With all the scary stats on the rise among seniors – like Alzheimer’s, loneliness, depression, divorce and nursing home occupancy… signs are pointing to our culture not promoting the idea of living a more active, healthy and engaged lifestyle as you age deeper and deeper into your retirement.
The media and our culture push our seniors to believe the normal aging process means you become sedentary and stagnant once you hit a certain age… which is so wrong.
You have more control over the way you age than you think…
According to the World Health Organization, 75% of the way you age is dependent on things in your control, like your lifestyle and behavioral choices (and only 25% is dependent on your genes).
That’s exactly why it’s so important to be proactive – starting now. And it’s never too early nor too late to take control of your lifestyle habits.
And that’s why I’ve put together these powerful morning routine musts for you to include in your daily habits.
Here are nine ideas on what exactly to include in your morning routine, so you can live a more productive, fulfilling and purposeful retirement lifestyle:
Morning Routine Idea #1: Quit your snooze button
If you’ve been used to hitting your snooze button for years and years this one will be well worth the habit change. Even if you’re recently retired and have the typical mentality of “I can sleep in as long as I want now” – you will reap many benefits from cutting out the snooze button.
It’s the tiny micro-moments especially in the morning, that can make the biggest difference in your days.
Challenge: I challenge you to not sleep near your cell phone. If you use your cell phone as an alarm clock, then use an actual alarm clock and place your phone away from your bedside. Better yet, leave your cell in another room as you sleep.
Morning Routine Idea #2: Simply exercise and move your body
Starting your day off with a workout or stretching session before you’ve given your brain a chance to fully wake up can be immensely helpful. There are of course so many benefits to exercising, which include reducing your anxiety and providing you with sharper focus. According to Health Central exercising in the morning can reduce ADHD symptoms all day long.
And because you have the most willpower in the morning, jumping right into an exercise routine is an effective way to “eat the frog” – especially if you’re someone who doesn’t typically get very excited about starting your daily exercise routine.
Morning Routine Idea #3: Get straight to work
Piggy-backing on Morning Routine Idea #2, try getting straight to work on something meaningful to you, as soon as you’ve finished getting ready in the morning.
According to Dr. Kay at the University of Southern California:
“When it comes to doing cognitive work, most adults perform best in the morning.”
And if you can dedicate a small morning space for uninterrupted work where you take care of high-priority task first (again, eating the frog in the morning), you’ll be able to use your time more wisely.
Stopping and starting tasks costs you “refocus” time. According to this Fast Company article, it costs about 20 minutes to refocus when you switch tasks.
So if you’re trying to squeeze in both the activities that you need to do (aka your tedious responsibilities) as well as your more enjoyable, meaningful passion projects, then dedicating some time in the morning to uninterrupted work can help you better manage your time throughout the day.
Morning Routine Idea #4: Hydrate
This is something a lot of successful people actually do in the morning. Drinking a large glass of water as soon as you wake up is so healthy for you:
- It flushes out your toxins
- It replenishes the water your body loses at night
- It kick-starts your metabolism
And… it’s something pretty manageable that you can accomplish to help create another small win for you.
The more small wins you can collect from the time you wake up, the more it’ll boost your confidence and momentum in the right direction.
Morning Routine Idea #5: Make your bed
Another easy win for you if you don’t already have this one as part of your daily habit is to make your bed. The tidiness will mentally (and subconsciously) prepare you to be more productive and organized.
Something as simple as making your bed can help you take micro-actions and build momentum throughout the day.
Making your bed every day can also lower your stress and improve your mood. According to Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, she researched and found that:
“One of the most common simple changes that led to happiness was learning to make the bed each morning.”
This tidy habit can also lead to better productivity. According to Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, making your bed each morning becomes a keystone habit that starts a chain of other good decisions through the day and it also gives you a sense of taking charge.
Morning Routine Idea #6: Take a cold shower
There’s nothing like a physical cold shower to really get your body and your conscious mind moving in the right direction.
According to Medical Daily, there are numerous benefits to hopping into a cold shower. Here are a few highlights:
- Increases alertness – not as brutal as an ice bucket challenge but definitely a temperature that’ll shock your body into awake-mode
- Refines your hair and skin – the cold water prevents your hair and skin from being stripped of its healthy natural oils too quickly
- Improves immunity and circulation – the cold water encourages blood to surround your organs, which can help to fight issues with your skin and heart, lowering your blood pressure, clearing your blocked arteries and improving your immune system.
- Stimulates weight loss – there’s good fat (brown fat) and bad fat (white fat); and cold showers can promote brown fat activity according to the Joslin Diabetes Center
- Eases stress and relieves depression – the cold receptors in your skin can send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses to your brain, which boosts your mood; cold water can also decrease your uric acid levels
Morning Routine Idea #7: Practice meditation, yoga or a breathing exercise
A great way to set your mood in the morning is with a physical regimen that can reduce your stress, anxiety, tension and worry.
Meditation, yoga and breathing exercise can be the perfect solution for improving your health and overall well-being.
On top of the incredible benefits that you’ll gain from self-awareness and mindfulness, there are also very physical health benefits.
According to Mayo Clinic, research suggests that meditation can help people manage symptoms of conditions like:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches
Morning Routine Idea #8: Journal
Journaling can unlock some pretty powerful and important space for you in your head – and you need that space to allow yourself to make clear-headed value-based decisions with your prefrontal cortex, the conscious part of your brain.
Accessing this conscious value-based part of your brain is the way to unlock some of your most meaningful experiences and retirement goals.
And you’ll be able to live more intentionally with this clear-mindedness. You’ll have more self-discipline to make the right behavioral choices, even if they’re the most minute incremental choices.
Why does journaling work so well?
The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, process and feel… which means that writing removes any mental blocks you might have and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, other people and the world around you.
Bonus Idea: Keep a gratitude journal.
You can rewire your brain through gratitude and practicing writing down what you’re appreciative for daily, will speed up your path to fulfillment.
Morning Routine Idea #9: Write down one meaningful micro-step for yourself
This one is my absolute favorite and has worked wonders for many of my students. As you get ready in the morning and as your mind is waking up, allow your mind to wander. Think about something that excites you… one of your most meaningful goals.
More specifically, think about a meaningful mini-goal.
And from there, think of one micro-step that you can take that day to make progress toward your mini-goal.
Then, actually take the time to write down your one micro-step for the day and fully commit to knocking that out at some point during the day.
This goes well beyond a to-do list and thinking about what you have to do that day. This is an explicit way to be mindful about the activities and events and people in your life that mean the most to you… those that provide you with the greatest sense of purpose.
And by writing down your own micro-step, you’ve entered it into your brain to take action on that meaningful activity…
Even if it’s the most small and minute micro-step, by fully committing to taking action on it, you’ll be able to build on a positive momentum loop and continue this every single day.
There’s great power in micro-steps, so make yours count.
Which morning routine idea will you include at the start of your day? Which is the most impactful?
It’s all about creating and sharing those small wins, building momentum and keeping up your consistency.
Incremental micro-step + consistency are absolutely key in making the most progress toward building your ideal retirement lifestyle in the long-term… and your morning routine is an ideal time to dedicate to your most exciting retirement lifestyle goals.
Want more ideas on how to live a retirement life with more purpose? Join this Free Workshop where I share 3 secrets on how to build a retirement lifestyle that you love.