Your morning is your sacred space. It’s an opportunity to carve out time dedicated to you and your highest priorities.
And when done with consistency—which is the whole point of a “routine”, after all—a successful morning routine can actually change your life. It will slowly shift your focus, your habits, and your attitude if you build and follow the perfect routine for you.
In an ideal world, my mornings would be magical. They would be quiet and warm and peaceful. There would be no screaming kids or burnt toast or coffee spilled down the front of my shirt before an important meeting.
While that may not be the everyday reality for me or any of us—because unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world—I’ve gotten a lot closer to it with my own morning routine. And you can too, by pre-determining the actions that will help successfully set the tone for and pace of the rest of your day.
I could tell you exactly how to structure your morning—I’ve read suggestions like drinking lemon water and starting with exercise and, oh yeah, meditation, over and over and over again—or how I structure mine. But, as with most things, I think it’s pretty subjective. It won’t be the perfect morning routine for you if it isn’t, in fact, yours to begin with. So what follows are just some (hopefully) helpful tips to guide you as you create your own perfect morning routine.
Start Your Routine the Night Before
Want to have a great morning? It actually starts the night before.
I know you know this is true. On those evenings where you have written the next day’s to-do list, laid out your outfit, and set the timer on the coffee pot, how great do you feel? There’s few things better than going to bed knowing that the next day is already set up for your success!
One secret I learned from The Miracle Morning author, Hal Elrod, is to set your intentions for the next day before you go to bed. He says: “The first key to waking up is to remember this: Your first thought in the morning is usually the last thought you had before you went to bed.”
It’s not just about writing that to-do list or picking out your outfit (though those are both helpful, too!). He continues: “The key is to consciously decide every night to actively and mindfully create a positive expectation for the next morning.”
End your day that way, and you’ll most certainly start the next one on the right foot.
Put the Screen Down
This tip is more tactical than the others, but I think it’s important. In a world where many of our phones also double as our alarm clocks (and purveyors of all messages—electronic, social, and otherwise), it’s all too easy to pick up our phones and get sucked into screentime immediately upon waking. So please—I beg of you—put the phone (or laptop or television remote) right back down.
Not only could we all use a little less time in front of the warm glow of our computer and phone screens every day, but picking up your phone or your computer first thing in the morning pretty much guarantees that you’ll start your day off focused on other people’s priorities—not your own.
Your morning is the one space in your day that can be completely yours; don’t just give that away. Because once you do, it’s not likely you’ll have a chance to catch up and focus on what it is that you truly want to accomplish—personally, professionally, or otherwise.
Keep It Positive
You know the old saying, “Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?” . . . which is usually uttered much later in the day, because how we wake up and start our days usually affects every hour thereafter.
(In other words, when you get up on the wrong side of the bed, you tend to stay on the wrong side of everything! Awesome.)
Luckily, you have the power to set the tone for your day! I highly recommend starting it on a positive note. Some people write in gratitude journals (this is a favorite of mine), others repeat personal affirmations or mantras in their head while they brush their teeth, and still others pray or read or catch up with their significant other.
However it looks for you, starting your day with peace and positivity will solidify that experience and set a positive tone for the rest of your day.
Make Yourself Your Top Priority
Listen, I guarantee you will be worried about other people and putting out someone else’s fires and taking care of everybody but yourself for several of the remaining hours of your day. So give yourself this moment.
If you have to wake up earlier, do it. (I promise it’s worth it.)
Make the space to connect with yourself, pray, meditate, or simply drink your coffee in silence. Don’t worry about what anybody else needs from you; consider what you need from you.
What can you do in the still, quiet hours of the morning—and throughout the rest of the day—to make sure you’re filling your own cup? As trite as it may sound, you can’t fill up anybody else’s before you’ve filled up your own.
Figure Out Your Non-Negotiables
What are the things that absolutely must get done that day?
Hopefully, you considered this the night before, but things can change. Priorities and schedules and projects can shift in an instant.
So revisit your to-do list from the day before, and prioritize your top three (or, okay, maybe five) activities for the day. It’s not always the fun or the easiest stuff, so ideally, do them first. But once you’ve gotten them out of the way, the rest of your day is sure to be a breeze.
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Your morning routine doesn’t need to look like anybody else’s. Connect with yourself and answer honestly: How do I want to begin every single day of my life? Getting more sleep notwithstanding (ha!), what would change your life for the better if you started every day that way? You have the power to make that change—starting tomorrow . . . or even today!
And if you can’t make this time for yourself, you may want to reevaluate how you spend your time. I don’t say this from a place of judgment, but from personal experience—I actually say it with love and (up close and personal) understanding.
This isn’t just about your mornings. This is about setting your day, and your life, up for success. It’s YOUR life. You get to decide how you want to live it.
P.S. If you’re looking for specific ways you might set up your morning, I encourage you to check out Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning, or this fun site for more inspiration!
What’s one thing you want to add to your daily morning routine?
Share your ideas—and maybe find a few new ones—in the comments below!