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Try This: A Five-Minute Morning Routine that Anyone Can Do

Are you a fan of morning routines but have trouble staying consistent with them?

If the answer is “YES”, this newsletter is 1000% for you!

Here’s the thing about morning routines… how you start your morning often sets the tone for the rest of your day. 

When we jump straight into our social media feed, the news, or the priorities of others, our day gets hijacked right from the start, leaving us feeling unrooted, ungrounded, scattered, unfocused, and uninspired.

Most of us know this to be true, yet so often I hear from my community that the most common reason they can’t stick to a morning routine is that they feel they don’t have enough time.

That might be true if your idea of a morning routine is an hour-long workout, a lengthy sauna session, or cooking a super-Instagrammable breakfast.

There’s nothing wrong with incorporating those practices into your mornings, but if you struggle with staying consistent, it could be helpful to take a step back and look at what you really want to get out of your morning ritual.

The goal isn’t about doing some elaborate, time-consuming practice; it’s about taking that time for yourself so you can start your day off feeling grounded.

Setting aside just five minutes (yes, five minutes) to nourish your mind and body in the morning is enough to transition into the day feeling calm, relaxed, and ready for whatever comes your way.

In my experience, sticking to a short, simple morning routine sets me up for success for the rest of the day. I’m more productive, more motivated, and in a better all-around mood. Plus, the little things that come up don’t stress me out as much compared to days when I don’t do it.

Since I can literally feel the difference in my mindset, my morning routine is nonnegotiable, but that probably wouldn’t be the case if it took me a long time to complete.

That’s why I wanted to share this ultra-easy framework for morning routines that my dear friend, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, created so that anyone—and I mean anyone—can implement it, stick to it, and maybe even look forward to it every morning.

All you need is five minutes—that’s it!—and I promise it will make a world of difference in how you go about your day, which could have a ripple effect by building up your resilience to stressors or even snowball into adopting other healthy habits as well.

Here’s why it works:

Changing behavior is hard, which is why I’m such a huge fan of habit stacking and why Dr. Chatterjee recommends it in his new book, Happy Mind, Happy Life: The New Science of Mental Well-Being. He also recommends the practice to his patients to help make adopting new, healthy behaviors easier.

Habit stacking is where you take something that you already do every day and stack another habit or behavior that you want to start doing on top of that. The idea is that stacking a new behavior on top of an old one provides a stimulus, or trigger, that makes it easier for you to remember to do it.

A perfect example of this in regard to a morning routine is to use the time it takes to brew your coffee or tea to do a little five-minute self-care ritual. We’ll get into the pillars that Dr. Chatterjee recommends to include in your morning routine next.

But for those of you who don’t drink coffee or tea in the morning, pick something else that you do that takes about five minutes, like letting your dog outside.

Here’s how it works:

Dr. Chatterjee breaks his morning routine down into three simple steps he calls the “3 M’s.” You don’t have to do the 3 M’s in any particular order; just try to do them every morning in a way that makes sense to you, and spend about one or two minutes on each one.

People always ask me, “Dhru, what does your diet look like these days?”

When it comes to diet, my main focus has always been quality, which for me means wild-caught fish, healthy fats, a little bit of grass-fed protein, and a ton of veggies. And these days, I have balanced blood sugar in mind, too, especially when I go grocery shopping.

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Try This:

Step 1: Mindfulness: 1-2 minutes

Mindfulness can mean a number of different things, but it’s really just a practice that allows you to slow down and be in the present moment. Here are some examples of how to incorporate mindfulness into your morning routine:

  • Mindful Breathing
  • Meditation
  • Stepping outside for some sunshine or time in nature (Note: Morning sunlight will also help set your circadian rhythm.)

