How to Create a Successful Morning Routine
Waking up in the morning can be hard, I feel you. As someone who has struggled with morning routines in the past, I want to share what has worked for me in creating a morning routine that sets me up for success. Having a solid morning routine is so important because it starts your day off on the right foot. Your mornings really do set the tone for the rest of your day.After years of trial and error, I have finally created a morning routine that makes me feel energized, focused, and ready to tackle anything the day brings. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps of my morning routine and provide tips on how you can create your own successful morning ritual.
Step 1: Get Enough Sleep
The foundation of a good morning routine is getting enough high-quality sleep. I aim for 7-8 hours per night. I know some people can function on less, but I find 7-8 hours is my sweet spot. Going to bed at a consistent time each night and avoiding screens/stimulation before bed has really helped improve my sleep.Here are some sleep tips:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Develop a relaxing pre-bed routine like reading or meditating
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet
- Avoid screens for 1-2 hours before bedtime
- Write all your worries and to-dos in a journal before bed to clear your mind
Getting enough deep, restorative sleep ensures I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start my day.
Step 2: Drink Some Water
Hydration is so important, especially first thing when you wake up after going all night without water. I always keep a glass of water on my nightstand so it’s waiting for me when I wake up. I slowly drink the entire glass before getting out of bed. Drinking water first thing in the morning hydrates your body, boosts metabolism, and aids digestion.
Step 3: Get Moving with Exercise
Nothing energizes me more than a morning workout. On mornings when I skip my workout, I really notice a difference in my energy levels. Any form of exercise you enjoy will work, whether it’s yoga, running, strength training, etc.I’m a big fan of starting my day with a HIIT workout. High intensity interval training provides a huge surge of energy that carries me through until lunchtime. I use workout apps like Aaptiv that provide guided HIIT workouts so I don’t have to think, I just have to show up and do what they tell me.Even just 15-20 minutes of exercise makes a difference compared to being sedentary. A quick morning workout helps:
- Boost energy and endorphins
- Increase focus and concentration
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve mood
Step 4: Meditate
After exercising, I take 5-10 minutes to meditate using the Calm app. This allows me to set my intention and focus for the day. Meditation literally rewires your brain for positivity, productivity, and success.A regular meditation practice can:
- Lower stress and anxiety
- Improve emotional regulation
- Enhance focus and concentration
- Increase self-awareness and intuition
I find morning meditation sets me up for a calm, focused, and productive day ahead.
Step 5: Make the Bed
This one may seem small, but it makes a big difference for me. Making my bed every morning:
- Provides a sense of accomplishment first thing
- Keeps my bedroom tidy
- Encourages productive habits
It takes less than a minute and checking this small task off my list motivates me to keep being productive.
Step 6: Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day in my book. Eating a balanced breakfast helps refuel my body and brain to focus and perform at my best.I aim for a breakfast that contains protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats to keep me feeling full and energized all morning. Here are some of my go-to healthy breakfast ideas:
- Veggie omelet with avocado toast
- Oatmeal topped with chia seeds, almond butter, and banana
- Smoothie with spinach, banana, nut butter, and protein powder
- Whole grain toast with smoked salmon and poached eggs
Taking a few minutes to sit and savor a nourishing breakfast helps me feel centered before tackling work.
Step 7: Review My Calendar
While enjoying my breakfast, I review my calendar for the day on my phone. This helps me identify any important meetings, calls, or deadlines I need to prepare for.I also use this time to prioritize my most important 1-3 tasks for the day. Knowing my daily priorities before I start work prevents me from getting distracted and off track.
Step 8: Check Email and Messages
Once I’ve finished eating, I’ll open my laptop and catch up on any urgent emails and messages. I don’t spend too much time here – just enough to know if anything requires my immediate attention before diving into my work.Checking email first thing prevents it from distracting me later when I’m trying to focus. I aim to keep this time limited to 10-15 minutes maximum.
Step 9: Personal Development
I devote at least 15-30 minutes each morning to personal development through reading, listening to podcasts, or taking an online course.Consuming inspiring and educational content first thing motivates me and provides ideas I can implement in my work and life. I find starting my morning learning gets my brain fired up to do my best work.
Step 10: Tackle My Most Important Task
By this point, I’m feeling energized, focused, and ready for a productive workday. I take a few minutes to tidy up my workspace and get organized. Then I tackle my #1 priority task for the day – the one project or task that will move the needle most for me.I block off a chunk of time on my calendar to focus on this one big task without distractions or interruptions. Giving myself time and space to make progress on my most important project sets me up to feel productive and accomplished with my day.
