It’s the first hour of your morning. You wake up and check emails, text messages and social media. The addiction has already set in with meaningless scrolling and what kind of a day you’re in for. Before you know it, you’re awake and have been in bed for an extra half an hour, not wanting to get up because you’ve already made the decision to be distracted.
It’s no secret. How you start your mornings dictates how you feel, act and decide the rest of your day. Having a morning routine is so important, but deciding how you spend the first hour of your day is what sets the tone. Each day we have is mostly dictated by serving others. Whether we’re working on something for a client, taking instructions from our boss, or even getting dinner ready for the kids. All that time is spent in reflection of someone else, even though you have to do it, it’s easily forgotten that we should do things for ourselves each and every day.
The First Hour
When you utilise your mind each day and make more decisions, your willpower starts to decrease which causes diminishing returns on your productivity. Considering your mind is in its most creative state when you wake up; when you don’t spend the first part of your day doing something deliberate, you’re effectively wasting time when your mind is in its peak state.
The first hour isn’t just about brushing your teeth, taking a shower or making your bed. It’s making those decisions that add value and meaning to your life. It’s doing something that you love that reduces stress, makes you happy and gives something back to you. How you spend your first hour has a significant effect on your mood, motivation, mental energy, and health.
So how do we spend the first hour of our day? We spend it by doing high-value activities that give us high-value returns. Here are 5 decisions you can make to get the best out of your day:
1) Your Hobbies
Everyone needs a hobby. It develops who we are and our passions in life. They can be as diverse from gardening to stand up comedy. Hobbies are those things we do for ourselves that improve the quality of our lives. Hobbies provide a range of benefits;
-Our brain is engaged
-We have a creative outlet
-We’re looking forward to something
-We become passionate people
The truth is, without hobbies, we can feel lost and life just goes by very quickly where we are constantly living on auto-pilot and constantly doing things for others rather than taking time out for ourselves. Use the first hour of your day to commit and practice one of your hobbies.
One of the most important decisions we can make in the first hour of our morning is to exercise. It’s proven that exercise does not only maintain and manage your weight and health; but provides improved memory, learning, and creativity. Exercise can be best in the morning because as the day goes on, we tend to lack effective decision making. So when it comes to a chaotic long day at work, it’s easier to skip a walk or a trip to the gym in the evenings. Take advantage of the first hour to implement exercise and feel good for the rest of the day.
3) Smart Breakfast
When we skip breakfast, we often pay for it later on in the day. The lunchtime hunger hits and we start to get hangry and feel sluggish. When we skip breakfast, our lunch is a combination of too much food and consuming it too quickly. It leads to a food coma and an afternoon nap that we want so badly. Skipping breakfast is never a good idea. Even if it’s just a protein shake or a piece of fruit in your first hour, you’re still getting nutrients that have been starved by your body overnight. It’s called breakfast for a reason, as you’re breaking the fast from sleeping. Although fruit loops and coco pops are God’s food. Try to eat something nutritious, which involves protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruits. Your body will thank you for it and you’re able to make better decisions over the course of the day.
4) Spend Time Thinking and Visualising
Our first few hours of the morning is when we’re at peak state for making better decisions. In the first hour, we can spend a little bit of time planning our day and visualising the goals we have and achieving them. Create the day you want in your mind and go and do it. With visualisation, you can create a world around you of positive forces and desires. Visualisation is controlled dreaming and combats negativity, which provides proactive planning and builds courage.
Launching Your First Hour: Tips and Tricks
To spend our first hour wisely, there are certain things we can do to keep us motivated and excelling each day. Here are a couple of tips and tricks to keep us moving forward every morning to make the most of that important first hour for ourselves.
“Let the first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again.” – OG Mandino
When the alarm goes off, don’t press snooze. The extra minutes may feel amazing, but it can set you back for the day. When your alarm goes off it sends stress responses, boosting adrenaline and cortisol levels. When you try to get back to sleep for those extra minutes, it’s proven that you don’t get into a deep sleep, resulting in sleep inertia. That tired, lethargic feeling you get when you wake up and struggle to get out of bed.
Set Yourself Up The Night Before
What you do the night before can determine how you already feel when you wake up in the morning. You can do a few of these things before you go to sleep to make sure you’re set up for the morning:
-Set daily goals the night before
-Pack your exercise clothes
-Get to bed earlier if you’re always tired
-Wind down with one of your favourite TV shows
-Read to clear your mind
The Last Hour
The first hour of your morning is also dictated by your last hour of the day. By building a habit of winding down and releasing all stress and anxieties, waking up the next day becomes motivational and you start to look forward to waking up early and doing the things you love every morning. By owning the first and last hours of your day, it will be set you up to fulfil your personal goals, maintain your personal relationships and manage your mental health more positively.
Related: 5 Morning Rituals That Will Enhance Your Productivity