by: Yuri Elkaim

You know those days when you feel empowered and energized to not just get through the day, but own it?

I’m going to show you a really cool morning routine checklist that I go through every day. This routine invigorates me more than any amount of caffeine will ever invigorate anyone.

Why? Because you can create energy through tranquility. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but I’m going to show you why it works.

This morning routine will get you into a mindset of healthy habits that will enrich your days – and your life.

I go through this five-stage checklist every morning starting at 6 a.m. My routine takes me an hour because I do each stage for ten to twenty minutes, but you could begin with five-minute increments so it only takes a half-hour.

My Morning Routine Checklist

Stage 1: Quieting the Mind

Step 1 - Quieting the Mind

The first thing I do is get out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth, and wake up a little bit.

Then I sit on my couch, cross my legs, being sure to sit up nice and tall, and set my iPhone timer for ten minutes. For the duration of that ten minutes, I sit in silence with my eyes closed, focusing on deep breathing and clearing my mind.

This is about silence, no thoughts, nothing. Just focusing on the breath.

When my timer goes off, I grab a notebook, which is required for the next item on my checklist.

Stage 2: Journaling

Step 2 - Journaling

For the next ten minutes, I write. I focus on positive thoughts, so I write out affirmations, things that I want in my life, who I want to become, or things I want to experience, but I write them as if it is in the present, as though they have already occurred.

This is really a nice, positive process in terms of creating affirmations and visualizations and so forth.

An example of an affirmation would be: “I am fit, strong, supple, and full of energy.” That’s one of my affirmations. You can come up with your own affirmations for whatever is most important to you.

Stage 3: Guided Meditation

Step 3 - Guided Meditation

For the third component of my morning routine checklist, I listen to an audio I created for myself that takes about 20 minutes.

It’s my voice on my headphones — which I admit is kind of trippy.

I guide myself through a meditation that incorporates gratitude, visualization, and a combination of mental activities.

I express gratitude for things that have happened in my life, I visualize things I want to have happen in the future, and then I envision what I want the rest of my day to be like.

You can create your own variation, or follow a guided meditation of some kind. Going through a visualization and gratitude meditation is tremendous, powerful, and the benefits on your attitude are pretty awesome.

Stage 4: Reading

Step 4 - Reading

Self-development reading is also part of my morning routine checklist.

Books that I have especially enjoyed lately include an awesome little book by Peter Drucker called Managing Oneself; a classic, John C. Maxwell’s How Successful People Think; and an amazing book that my good buddy Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning, which is fantastic because it talks about the importance of a morning routine and how to create one.

Stage 5: Exercise

Step 5 - Exercise

When I’m done reading, it’s time to get up and move.

I will jump on a rebounding trampoline for about ten minutes or I’ll go outside and go for a walk. Or, I might do some more vigorous activity depending on the day of the week and how I’m feeling, and whether my body needs more recovery or something a little more intense.

Spend Your First Hour on You

My morning routine is a combination of silence, affirmations and writing, reading, gratitude, visualization, and then some exercise. It’s a great way to start the day.

I guarantee the first hour you spend upon waking determines the rest of your day. If you make the beginning of your day amazing, the rest of your day becomes amazing.

And if you can make every day amazing, your life becomes amazing.

When you can create a positive morning routine that you follow day in and day out seven days a week, no matter what else is going on in your life, at least you have that time for yourself. It is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

It’s also one of the most important things you can do for your energy. It’s all about through tranquility, not through stimulation.

When we do things like meditation or sit in silence, we’re actually lowering the nervous stimulation in our body, our sympathetic nervous system, which is what is stimulated when we’re drinking caffeine and sugar and stressed out.

By simply sitting in silence and breathing, we switch over to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the relaxation side of our nervous innervation.

Our body relaxes, our heart rate lowers, our mind tends to clear, we feel better. And when that happens, you feel energized.

It’s Not Just for Morning

Creating quiet time is also something you can do during your day.

Let’s say you’re at work and you’re going, going, going, going. If you find yourself on the treadmill of nonstop go-go-go-go-go and you’re feeling a little bit stressed out, just take five minutes to sit and do nothing.

Move away from your desk, sit down on the floor or couch, close your eyes, and simply breathe for five minutes in silence. Those five minutes will be the best five minutes you spend all day.

I guarantee it’ll change your life, in addition to a morning routine.

Set Your Alarm and Go

When you start the day with a calm mind and positive thoughts, you will bring more energy and mindfulness to the rest of your day, and to your interactions with others.

And as you ingrain the checklist into your life, you’ll likely find even deeper benefits from the individual components and be able to tailor them to your needs.

Taking time for you, especially first thing in the morning, will start your day with a positive, relaxed tone – and visualizing what you want will create the mindset for you to achieve it.

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.