My 5 Morning Habits for a Great Start to the Day

The first hour of one's day sets the tone for the rest of the day. Over the years, I have developed several habits that help me have a productive, fulfilling and enjoyable day. Today I am excited to share those with you:


1.  Morning Drink: Instead of a cup of coffee or tea, I start my mornings with a special drink. Here is the recipe: 1 cup of hot water, ¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon, 1 tsp of honey, ¼ tsp of fresh/powdered ginger and some turmeric powder. Since starting to drink this over four years ago, I've seen a significant difference in my immune system, energy level and digestive system. Although I certainly enjoy a good cup of coffee, this is my drink of choice to kickstart my day.


2. Exercise: I do some sort of exercise each morning. Even when my schedule doesn’t allow my typical 1 hour workout, I make sure to squeeze in at least 5 minutes for stretching to wake up my body and muscles. I then take at least a few minutes to meditate, collect my thoughts, and set positive intentions for the day.


3. Ice-Cold Shower: Not as miserable as it sounds, I finish the last few seconds of my morning shower with ice-cold water. This routine not only creates a contrast between hot and cold, but also wakes up the body and builds a stronger immune system. Living in Chicago, when it gets quite cold outside, you want to make sure that your body is “trained and ready” for this weather. A cold shower truly does wonders!


4. Calendar Review: Another must in my morning routine is reviewing my task list and setting my number 1, 2 and 3 priorities for the day – what must be done today, what is important to get done today, and what would be nice to accomplish today. I then schedule my time around these priorities, making sure number 1 gets my attention, number 2 gets my attention afterwards, and number 3 gets attention if there's still time.


5. Positive Conversation: My final ritual is calling someone who is not my co-worker or employee, on my way to the office. Whether it's my grandma in Russia, my aunt in Washington, DC, or a Harvard classmate somewhere overseas, I choose someone who has nothing to do with an upcoming project to have a few minutes of positive conversation with. This is a sure way to put a smile on my face and start the day with positive energy and kind words.


Although mornings don't always go as planned, these are the 5 things I always try to incorporate. I hope some of them will be useful for you as well!