How to Create Your Own Morning Routine as an Athlete
What do you do right when you wake up? Is it different every day, or do you have a set morning routine?
It's likely you have a routine you follow each day, but is this a routine you chose? One you carefully thought through to ensure you are using your mornings to help you improve as an athlete.
The mornings are a fantastic time for you to prime your mind and body for the day, as well as make use of mental training tools that will help you grow as a player moving forward.
In this article, you will learn why morning routines are important to athletes, and how you can create a game changing morning routine for yourself.
Why Morning Routines are Important to Athletes
What do you do before a game? I'm sure you have a routine you use to get yourself ready to play. It may be a mental routine to ensure your mind's right, but at the very least you probably have a specific warm up routine you follow.
Why is that?
Well, it's to get you ready to play.
It's the same reason you have a warm up routine you follow before practice, weight lifting sessions, or anything else. It's to prime yourself to train and compete.
When we think about morning routines, the reason they're important follows along the same lines.
You want to follow a morning routine to get yourself ready to win the day!
With your morning routine, you will use certain tools and techniques to get your body and mind ready for the day, no matter if it's game day or just another day of practice.
As an athlete, you want to make sure you are doing the most you can each day to improve. If you truly want to reach your potential, you should leave nothing to chance.
By not following a morning routine, you are leaving your mood and your mindset to chance.
Another reason why morning routines are important to athletes is because of the training they provide.
Mental training requires consistency, but is often difficult to fit in or remember to do during the day. By following a morning routine, you can be sure you are training your mind on a daily basis.
Benefits of a Morning Routine for Athletes
Whenever you're thinking about trying something new in terms of your training or your game, you want to be clear on the benefits. It needs to be worth the time and effort you'll be putting in.
Luckily, the benefits of using a morning routine far outweigh the effort required.
Here are the main benefits you can expect when you begin using a morning routine as an athlete...
Better Mood/Attitude During the Day
Have you ever woken up and knew it was going to be a bad day, simply because of your mood? You know, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and use that as an excuse for your poor attitude for the rest of the day.
Now what happens when you have such an attitude or are in a bad mood going into a game? Do you typically play your best, or underperform?
My guess is you underperform!
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way for you to snap yourself out of those bad moods and make sure you have the attitude you want for that day, no matter if it's a practice day or game day?
That's exactly what a morning routine will help you do!
By following a morning routine, you will learn how to get yourself into better moods and carry a more positive attitude with you throughout the day.
This benefit goes off the last one, because if you show up each game in a more consistent mindset and attitude, your performances will become more and more consistent.
All athletes want to be more consistent, however, they tend to focus on being consistent with the outcome. Yes, that is what you want to be consistent with, but it's not what you need to focus on.
True consistency comes from being consistent with your approach. This includes your mindset, mood, and attitude.
The better you become at getting yourself into a good headspace each day, the more consistent your performances will be.
Stronger Mental Toughness
Another way of looking at morning routines in sports is seeing them as training routines.
As you will learn later on in this article, the tools used in good athletic morning routines are mental training tools. They are the same tools I use in one-on-one mental coaching.
This means that each day, if you follow a good morning routine, you are training your mind. By training your mind, you will build stronger mental toughness.
Your confidence will increase, you will improve your focus, and you will develop more self-awareness and emotional control. All of this leads to a stronger mindset.
And the stronger your mindset, the better you will perform.
Creating Your Own Morning Routine
Now that you know why a morning routine is important to you as an athlete, and all its benefits, it's time to create one for yourself.
The key to a good morning routine is consistency. You want to make sure it's something you can do (and will do) on a regular basis.
It's great to create a complex routine that looks good on paper...but that's not going to be of any benefit to you if you don't apply it.
So, as you read through the three steps below, I want you to remember that consistency is the most important thing.
I'm going to outline many different tools, and you may feel the need to use all of them. Don't! The reason I outline as many as I do is so you have a nice selection to choose from.
That way, you can pick the ones that match your goals and fit your schedule.
Are you ready? Let's get started with creating your very own morning routine. And it all begins with defining your goals.
Step #1: Defining Your Goals of a Morning Routine
What are you trying to accomplish by incorporating a morning routine?
Yes, you're wanting to get yourself into a good mindset to start the day…but what specifically does that mean?
If you've ever created a pregame routine for yourself, then you know that in order to choose the right mental training tools, you need to have a good idea as to what mindset you're working to get into.
The same is true with a morning routine. You want to think about what kind of mindset you want to be in for that day.
But there's also an added benefit of using a morning routine that goes beyond just priming your mind for the day, and that's long-term training.
As I mentioned earlier, you want to be training your mind on a consistent basis to ensure you're strengthening your mental toughness moving forward. A morning routine helps you with such training.
So another goal you need to think about is what specific mental skills are you wanting to develop over time?
Do you want to increase confidence, improve focus, instill a calmer mind, build more emotional control, or increase self-awareness?
