, you’ll be able to implement more organization into your family’s daily life.
Instead, for households with very young children, an Accomplishment Whiteboard might be more appropriate. That’s where you write down your day’s highlights. Something you can look at, at the end of the day, and feel fantastic – like you’re winning!
Haven’t Been Successful Using a Checklist? Try Again
Everyone knows what it feels like to start a list and then set it aside and not use it.
But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t significant value in creating the list in the first place.
And it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a fresh attempt.
Many of us have complicated relationships with our daily checklist of tasks – we ignore it, resent it… or we can’t find it.
You don’t have to use a checklist every single day for the rest of your life; however, it’s wise for everyone to have a favorite productivity system that they’re playing with and fine-tuning.
Summary: Trust Your Fantastic Morning Routine Process
Mornings set the tone for the entire day:
- a beautifully organized morning tends to create a fantastic day of high productivity and abundant joy.
- a harried and frazzled morning tends to create a day of rushed appointments and higher stress.
Ultimately, when personal productivity is improved, relationships are deepened and prosperity is increased.
Why? Because it’s all about energy.
Few dynamics are more energy-depleting than habitual disorganization.
On the other hand, the more organized a person becomes and the more smoothly their morning routine flows, the more energy they will have left to devote to healthy relationships, self-care, and their highest-value and highest-return activities.
When you install these nine habits, you, too, will begin to feel fantastic in your own body when you wake up and start each day.
Additional Sources for a Fantastic Morning Routine:
Citric Acid for Kidney Stones – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26439475/
Clinical Applications of Olive Oil – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18069902/
Functional Properties of Vinegar – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24811350/