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:
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.
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 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.
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.