There’s no avoiding it: mornings are a struggle for many of us. But the way you start your day often defines your mood and productivity for the rest of it. Make every morning count by building a routine that not only powers the kind of day you want to have but also brings you enjoyment.
A perfect morning routine isn’t the same for everyone. Instead, it’s something you create, experiment with, and refine until you get what works for you.
Five Steps to Start Your Morning Right
Your morning routine should prepare you for your day while also featuring elements that make you happy. These steps will help you discover a routine that fits your lifestyle and needs:
- Brainstorm. Write down all of the activities you’re interested in doing in the morning. It can help to categorize these into types depending on what areas are most important to you. For example, your categories might be health, relaxation, and essentials.
- Prioritize. Rank which of the activities you listed are most valuable to you. If you’re using the category method, use separate rankings for each category.
- Estimate. Think about how much time it will take for you to complete each task. Now, think about how much time you’re willing to commit to a morning routine. If you don’t have enough time for everything on your list, set aside the lower priority items for now. You can always add them back later.
- Select. You’re more likely to stick with a morning routine if you start small and don’t adopt an entirely new practice at once. Choose a top priority activity to begin with. Work on completing that activity every morning until it becomes a habit. If, after a few tries, you don’t feel that activity is contributing something positive to your routine, then you can discontinue it and try another from your list. If it works great for you, then keep at it.
- Build. Continue to add higher priority activities to your list one at a time until you have your full, desired routine.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your activities every few weeks to keep your morning more interesting. You never know when you’ll stumble upon an even better routine!
Ideas to Get You Started on the Perfect Morning Routine
You’ll find many articles online about what your favorite athlete does every morning or what all highly effective people do when they first wake up. A piece of advice: take all of these as suggestions and not as set recipes for success. Remember that there’s no ideal routine that works for everyone: we all have different preferences and productivity styles, and our practices should reflect those differences. What works well for an Olympic athlete may not work at all for you.
With that in mind, if you’re not sure where to start, here are a few healthy activity ideas that may help you brainstorm. Feel free to experiment with the actions from this list and come up with your own ideas as well.
Drink a glass of water. Hydrating first thing in the morning helps improve your digestion throughout the day.
Read an article. Awaken your brain and relax by reading something of interest to you.
Complete an exercise routine. If you find yourself too tired to work out in the evenings, try fitting in exercise in the morning. Even a few minutes of exercise can help jumpstart your metabolism.
Drink tea. Tea is a healthy beverage that produces a pleasant calming effect, perfect for a busy morning.
Stretch. Relax your body and loosen your muscles with a few simple stretches.
Practice mediation. Meditate for five to ten minutes to clear your mind and improve your ability to focus.
Write. If you keep a daily journal or place to write ideas, take a few minutes in the morning to jot down a few thoughts.
Listen to a podcast. If you prefer to multi-task, podcasts are great to listen to while you do something you’re less enthused about, like brushing your teeth.
Work on your hobby. Doing something you enjoy in the morning helps set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Mornings don’t have to be a struggle. Fill them with enjoyable and productive tasks, and you’ll benefit from increased energy and a more positive mindset for the remainder of your day. As you may have heard, if you win the morning, you win the day!