Morning Routine: The Key To Winning Your Day
You've heard about them. You know they are good for you. You look up to people who have them. However, waking up is hard. Adding more of an expectation to that experience sounds dreadful. But if you want to have productive, purposeful days that leaves you head over heals happy, you need a morning routine as powerful as you.
So what is a morning routine?
A morning routine is like any other routine: something you do by habit on a regular basis. What makes a good morning routine so important is that it sets the energy for your day. If you wake up, snooze fifteen times, and rush to get to work, you are setting a chaotic tone to your day. However, if you wake up feeling rested, set your intentions, and have time to ease into the hustle and bustle of your day, you are physically and spiritually preparing to take on the day at a higher frequency.
How do I create a morning routine that works for me?
The best part about a morning routine is that it is entirely personal. It is how you best rev up your engine for the day ahead. Here are some tips for creating a routine that is catered to your soul.
1. Envision Your Perfect Morning
Take some time to picture what your ideal morning would look like. Forget about constraints like time, money, or energy. Just think about what you as your best self would do when waking up in the morning. What does that look like?
2. Write It Down
Write down what that vision looks like in explicit detail. As you write, notice how those actions make you feel. Better than a groggy, rushed morning, right?
3. Get Realistic
We all can't wake up, go to the gym, blow out our hair, and snag a green juice in the morning. Look at your description and notice anything that looks unrealistic, keeping into account your time, budget, and natural morning energy. However, keep in mind you are working to change your routine for the better so be optimistic, just be reasonable. You don't want to set yourself up for failure.
4. Fine Tune The Plan
Now that you have a solid idea of what your morning routine can look like, focus on how you can make that routine completely feasible. That may mean planning your outfit the night before. Or packing your lunch after dinner. Or going to sleep earlier. Think about how you can best set yourself up for success.
5. Commit (A Little)
No one can go from zero to sixty right away. That isn't sustainable. If you want to keep with your morning routine, commit to the routine two days in a row, then build it up to a full week, and so on. And don't be afraid to tinker with it. While sun salutations work for some of us bright and early, that may not be what's best for you.
How do I make my new morning routine a habit?
Nothing is easy in the wee hours of the morning. We all know that. However, just like any goal, the key to making a morning routine stick is actually doing it. Many say that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Others say that number is more like 60. Regardless, the ticket is that forming a habit takes some time.
Once you have a fine tuned morning routine, commit to doing it every single day for 21 days. And remember: the first week is always the hardest, so once you get over that hill, it will get easier.
Once you reach 21 days, reassess. Is your morning routine in fact setting you up for a successful day? Is this exactly how you want to start your day? Or should you reformulate your morning routine? Don't stick to something ineffective or something you don't love. Also keep in mind you may never be head over heals in love with mornings. That's not the goal here. The goal is to use this as a catalyst to loving the rest of your day and making your mornings more bearable.
If you are satisfied with the morning routine you have created, keep going. Reach that 30 days mark. Then reach 60 days. Throughout the process, be intentional about examining how the routine makes you feel. We are constantly changing and it's okay if your routine changes over time as well. You just want to ensure you in fact have one.
What does a morning routine look like?
Happy you asked. Growing up, my parents used to bang pots and pans to wake me up in the morning. It's not that I'm grouchy in the morning. In fact, once I'm awake, I have a ton of energy. It's the waking up part that is a nightmare, no pun intended. Now that I have to wake myself up, I started making a morning routine a habit because I found it actually makes waking up much easier.
This is my fine tuned morning routine:
Rise & Shine
This is truly the most challenging part of my day. I'm a very deep sleeper so I've been known to turn off my alarm–whether it is across the room, won't turn off until I complete a hard math problem, etc.–in my sleep and go back to bed.
I have found that for me, if I want to wake up and stay up, I have to place my alarm on the other side of the room but periodically change its location so I don't get into a habit of walking to the same place (then I can do it in my sleep). That way, I have to use more than just my subconscious mind to turn off the alarm. Then, I just keep walking around my room and open up the blinds until I am fully conscious.
Make the Bed
The second you make your bed, it gets much more difficult to crawl back into it. I make it a habit of making my bed as soon as I wake up. Plus, your room automatically looks cleaner. And we are all about decluttering our lives, right?
Drink a Glass of Water
You haven't drank anything in at least six hours (though that number should be closer to seven or eight). Your body is craving some water. Plus, it is a good first step towards ensuring you are drinking enough water each day.
I'm not a big coffee girl but sometimes you need something to really start your engine in the morning. My favorite SoulCycle Instructor, Isaac, suggested green tea or dandelion tea. Plus, he said it helps kickstart your metabolism. Now, I make myself a pot of either kind every morning and I definitely see a difference with how awake I am, no matter how early my alarm rings.
I'm not a huge yoga girl. I prefer a high intensity workout, but there was something about yoga in a morning routine that sounded nice so I tried it. It is now the part of my routine that I love the most. If you wake up feeling even a little stiff or just want to up your energy quickly, a few sun salutations and stretches will do the trick. If you are looking for some yoga videos, check out SaraBethYoga on YouTube.
This is the hardest part of my morning routine, but most definitely the one with the highest reward. Meditation is an incredibly important part of a person's wellness, yet most people think you only need to exercise your body. Meditation has been seen to destress, energize, and even make a person more physically healthy just by daily practice. Each morning, I plug in my headphones and turn on either the Calm app or the Mindfulness app for a five to ten minute guided meditation. If I am rushing, I'll even do this on the subway. If there is one thing I would suggest anyone adding to their morning routine, it is meditation.
I met with a nutritionist through the app Maven who suggested that if I want to implement small, healthy practices into my life, I should start with breakfast, specifically having a more substantial one. She told me to make sure that I have a breakfast with one serving of protein, carbs, and fat and that will be both satisfying and a great foundation for a healthy day. I typically make omelettes with spinach and feta cheese, with a piece of whole grain toast on the side.
I carve out time each Sunday to schedule out my week, but each morning while I'm eating breakfast, I make it a habit to go through my daily schedule so I know what's coming. It's also a nice way to close my morning routine and get a start on the day.
Your Action Guide to Your Own Morning Routine
- For the next 24-48 hours, explore what would be your ideal morning routine.
- Try one morning where you go through your full morning routine.
- Fine tune the routine.
- Start making the morning routine a habit.
You work hard day in and day out. Set yourself up for a less stressful, more fulfilling day with a morning routine catered to you.
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