Step 2: Movement: 1-2 minutes

Dr. Chatterjee keeps two hand weights in his kitchen and does some squats and arm exercises in his pajamas while his coffee brews. I love that idea, but if that doesn’t feel right to you, try doing something else that you’ll enjoy, as long as it wakes up the body and gets your blood flowing. Some examples include:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Dancing
  • Stretching

Step 3: Mindset: 1-2 minutes

This “M” is critical for starting your day off on a positive note. The goal for the mindset portion of your routine is to gather your thoughts and steer them in a calming and positive direction for the day ahead, which means engaging in uplifting reading materials or practices. This could include:

  • Practicing gratitude (Note: My favorite way of doing this is calling someone I love and showering them with gratitude)
  • Affirmations
  • Journaling
  • Reading (Note: Just make sure it’s positive! That means staying away from the news or scrolling on social media. Dr. Chatterjee recommends reading self-help, philosophical, or spiritual books in the morning.)

Concluding Thoughts

Can five minutes really make that much of a difference? Yes!

I mentioned this above, but it’s worth saying again: so many people jump straight into their social media feed, the news, or the priorities of others that their day gets hijacked right from the start.

Even just five minutes of a routine can ground you so you can go about your day making sure your priorities don’t get lost or placed on the back burner.

The way to make a morning routine stick is by starting off with a core habit you do every day regardless of what’s going on in the world and stacking your new habit onto that.

And by the way, if you want your morning routine to be longer than five minutes, great! Consistency is what we’re striving for, so start with five minutes and you can always add more time from there.

It may seem overly simple, but adding the 3 M’s to my morning routine has made a world of difference in my life and in the lives of many of Dr. Chatterjee’s patients. I think it could make a difference for yours too!

The only thing I do in addition to the 3 M’s is that I’ll have two big, 16-ounce glasses of water before my coffee so I can make sure my brain and body are nice and hydrated going into my day. (Check out my previous Morning Hydration Challenge Try This newsletter for more on that.)

If you want to hear Dr. Chatterjee go into more detail about the benefits of a morning routine and how incorporating the 3 M’s made a difference in his life and in the lives of his patients, I recommend checking out the clips below and preordering a copy of his newest book, Happy Mind, Happy Life, which comes out in June.

Clips:

If you ever want to come back to this newsletter or want to check out any of my previous Try This newsletters, head on over to my blog.

  1. Brighenti F, Castellani G, Benini L, et al. Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995;49(4):242-247.
  2. Liljeberg H, Björck I. Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998;52(5):368-371. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600572
  3. Johnston CS, Buller AJ. Vinegar and peanut products as complementary foods to reduce postprandial glycemia. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105(12):1939-1942. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2005.07.012
  4. Panayota Mitrou, Athanasios E. Raptis, Vaia Lambadiari, Eleni Boutati, Eleni Petsiou, Filio Spanoudi, Emilia Papakonstantinou, Eirini Maratou, Theofanis Economopoulos, George Dimitriadis, Sotirios A. Raptis; Vinegar Decreases Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 1 February 2010; 33 (2): e27. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc09-1354
  5. Sayyadi, A.R., Mahmoodi, M., Modarresi, M., Nabati, S., Hassanshahi, G., Hosseini-zijoud, S., Mehrabian, M., & Hajizadeh, M.R. (2013). The effect of white vinegar on some blood biochemical factors in type 2 diabetic patients.
  6. Wu D, Kimura F, Takashima A, et al. Intake of vinegar beverage is associated with restoration of ovulatory function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2013;230(1):17-23. doi:10.1620/tjem.230.17
  7. Tomoo KONDO, Mikiya KISHI, Takashi FUSHIMI, Shinobu UGAJIN, Takayuki KAGA, Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects, Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, Volume 73, Issue 8, 23 August 2009, Pages 1837–1843, https://doi.org/10.1271/bbb.90231
  8. Solaleh Sadat Khezri, S. Sadat Khezri, Atoosa Saidpour, A. Saidpour, Nima Hosseinzadeh, N. Hosseinzadeh, & Zohreh Amiri, Z. Amiri. (0000). Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of functional foods, 43, 95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2018.02.003
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