There’s so much proof behind why your morning routine is so important. As I researched this topic, I found most of the info out there about the impact of morning routines to be targeted toward business-minded people who are working towards peak career success.
That’s great and all, but what about seniors and the people who are having trouble making transitions during their retirement years?
As you may know by now I’m anti-leisure-only when it comes to looking at the traditional sense of retirement. No longer is retirement life about simply sitting around and living a life of leisure.
As Dr. Ken Dychtwald of Age Wage suggests, life doesn’t happen in three clean separate stages but it happens instead in intermingled cyclical stages:
And winding down your learning activities and your sense of creativity, productivity and adventure is not something that’ll help build up your neuroplasticity. So staying happy, active, energetic and fulfilled through growth experiences is key to successful aging in place.
That’s why I’ve laid out the importance of your morning routine as it relates to your retirement years. It’s important to tackle every day with intention, energy and purpose so that you can increase your longevity and keep your cognitive health strong.
I’ve broken it down into these six reasons as to why having some sort of healthy morning ritual can springboard your life into something very meaningful, productive and full of energy.
Here’s why a good morning routine works:
Morning Routine Reason #1: Your mood = your productivity level
According to research from Ohio State University, your mood in the morning dictates how productive you are that day. The study found that:
“employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.”
If you pull it out of the working environment context and apply it to how productive you are in your personal life, this perspective shift can really help you shake up your life… in a great way.
If you can get your morning right, you can get your day right, and… you can get your life right. You’ll make progress on things that actually matter to you, and you’ll likely be energized doing it.
Sounds simple enough but of course isn’t the easiest thing to do.
The trick will be in creating a consistent routine that you use repeatedly, so it replaces your current non-impactful habits with healthy habits.
Morning Routine Reason #2: Allows space for setting the tone
By giving yourself the mental and physical space to set the tone for the day, you get to choose how to manage your emotions in the morning.
Instead of waking up and reacting to whatever mood you’re in after a night’s slumber, you can get in the habit of being more proactive and intentional with your mindset. You can practice being mindful and incorporate mental clearing into your morning ritual, which can help set yourself up with the right tone for the day.
The important takeaway is to allow yourself the space to set the right tone. By giving yourself the time to be aware of your mood, you’ll be able to better manage how you actually want it to be.
Then reason #1 will kick in, with your mood dictating how productive you’ll be during the day.
Morning Routine Reason #3: Your willpower is strongest in the morning
Your willpower is highest in the morning right after you sleep and it gets used up and depleted throughout the day.
According to a Stanford Medicine article:
“The research also shows that willpower decreases over the course of the day, as your energy gets ‘spent’ on stress and self-control. This has become known as ‘the muscle model’ of willpower. Like your biceps or quadriceps the willpower ‘muscle’ can get exhausted from effort.”
And it’s also important to follow your natural circadian rhythm. According to Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California:
“Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity.”
Tip: To increase your willpower strength, meditation and exercise are two activities that can help build up grey matter in your prefrontal cortex, the decision-making part of your brain. This’ll help increase your ability to make better choices throughout the day, increasing your willpower.
Bonus Tip: If you have the time, use your willpower strength in your morning routine and work on something challenging. It’s a great time to incorporate an exercise routine, a healthy eating habit or even an important project you’re working on.
Take advantage of your willpower being the greatest in the mornings, and work into your morning ritual something that intentionally gets you closer to your goals.
Morning Routine Reason #4: Builds self-discipline
Doing something consistently everyday can builds up your confidence, energy level and your self-discipline. I’ve read that it oftentimes doesn’t even matter what’s in your morning routine, and what matters is that you have one.
And according to Jocko Willink who wrote Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, self-discipline is the path to freedom. In his 20-year Navy SEAL experience, Willink used self-discipline to rise through the ranks and become commander of Task Unit Bruiser, the top Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War.
And upon his return to civilian life, he used his learned self-discipline habit to create a multi-million dollar career in leadership and consulting.
To give yourself the freedom of achieving your lifestyle goals, and to give yourself the chance at successful aging, you can use your morning routine as a consistent and reliable practice that will help build your self-discipline.
With that increased self-discipline you can live more intentionally and better achieve your goals… all good things when it comes to successful aging.
Morning Routine Reason #5: Routines and habits run our lives
At least 40% of human behavior is made up of habits (source).
And according to a study by Phillippa Lally at the University College London, habits are formed on average 66 days and can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit outlines a three-step loop that happens when we create habits:
- Cue – a trigger that tells your brain when and which habit to use
- Routine – an activity, emotion or behavior
- Reward – how your brain determines if a loop is good for you or not
So building on reason #4, being repeatedly self-disciplined in your healthy morning routine can help you create good habits over time. You just need the right cue to trigger it and the right reward for the aftermath, so keep in mind the sandwiching of those two steps around your morning routine.
That’s why your morning ritual can help create some of your best results.
Otherwise, some of your bad habits might just stick around.
Tip: As part of your morning ritual, set a goal for yourself to make progress on a “good habit” later that day. By being self-aware and setting yourself up in the morning you can be that much more intentional with your mini-goals that you want to accomplish throughout the day.
Morning Routine Reason #6: Builds momentum
Your morning routine can help you build momentum and keep up your well being long-term.
According to the endowment effect, you’re more willing to invest in something that you already have. So if you’re starting your day off right, and you’re already moving forward, you’re that much more likely to keep doing positive things throughout the day.
Establish positive momentum early on to carry it out throughout your whole day, which can snowball into you making larger goals for yourself.
Conversely, the opposite can happen so be sure to tap into your mindfulness practices and focus on the idea of replacing your bad habits with good ones. This’ll help you not only in chasing your goals, but also in getting over roadblocks.
So there you have it – six reasons why your morning routine is everything. It can be such a critical micro-step that plays such a big role in how live your daily life.
So to sum up the benefits for you, some side effects that you may experience once you establish a healthy morning routine:
- Lowers stress
- More relaxed
- Sharper mind
- More productive
- More energy
- More fulfilled, intentional
- Happier, optimistic
And some consequences to consider to push you to take action:
- Less focused, present
- More sluggish when you wake up
- Less intentional, less purposeful
- Less creative
- More susceptible to poor choices
- Unhealthy eating
- Creates stagnant lifestyle
- Increased stress, anxiety, depression
Are you ready to switch it up and commit to a healthy morning routine that fits nicely into your daily life? For ideas on what to include in your personal morning routine, check out the next article.