How to Start a Healthy Morning Ritual in 5 Steps
Here’s how to start a healthy morning ritual for weight loss, blood sugar management, heart health and more!
My morning ritual needed some tweaking. How I start my day sets the tone for the next 16 or so hours. And I want those hours to be productive, joyful, filled with intention and packed with good health habits. My success with healthy eating and other lifestyle habits for the last three decades is partly due to taking time and care for a morning ritual. And that includes tweaking it when necessary.
Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients to develop a morning ritual too. I’m certain that it helps them stay focused on their health goals. Some meditate. Others pray. Some write in a journal, listen to classical music, practice yoga, recite affirmations.
Let a healthy morning ritual help you with your lifestyle reset. Your ritual can be anything you want it to be. Mine has changed over the years, but centers around quiet time to myself, conversations with my husband and a jog before breakfast. Recently, I found that time to myself included too much time with my phone. Email, Facebook, Instagram, weather forecast, news headlines. UGH! This new practice that crept in did not help me set the right tone for my day! My morning ritual needed some tweaking.
What is a Morning Ritual?
A ritual is different from a routine in that it has a deeper meaning than simply fulfilling a task. You may have a set routine in the morning that helps you get out of bed and into being productive. With a routine, you run on autopilot. But a ritual is something you do with greater awareness, and it has a side benefit such as feeling centered or energized or filling you with a sense of purpose.
While running on autopilot can help you move quickly and is often a benefit, sometimes your autopilot destroys your diet.
A morning ritual can help you to eat better, work better, exercise better and more. By feeling ready to start your day and reminding yourself of your values and goals, you’ll be better able to practice self-care. That’s not so easy to do when you start your day in a hazey rush, is it?
As long as we’re getting organized, take a look at how a bedtime routine can help you ease into a soothing sleep. It was written specifically for people with diabetes, but most of it is pertinent to all of us.
5 Steps to Starting a Morning Ritual
There are many ways to go about starting your morning ritual. These 5 steps are how I approach it and have helped clients find their ideal way to start their day feeling centered and ready to rock the day.
- Gift yourself some extra time. I know, I know. You’re already time-crunched. But here’s what I also know to be true: The busier you are, the more you need time to yourself and the more your morning ritual will do for you. If you need to, get up earlier – even by just a few minutes. But also save time by setting out your clothes or breakfast dishes the night before. Remind yourself and others in the house that your morning time is important time. Your morning ritual is a gift to yourself.
- Pick an activity or two. Let your mind wander through your past to find activities you’ve previously enjoyed and found meaningful. Do you like to meditate, write in a gratitude journal, walk along the beach, read essays? Has something recently intrigued you? Be creative and open to new things. It’s just an experiment.
- Pick a time for your ritual. I prefer to start my day with my morning ritual. You may want to wait a bit until your kids have gone to school or your spouse is walking the dog. Or spending time with your kids or spouse may even be part of your morning ritual. It all depends on how you view it. Remember what sets a ritual apart from a routine is that a ritual has a deeper meaning and it’s done with great intention.
- Give it a trial run. Like with any other important habit, maintaining a meaningful morning ritual takes time and effort. Try something out for a few days and change it up as necessary. Accept that you may have to try a few things before you find the morning ritual that you look forward to everyday.
- Be consistent. Keep at it, and protect your ritual. Guard it like any other health habit. Don’t skip it when you’re short on time. Modify it for the time you do have. Now and then, my schedule forces me to cut my ritual down to just a few minutes of quiet thinking time. And sometimes that’s in the shower, but I gift myself that time and awareness. Otherwise thinking in the shower would be nothing more than part of my routine.
Instead of spending time with my phone, I read for a few minutes or write in a journal. I remind myself about what truly matters to me and to be intentional all day. I want to notice all the good things around me – like a silly dog playing with a soccer ball or a nice chat with my daughters. And that’s a beautiful way to start my day!
Cheers to a beautiful start to your day!
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert, Wellcoach®-certified health and wellness coach, Freelance Writer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's also the author of four books, including a best-seller. She's a nationally-recognized media expert in high demand for print and online interviews, as well as corporate and one-on-one nutritional counseling. Jill's philosophy is that nutrition science should be understandable, realistic and oh so delicious.
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Like most of my patients and clients, I lead a busy life. You probably do too. Fortunately, you don’t need weeks, days or even hours to start living better and healthier. This blog offers timesaving strategies and bite-sized nutrition and health information. Come by often for tips and inspiration to healthy living – no matter how busy you are. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist offering credible, practical nutrition advice to keep busy people healthy. Yes indeed, we can be both busy and healthy.