Do you sometimes sluggishly drag yourself out of bed on a Monday morning? To stay on your A game, you have to cultivate certain habits to increase energy and productivity for the week ahead.

These seven habits are a sure fire way to give you the needed boost to start your day right.

1. Get enough sleep

Being able to wake up early in the morning has its perks, one of which is better control over your schedule for the day. If you can wake up early in the morning – awesome! If not, that is also okay. People have different sleep patterns and rhythms. Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, the most important thing is that you find what time you are most productive at and invest your hours into that period of the day.

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The trick however, is to either go to bed early so you can wake up earlier in the morning or go to bed late and wake up later in the day, but in accordance to your schedule for the day. Some of the benefits of getting adequate sleep include a strengthened immune system, improved focus and better mood.

Overall, you want to strive for that balance where you get enough sleep while being able to do your work when you function best.

2. Exercise

The benefits of exercising daily are innumerable. Exercise helps you fight diseases, increases your energy throughout the day and improves your mood by releasing the hormone serotonin. Biologically speaking, here is how this logic works: exercise increases your heart rate, which functions to pump oxygenated blood to your tissues and organs. A few side effect include an increased brain function and focus as well as an increased oxygen flow to the muscles providing adequate energy to do work.

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Having trouble sleeping at night? Get some aerobic exercises in before bed, then thank me later. However, don’t feel you have to go overboard when exercising. A 10 minute jog, a walk, or any cardio workout will do. The key is to go slow and steady at first, then increasing the tempo over time until it becomes a habit. For starters, just grandma-shuffling through any of these also counts as exercise, as long as it gets your heart racing.

3. Pray or meditate

Prayer and meditation are a form of alternative therapy. Prayer has been in existence since the beginning of time and there is increasing evidence from decades of scientific studies that it works! Irrespective of your religion, the efficacy of prayer and meditation undoubtedly supersede the effectiveness of medications, especially when dealing with ailments of the body and mind like depression or anxiety.

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Harvard physician Herbert Benson in his book The relaxation response discusses the correlation between health and prayer. At such times, the body’s stress level decreases from the lowering of the heart rate and the body’s metabolism to decreased blood pressure and a calmer and more regular breathing rate.

On a similar note, Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of Tibetan Buddhists in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer where he found that prayer and meditation increase levels of the body’s “happy” hormone, dopamine. The goal is to set time aside in quietness, withdrawn from distractions to just focus on yourself and connect with a spiritual being.

4. Eat breakfast

Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Just as cars need fuel, breakfast also plays a similar role in helping increase alertness throughout the day.

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Without breakfast, people may become irritable, lack energy or focus.

5. Drink warm water and lemon

If you’re unable to eat breakfast, gulping down a cup of water and lemon before dashing out can help you get a head start on a productive day. The warmth of the water aids in digestion and the lemon provides the body with Vitamin C, which gives the immune system an added boost,  balances the body pH and clears the skin of blemishes.

So if you’re not able to have breakfast, this is a surefire way to re-hydrate and energize you before your next meal. Just don’t swallow the lemon!

6. Affirm yourself

Look in the mirror and smile at yourself for about 15 to 30 seconds. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but try it. Alternatively, if you feel embarrassed doing that, look in the mirror and speak to yourself words of affirmation like:

“I am beautiful”

“Today is going to be a great day’

‘I am an amazing individual”

“I have what it takes to succeed”.

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Whatever mantra you choose to chant to yourself is guaranteed to not only boost your self-esteem, but also give you confidence throughout the day and help you overcome challenges as they come by. Words have power and can influence your mood. Choose them carefully.

7. Make a list of your top three goals

Make a list of the top three goals you intend to achieve for the day. You may have a long list of tasks that you plan to achieve, but worrying over those will get you nowhere. Narrowing down this list to three major goals will help you organize your day better, stay focused and get the most important off your list.

Habits take a while to form and require repetition. But these rituals are guaranteed to help you reach those goals no matter how difficult they may seem at first.

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