Creating your own morning routine can be fun! Right after your alarm clock goes off, there are so many different strategies to try (I would know because it feels like I’ve tried them all!).
One thing I know for sure is that the busyness of life can take over very quickly. And if I haven’t worked through my healthy morning routine, I feel the effect for the rest of the day.
I hope some of my tips help you to craft your own ideal morning routine, no matter how many hours of sleep you’ve had. Let’s get started!
Practice gratitude before getting out of bed.
There are three ways to do this. One is to mentally acknowledge a few things you’re grateful for. Another is to have a gratitude journal ready and waiting on your bedside table, ready for you to jot down your gratitude thoughts. And my current favorite is the Five Minute Journal app.
The app is straightforward to use, and it helps me remember what I’m grateful for when I’m feeling challenged during the day.
Tracy Kennedy of Lifehack says, “New research continues to surface on the science and benefits of gratitude. Studies have now proven a multitude of benefits from expressing gratitude, ranging from how it improves relationships, physical and emotional health, sleep, mental stamina, energy, and overall happiness.”
*Side note – this part of my morning routine reminds me of that Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates. I love that movie! It’s about a young woman with rare amnesia if you haven’t seen it.
Every day she wakes up with no memory of anything about her life. Her partner discovers a way to bring her joy and connection. He creates a video that reintroduces her to her life: how she met him, her children, etc. She watches the video from her bed before she starts her day every morning.
It’s the same thing for us. We begin every day with a clean slate. Then, starting with gratitude and positive visualizations (in the form of a vision board or just envisioning the unfolding of a happy, joyous day), we lay the foundation for a great, productive day.
Create your morning routine by deciding what method of practicing gratitude works best for you.
Exercise is a key part of a balanced early morning routine.
Studies show over and over that the most productive people get up and work out first thing in the morning – no excuses! But how do they do that? Create your morning routine by committing to daily exercise.
Here are some ideas to support you in this effort – whether you’re a morning person or not!
Helpful tip from self.com: Setting your workout clothes out next to your bed is a great way to streamline your morning and a visual reminder to get up and move.
Another helpful tip from self.com: Preprogram your coffee maker the night before. Make sure it starts brewing just before your alarm goes off. Smelling the aroma is key!
So, now that you’re up, dressed, and have had your coffee – the next step is to choose your exercise.
There are a million options. Some people choose brisk walks, quick pilates sessions, etc. Right now, I’m really into my peloton. It is efficient, and I like listening to a podcast while I work out.
After you finish your workout, you’ll have more energy, sleep better, and feel happier.
Now, onto the next thing:
Create your own morning routine by establishing a daily meditation practice.
According to Karson McGinley at chopra.com, “The peaceful calm and stillness at that time are unlike any other. And although to many people 5 a.m. seems like the middle of the night, being awake as the sun rises aligns you with nature and builds your energy reserves.”
For me, early morning meditation is the best part of the day. Do you meditate or exercise first? I flip back and forth.
Building energy reserves along with the sun rising sounds good to me!
What are the additional benefits of this morning ritual?
“A morning meditation will set the tone for your entire day and help you to be focused, content, and optimistic,” according to onemedical.com. Setting the tone is so important. We all deserve this.
**Check out some of my favorite meditations here.
Special note about Light Watkins:
I attended an event called Attune in Serenbe, Georgia, in the fall of 2019. While there, I participated in a meditation workshop with author/instructor Light Watkins. His meditation, along with his word choices and guidance, helped me go deeper into meditation than I had before.
Watkins says, “Meditating helps filter out the internal and external ‘noise’ and negative self-talk that can sabotage our otherwise sharp, clear perceptual acuity.”
Allowing ourselves this time to step back, take a few deep breaths, and fall into a place of awareness creates space. It helps us remain open to observing our thoughts and feelings without getting overly caught up in them.
Journaling is a foundational part of an uplifting early morning routine.
Take a few extra moments to create your morning ritual by journaling daily. I’m playing with bullet journaling right now. Have you tried it before? It’s fun.
