Whether you know it or not, you probably have a morning routine, or a series of habits and actions you perform almost every morning when you get up. Perhaps it is something like mine used to be:
- Hit snooze twice
- Grab phone and browse
- Be shocked that 45 minutes have passed.
- Jump out of bed and make it.
- Eat the fastest and easiest breakfast I can find (granola bars, raisin bran anyone?)
- Walk the dog
For much of my life, I could power through anything regardless of my bad habits. Four hours of sleep? Three cups of coffee and a scone for breakfast? Twenty priority tasks to do? No problem. I might have been exhausted and irritable, but I was in the habit of ignoring how I felt and just doing the things that needed to get done. That was not a recipe for happiness.
As I started tuning into how I feel and trying to meet my needs, I noticed that when I did certain things in the morning I felt better, more energized. Why not replace my ineffective, unconscious morning routine with a great one?
WHY CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE?
There are many reasons to create a morning routine. Some people want to prepare themselves for the day and to feel more productive. Other people want to get up early and maximize their private time. My reasons were to increase my energy and feel better.
Hal Elrod, who popularized morning routines with his 2012 book The Miracle Morning, created his morning routine in order to “level up his life”. “The Miracle Morning” is free right now on Kindle Unlimited! Elrod advocates the “SAVERS” routine that promises to level up your life. It includes:
- S: Silence (meditate)
- A: Affirmations (repeat them daily and out loud)
- V: Visualizations (Visualize your ideal day for 5 minutes)
- E: Exercise
- R: Read a book
- S: Scribing (writing/journaling)
I tried and liked Elrod’s routine, but it didn’t feel natural to me to do for the long haul. It was too rigid for me, and I didn’t want to do affirmations, meditations and reading every morning.
I looked at a few other routines, but they were too complicated or too elite (run 5 miles? not going to happen).
MY MORNING ROUTINE
So I built my own 90 minute morning routine! I call it the “W4” routine. It’s based off of things I enjoy that also give me an energy boost. I begin my routine at 7 am so I’m ready to start my day by 8:30.
- W: Water. I know how important hydration is, but for some reason I tend to get a little dehydrated during the day and lose energy and momentum. So I begin my day with a glass or two of water. I don’t put lemon or vinegar in it because I have GERD, but here’s a great recipe my sister swears by.
- W: Walk. I have a dog who needs a lot of walks, so I try to get outside to walk her every morning. If my husband ends up doing it or if it’s raining, then I’ll do a quick 15-20 minute workout off of YouTube.
- W: Write. Journaling is a great way to check in with myself, to get things out of my head, to work through things, to expand on ideas, to plan.
- W: Whatever. Whatever is whatever I want to do (from a curated list of 3-4 options I choose each month — scroll down for some ideas) that will get me to ninety minutes! I love the variety this adds to my morning.
The best thing about this routine is that it is completely sustainable for me and that I enjoy it. That to me is the most important part of a routine. A morning routine that you have to tough love yourself into doing seems counter productive.
Are you ready to build your own morning routine?
HOW TO START A MORNING ROUTINE
Most people have to do their morning routine before they usually get up. Rather than set your alarm clock for ninety minutes before you usually get up, try setting it thirty minutes earlier and choose an activity or two from the list below to be part of your routine.
Once that becomes second nature, you can wake up 30 minutes earlier and add a few more items. And so on.
Keep in mind that your morning routine is supposed to serve you, not be a source of stress or anxiety. Check in with yourself. If you feel great when you do your routine, then all is well. If not, try something else. For example, I find that answering emails or watching the news/reading the newspaper are not good ways for me to begin my day! But for other people, it’s vital.
Another note, sometimes you won’t be able to do all of your morning routine and that’s okay! Just do whatever you can fit in and try to start it again the next day. I like to do my routine every day, but some people set up different routines for the weekend.
GREAT IDEAS FOR A MORNING ROUTINE
- Lemon water
- Bullet coffee
- Tai chi
- Breath Work
- Eat Healthy Breakfast
- Stand outside barefoot for 5 minutes
- Sun exposure / Light lamp
- Cold shower
- Weigh Yourself
- Review your schedule
- Plan day
- Plan dinner
- Answer emails
- Inspirational reading
- Journaling / Morning pages
- Guided journal
- Watch/read the news
- Brain games
- Crossword puzzle
- Listen to podcast
- Make bed
- Side hustle work
- Care for plants
- Quick win (the thing you procrastinate)
- Guided meditation
- Chat with s/o
- Reach out (comment on tweets, recommendation on LinkedIn, email to check in with someone)
- Gratitude journal
- Music playlist
- Dream journal
Did I leave anything out? Get in touch if you have some suggestions or just want to let me know about your morning routine!