Mornings can be challenging for many people, present party included. I was a “don’t-poke-the-bear-before-my-first-cup-of-coffee” kind of gal. In my defense, I tend to be more of a night owl. I do most of my writing at night when it’s quiet, and the cacophony of various communication alerts die down. I was always jealous of those who zestfully sprang out of bed at 5am ready to take on the day while I hit the snooze button 17 times.
This did nothing but leave me feeling tired, unfocused, unproductive, and just blah for the rest of the day. It would end with a bottle of wine and feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything. I knew something needed to change. I needed a better morning routine.
There are several benefits to having a solid and consistent morning routine including:
- It sets the pace for the rest of your day.
- It adds stability to your day.
- It helps you to be more focused and productive.
- It improves your mental and physical well-being.
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” — Buddha
Once I established a morning routine, I began to feel more energized and ready to take on the day. Now my days begin at 6:30am. I use Mel Robbins ‘5 Second Rule’ when the alarm goes off (I count down from 5 in my head and must get out of bed within those 5 seconds). I feed the dogs, meditate, listen to motivational videos, and get out in nature for some exercise. I don’t look at my phone for the first hour, so no emails, texts, social media, or anything that’s going to cause me to go into reactive/solution mode first thing in the morning.
So, how can you set a morning routine, and what elements should it include?
For the latter part, a morning routine should incorporate elements of mind, body and spirit. Those include, but of course, aren’t limited to:
- Healthy breakfast
As to how to start a morning routine, I suggest experimenting with what works for you. Here are some suggestions to help get you started:
- Determine what time you want to wake up. If you’re used to waking up at 8am, don’t try to make the giant leap to waking up at 5am. Try waking up earlier by 30 minute increments for short periods of time, e.g. if you’re accustomed to waking up at 8am, start waking up at 7:30am for a week, then 7am the following week, and so on.
- Try the 5 Second Rule when your alarm clock goes off.
- Make your bed. According to Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Seal William H. McCraven: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
- Don’t check your phone for the first 30–60 minutes of your day, preferably 60.
- Keep a daily journal to record what time you woke up and what you did. Notice what felt good and what didn’t. Keep the former, lose the latter.
- Get moving. Do some stretching exercises or light yoga moves. This gets the blood pumping, helps shake off the morning grogginess, and energizes you. I love this short morning Kundalini routine: https://youtu.be/qckbvP0ldeI
- Plan your day the night before. That removes an extra morning to-do. For more on this, check out my blog post with my 11 productivity tips.
- Write down your why. Why are you doing any of this anyway? What are your short-term and long-term goals? How is any given day going to get you that much closer to achieving them?
- Start your day with gratitude. It helps if you jot down a few things for which you are grateful every day. This is what my Morning Manifesto was designed to help you do. It doubles as a planner and gratitude journal, and includes journal prompts to help guide you.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having a morning routine. It will set you up for a productive day and successful life. Figure out a routine that works for you and stick with it for at least 21 days to develop the habit. You’ll eventually figure out what works for you and become that person of whom I used to be jealous. ;)