People have been following and creating morning routines or following a morning ritual for centuries. History is full of successful people from Benjamin Franklin to Barack Obama seems to have a pattern that helped them be insanely productive.
But lately there’s been a lot of hype about finding a morning routine that works for you — and for good reason too. An effective, productive morning routine will help you approach each day with positive energy and a positive attitude.
So how do you put together an effective morning routine that works well for you without feeling like its a “routine morning” There’s been a lot of research on what makes a routine most effective. Here are the key takeaways on how to get started with an effective morning routine.
1. Rise Early
There are plenty of benefits of waking up early that don’t have to do with productivity. For starters, becoming an early riser can promote better sleep habits – you need a good night routine to get up at 5 a.m. every day.
But the productivity part of it is a major factor too.
When you rise before the rest of your household, you have plenty of time to work in peace before anyone else wakes up. The early hours become your time, for you to use however you please and find most effective.
Tips to Stay Awake After Your Alarm Goes Off
While setting your alarm clock for 5 a.m. every morning might wake you up, it’s no good if you just hit the snooze button and roll over and fall back asleep.
Going back to sleep after your alarm goes off means you start your day by breaking a promise you made to yourself. That sets a bad precedent, puts you in a bad mood, and teaches you you can’t trust yourself.
You need to have an arsenal of tricks to help you get started with your day and stay out of bed. Here are some ideas to help you get out of bed once that alarm goes off.
Put Your Alarm Near a Cozy Blanket
If your bed is the comfiest, coziest place in the entire planet — and let’s be real, at 5 a.m. it always is — then it may help to put your alarm near a cozy blanket. That way you can wrap up and stay warm, even when your bed is calling your name.
Brush Your Teeth
It only takes two minutes. Since brushing your teeth is mostly muscle memory, you don’t need to wake your brain up for it yet. But it can help you stay on your feet long enough to wake up.
Many morning routines promote the health benefit of drinking water with lemon. The lemon helps to wake up the digestive system and starting every morning with a glass of water helps promote mental clarity.
There’s nothing like natural morning light to reset your circadian rhythm. Going outside first thing in the morning (wrapped in your cozy blanket with a cup of tea) can be enough to help you stay awake for the rest of your morning.
Countless studies are promoting the benefits of meditation.
Some studies suggest meditation has been around since 1500 B.C.E. while others believe meditation has been around since 5000 B.C.E.
Practicing meditation every morning can give you a better observation of your thoughts — without judgment. It can allow you to look at your behaviors and try to find the root causes.
It also alleviates depression, anxiety, and stress and boosts focus.
It’s easy to do, and completely free. You can opt to use a meditation app like Headspace or Balance, or you can use a YouTube guided meditation video. Or you can sit with your thoughts in silence.
How to Meditate
It takes at least 8 minutes of daily meditation practice to make an impact. If you’re just starting, it’s okay to start small.
Find a comfortable way to sit. Sitting in a chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor is fine.
Tune into your breath. Notice the sensations of your stomach rising, the feeling of the air going into and out of your nose.
Observe your thoughts. The goal is to not get pulled into what you’re thinking, but instead let your thoughts pass like clouds in the sky, or leaves on a stream. If you catch yourself getting pulled up into thought, gently dismiss that train of thought and return your attention to your breath.
It’ll take some practice, but once you add meditation to your daily routine, you’ll start to see the benefits. You’ll enjoy improved mental clarity and relaxation.
The morning is a great time to exercise. Your daily willpower is still high, and it means you start your day with a boost of endorphins to help you power through the rest of your to-do list.
Find an exercise that works well for you, but we think the benefits of yoga are worth considering.
Check out an online class, or see if there are classes available at your local gym or community center. Or you can try a fitness app, YouTube workout videos, or go for a jog.
Regardless of how you do it, getting moving first thing in the morning will set the tone for your entire day, and promote a healthy long life.
Many of the most successful people, such as our nation’s big thinkers and CEOs, read 50 to 60 books a year. Reading more is a great way to promote your career skills, wellness practices, and understanding of the world around you.
There are thousands of great book lists to get you started, but that’s not what this post is about. Pick out a book that you’ve been wanting to read and schedule some time to dedicate to it in your morning routine.
Even 10 minutes or 1 page a day will help you finish a book.
5. Practice a Skill or Work on a Passion Project
Early morning hours are when your most productive work is done. So it’s a great time to dedicate to something important to you. Maybe it’s working on a novel or a website. Maybe it’s learning the piano or a foreign language.
Maybe there’s something that you’ve wanted to work on for forever, but never seem to find the time. This part of your morning routine is perfect for those kinds of projects.
6. Be Flexible
It typically takes 3 months of daily practice to cement these habits.
But after a while, you may notice that some habits work better in your morning routine than others. You may notice that you’re calmer and healthier thanks to meditation and exercise, but you dread some other habits.
That’s okay. It’s okay to be flexible and to edit the morning routine as you see fit. This is your life, so don’t do something just because an article on the internet suggested it. Quit a habit especially if you can tell that it’s not effective for your lifestyle.
In the book Atomic Habits, the author talks about the importance of two things: micro habits and consistency. Sometimes when we’re setting big goals for our life, we set them too high compared to our current abilities.
So when you’re starting, especially if you’re a perfectionist, it can be easy to have an all or nothing mindset. And that’s the fastest way to ruin a morning routine.
Some mornings you’ll wake up and truly be in a funk. Some mornings it can feel impossible to get out of bed. On these days, it’s important to go through your morning routine, or even have a separate routine to help you get out of the funk.
But if your entire routine sounds daunting, that means you have to give yourself credit for even a minimal amount of effort. That means if you read one sentence in your book, it counts. If you do a fifteen-minute yoga video, it counts, even if you spend most of it in child’s pose.
Minimal effort is vital to maintaining your habits and avoiding an all-or-nothing attitude. Some days we can’t rely on motivation to get us through, or our lives are too hectic to dedicate 100% to the routines we planned. That’s okay. Just commit to doing at least the minimal amount possible.
7. Start the Night Before
A morning routine doesn’t start when your alarm goes off. Instead, it starts the night before. Before you go to bed, make sure your home is ready to promote the morning routine you have planned. Your environment is the biggest factor in making your habits stick.
So make sure you have your blanket and water with lemon ready to go, right next to your alarm. Get your gym clothes ready, and make sure you know where your book is. The fewer barriers you have to climb over in the morning, the easier it will be to start your day.
Finally, make sure you have a routine to get a good night’s sleep too. Enjoy some chamomile tea or melatonin. Stop eating 3 hours before bed and shut off screens 2 hours before. Practice these yoga poses to help you relax before bed.
It’s a good idea to create a routine to help you wind down, like getting into comfy clothes or laying out your day in a journal.
These practices will help you get a good night’s sleep and cement your morning routine.
A Well Designed Morning Routine Will Help You Get the Most out of Each Day… Every Day
Creating a morning routine will help you start each day on the right foot. These are some of the most common elements in popular morning routines.
Remember, your morning routine doesn’t start when you wake up. Instead, spend some time prepping the night before to help you set up the right habits.
Your morning routine needs to be designed for your life, so tweak it accordingly. Stick with what works, and replace what doesn’t. It can change throughout your life, so be flexible, and do what you need.
Keep checking back for more great articles to help you live your best life.