Morning – a little word and a brief time of day that inspires fear and loathing in so many of us. No more! As one of those mythical “morning people,” I’m sharing 5 simple and easy ways to jumpstart your morning and improve your entire day. After all, how you start has everything to do with how you finish.

Mornings Start the Night Before

Remember when you were 10, and before bedtime your mom picked out your outfit for school, packed your lunch and made sure your backpack was ready to go? Well, she was onto something. One of the best ways to jumpstart your morning is to start the night before.

Before you leave your office each evening, take time to organize your workspace. File away loose paperwork, put pens back in cups, and toss old sticky notes so when you arrive back at your desk each morning, you will be able to start fresh and find anything you need.

Before going to bed each night, take time to check the weather, lay out your outfit for the next day and pack your lunch and purse. These simple steps will set you up for an easy, unhurried morning and hopefully bring those feelings all the way through your day.

Start Fresh

Make a conscious choice to start each day anew. Leave yesterday’s challenges in the past, and don’t anticipate what today will bring. Looking at your calendar or to-do list and deciding you are going to have a bad day at 8am is the best way to have a terrible day! Don’t do it! By the same logic, deciding today will be a great day at 8am means you are far more likely to rock it all day long. Remember, you are the only one in control of the day you will have, so wake up and make it a great one.

Create and Commit to Routine

For many of us every day is different. Unpredictable schedules and little routine force your brain to constantly adapt and keep up with a lightning fast pace. Creating a routine to replicate and rely on each morning is one way to combat your ever-shifting daily landscape; it can give your body and mind a comforting structure to hook into as you ease into the day.

Your routine could be as simple as keeping a consistent order in which you make your coffee, shower, put on your makeup and get dressed. Any series of simple actions you can reliably repeat daily will make a world of difference in your attitude and patience to calmly deal with the rest of your changeable day.

Work Out

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but we would be missing one of the most crucial components to jumpstart your morning if we left it out. Working out first thing in the morning releases a zillion endorphins, gives you energy you can ride all day long, and serves as an outlet for pent up anxiety or stress. What your trainer never mentions as she is trying to convince you to set an alarm for dark-thirty a.m. is this: by working out in the morning, you are prioritizing yourself and your own wellness. We are usually more likely to prioritize family members, work, friends – pretty much anything – over ourselves, but taking this one step changes that. Remember, you can only help others if you help yourself first.

If a super early spin class isn’t for you, wake up 30 minutes earlier and go for a walk in your neighborhood. The kind of workout doesn’t matter as much as your dedication to starting your day with a clear, actionable commitment to your own health and wellbeing before moving on to that of others.

Define Priorities

Your to-do list probably reads like a 500-page novel, packed with plot twists, anxieties and haunting tasks. That stops now. That monster to-do list will overwhelm and paralyze you every time.

Before you slam into your day, take 10 minutes and clearly define the three things you must do today. We know there are way more than three items on your to do list, but each morning pick just three. Now, do those three. Given the amount of unforeseen urgent items that pop up in any given day you will be lucky to knock out all three, but if you do, and you still have time leftover, pick three more and get to it. By setting your priorities clearly at the start of each day, or even better – the night before, you won’t waste time and energy figuring out where to start or where to go next.

Photo Credit: Gratisography