The Importance of a Morning Routine

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If you find yourself reaching for the snooze button on your alarm every morning, it might be time to consider setting yourself a routine. The morning hours represent a critical time to set yourself up for the day. Savouring these previous moments can mean the difference between a great day and a rushed, messy one. Before you reach for the instant coffee, indulge in some stretching or yoga poses, boil yourself a pot of tea or spend some time journalling and thinking about what you need to accomplish that day. Do this before reaching for your iPhone, switching on the TV or checking your Facebook. 

Personally, I love routine and find I can roll out of bed at the same time every morning (with the exception of Sunday), wash my face and put on my gym clothes. Eating breakfast and doing morning tasks in gym clothes is a constant reminder of the exercise that I have yet to do. Also, it makes going to the gym ten times easier if you’re already dressed and ready to go!

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Laying out your gym clothes the night before, or even putting your shoes outside of the bathroom door is another method that works for some people. They say the most difficult thing about making it to the gym is putting on your clothes, so if you eliminate that step – you’re halfway there. I've even known some crazy people who sleep in their exercise attire so they are already ready to go upon waking! 

Another vital step in any morning routine is to begin your morning with a healthy breakfast. Grabbing a latte and a muffin on the way to work is not only unhealthy, but it sets you up for a day that can be full of unhealthy choices. Including protein in your breakfast is a great way to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Try adding unsweetened Greek yoghurt to your muesli in the morning or having an egg on toast, instead of butter and vegemite.

Studies have shown that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with healthy food choices throughout the day. Contrary to popular belief, exercise actually helps the body feel more satiated (full) and curbs apetite throughout the day. It does not, as once thought, stimulate feelings of hunger later on.

Even the most organised of us know that leaving a workout until after hours can present its own problems. Work meetings run late, social gatherings crop up, or you simply feel too tired/grumpy/overwhelmed to change out of your suit and into your gym clothes at the end of the day. Personally, I hate the thought of having to shower again and possibly wash my hair for the second time. That factor alone is enough to kick me into gear to make sure my exercise is well and done with by the time I hit the office.

Before you stumble into work, spend some time to reflect and realign. What are you grateful for in your life? What do you need to get done today? As an added bonus, incorporating exercise and a healthy breakfast into your morning routine kickstarts your metabolism and keeps it burning all day long. As an added bonus, you will sleep better at night when the extra time allows you to properly unwind and detach yourself from your day. Heck, you might even feel as though you have earned that glass of wine instead of feeling guilty about it. Give routine a try and see if it works for you. 

TIPS:

- Struggling to get up earlier? Make it a gradual process by setting your alarm a few minutes earlier each day. This is more gentle on your body and means you can slowly become accustomed to the earlier starts.

- Set aside 5 minutes each morning for yourself before getting distracted by the demands of the day ahead. Start a journal and record how you feel each morning.

- Make it easy for yourself to commit to your exercise goals by packing your gym bag the night before and leaving it near the door.

- Enjoy your breakfast alone, without distractions. Save the morning paper and iPod for the commute to work. Switch off the TV and enjoy the flavours of your breakfast. Not chugging down your first meal of the day will leave you fuller for longer and better able to tackle the tasks ahead.

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