(Beep, beep, beep, beep!)
The sound of the alarm blares in your ears as you drearily try to pry your eyelids apart. The light trickling in under the curtains feels like the brightest thing anyone could even imagine as you hit snooze and drift off again.
Or maybe you’re a morning person. You hit the alarm before it’s even reached the second beep, spring out of bed, hands-on-hips, ready to face the day. (If this is you, I hate you with love.)
Whether you’re a morning person or not there’s no denying they set the tone for your day. There’s a reason we use the phrase “He got out of the bed on the wrong foot.” to describe someone in a funk first thing.
So what can you do to get your day off to the right start?
Morning routine first principles
Instead of putting together an unattainable list of things high achievers would do in the morning i.e. 3:00 am wake up, 3:21 am the first workout, 4:49 am eat steak breakfast, 5:14 am second workout etc.*
Most people aren’t like that, and I’m going to assume you aren’t either. Instead here’s a fill-in-the-blank morning routine which lays out the steps for starting your day the right way. Take this template and make it as ambitious or as chill as your life requires.
*Looking for some inspiration for the more ambitious end of the spectrum check out Mark Walberg’s morning routine. It’ll make you rethink what getting up early really means – unless you deliver milk or bread, in which case hats off to you.
Step 0 – Be prepared
The best way to make the most of the morning is to prepare for it. If you’re planning on working out first thing, prep your workout gear the night before. If you want to eat a healthy breakfast you’ll make the future version of yourself very happy by preparing it before you hit the hay. Nothing is more likely to make you say “F*ck it! I’ll just have breakfast ice cream.” than having to organise anything first thing in the morning.
You want to make it as easy as possible for the groggy morning version of you to make the right choice. And the way to do that is by making it easy. This will probably be more helpful for the night owls reading this, but even a morning person can benefit from not having to do too much thinking before 9 am.
Step 1 – Hydrate
One of the first things you should do, possibly even before you get out of bed is, get some liquid into you. Your body has been losing water as sweat since your head hit the pillow so now’s the time to replenish it. Get some water into your first thing.
It goes without saying that water is important for your general well being, but as we mentioned in our skincare article it’s also good for your hair and skin. Your muscles and kidneys will thank you too.
Leave a bottle of water beside your bed before you go to sleep and chug it down when you wake up.
Step 2 – Ground yourself
The morning really defines how you feel for the rest of the day so starting out in the right mood is crucial. It’s worth taking even 5 minutes every morning to do something to ground yourself while waking up your mind.
Lots of things could fit in this box: meditation, journaling (see our article on journaling), prayer – if you’re religiously inclined, or maybe give your guitar or ukulele an ould strum. Personally, I read books. Two cups of coffee and 30 pages later I’m awake and feeling pretty centred.
The point with this one being to prioritise yourself before giving your attention to everything else. And as we said in our Why invest in yourself? article if you’re not going to prioritise yourself then no one else is.
Step 3 – The blood is pumping
Whether it’s going to the gym, doing some yoga, or even leaping into a cold shower, it’s important to wake up your body as well as your mind. Do something early which gets your heart rate up.
This doesn’t have to be a 5 am mini-marathon. It can be as simple as doing 10 push-ups right after getting out of bed or taking a 5-minute walk before brekkie.
If exercise is part of your life the morning can be a great time to do it, especially if you’ve got kids or a job where you often work late. Prioritise working out, by doing it while everyone else is asleep. That way you won’t feel guilty if you don’t have the time or energy to do it at the end of the day.
And for the masochists among you, you can always start the day the Wim Hof way with a cold shower. It’s not exactly physical exertion, but it’ll get your heart rate up. It’s got the added benefit of saving you money on your hot water bill, and I guarantee you won’t need coffee.
Step 4 – Get your groom on
Speaking of showers, grooming should always be part of your morning. Whether you’re working from home or suiting up to go into the city it’s worth spending 10-15minutes getting clean and ready. Shower, shave, brush those teeth, comb your hair, shine your shoes, and press those pants. Whatever your particular grooming routine is.
The details aren’t as important as what you get out of it. They say: “Clothes make the man.” And grooming is part of that. It’s unlikely you’ve seen a well dressed, confident man who isn’t well-groomed. So spend a little time on your appearance and cleanliness each morning to have you looking and feeling your best.
Check out our No-fuss skincare routine for men if skincare isn’t already part of your routine – your future self will thank you.
Step 5 – Fuel up
Your car isn’t going to go far without fuel, and you aren’t either. They call breakfast the most important meal of the day for a reason.
You don’t need to overdo it with the quantity but focus on getting some solid fuel into you before you get too far. A cup of coffee and a croissant isn’t going to cut it for very long. And depending on how physical your job is you might need to stock up.
Most people eat a carb-heavy breakfast, but you’ll do your hunger and energy a favour by getting some protein in as well. It could be something as simple as some eggs, porridge and a glass of orange juice or a piece of fruit. Or as complicated and bourgeois as you want to make it “Quail’s egg omelette with sun-dried goat anyone?”
The important thing is to get some solid fuel into you to get you –and keep you– going. Lay it out the night before so you don’t have to think about it first thing.
Step 6 – Tidy up
One of Jordan Peterson’s rules for life is to clean your room, and there’s something to be said for it. Dress your bed, clean away all the breakfast things, give your apartment a quick tidy. It has a couple of benefits. One you’ll have accomplished one thing already that day, however small it is, you’re starting on the right foot. And two when you come home after a long day of working hard you’ll be coming home to a lovely clean home –no outstanding chores for you.
Putting it all together
So to recap our morning routine basics:
- Hydrate – replenish the water you lost throughout the night.
- Ground yourself – take a few minutes to do something for yourself first
- Get your blood pumping – with some exercise, a cold shower or by calling your partner by the wrong name.
- Get your groom on – put some time into your appearance so you look and feel good.
- Fuel up – give your body and mind the fuel it needs to see you through the first part of the day.
- Tidy up – get your day off on the right foot but tidying up. And give yourself a clean house to come home to.
- And finally… do as much prep as you can the night before to give the sleepy version of you less to think and do.
These steps are meant as a guide to help you get the most out of every day. It’s deliberately written as broadly as possible so you can slot in the pieces that will work best for your lifestyle. Start small with the things on this list and build it up. In a few weeks, you’ll have a morning routine to help you feel great leaving the house each morning.
We can’t help you with everything on this list, but for shaving and grooming, we’ve got your back. Check our articles on shaving everything your heart desires:
- Shave your face… and not like grandad
- Razor burn – soothe and avoid those painful polka dots
- How to shave your balls… keep ‘em warm
- How to shave your chest… mind the nips
And our skincare articles, if you’re looking to upgrade your morning routine: