A solid morning routine sets you up for a successful day. Over the last 16 years as an extreme athlete who travels nearly 250 days a year for business, I've had to hone in on morning practices that allow me to feel at home no matter where I am in the world. These are the five that constantly help me head out the door confident, full of self-love, and ready for the day.
Not a morning person? Don't stress. These simple practices aren't time-consuming, and I've seen colleagues and friends who are Grinches in the morning adopt them with ease. So, what are these magical rituals? Let's get into it.
Ritual 1: Chug water with lemon.
No matter where I am, I keep a large 40-ounce bottle of water near my bed. Hydrating right upon waking is an instant energizer. While my eyes are typically sleepy when I chug my 20 to 40 ounces a day, I usually finish with even more energy than I would have if I drank caffeine. Want to give your water a boost? Throw in a squeeze of some fresh lemon to add alkalinity.
Ritual 2: Planks and pushup time!
Moving the body sends a signal to the brain that it's time to get moving and wake up for the day ahead. Right after chugging my water, I get down on the ground and do a set of pushups. The number isn't really relevant—just do what you can! I know it may seem intimidating, but it really gets the endorphins moving through your system.
Following my push-up sets, I do planks. Over the years I spent racing as a professional cyclist, I tried a variety of core workouts and never really got the results I wanted. But when I started doing planks two years ago, the abs came. I like to do two sets of one-minute and 30 seconds each, with a minute of rest in between, in which I get into child's pose to rest and stretch my back.
Ritual 3: Meditate.
There are a variety of different meditation techniques out there, but I've found that simply putting some calming music in my ears puts me in a happy, relaxed state. As I listen, I'll visualize the day ahead and take my mind back to positive places and memories. After 10 minutes, I end my practice. I feel moved; I feel relaxed; I feel centered. I've noticed that this is the one ritual I tend to skip if I'm crunched for time, but I always end up paying the price later in the day.
Ritual 4: Practice gratitude.
My meditation practice sets up my practice of gratitude very nicely. I have a small notebook that I take out, and I immediately fill up the page with things that I am grateful for. Starting the day thinking about the people, things, and small luxuries you love, such as a hot shower, is so powerful. When you can really feel it instead of just scribbling stuff down, it always amplifies the practice. For me, gratitude evaporates all fears. It's very much impossible to feel grateful and scared at the same time.
Ritual 5: Serve someone.
Once your cup is full, you can then allow it to overflow. This is just one of the many benefits of putting yourself first and taking 15 to 20 minutes for self-care every morning. Every successful morning ends with doing something special for someone else. Often I'll just brew coffee for my significant other, make my daughters my special breakfast potatoes, or simply send an encouraging text to a friend to wish them a great day. Just step outside of yourself and do something small, because it could mean a lot to someone else.
The beauty of getting into this morning routine is that no matter what goes wrong the rest of the day, you can still consider your day a success.