Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I LOVE routines. Creating routines in my life has really helped me to become healthier and WAY more productive. And a big part of that has been my morning routine!
I know a LOT of people who say they really want to start a morning routine, but it just wouldn’t work for them. They already have to get up early for work, and wouldn’t be able to get up any earlier. Or maybe they try SO hard to get up earlier and implement a morning routine, but they can’t seem to force themselves out of bed in the morning.
I’m here to tell you that you CAN do it!
If you’re not a morning person and getting up early is going to be a challenge for you, start SMALL. Don’t try to implement this entire list at once – just start with your mindset and getting up incrementally earlier.
If you ARE a morning person and want to know how you can make the most of the mornings, then you can try to implement more of the tips at once.
In this post, I’m sharing some healthy, productive things you can incorporate into your mornings for a healthier morning routine. You do NOT have to do all of them, and probably won’t be able to. I just choose those that really resonate with you!
How to Create a Healthy Morning Routine
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First things first, I want to talk about what finally inspired me to create a morning routine.
Mornings have always been a struggle for me. I honestly didn’t think I was capable of waking up early and actually being productive in the morning!
Then I read a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which has become one of my FAVORITE personal development books! In the book, Hal talks about how creating a morning routine did major things not only for his mornings, and then for his entire day, but for his entire life. He saw his success and productivity skyrocket.
I found the book super inspirational and honestly it made a morning routine sound like something anyone could do, so I gave it a try!
Do I always follow my morning routine? No. Sometimes there are days where I slip. Sometimes there are weeks or even months where I slip. But I ALWAYS come back to it and I’m always so glad when I do!
Plan Your Wake Up
First things first, create a PLAN for your morning. This means setting a wake-up time for yourself. If you’re working on waking up earlier, start slow. Wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow. Give that a few days or a week, and then wake up 15 minutes before that. Just keep adding on until you hit your goal. Additionally, in The Miracle Morning, Hal talks about how to train your MIND to wake up earlier, in addition to your body.
Note: Getting up earlier also means going to bed earlier to ensure you’re still getting enough sleep! Every time you wake up 15 minutes earlier, also work on going to bed 15 minutes earlier.
Planning your wake-up also means putting in place anything you need to help you get up in the morning.
For me, this definitely means opening the blinds so the sun is coming in first thing in the morning. It’s a LOT harder for me to wake up when it’s dark in my room. Unfortunately, this means getting up earlier is a LOT harder in winter!
Also, figure out what alarm clock will be best for waking you up. In The Miracle Morning, Hal recommends purchasing a regular old alarm clock and placing it on the other side of the room with OUT snooze so that you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off.
If you’re dead set on using your phone and you’re addicted to setting multiple alarms, set 5 alarms all within one minute of each other. That way you never have a chance to fall back asleep!
Wash Your Face
The first thing I do every morning before anything else is to wash my face. It’s such an easy way to start the day, and it wakes me up SO much. After washing my face I’m finally alert and ready to face the day.
If you don’t wash your face in the mornings, take a moment to at least splash some water on your face to get the same wake-up benefits.
You probably already know you should be drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning – but you’re also probably not doing it most days.
Drinking water first thing in the morning has SO many benefits. First, there’s the obvious benefit of hydration. You haven’t had water in 7-8 hours. Your body is thirsty!
Drinking water right away also helps fire up your metabolism first thing in the morning and wakes up your brain.
Make Your Bed
There’s just something about having a made bed that makes the day SO much better! I feel like I’ve accomplished something first thing in the morning and that one change makes your bedroom look infinitely nicer.
Plus, there’s just something about sliding into a made bed at night that is so satisfying.
I happen to share a bed with someone who usually wakes up after I’ve already left for work, so I don’t do this most mornings. But I definitely do every morning that I’m the last one out of bed!
Move Your Body
Nothing can wake you up in the morning quite like getting your body moving! A little exercise in the morning helps not only to wake me up right away but to keep me energized for the entire day.
It’s definitely not necessary to fit in a high-intensity cardio workout first thing in the morning. In fact, I definitely prefer something more relaxing. I do yoga in the mornings!
It doesn’t even have to be a long workout, just something to help wake you up and get your blood flowing.
If you’re someone who dreads working out, this is also awesome because you get it out of the way first thing and then don’t have to think about it the rest of the day!
Meditating is one of those things that always sounded a little too woo-woo for me. Like, it can’t really be that great, right? Plus it sounds a little weird.
But then I kept seeing just about every business online business owner I admire talking about how they meditate every day (or at least try to) and then I read Tim Ferris’s Tribe of Mentors (seriously one of my favorite books ever) where he interviews some of the most successful people in the world – and a LOT of them talked about meditation. And then I read The Miracle Morning, where Hal Elrod espoused the praises of mediation. And then I figured it was time to give it a shot.
