Shiny new year, shiny new you? Absolutely! Stepping up your game in the new year—or any time you’re feeling like leveling up—is all about stepping up your daily routine.
Forget about one big resolution. We’re all about making a series of tiny changes that add more finesse to your day-to-day life. Add ‘em all together, and you have the recipe for a bigger, better, bolder you.
Ready to conquer the world—or your 9-to-5? Start here with these everyday upgrades to your morning routine.
Step 1. Wake up recharged.
Everyone’s sleep cycle is a little bit different. While the amount of sleep you need tends to vary, depending on age, how and when you sleep best depends on your own circadian rhythms. To figure out when you sleep best, use a sleep app that maps the soundness of your sleep and wakes you according to where you are in your REM cycle.
Step 2. Put yourself in a great mood.
Do something that delights you every single morning. That could be lounging in bed for an extra 10 minutes. It could be listening to a podcast that makes you laugh or a playlist that gets you dancing. It could be eating your favorite food for breakfast. It could be reading a chapter of a book you’re excited about. It could be playtime with a pet. It could be indulging in a creative outlet before you do anything else.
Step 3. Know what you want to accomplish.
While there must be a million ways to keep a journal, this is one of our favorites: Keep a brief journal that lists your intentions for each day. It could be a task like “I want to finish the presentation,” or something more general, like “I want to approach my work with positivity.” Make this into a 5-minute daily ritual by setting aside your best pen and a special notebook explicitly for this purpose. It will keep you focused and thoughtful as you move through your day.
Step 4. Get your blood flowing.
You don’t need to set aside time for a full sweat session first thing in the morning. Beginning the day with a little activity is enough to wake up your circulatory system and shake off any remaining sleepiness or lethargy you’re feeling. And, if you’re struggling with chronic or acute mental health problems, the endorphins released by even short spurts of exercise like stretching, doing a few push-ups, or performing a sun salute can help you live with depression or anxiety.
Step 5. Feel confident in your clothes.
The clothes you wear make an impact on the impression you give to others. If you don’t feel good in them, your body language will show a lack of confidence—and, trust us, that’s not the path to promotion. A little prep work can ease away some self-doubt. By hanging outfits together, you’ll speed up your morning routine. If you take care to put clothes away neatly and mend them promptly, you’ll deal with fewer last-minute wrinkles or missing buttons.
Step 6. Cut out what makes you tardy.
Running late every so often? That’s to be expected. You’re human, after all! But continual tardiness can hurt your reputation and add unnecessary stress to your life. To boost your rep and keep your morning routine calm and cool, focus on those things that make you lag behind. Do you have to stop for gas? Are you missing your train because you forgot to renew your commuter pass? Do you have trouble finding your keys? Are you always forgetting to leave enough time to make coffee?
To fix the tardiness issue, you first need to pinpoint what it is that adds on all those unnecessary minutes. Once you have the problem pegged, you can figure out a solution. That could mean filling up your gas tank every weekend or attaching a tracking device to your keychain.
Not sure what is making you late? Try turning to your journal. For two weeks, keep paper and a ballpoint pen handy so that you can write down everything you do in the morning and how much time each task takes. Be accurate down to the minute. We know it sounds absurd, but, trust us, the time-waster is in there somewhere!
Remember, the key to elevating your daily routine is in the details—all the details. Master them, and you’ll find yourself getting ahead with minimal effort.