John C. Maxwell said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Take back your day— and your year— by taking back your morning. Instead of hitting “snooze” for the third time, try one or all four of these morning rituals for a more productive and energized day.

Make the First Hour Tech-Free

When the first moments of your day are spent checking email or reading news headlines, others to dictate how your day goes. A notification sounds, basically saying “Over here! Look at me!” If you give attention to it, you’ll get overwhelmed and feel behind even though you’ve only just woken up.

Avoid your phone and any other sources of technology for at least the first hour of your day. Use an old-fashioned alarm clock (yes, they still make them!) to make sure you get up on time. Instead, dedicate your time to positive and constructive activities that you may not have time for later.

Photo by Eli DeFaria

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Before you even get out of bed, take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Notice the thoughts that enter your mind without becoming captive to them. Just let them come and go while focusing on your breath. Meditation has been shown to improve mood, self-control, brain functioning, and productivity.

You can also practice mindfulness by giving your complete attention to day-to-day activities. During your shower, try to notice how the water and soap feels on your skin. As you eat breakfast, really absorb the flavors and aromas of your food.

Move Your Body

Anytime of the day is a great time for exercise, but working out in the morning ensures your routine won’t be neglected or shortened due to competing obligations. Need more motivation? Research shows that people who workout in the morning (and prior to breakfast) lose more fat than those who workout at other times. So, lace up your sneakers for a run or roll out your yoga mat to do something for yourself before the day gets away from you.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes

Dedicate Time to a Passion Project

Are you trying to finish the next Great American novel or learn a new language? Maybe you’re trying to iron out a new business plan. Making time for your top personal priorities first thing guarantees that you’ll get to them. If you have something you’re passionate about, commit time to it in the morning before other responsibilities take precedence.

Bonus tip: Write out your daily to-do list the night before. That way, you start your day empowered about what you need to get done.