Mornings aren’t everyone’s cup of cold brew. They can be an abrupt awakening to peaceful slumber, especially when that dreaded alarm clock starts its intrusive yammering, and all you want is five more minutes!
Ugh. Even the most devout morning people aren’t immune to the occasional case of the Mondays.
If you’re not one to break out into song as you perkily greet the birds outside your window each morning (i.e. Cinderella, or Joey’s neighbor on Friends), chances are a morning routine is one of the last things on your brain.
But you don’t have to be a morning person to embrace a morning routine. Having some rituals each AM can set the tone for your entire day.
Here are eight things we’ve found to be essential in forming a morning ritual you’ll actually look forward to.
Even more, a morning routine you’ll stick to!
Use the night before to reflect on the tasks you need to do and the tasks you want to do. Make a list of all of those tasks, and then make two separate lists for those tasks, one for the needs, and one for the wants, prioritizing them in order of importance. This will lay the groundwork for your day, helping you stay organized, productive, and focused. Often times making a list alone will make you feel more productive.
Use the night before to prepare your lunch and get any items you’ll need for the next day all together. Set out your gym clothes and work outfit for the next day, so you don’t have to groggily navigate the frustrating “I don’t know what to wear” dilemma come morning.
As you get into bed to bed at night, put your phone in another room (if you use it for your alarm, buy a $5 one at the store). This lessens the temptation of getting lost down the rabbit holes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or the like. Or even worse, checking your email. Try to do the same in the morning, so you stay on track and don’t get distracted.
Many of us tell ourselves, “but I do my best work late at night.” That’s not imprinted in our DNA, that’s a habit. And with a little work, going to be earlier and thus getting up earlier can become a habit too. But with better benefits. A good night’s rest will help with your productivity the next day, not to mention you’ll feel better overall.
Doing these three things will set your day up for success, inspire calm, focus and better health overall.
Setting to paper the whirling thoughts that run through our minds is one of the best ways to clear the mental clutter, release anxiety, and become more focused. It’s a safe space to declare anything and everything that comes into your head and heart, and often the simple act of acknowledgement is enough to put you into problem solving mode rather than problem saving mode.
You don’t need a fancy journal to start, a simple lined paper notebook will do. Commit to journaling three pages a day of whatever flows through your mind as you write, and try not to self edit. Just let it flow. Some days your entry might include lists, other times rants, and sometimes emotional releases you didn’t even know existed. The key is to just keep writing.
There’s been plenty of hype about mediation and there’s a reason for it. It works. A simple 10 minute morning meditation helps reduce stress, clear your head, and silence those anxious thoughts and it’s the secret daily habit for many of these outrageously successful people.
To get started, find a quiet and comfortable place in your home where you won’t be bothered for 10 minutes. Then, don your headphones and try the guided app from Oprah & Deepak, or the popular Headspace app.
Nothing wakes you up quite like doing burpees at 6 am, but even walking the dog for 15 to 30 minutes starts your day on the right foot. Not only does exercise get your blood pumping, but it clears your head as well and encourages those endorphins to release, reducing stress and adding overall happiness to last all day long.
Choose an activity you have genuine interest in and is within your capability to complete. Remember, you don’t have to become the next CrossFit contender to add the benefits of exercise to your life.
If you don’t trust yourself to not hit snooze, move your phone or alarm far away enough from your bed that you have to stand up. You might be surprised, but getting up a mere 30 minutes early can make a huge impact.
There are three things that will help shape your whole day if you Spend that 30 minutes catching up on house work, meditating, going for a quick jog, or giving yourself a little more time to get ready in the morning. Doing any one of these things will allow you to start your day on the right foot, feeling good about yourself. Avoid getting lost on the Internet as soon as you wake up—it can wait.
Even if you’re the type of person who loathes making the bed, incorporating this one small act as a regular part of your morning routine. It can set the tone for your entire day. Make this the very first thing you do in the morning, and see how awesome it will make you feel. It’s a small accomplishment, but you’ll feel accomplished nonetheless. Not to mention, its a an amazing way to start your day?
You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Instead of grabbing a banana on your way out the door or cramming down a protein bar while you navigate traffic, carve out just enough time to make yourself a good breakfast—you deserve it! Whether it’s just yogurt and fruit, or scrambled eggs and avocado toast, it doesn’t have to be fussy. All you need is 10 or 20 minutes to make it, eat it, and even enjoy it (sitting down, not trying to do 10 other things at once).
The bottom line is the only way a morning routine will stick is if it’s yours. If you own it, you love it and you live it. The simple way to get started is make a list of those activities you’d like to accomplish first things in the morning, estimate the time it will take and estimate your new wake-up time. Then set your alarm and try it out.
Remember not to seek perfection but just enjoy the space. No morning will ever go perfectly as planned. So be willing to flow with whatever comes your way, yet diligent in waking up once your alarm rings.
If you want more specific help on creating a morning routine you will stick to, check out this article with a free download helping you to create your own morning routine.