You document thoughts, ideas, and tasks throughout your day. Later they are crossed off or migrated to a different place in your journal for future tracking.
It works like a stream of consciousness because I update my journal with real-time thoughts and ideas.
Special bonus: Think creatively.
According to Asana: “There are seemingly endless possibilities for a blank canvas, and your mind is no exception. When you first wake up, you’re not yet bothered by the pressures of the day. This is a perfect time to take advantage of a fresh mind and do some creative thinking. This could be for work, a personal hobby, or your side hustle.”
Taking a moment to jot down goals and intentions for the day.
You can jot down your daily affirmations. You might think of books you’d like to read and podcasts you’d like to listen to. It’s all in one place, which makes it straightforward.
Spend 10-20 minutes learning something inspiring and new as part of a great morning routine!
What are you interested in learning about right now? Listen to an audiobook or podcast while you’re getting ready in the morning. Or, if you have time, sit and read a book that inspires you.
Robin Sharma of The 5 am Club says that spending time “growing” in the morning can lead to increased income and impact, inspiration, and growth in personal areas.
Do you enjoy reading? I usually have two books going on at the same time. One is often a self-help book, and the other is a fiction novel. While working in the city, I enjoyed reading during my morning commute.
Then, on the way home on the train, I would read something light and entertaining (see a list of my favorite self-help books here).
Additional tip: It’s easy to multitask with this step. Often it’s hard to find the time in the morning, especially if you’re trying to wrangle the kids and get out the door! Having a flexible mindset helps. Try reading at lunch or listening to the podcast on the train as a great backup plan.
You can make this part of your morning routine feel like a gift to yourself – something to anticipate with joy!
More notes on Robin Sharma and the 5 am Club:
I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it if you’re looking for helpful tips on improving your productivity.
I’ve listed the five most important components of my early morning routine, but Sharma breaks them down differently (taken directly from the 5 am Club):
He suggests spending 20 minutes exercising, 20 minutes reflecting (includes journaling, meditation, planning, prayer, and contemplation), and 20 minutes “growing” (includes reviewing goals, reading books, listening to audiobooks or podcasts, or studying online).
Bonus: Prepare the night before
According to Trello: “Subscribe to the idea that an a.m. routine can start in the p.m. Lay out your outfit for the next day. Pack your lunch. And create your checklist or a to-do list. Former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault told Fast Company they end their evenings writing three things they want to accomplish the next day. “
Additional thoughts and strategies on building a good morning routine:
Morning pages are another great tool to keep in your arsenal! Try writing them when you want to feel more open or need to work through the frustrations you’re experiencing.
Having self-compassion and a flexible mindset is essential. For 15 years, I was a hustling, full-time working single mom. So I know how it feels not to check all the boxes as I left the house to begin yet another busy, hectic day.
The most important thing in the morning is feeling good and anticipating a positive, happy, and productive day!
Being kind to yourself in the morning and saying, “I’m worthy of feeling happy today. I’m doing my best.”
Affirming these loving words to yourself welcomes a sense of ease.
Think of your morning habits as part of a self-care tool kit and that you can be flexible. If you miss the workout, you can take a walk at lunch or squeeze a quick workout in during the evening. The same goes for meditation.
Having a plan for an early morning routine is about having the goal of feeling great! So be flexible, and imagine you no longer need to hit that snooze button! You. Are. Amazing.
Ps: Remember to lay out your workout gear and program your coffee maker before bed tonight! And try to get a good night’s sleep! Also, set your journal and some inspirational art or words on your bedside table. This may all help to get you ready for a great day ahead.
Think about what makes you happy, and bring that into your days whenever possible. I share some of my favorite happiness ideas here.
Also, would you like to feel more aligned? Learn about how spiritual alignment feels.
Please share this story with someone looking for a new morning routine!
(This post was originally published on June 12, 2022, and has been updated for increased thoroughness and accuracy.)