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 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!
1. Try practicing 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.
I find the app very simple to use, and it helps me remember what I’m grateful for when I’m feeling challenged during the day.
*Side note – this part of my morning routine reminds me of that Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates. I love that movie! If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a young woman with a rare form of amnesia.
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 pretty much 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, positive day) we lay the foundation for a great day ahead.
Create your own morning routine by deciding what method of practicing gratitude works best for you.
2. 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 own morning routine by committing to daily exercise.
Here are some ideas to support you in this effort:
Helpful tip from self.com: Setting your workout clothes out next to your bed is a great way to streamline your morning, and it serves as 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.
I know there are a million options. Right now I’m really into my peloton. I find it to be so efficient, and I like listening to a podcast while I work out.
After you finish your workout, you’ll have more energy, burn more fat, sleep better, and feel happier.
Now, onto the next thing:
3. 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 actually 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 additional benefits besides sourcing energy?
“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.
Special note about Light Watkins:
I went to an event called Attune in Serenbe, Georgia, in the fall of 2019. While there, I attended a meditation workshop with author/instructor Light Watkins. The meditation he led, along with his word choices and guidance, helped me to 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.
4. Journaling is a foundational part of a positive early morning routine.
Create your own morning ritual by journaling every day. I’m playing with bullet journaling right now. Have you tried it before? It’s kinda fun.
You document thoughts, ideas, and tasks as you move throughout your day. Later they are crossed off or migrated to a different place in your journal for future tracking.
I like that it works almost like a stream of consciousness because I update my journal with real-time thoughts and ideas.
Taking a moment to jot down goals for the day or focusing on habit tracking is super helpful. You can jot down books you’d like to read, and podcasts you’d like to listen to. It’s all in one place, which makes it easy and simple.
5. Spend 10-20 minutes learning something inspiring and new.
What are you interested in learning about right now? While you’re getting ready in the morning, listen to an audiobook or podcast. 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 try to have two books going at the same time. One is often a self-help book, and the other is a fiction novel. When I was commuting, I enjoyed reading a self-help book in the morning.
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 recommended it if you’re in the market 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).
Additional thoughts and strategies:
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 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 to feel good and anticipate having 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, maybe 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 that you no longer need to hit that snooze button! You. Are. Amazing.
Ps: Don’t forget to lay out your workout gear and program your coffee maker before bed tonight! Also, set your journal and some inspirational art or words on your bedside table.
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!