A morning routine is a set of actions you perform in the morning (habitually), usually before starting your day’s main activity, like going to work.
As a good morning sets the tone and the mindset for the rest of the day, we need to make sure our morning routine is the best one for us. Or like Tim Ferris (entrepreneur, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and superhuman) says, “If you win the morning, you win the day.”
Except for the fact it increases productivity, it can also reduce stress. When you don’t control your morning, your morning controls you, the positive feeling of accomplishing things, and setting the right intention will reduce anxiety and allow you to start the day with a smile.
“Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days – which inevitably create a successful life.” | Hal Elrod, author of “The Miracle Morning.”
Studies show that almost all “successful” people (great entrepreneurs, leaders, etc.) pay great attention to their mornings and cite their morning routine as a significant contributor to their success. Another interesting fact is that most morning routines of successful people are similar
Let me start with full disclosure: there’s no secret recipe for the RIGHT morning routine, the secret is finding the right one for YOU. The one you can stick to, that will make you more productive, motivated, but most important, happier in the morning and for the rest of the day.
Instead of copying a one-size-fits-all morning routine from “the most successful people in the world” (and failing in it) think of this post as the open buffet of morning routine options, just choose the ones that fit you and build your little morning fest from there.
But first, like in any good story, our best morning starts the night before. Sleep deprivation and a shortage of sleep can take a toll on our daytime energy. Stress levels, productivity, emotional balance, our mood, and even our bodies all get affected by our sleep. Check out the “8 simple steps that will immediately improve your night’s sleep” for further information.
Bonus tip: making decisions takes up so much of our time (and energy) in the morning so eliminate that headache and choose your outfit for the day, organize your bag, and even know what you’re going to have for breakfast. Read more about it in “7 fail-proof hacks to have more free time no one told you”
The majority of successful people wake up early (before 7 am) to start the day and get important things done while the rest of the world is still sleeping. In fact, some of them wake up exceptionally early (at or before 5 am). If you want to get a jump start to your morning read all about the “15 easy ways to become a morning person”. Nonetheless, being a “morning person” isn’t for everybody. If you feel like your productive time is later at night – adjust your schedule accordingly.
1. Make your bed
First thing first, It might be small, but it will give you a sense of pride. Starting the day with at least one “chore” already done will set the tone for the entire day. According to Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit”, daily bed-making becomes a “keystone habit,” something that kicks starts a chain of other good decisions throughout the day, and gives you a sense of “taking charge.” The feeling of accomplishment first thing in the morning will encourage you to do another task and another.
Read more about it in “The ultimate morning ritual that will immediately improve your day”
Meditation helps you focus on the present moment and thus reduces stress. It also improves concentration, increases self-awareness and happiness, and so much more.
Nonetheless, meditation is hard. And at the beginning, it can be soooo frustrating. When I first started sitting down silently, even a minute seemed like forever. Trust me, it gets easier and more natural (and some days harder, and that’s ok) until once day you open your eyes disbelieving it’s been 10 min already. Start small and gradually increase the time of the practice as you get better. I highly recommend using an app to help you through the process (my favorite one is Headspace) or find a “morning meditation” sessions online.
As the scientifically-proven benefits of journaling range from increased happiness to higher productivity — and from increased quality of sleep to clearer thinking — it’s no wonder that journaling is a common habit of many highly successful people (People like Warren Buffett, Richard Branson and also historical figures like Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison)
Possible morning journaling practices:
3.1 Express gratitude
I can’t even begin to describe how this “little” thing can have so much power. Studies have now proven a multitude of benefits for expressing gratitude, ranging from how it improves relationships, physical and emotional health, sleep, mental stamina, energy, and overall happiness.
It can be as easy as writing three things you’re grateful for (no matter how big or small, past, future, or present). If you’re still having problems with it, check out my personal gratitude hack here.
Affirmations powerfully rewire our brains. The subconscious process of affirmation creates “inner truths” that shape the way we perceive ourselves and the world we’re living in and allow us to restructure the very thinking processes that greatly influence our behaviors.
“Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.” | Tia Walker
This is a massive topic in itself, but for now, you can read more about it and get a list of 200 positive affirmations here
3.3 Set goals
This can be your daily goals (the three most important things to achieve today), reaffirm your weekly or life goals. Just make sure the goals you set for yourself are S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) unless you set yourself up to fail.
Related: The ultimate guide to goal setting
Reading enhances your brain function, encourages its growth, and helps to improve your concentration and focus. You can read whatever sparks joy in you. I’m a personal development junky (like you haven’t noticed hahaha), and a great way to get some new food-for-thought is books.
Check out my top 5 best happiness books to read for some inspiration
The best productivity hack ever is planning ahead! You can use your calendar and a simple to-do list for the day (keeping your goals in mind when you do). Mark what’s most important to you, what’s urgent and what’s not, and try to plan it in advance. For me, being prepared for the day helps me face it with a more calm, less anxious approach.
Related: 13 hacks for a super productive week
Regular exercise is excellent for boosting energy and reducing fatigue. When you work out, oxygen and nutrients travel to your heart and lungs. This improves your cardiovascular system, endurance, and overall stamina. By exercising early, you may feel more energized throughout the day.
Morning exercise improves attention, visual learning, and decision-making, a great way to start the day on the positive note, says Kirsten Nunez from Healthline. Bonus points: early workouts may be best for losing weight, according to a small 2015 study published in EBioMedicineTrusted Source. You don’t have to work out very hard, just a little morning stretch, a walk or some yoga is enough to get your body moving.
Before you reach for your cup of coffee (I know…), try having a glass of lemon water every morning. According to Krissy Brady, from lifehack.org, it helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver. Lemons are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
Breakfast is the most important (and delicious) part of the day! Starting your morning with breakfast will boost your metabolism and keep your blood sugar levels stable during the day. It will help energize your body, keeping you active and productive until lunch, and improve your concentration and productivity.
While this might be a given if you work out in the morning but a warm morning shower, punctuated by a few minutes of cool water at the end, can energize the body and help stimulate the lymphatic system. It’s also an awesome way to focus your mental energy before the day starts, and it can help promote creativity. And if you’re into mind+body combo try this 5-minute morning shower meditation
Now that you have all the options you can combine and create whatever works for you best. My personal morning routine goes roughly like this:
It took me a LONG time to figure out this routine, then master it and actually stick to it (well, most of the time). Choose whatever works for you, and for how long it works for you. Can’t exercise for 20 min? ok, do 20 abs crunches or a 30-sec plank. Just start.
Do NOT change your whole morning routine at once, it just wouldn’t work. Even if you feel super motivated and pumped after reading this post and can’t wait to start… I recommend choosing once mind habit and one body habit to add to your morning routine. It’s definitely not an all or nothing kind of thing.
Think of something that would really make you happy.. Been wanting to meditate for a while now, perfect. Start with that.
Mornings can be super crazy and unexpected, even if you plan them ahead. Set a goal so small that you can make it no matter what and go in baby steps from there… Start with meditating for at 3 minutes a day, but no matter what. Even if you’ve tried or late – you can always find 3 minutes for yourself.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says we can build a new habit on top of one we already have. “Habit stacking” has a really cool explanation you can read about here and a super simple formula: After/Before I [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]. For example, if you already brush your teeth every morning (fingures crossed) you could say: “after I brush my teeth, I will meditate for 5 min”.
A morning routine is a marathon, not a sprint.
Remember, it takes between 21 and 90 days to create a new habit in our mind, as a good habit is something you do without even thinking about, which is our ultimate goal.
To stay on top of things and for that extra satisfaction of seeing the amazing progress you’re making, you can track your morning routine progress.