And as someone who has struggled with anxiety ranging from almost nonexistent to fairly severe depending on the time of my life, I wish I had started this SO much earlier.
I tend to spend WAY too much time in my own head, overthinking every little thing. Meditation has really helped me to keep this in check and learn to observe my thoughts without necessarily overthinking them or giving them too much meaning.
It’s helped me to become a lot less reactive and a lot more thoughtful and intentional.
There are LOTS of apps for meditation. Headspace is a super popular paid app that I used to use, but I switched to Insight Timer, which is free, and I’m finding I get just as much benefit!
Have a Healthy Breakfast
Let me preface this by saying I don’t think everyone NEEDS to eat breakfast right away in the morning, or at all. Yes, eating breakfast helps get your metabolism going. But you’re genuinely just not hungry in the morning, then do whatever works for you. I’ve seen a lot of nutritionists talking about fasting and if you can get by without eating in the morning, go for it.
However, if you’re like me and you NEED to eat in the morning, this is not the place to cut corners.
Sometimes I’ll prep my breakfast the night before, so it takes no time at all and I can just dive in. Sometimes I’ll be starving after my workout and need to eat right away, other days I’m fine until mid-morning, so I just bring breakfast to work until I’m hungry. In general, I let my body tell me when it needs food rather than always eating at the same time every day.
I always shoot for breakfasts that I won’t have to cook AND that are portable in case I bring them to work. Some of my favorites are hardboiled eggs, oatmeal with peanut butter and honey, or greek yogurt. No matter what I’m having for breakfast, I also pair it with a piece of fruit!
Of all the meals I eat in a day, breakfast is the one where I’m most diligent about making sure it’s healthy. I love bagels and donuts, but I don’t love how my body feels after eating them, and I know I’m going to be sluggish afterward, and also hungry again like an hour later!
Write in a Journal
I love to write anything and everything, so journaling is something that has always come pretty naturally to me, though there are definitely times where I’ve completely neglected it.
As someone who deals with anxiety, I have a LOT of thoughts and worries floating around in my head. Sometimes nothing is more helpful than just getting them out on paper. If I’m having a day where I’m dealing with some serious anxiety and worries, I’ll write down exactly what thoughts I’m having that are causing me to worry, how likely those worries are to come to fruition, and what, if anything, I can do about them.
Sometimes, if I’m having a good day, I’ll write down some positive thoughts that I want to remember on my bad days. Or I might make a list of things that make me really happy for me to revisit when I’m feeling particularly unhappy.
The anxiety that I deal with unfortunately causes me to worry a LOT and catastrophize just about everything. I’m not proud of it, but I’m constantly anticipating the worst.
I have found that keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to help me to stay positive when it’s otherwise a serious struggle. I try to sit down in the mornings and write down a few things I’m grateful for.
Be specific! Don’t just say, “I’m grateful for my best friend”. Say, “I’m grateful to have a best friend who can talk me through my negative thoughts and give me some tough love when I need it”. I’ve honestly found that being more specific helps me to be more positive.
I also try to write down some things I’m grateful for if I’m having a particularly rough day. If I’m having a moment, I try to just stop and write a few things down. It really helps me pull myself out of the negativity.
Exercise Your Mind
When I can, I love making time in the morning to do some reading. At any given time I’m typically working on two books (some combination of fiction, personal development, and poetry), and morning is a great time to get some reading it.
I love reading, but don’t make a lot of time for it at other parts of the day, generally because I just always feel like there’s something else I COULD be doing, such as housework, working out, or spending time the people around me. In the morning, it just doesn’t feel like there’s anywhere else I need to be.
I also love listening to podcasts and might throw one on while I’m getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup, but in general, I listen to podcasts when I’m driving or doing housework.
Plan Your Day
I am all about setting myself up for the most productive day possible every single day. For the most part, I plan my days a little further in advance, so I already know what my schedule and to-do list look like when I wake up in the morning.
However, this is a great time for me to fill in some details or make last-minute changes. For example, I can note which of the tasks on my to-do list are my absolute priorities. I also make sure everything is actually scheduled into my calendar, rather than just written down as something I’d ideally like to do (because we never end up getting to those tasks).
For example, let’s say I want to work out today. I’ll go to my calendar and add a specific workout to a specific time in my calendar (for example, going for a run at 6 pm).
For someone who loves routines as much as I do, I honestly can’t believe it took me so long to start adopting a morning routine. I’m so glad I stumbled upon Hal’s book The Miracle Morning. If you are interested in creating or improving your morning routine, I seriously recommend it!