Tips for Sticking to Your Morning Routine
Creating a morning routine is the easy part – sticking to it is the hard part. Here are some tips to help make your morning routine a lasting habit:
- Start small – don’t overhaul your whole morning at once. Add one new habit at a time.
- Be consistent – the key is repeating your routine every single day, weekends included.
- Get accountability – tell someone about your routine and have them check in on your progress.
- Stack habits – pair a new habit with an existing habit to increase your chances of following through.
- Allow flexibility – don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. Just get back to it the next morning.
- Track your progress – use a habit tracker app to monitor your consistency and celebrate successes.
- Keep experimenting – adjust and tweak your routine as needed to make it work sustainably for your lifestyle.
The more you turn your morning routine into a set habit, the more second nature it will become. Before you know it, you’ll be waking up excited and ready to start your day feeling focused and motivated.
The Benefits of a Morning Routine
Having a consistent morning routine provides so many benefits that improve your overall wellbeing and ability to perform at your best all day long. Here are some of the top perks:
Reduces Decision Fatigue
Following set morning habits eliminates the need to make decisions when your willpower is low after just waking up. This prevents decision fatigue so you have mental energy for important choices later in the day.
A good morning routine primes you for a productive day ahead. You show up to work focused, energized, and ready to efficiently tackle your tasks.
Habits like meditation, exercise, and enjoying breakfast help lower cortisol and activate relaxation responses in your body, reducing anxiety and stress.
Improves Sleep Quality
Having set pre-bedtime habits like limiting screen time helps signal your body it’s time for rest, leading to deeper, more restorative sleep.
Provides Structure and Routine
Repeating set morning habits gives your day structure. You start each morning grounded in your own personal routine before tackling varying daily tasks.
Increases Motivation and Discipline
Following through on small habits each morning builds self-discipline and motivates you to keep checking things off your to-do list throughout the day.
Helps You Feel in Control
A morning routine helps you feel in control of your life. You’re not just passively letting the day happen to you but actively creating it.
Morning Routines by Successful People
Looking for a little inspiration from successful people? Here are some interesting morning routines to give you ideas:Barack ObamaBarack Obama starts his day with a workout at 6:45am. He then has breakfast with his family, reads the newspaper, and gets to the office by 9am.Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg wakes up around 8am, immediately checks Facebook notifications for an hour, then has breakfast with family. He’s at the office by 11am.Dwayne JohnsonDwayne Johnson rises at 4am to fit in his intense two-hour workout before a 6am breakfast. He starts work between 7-8am.Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington wakes up at 6am, checks her phone, meditates, exercises, and has breakfast. She arrives at the office around 8:30am.
Sample Morning Routines
To give you an idea of how to put the pieces together, here are two sample morning routines for different lifestyles:
The Early Riser
- 5:30am – Wake up
- 5:35am – Drink water
- 5:40am – Meditate
- 6:00am – Exercise
- 6:30am – Shower
- 6:45am – Make breakfast + coffee
- 7:15am – Check email
- 7:30am – Read/personal development
- 8:00am – Start work
The Night Owl
- 7:30am – Wake up
- 7:35am – Make bed
- 7:40am – Drink water
- 7:50am – Shower
- 8:00am – Breakfast
- 8:20am – Check messages
- 8:30am – Personal development
- 9:00am – Exercise
- 9:30am – Start work
As you can see, the order of activities can vary greatly. Choose a sequence that realistically works for your schedule and lifestyle. The key is consistency in following your set routine each morning.
How to Build Your Own Morning Routine
If you’re ready to start creating your own morning ritual, follow these steps:
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
What do you want to accomplish or get from your morning routine? More energy? Increased productivity? Better mental health? Define your goals so you can build habits that support them.
Step 2: Brainstorm Activities
Make a big list of all the activities you might want to incorporate, from exercise to breakfast to meditation. Don’t limit yourself at this stage.
Step 3: Pick 4-6 Habits
Review your list and choose 4-6 habits to include in your routine. Aim for a mix of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional self-care.
Step 4: Schedule Time Blocks
Allot time frames for each activity you’ve chosen to map out your routine. Be realistic about how long things will take.
Step 5: Set Reminders and Cues
Use phone alarms or apps to remind you when to switch activities. Have visual cues in your space to trigger each habit.
Step 6: Start Small
Roll out your routine gradually instead of trying to do it all day one. Add one habit at a time until the whole routine is in place.