A morning routine is an important part of your day that will set you up for success throughout the rest of the day. A morning routine can help you start the day feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. It's an important part of self-care that often goes overlooked in a society where we seem to focus on constantly cramming as much into our days as possible.
One of the biggest commonalities that we see between highly successful people is that they stick to a strong morning routine. In this blog post, we'll discuss 4 reasons why everyone needs a morning routine as well as tips for creating one that works with your own lifestyle.
Why You Need a Morning Routine
You don't have to be a super early morning person to incorporate a good solid morning routine. We aren't asking you to be extra chipper in the mornings or to do a ton of physical activity before the sun comes up. That doesn't come naturally to some people, and there's no need to change who you are in order to create a strong and effective morning routine.
There are several reasons that a morning routine can be beneficial for you. Especially if you are a busy, working parent with children, mornings can be hectic. Not only do you need to get yourself up and ready for work, but likely also need to get your children up and ready for school. The kids all need breakfast and are probably all asking for different things, and somebody can't find their shoes.
A Morning Routine Will Start Your Day off Right
"What time should I wake up today?"
"What do I need to do first?"
"Who needs my time and attention today?"
"What's on my to-do list?"
These are questions that most people have asked themselves at one point or another. There might be an easy answer to these questions, but what about those mornings when your tasks seem endless and your alarm has already gone off 3 times before you manage to get out of bed?
What if there was some way to make waking up in the morning easier? Well, there is. Your morning routine could be something as simple as waking up at the same time every morning and drinking a glass of water, or it could be more complex, focusing on your productivity and mental health. Either way, your routine will give you a little bit of energy and an extra boost for the rest of your day.
A Morning Routine Gives You Control Over Your Day
It's no secret that if we're not careful, our days can start to blur together and move at a breakneck pace with very little control over them. It's easy to feel like you're always on autopilot – going through the motions without ever really living in the moment.
We all know the feeling of waking up to an alarm clock, and before you can even register what day it is or where you are, your brain immediately starts running through everything that needs to be done for the day. This leaves little time for actually getting out of bed and starting your day, and it sure doesn't sound like my idea of a good morning.
Or, maybe you're one of those people that find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over again until you have no time left to get ready for your day. Imagine if you could get to a place where you wake up in the morning WITHOUT an alarm clock! Sounds impossible, right? But once you get your body into a regular routine with a consistent sleep schedule, you may find that you don't even need your alarm.
A Morning Routine Will Help Alleviate Stress and Anxiety
Do you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious in the morning? If so, your morning routine (or lack thereof) might be to blame. A study https://hbr.org/2010/07/defend-your-research-the-early-bird-really-does-get-the-worm from Harvard University found that people who have a habit of waking up early and starting their day with exercise were less likely to suffer from depression than those who didn't have this ritual. What's more, they also reported better quality sleep and felt more productive than those without it.
You'll Feel More Productive Throughout the Day
Productivity is a word that many people use to describe their work ethic. It's one of the most common words in our vocabulary, but what does it really mean? Productivity refers to the effectiveness of your efforts, meaning how much you actually get done in a day. You know those days when you sit at your computer for 8 or 10 hours a day, and then the end of the day rolls around and you have no idea what you actually accomplished? That's the opposite of productivity.
Starting your morning off with a solid routine and putting your mind in a positive place lends itself to productivity because you'll be less likely to get distracted throughout the day when you know what you need to focus on.
By incorporating things like journaling or prioritizing action items into your morning, you'll be more focused as you go about the rest of your day and night.
What to Incorporate Into Your Morning Routine
Your ideal morning routine will consist of a few small steps that can be accomplished in a short amount of time (think an hour or less). There's no need to get up four hours before you need to be somewhere and tackle a million projects before the sun rises. If you can stick to a simple routine and commit to doing it consistently, you'll begin your day off on the right foot.
Plan Out Your Day and Prioritize What's Important
Prioritize the important over the urgent. First thing in the morning, it's tempting to try and do a million different things at the same time. But if you don't focus on what is most important and make that your priority, you'll soon find yourself overwhelmed by everything else that needs to get done.
Start by grabbing a journal and writing down (or even create a mental list) 3-4 high-action items that you want to accomplish during the day. These should be actions that will move you towards a goal, rather than daily tasks to check off a list.
The words task and action are often used interchangeably, but there's actually a difference between the two. A task is something that you typically do mindlessly, and while you might THINK that it needs to be done, it probably isn't moving you towards a goal. This includes things like doing the laundry, cleaning the dishes, or buying groceries.
Actions, on the other hand, are things you do that help move you towards a goal. High-action items might include things like reaching out to a potential new client for work or building the outline for a big project you're about to start on.
Incorporate Some Movement
Getting up early to exercise is a difficult task for most people. It's hard enough just getting out of bed, let alone working out too! But studies show that exercising in the morning has many benefits, and physical activity is another important part of self-care.
