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How to Build a Better Morning Routine

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It’s hard to overstate the importance and impact of creating and maintaining a consistent morning routine. But, when you already feel stretched thin, juggling too many responsibilities on not enough sleep, even small, everyday rituals that you know will make you feel better can seem like daunting tasks. My fantasy of waking to a quiet hour of writing and yoga followed by a freshly-squeezed green juice and a beautiful breakfast, has never quite come to fruition, but I have still found a way of creating a successful and consistent morning routine that I can keep.

Follow the simple steps below to create your own:

morning routine

Get Real

If you’ve just given birth to twins, a morning power yoga class may not be in the cards for a while, but a 15-minute stretch or meditation between feedings may feel more viable. Something is always better than nothing. Once I realized I didn’t have the time to get to a 60-minute workout class each morning without majorly sacrificing on sleep or work, I decided to walk a simple 30-minute loop around my neighborhood instead. My solo walk, coupled with a big glass of water and some notes in my five-minute journal, makes me feel like I am starting my day off right. Consider your current goals and circumstances so you can customize a routine that is both actionable and realistic.

Make it Specific

Vague goals will get you nowhere fast. Instead of “I want to work out more” try: “I will run for thirty minutes each day at 7am.” Instead of “I want to be more creative” try “I will draw/write/paint every morning from 8am – 8:30am.” Make sure that each action item in your desired morning routine is specific, actionable, and measurable.

Prioritize

Since most of us don’t have the luxury of a long or complicated morning routine, it’s crucial to prioritize which actions will have the biggest impact on the rest of your day. Are you craving a few minutes of quiet or do you need to move your body? Do you want to read or listen to something motivational or inspirational or do you need to fuel your day with a hearty breakfast? If you had to pick just ONE thing to do consistently each morning that would have maximum impact on your day – what would it be?

Start Small

Start with a tiny increment of time or a micro action like reading or writing or stretching for just fifteen minutes. I spent weeks walking for just fifteen minutes a day before it became easy enough for me to do a full 45-minute loop. Try a fifteen-minute win and build from there. You can always expand your routine once you’re crushing your micro-goal.

Make It Easy For Yourself

Once you’ve picked a morning routine to try, consider what you can do to make it fail-proof. If you want to start writing, place a notebook and pen on your bedside table. If you plan to workout, lay your gym clothes out the night before. Put your water bottle on the counter. Prep your breakfast. Set an alarm. Alert your partner or family members so they can support you. Do whatever needs to be done to ensure a smooth morning routine. Side note: My 13-year-old Chloe just introduced me to the daily planning app Structured which enables you to split your day into small tasks and get a pretty visual timeline and reminders.

Habit Stack

There is wisdom in starting super small and only integrating one new morning habit into your life at a time. Once you master a single new habit and it feels effortless, you have my blessing to try another. Once you have two down, try to incorporate a third. Whatever you do, don’t try to integrate six new habits at the same time or you will surely fail and feel defeated.

Don’t Give Up

It is still pretty wild out there and life can come at you unexpectedly and fast. It doesn’t matter that you found the perfect routine and are on a serious roll – an illness or a flat tire or a cancelled flight – and you might miss a day or two or more. It happens. Recognize that you have fallen out of rhythm and decide to start fresh the next day.

Have you established a successful morning routine? What are the habits that have the biggest impact for you? Share in the comments below.

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13 comments on “How to Build a Better Morning Routine

  1. My morning routine is say hello and cuddling with my dog, then I just brush my teeth and go to the walk with my dog before any skincare/makeup ritual/breakfast etc… My whole morning on working days has 2 hour, where I have time to walk/listening podcasts etc.
    My morning walk on working days lasts around 15-20 mins, on weekend is minimum 30 mins, and it is the best way, how to wake up, breathe fresh air, calm my mind…
    Can’t wait to your new book. Minimalista helped me a lot, I just gave to charity things, that I can’t due to many reasons let go. Now I did it 🙂 So grateful!!!

  2. Love this. I am recovering from major surgery and my whole life just got turned upside down. The good news, fully recovered, the reality, not ready for 90 minutes of vinyasa everyday, not yet at least!!

  3. Ok this is so weird, because I woke up this a.m. thinking I needed a better routine. So I decided to write my 5 minute journal, drink some water, and walk around the block. And when I got home I googled “Shira Gill morning routine” … and then checked my email and this was there!!! *mind blown* lol

  4. I go and get an espresso plus my flask to make a latte and listen to mental health podcasts or books. The greatest difference has come from religiously listening to one Dr. Over and over and over. This morning I tried to get in some phone helping support family catch up and my mental state is frayed. I learned a valuable lesson. Early mornings ARE FOR ME!

  5. My son introduced me to “Balance,” a meditation app, which I have incorporated into my daily routine. In the beginning, I only needed to carve out 10 minutes, which seemed doable. (It was!) I’m now at 15 minutes each morning and it’s wonderful. I finish my sessions relaxed, energized and ready to tackle the day.

  6. My most successful morning routine is to eat a healthful breakfast every morning. Part two is that I take my morning medicines with breakfast and don’t forget them. Part three is that this sets me up for eating well all day and maintaining my weight loss of 35 lbs which makes me happy! I’m enjoying your blog!

  7. First off, Shira, love you! xx
    For me, I get up early. Even on my days off. Every morning before getting out of bed I say a gratitude meditation and set an intention for the day. After, I enjoy a coffee with my hubby and dog, then do a few simple yoga poses, and off we all go for a mile walk, rain or shine. On less than stellar days I recall my gratitude, and it helps. 🙂

  8. I am working on a morning routine. Right now it is to sleep as late as possible. Ideally, waking up at 5:00 a.m. and getting work completed. Soooo not there yet. Thank you for your inspiration!

  9. Hello Shira! I just discovered you a week ago and since then received your book, Minimalista and LOVE IT! You and your ideas are everything I have been looking for to corral my spinning life!
    Mornings for me include waking at 4am to have an hour of “wake up” coffee, day planning, and just waiting for the sun to come up. Some mornings go by faster than others but I have learned to simply enjoy each and every early morning hour before work for all it’s worth!

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