I have lost count of the number of times I have attempted to find the perfect morning routine.
I have searched Google, read posts on Pinterest and replicated the morning routines of well-known people.
But the end result is always the same.
I start off motivated, I jot down my intended morning schedule in my brand new journal, I eagerly jump out of bed at 5:30 am (ok, not eagerly, nor jump) but get out of bed and follow my new-beaut morning routine for a few weeks, sometimes months.
But eventually, it falls over and I creep back into the same old familiar habit of hitting the snooze button, sleeping in and starting my day scattered and frenzied, madly rushing out the door clutching a coffee and running late for work.
What am I doing wrong?
Looking back, I realized that I always tried to do too much. Everything I read, I attempted to include into my morning routine, which lead to it being unsustainable.
You name it, if I read it, I tried to do it.
Since turning 50 and having an epiphany, I’m on a mission to change my life, improve my well-being and dramatically alter my negative mindset.
So, here I am again attempting to perfect my morning routine but this time, I am going to do things differently!
Align my What with my Why
Starting my morning in a mad rush sets the same frantic pace for the rest of day. I feel frazzled before I even get to work, and the remainder of the day usually descends into chaos.
I can’t improve myself and change my life if I continue to follow the bad habits I have formed.
To realign my intentions with what I want to achieve in life, I need to get up earlier, reintroduce movement and mindfulness back into my mornings, and minimize the mayhem to improve my productivity and focus and start my day off right.
Stop burning the midnight oil, only the early bird gets the worm
I have never been a morning person.
I have never been one to bounce out of bed with exuberance and instantly come to life. It is always more enticing to snuggle down deeper under the covers and close my eyes for “just 5 more minutes”, which always inevitably turns into another 45.
Admittedly, once I am up, I enjoy the solitude and serenity of being up before the rest of the world, but it is the getting out of bed bit that I struggle with.
Unfortunately, I am by nature a night owl.
I am sitting here typing this at 12:30am when I know my husband will be waking up in 4 hours to go to work.
My new goal is to get up when he does and start my day.
But in order for me to do that, I will need to modify my nighttime routine and start going to bed at a more respectful time. I don’t think four hours of sleep will quite cut it.
Whilst I am well aware that maintaining a decent sleep routine and getting a quality 7-8 hours is essential for physical wellness and overall health, I just need to practice what I preach and structure my day so that I can achieve both.
Master the morning and minimize the mayhem
How your morning pans out dramatically impacts the rest of your day.
Start your morning in a flap, unorganized and rushed, and your whole day will follow suit.
Those extra few minutes of sleep aren’t worth it.
Even though you are laying in bed, you aren’t really resting as you are acutely aware that you should be getting up.
9 times out of 10 when you keep hitting the snooze button, you don’t fall back into a deep sleep, instead, you consciously lay there ruminating about dragging your sorry bones out of bed.
Take the bull by the horns, and just jump up!
It will initially be uncomfortable and tempting to fall back under the covers, but once you are up, it will be worth it.
Regardless of your morning routine, allowing yourself extra time in the mornings before heading out the door, minimizes the madness and mayhem.
You will have time to make a coffee, and enjoy it whilst flicking through your phone or whatever your morning decadence is, without feeling flustered and fueled by anxiety knowing you are late.
What is the perfect morning routine?
The perfect morning routine is entirely individual. And depends on your personal situation.
The morning routine for a stay-at-home mum is going to be entirely different to that of a professional who works a 12-hour day.
The perfect morning routine is just a way of starting your day off right for you.
There is no right or wrong way, just whatever works for you, and helps set you up for a successful day.
Of all the different ideas and advice that I have read, there are 3 consistent habits that are listed as crucial to include in your morning routine:
Which in a nutshell, sums up to self-care and well-being.
Morning habits of highly successful people
Everyone from Tony Robbins to Tim Ferris have spruiked their ideals on what a perfect morning routine looks like.
Tim Ferris’ number 1 habit is to make his bed, and he quotes Naval Admiral William McRaven “if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Whereas Tony Robbins’ top morning rituals include priming and cold showers. Priming is a combination of breathing exercises, visualization and practising gratitude. Cold showers are a trend started by Wim Hof, which is touted to reduce pain and inflammation and help reset your nervous system.
