How you start the day determines how you do the day.  Make your mornings marvellous and the mojo will carry on all day. One of my resolutions for this year has to become a morning person – I am not and have never been a morning person, but I want to be!  Establishing a morning ritual of self-love and self-care will set you up for success all day long – here are a few steps to get your started on getting started.

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Start the day early.  We’re not suggesting you need to set your alarm for the middle of the night, but giving yourself a little extra time in the morning actually makes the morning more pleasant.  Yes, it sounds a little counterintuitive – why would waking up even earlier make getting up any easier?  Truth is, having more time to wake up means you’ll actually be able to ease into the day, enjoy some time for you, and feel fulfilled, whole and focused before the day starts – meaning it’ll be a better day all around.  If you have trouble waking up, try setting an alarm on your phone and then immediately switching it to Facebook or other (non-weighty) social media.  The LED light will help wake you up.

Caffeinate and Hydrate.  Turn your morning caffeine fix into a ritual.  You’ve gotten up early, you have some extra time, you can slowly linger over your tea or coffee to your heart’s desire.  Pair it with a big glass of water- hydration is important, and a glass of water kickstarts your metabolism and jumpstarts your brain – and whatever light reading, cyber or old school, you want to start to gently bring your brain into the world.

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Get moving. Whether it’s for ten minutes or two hours, take some time to get a little sweat going.  Exercise reduces stress, boosts your energy, and releases happy chemicals into the brain.  Just make sure that your morning exercise routine doesn’t become an added source of morning stress.  Keep it from being results oriented, and focus on enjoying every moment of your activity rather than declaring goals to achieve.  Pick physical activity you enjoy, and make it self-indulgent.  Choose relishing the moments of your morning run over pushing yourself to reach a certain mileage.  Choose indulgence in each moment of your morning yoga practice over marking its worth by your ability to master that new arm balance.  Make it a way to start your day taking care of yourself so that you can set yourself up for a more peaceful, focused, confident, productive day.

Rehydrate again.  Water is really really important.  But, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know this already.  Put that theory into practice and drink up!

Get cleaned up.  Turn on some happy music and take a long, decadent, hot shower.  Take your time grooming and primping.  When you look good, you feel good, and you’ll walk out the door feeling cool and confident.

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Eat! Make breakfast healthy and substantial.  Eating breakfast prevents you from getting hungry later in the day, which cannot only lead to unhealthy eating later but distracts your focus from what you’re trying to get done.  Plus, if you make healthy eating choices in the morning, you start the day full of nutrients and set yourself up to make healthy choices all day long.  So throw some greens in that smoothie, pack in a little protein, throw something whole-grain in the toaster and start the day off right.  Nourished, energized, and centered, you’ve set yourself up for success.  Personalize these steps to make your morning ritual your own, and you’ll walk out the door ready to face the day, everyday.

Photo Credit: Matt @ PEKMatthijsCuba Gallery and Paul W