Exercise boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day, and it sets you up for success by making other healthy habits easier to do after a workout, such as eating right or drinking water.
If you are a person that loves physical activity, go ahead and incorporate a high-impact workout like a run or crossfit. This may add time to your morning routine, but if you are a person who enjoys those things and you have the time to incorporate them into your day, doing so in the morning may make the most sense for you.
Low impact exercises like yoga can also be a great early morning activity to help you wake up and care for your body and mind, and they can give you the energy to get through the day without feeling sluggish or tired. Yoga is another great self-care activity. It can reduce stress and will benefit both your body and mind.
Practice Meditation or Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are great habits to incorporate into your life. Many people are intimidated by the practice of meditation, and often say they've tried it and it doesn't work. If you can get into the habit of practicing meditation daily, it will get easier over time. That's why they call it practice! Studies show that meditation can help with anxiety, depression, and even addiction.
Mindfulness is a meditation-based technique that helps you focus on the present moment in order to control your thoughts and feelings. It can be done as part of your morning routine or at any time during the day when things start piling up. Some people find it beneficial to practice mindfulness as soon as the morning alarm goes off, before they've even gotten out of bed.
If you find that you're having trouble with meditation or mindfulness because your kids are awake and distracting you, you can either try doing this before everyone else in the house is awake or allow your kids to participate with you. It's a great practice for children, too! Guided meditations can also be easier to follow along with. Check out these guided meditations to get started.
Delay the Electronics
Try to avoid picking up your phone and scrolling social media first thing in the morning. In a world where we're overwhelmed with information at our fingertips, scrolling your Facebook newsfeed before you've even had a chance to get out of bed can cause anxiety and stress. The same goes for email. If you are checking your email while still laying in bed, your mind is already going over all the things you have to get done and all the people you need to answer to. This isn't a good way to start your day!
Some habits are hard to break, and this may be one of them. If you can find something to replace your need to scroll, it may be easier to free yourself from this habit. Instead of picking up your phone right when you wake, try reading a book for 10 or 15 minutes and then giving yourself some time to just relax before checking your phone or computer.
If you're like most people, you probably tend to skip breakfast. You might think that taking the time to eat a good breakfast is not important or that it will make you feel sluggish and sleepy during the day, but there are a lot of benefits to eating a good breakfast. Eating breakfast can help with regulating hunger, as well as boost your energy levels for the rest of the day - so don't skip out!
Here are some ideas for quick and easy things that you can eat in the morning:
- A smoothie (prep and freeze them ahead of time and defrost as needed)
- A hard boiled egg and some almonds
- A banana and a granola bar
- Oatmeal with fresh berries
Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Starting your morning off with a glass of water, or even a cup of hot lemon water first thing in the morning can be a great habit. It will curb your appetite throughout the day, and drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated, which is important for your health. It can also help with digestion and get blood flowing through your body so it's ready to start tackling anything that comes its way!
When you wake up tomorrow morning, take a moment to think about what your day will be like. Will it be easy-going and relaxed where you can enjoy yourself throughout the day? Or will your day consist of busy meetings with no time for breaks? Knowing what you have coming up and what type of day you're going to have will help your mind prepare. It’s never too late to start creating a routine that helps set the tone for how productive and happy you will feel each day.
Whether it's getting more sleep, eating breakfast or meditating before checking emails, or exercising first thing in the morning - there are many ways to make sure your mornings are healthy and energizing. The key is not to overcomplicate this self-care routine so you don't start your morning off feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some tips for getting started with a successful morning routine:
Keep It Simple
Your morning routine shouldn't be hours long. If it is, this is a sign that you're trying to do too much. There's definitely no need to incorporate all of the suggestions above. In fact, if you try to cram too much into your morning routine it will end up being counter-productive and you'll be less likely to achieve your goals. You want to create a positive experience, not something else added to your plate that will overwhelm you. Aim for keeping your morning routine somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes to start.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Before you go to sleep at night, set out all the things you'll need for your morning routine. If you can make the prep work a habit every night, you'll be more likely to get up every morning and utilize what you prepared the night before.
Choose things that you enjoy doing, not things you'll wake up dreading. If you hate yoga, don't try to force yourself to do it every morning. On the other hand, if you love sitting quietly and drinking your coffee in peace, maybe you choose to prioritize having a nice quiet breakfast every morning. You should look forward to your routine each morning, and it will be more successful if you choose to build habits that you enjoy.
Take Baby Steps
You can take baby steps to create a good morning routine. Tomorrow, decide what time you want to wake up, and stick to it. Waking up at the same time every day is a good place to start and will help point you in the right direction for the day ahead. Once you are into the habit of getting up without hitting the snooze button, add another step to your morning routine. Each of the positive habits that you add to your routine over the course of time will help you move towards a life of calm and productivity over anxiety and burnout.
Over the course of several weeks, continue incorporating different self-care activities into your morning routine, and soon enough you'll be eager to wake up each morning and tackle the day!