Take a shower
I really don’t feel awake or human until I’ve had my shower. I also like my shower for thinking time, something about being alone with nothing to distract? In college, I sometimes took showers in the middle of the afternoon, in between classes, just to get the thinking time.
My adolescence coincided with the then-worst-ever drought in southern California. (I gather it’s been surpassed since then.) So water stinginess was the order of the day. One of the things that blew me away when I got to Washington was the water: the rain, the rivers, everything. I used to joke that I moved here to be able to take a really long shower.
Which was one of the reasons we got a tankless water heater, by the way. Our old water heater was awful. Couldn’t even muster enough hot water to fill the bathtub. The tankless just keeps going and going and going. Delightful.
It’s a big part of how I lost 60 pounds: weighing myself every morning and tracking it on a graph. I don’t do the graphing anymore, but the daily weigh-in keeps me honest. (I’ve gained some back, honestly, but at least I’m 100% aware of it, and can track upticks and downticks based on hormones, biking, and eating habits.) The morning routine in generally is really important to me. If I follow my usual pattern, I feel like I’ve got enough of my bearings to get the day rolling properly.
Write in a journal
I’ve kept a journal since I was nine years old, but this specific daily habit came from an assignment from a therapist. She had me write every day “what worked” that day right before bed. That way my last thought was always of a success or a pleasurable experience, rather than whatever horrid thing I’d been thinking about before that. It worked wonders; still does.
Now I have a lovely moleskine datebook: in the morning I record my weight (see above), and at night I record my bike miles/time if any, as well as “what worked.” Occasionally I add some details about the weather, since there’s a cute spot to do that at the bottom of each page.
(I’m such a cheapskate that I didn’t buy 2010′s book until March. :\ Until then I was writing in another micro notebook!)
I enthusiastically recommend the journaling habit, by the way, especially if one is prone to see the glass as half-empty!