Why is a Morning Routine Important?
Before I reveal how to establish your perfect morning routine, let’s take a look at the benefits and what some experts have to say about routines.
No matter what’s going on in our day, knowing what to expect at certain times throughout can be a real comfort. Life is full of uncertainty. Having a routine helps us cope with the unpredictable. Establishing a morning routine allows us to cultivate positive daily habits and to prioritize self-care. The act of self-care can look different for everyone.
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to look after our mental, emotional, and physical health. The concept of self-care seems simple in theory, however, it’s something we often overlook. Establishing a morning routine is the perfect opportunity to practice self-care.
With such busy lives, our ever-growing ‘to-do-lists’ can create a lot of stress. Routine can help alleviate this for you. Routine can take the guesswork and uncertainty out of parts of our day, allowing us to feel more in control and less stressed. Once again, establishing a morning routine is a great opportunity to incorporate additional stress-relieving techniques into the start of your day.
Many people mistakenly view routine as being boring and rigid. The opposite is actually true. Designing and committing to a personal daily routine is the path to freedom, productivity, happiness, and fulfilling our true potential. How, you ask? We’ll get to that soon…
Here is a full list of all the benefits routine has to offer:
- makes us more efficient
- reduces our need to plan
- creates structure in our lives
- saves time, our most valuable resource
- instills good habits
- breaks bad habits
- helps us get the most important tasks done
- reduces the need for determination and willpower
- reduces procrastination
- builds momentum
- builds self-confidence
- saves us money
- helps reduce stress and facilitate relaxation
- helps us achieve our goals
- keeping track of our success
Psychologists have noted that our habits create our mood, and our mood is a filter through which we experience our lives. Moods are created by our habitualness: how much we sleep, how frequently we move, what we think, how often we think it, and so on. Therefore, it’s the pattern of continued experience that compounds its effect and makes it seem valid. This can work for us or against us.
If our habits are healthy, they work in our favor. But, poor habits can have the opposite effect. Regularly not getting enough sleep, for instance, will negatively impact your mood, mental, and physical health.
The first thing to remember when establishing a morning routine is what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. Your morning routine should evolve and change. If something isn’t working, change it. Don’t latch on just because someone else is doing it. Have you experienced this? Have you ever tried out your friend’s routine to find it not conducive to your lifestyle?
The best morning routines are ones that align with what’s most important to YOU. If you already know what you want to accomplish or what’s important for your morning routine, write it out! If you don’t already, take a look at what you want MORE of versus what you want LESS of in your life. Consider how you can shape your day around this and build your perfect routine by making your desired lifestyle a reality.
After determining what will work for you, the next most important aspect of establishing a morning routine is getting enough sleep. You can’t function optimally when you wake up tired. This means your optimal morning routine really begins the night before. Try going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning. Adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Find what works for you and allow yourself the time you need for adequate rest.
No matter what activities you choose as part of your morning routine, it should do the following:
1. Prepare you for the rest of your day
2. Check off a value that’s important to you
3. Be something that makes you happy
If you choose an activity that doesn’t fulfill all THREE factors, success will be that much harder.
Meditation is a well-documented form of stress reduction. There are several forms of meditation, so if sitting quietly cross-legged on the floor doesn’t sound like your thing, find a method that will work for you. For example, try a short guided meditation. Or look for a guided meditation app on your smartphone, https://www.headspace.com/. Do you meditate?
Starting your day in a tensed state sets the scene for the rest of your day. Whether it’s a clenched jaw, tweaked neck, or stiff back, there are ways to provide you some relief as soon as you roll out of bed. If you’d like to incorporate a tension relieving technique into your morning routine, try one of the following:
- Foam rolling
The best way to energize your day is with exercise. All you need is 10 minutes. If you have a little more time, try pilates, yoga or a morning walk to get you moving. What’s your favorite way to move?
Find a creative outlet you enjoy and allow yourself some time to practice it every morning.
This may seem out of reach when we have so many other priorities filling up our days, but remember, creativity and playfulness is an important part of wellness. Even if you are only able to dedicate 10 minutes each morning, it will make all the difference!
This can be anything from journaling, a quick breathing exercise or even drawing if that’s what you like to do. There are no limits to what you can do!
There are several ways to set the tone for your day. Some people begin their day by writing in a gratitude journal. All you would do is write down three things you are grateful for every morning. This will help you maintain feelings of positivity and thankfulness, no matter what comes your way.
You could also try creating a to-do list, so you don’t forget any tasks. This also helps settle your mind knowing everything that needs to be done is in one place and lowers the chance of things being forgotten.
Lastly, set a few small goals you’d like to accomplish for the day. Goals help you stay focused AND provide you with a sense of accomplishment when you achieve them!
Is there something you love doing, but never have the time for it?
What do you love? How can you incorporate it into your morning? If your first thought is you can’t, let’s discuss! There is a likely a way to ease it into your daily routine.
How to establish your morning routine
Here’s how you get started— pick 3 habits and start them tomorrow. Yes, just 3. You can add more later, but it’s best to start small. Pick the ones that resonate with you the most. Do them every morning immediately after you wake up for the next 30 days. Here is a list of ideas to help you get started.
- Wake up at least an hour earlier than you normally do
- Drink a tall glass of water with 1/2 juice of a lemon first thing
- Stretch for five minutes upon waking
- Meditate for 5 to 10 minutes
- Listen to a podcast
- Walk or run a mile every single morning
- Make a smoothie for breakfast
- Take a cold shower in the morning
- Read a book for 10 minutes or longer
- Write a journal entry
- Keep a daily gratitude journal
You can, of course, choose more than three habits to start with. However, you’re more likely to succeed by starting slow. If you choose something and find out it really isn’t working for you, change it. This is YOUR morning routine.
If you need help remembering your morning ritual, set yourself reminders or post notes around your house until it becomes second nature. Another helpful tip is to commit to new habits for 30 days. If you miss a day, make it up by adding a day to your total 30 days.
Establishing a morning routine that works for you will take time. Be patient and enjoy the process. Remember to start with just a few habits to avoid becoming overwhelmed.