Oprah is a fan of meditation and starts each morning with a 20-minute session. Meditation helps benefit your mental and emotional well-being, train attention and awareness and achieve a present and calm state.
Richard Branson is an early bird who religiously wakes at 5am, works out and eats breakfast, but stresses the most important part of his morning is spending time with his family.
And Steve Jobs looked in the mirror each morning and asked himself the same question, “if today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m doing today?” and if his answer was “no” for too many days in a row, he knew that he needed to change something in his life.
Robin Sharma, the author of the 5am Club, developed the 20/20/20 formula:
P1. 5:00am – 5:20am MOVE – exercise, hydrate, breathe, increase metabolic rate
P2. 5:20am – 5:40am REFLECT – think and reflect, journal, meditate, plan, gratitude
P3. 5:40am – 6:00am GROW – read, consume, learn, study, train your brain and memory
Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it – Richard Whately
Benefits of a morning routine
Whatever your morning routine is, by introducing regular daily habits that you execute without much awareness or conscious thought, sets the tone and structure for your day.
Having a morning routine will:
- help you feel motivated and energized
- be more organized
- increase productivity and achievement
- feel a sense of accomplishment
- minimise stress and anxiety
- create dedicated personal me-time and self-care
- begin the day with a sense of confidence, achievement and purpose
You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try – Beverly Sill
Examples of Healthy Morning Habits
- Stop snoozing and get up earlier
- Remember your dreams before getting out of bed (Jim Kwik)
- Recall 3 x things you are grateful for to start your day with gratitude
- Make your bed with excellence to instil a sense of accomplishment
- Hydrate and drink a glass of water
- Move – exercise for 20-30 minutes to get your heart pumping
- Mindfulness – meditate, journal, Tapping (EFT), deep breathing, affirmations
- Learn – read, write, study, or brain train whilst sipping your coffee or green tea
- Cold water therapy – take a cold shower or splash your face with icy water
- Avoid devices and social media for 1st hour of the day
- Eat a nutritional and healthy breakfast
- Listen to music
- Listen to a podcast
- Bullet Journal (“a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system” – Ryder Carroll)
- Set your intentions and write your To-Do List for the day
- Make time for personal hygiene and grooming habits that make you feel good about yourself
How to commit to a morning routine?
- Don’t set the bar too high
- If you try and include too many new rituals into your morning routine, you will end up overwhelmed and it will become unsustainable
- Pick 2 or 3 manageable tasks and start off small
- With focus and intention, you can rewire your brain and develop healthy morning habits, which in turn will improve your day
INTENTIONS are our THOUGHTS, our FEELINGS and eventually our ACTIONS.
And repeated ACTIONS create HABITS.
And if you have a shocker, and your morning descends into mayhem, maintain the momentum, and try again tomorrow.
Remember to be flexible, adapt and adjust to what works for you, and don’t overcomplicate things.
To master my morning routine I am going to:
- Stop burning the candle at both ends by getting up earlier and going to bed at a decent hour
- Start exercising – I’ve started Yoga with Adriene | Move – a 30-Day Yoga Journey
- Practice Mindfulness – I struggle with meditation but enjoy Tapping (EFT) and have downloaded the Tapping Solution app (Nick and Jessica Ortner)
- Bullet Journal – I love bullet journaling but initially got swept up trying to make it look too pretty, I now follow Ryder’s technique and keep it simple – dots and dashes
- Have cold showers – I turn the hot water off for the last 1-2 minutes and once I get over the initial shock I feel refreshed and revitalized, the trick is to focus on big, deep breaths until your breathing normalizes
- Avoid social media and devices until after my shower
- Listen to Podcasts while I’m getting ready – I enjoy Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik and Do You F*cking Mind? with Alexis Fernandez
- Stop skipping breakfast
With discipline and consistency, I am hoping that I can implement and stick to a morning routine that suits me, and the life I am trying to create.
And, hopefully, these tips and tricks will work for you as well.
Is there something that you do each morning that sets you up for a successful day? If so, leave a comment below as I’d love to know.