All of these take certain tools in order to improve. By mapping out your goals for creating a morning routine, you can ensure you choose the right tools to use and are making the most of your time.
To help you outline your goals, here are two questions you can ask yourself:
- What mindset do I want to instill each day?
- What mental skills do I want to work on?
Once you have these two questions answered, you'll have a clear idea as to the purpose of your morning routine. And when you know your purpose, it makes choosing the tools you'll use much easier.
Step #2: Choosing Your Tools
Now it's time to choose the tools you will use each morning within your morning routine. What I've done is outlined the main tools you can pick from, and described the mental skills each tool helps build.
Read over each tool and choose the ones that fit your goals the best.
Writing in a journal is a great exercise to do each morning. The cool thing about this is it's freewriting. You aren't being judged or graded, and no one needs to read your writing...even you.
Once you write your page or two, you don't even have to read back over it ever again if you don't want to. The point is to get your thoughts on paper.
What you can do is get yourself a notebook and aim to write one page each morning. Put pen to paper and let your thoughts flow.
Journal writing helps build self-awareness, by giving you a better understanding of your thoughts. It also works to increase your emotional control, due to the self-awareness writing builds.
Performing mindfulness meditation in the morning works to instill a calm and clear mind as you start your day. You will be grounding yourself in the present moment, reducing any anxiety or fears you may be experiencing.
Over time, practicing mindfulness meditation as an athlete will increase your focus, reduce sports performance anxiety, build self-awareness, and give you more control over your thoughts and emotions.
Visualization is a great way for you to increase confidence, perform better under pressure, and build the belief in yourself that you can succeed.
By adding visualization to your morning routine, you will prime your mind for success each day. You will also be providing yourself with additional training when it comes to mastering your skills.
With visualization, your brain responds in a similar manner as it does to a real life situation. That means, when you visualize yourself performing your skills, your brain reacts in a similar way to when you actually perform your skill.
This helps you master your skills and build a memory of success, which increases your confidence over time.
As you go throughout the day, you want to be sure your thoughts are working to your advantage, rather than holding you back.
If your natural thought patterns are negative, meaning you have a lot of negative and doubt-filled thoughts, then you're going to experience less confidence, increased anxiety, and poor focus.
However, if your natural thought patterns are more positive and productive, you will develop stronger confidence, a calmer mind, and greater focus.
By using a self-talk routine each morning, you work to build more positive and productive thought patterns that will turn your mind into an asset moving forward.
One of the best strategies for reducing anxiety before a game is focusing on what you're grateful for. It's very difficult to feel anxious and grateful at the same time.
By grounding yourself with gratitude, you will begin each day in a better mindset. Over time, this will work to change your perspective and help you focus more on what you're grateful for as an athlete.
All you need to do is list out everything you're grateful for that morning. This is a great way to make sure you are in a more positive mindset as you start your day.
Each day you want to have a clear intent. Something you are working towards or wanting to achieve. Whether it's game day or just a practice day, you need to set goals for that day.
These goals are going to be process goals. Meaning, they are things that are part of the process you want to focus on.
Setting process goals each morning helps focus your mind on what you want to achieve. This keeps you from being as susceptible to distractions.
Also, the more you set process goals and achieve them, the greater your confidence will grow.
Step #3: Focus on Consistency
Once you've chosen which mental training tools you will use within your morning routine, the final step is implementing the routine and focusing on consistency.
A morning routine isn't going to do much if you apply it one day and then stop. If every few weeks you remember to stick to your morning routine, that's not going to do much good.
What you need is consistency!
You want to make sure you stick to your morning routine every day. Doing so is what will lead to you seeing the greatest impact in your life and your game.
There's one rule that will help you remain consistent with your morning routine, and that's to never miss twice.
Look, things are going to happen. You may oversleep, have an early obligation, or anything else may come up that keeps you from doing your morning routine. That's okay...as long as it doesn't become a habit.
The rule of never miss twice means, if you do miss your morning routine one day, your goal is to make sure you do it the next day to keep up with your habit.
If you follow this rule and focus on consistency, your morning routine will have a strong impact on strengthening your mindset as an athlete.
As an athlete, you're not unfamiliar with routines. They're everywhere. You have a warm up routine for practices and games, and you likely have a training routine you follow.
Now all you're missing is a solid morning routine!
A morning routine helps put you in the best mindset to go out and win the day. But it also ensures you are training your mind on a consistent basis.
The morning routine I recommend you follow is a mental training routine. One that uses specific tools and techniques to strengthen your mindset.
To create your own morning routine as an athlete, you want to first outline your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your routine?
Then, choose which mental training tools you will use each morning. Lastly, once you have your tools chosen, focus on consistency. And if you do miss once, make sure you don't miss twice.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you have any questions about morning routines for athletes, please feel free to reach out via the form below. Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all that you do.
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