I’ve recently realized that waking up in the morning is one of my most favorite things. Which is crazy for me to say because I actually used to hate mornings. Why on earth would anyone wake up before 8 am? Is my caffeine addiction really such a bad thing? And who the heck thought alarm clocks were a good idea?
Really though, to all my “not a morning person” people – I get it, I really do. What I also get, is how much of a mess everyday life feels. The terribleness of having to get out of bed, the desperation for some coffee, and the feeling of overwhelm as the day’s to-do list floods through your mind.
That was my “morning routine” and I was very diligent about sticking to it every single day. It all kind of wore on me though and the deeper into “adulting” I got, the more I knew I needed to change something.
I started to search for a good morning routine, tips, tricks, anything that might help me not feel like I was drowning in the morning sun (and coffee) each day. After a bunch of attempting, trying, and adjusting, I can truthfully say that I love the mornings now.
That’s saying a lot coming from a previously avid “not a morning person” but it’s true. I created a morning routine for myself that is just right for giving me the kind of start to my day that leaves me feeling productive and energized enough to handle whatever the day throws at me – without five cups of coffee.
Why a Morning Routine Makes Your Day More Successful
Have you ever felt like your life was out of control? I have and it almost always starts in the morning.
I used to hit snooze ten times, I would sluggishly get dressed, crave coffee, and spend the first few hours of my morning just trying to not think about wanting to go back to bed.
By now, you’ve probably heard the quote made famous by Tim Ferriss,
“If you win the morning, you win the day.”
When you can take control of your morning, you will have more control over the way you feel throughout the day.
I have yet to find an extremely successful person that doesn’t have a morning routine, (although I’m sure someone out there is the exception.)
But my guess is that part of their success has to do with taking control of their lives and that starts in the morning.
The idea behind having a morning routine is simple; if you start the day off with taking care of yourself, you’ll have a lot more to give when it comes to taking care of other things and people.
What is a Good Morning Routine?
A good morning routine is one that helps you feel productive, energized, and prepared for the day ahead. It’s going to look a little different for you than it does for others.
I have yet to come across two people who have discovered their best morning routine is exactly the same. Which is perhaps why so many people struggle with the morning routine thing. It takes a little bit of trial and error to figure out what your personal routine should be.
Granted, there are definitely some commonalities you find in the most successful people’s morning routine habits.
I think answering this question, is the thing that trips people up the most. Doing things is simple, knowing what to do, can often be the harder question to answer.
At this point in time, most people are familiar with the idea of having a morning routine. Most people even know they should have one, but having one that works, that’s a whole different thing. That’s the confusing part for most people.
It’s also what I’m going to cover for the rest of this post.
How to Create a Morning Routine
To create the best morning routine, you need to decide what makes the most sense for you. It’s probably going to take some time of trying things out for a week or two, adjusting, and confirming.
Start with a basic routine that has something for each of the following areas:
- Physical health
- Mental well being
- Emotional well being
- Brain health
- Your dreams in life
- Prepping your day
Stick with your morning routine for about a week or so and then evaluate which routine items are really working well and make you feel good and which ones need to be tweaked a little.
Once you’ve tweaked your routine, stick with it for a few days to a week, and then evaluate it again making any adjustments that are needed.
Doing this will help you discover what the best morning routine for you is. The goal is to shape the morning routine that makes you feel the best, gives you the most energy, and sets you up for the most successful day. As you do this the items in your morning routine will become habits.
9 Morning Routine List Ideas
I’ve put together a list of the top 9 common morning routine items I’ve seen some of the most successful people do.
1) Don’t Look At Your Phone
This one was really hard for me at first. Occasionally, it still is but I’ve come to learn about how important it can be for a successful day.
Two things happen when you check your phone.
First, studies have shown that checking social media and email is actually giving us “self-worth” these days. Little hits of brain chemicals are released when we see that someone liked our post or responded to our tweets.
When we allow our social media to be the thing that gives us self-worth first thing in the morning, we’re degrading our own confidence. (source)
Secondly, checking emails and news increases our stress levels. As we’re instantly reminded of all the things we have to do and all the craziness going on in the world today.
Not exactly a promising way to start your day.
2) Drink Water Before Anything Else
Somehow as a culture, Americans have made sugar filled coffee drinks their morning go to and even though they taste like heaven, they hinder your body’s ability to function well first thing in the morning.
While you sleep, your body spends that time resetting, prepping toxins to be flushed out, processing information, and resting your brain.
Our bodies are made up of over 60% water and it needs water to help flush out those toxins and processed things like sugar.
Drinking water first thing helps to wake up our metabolisms, brains, and bodies along with a slew of other health benefits.
Have trouble remembering to drink water or keeping track of your intake? Try keeping a refillable bottle on your nightstand or somewhere you’ll see first thing in the morning.
You can add lemons or other citruses for added health benefits.
3) Make Your Bed
This one has slightly mixed reviews but I think it’s really based on your own personal personality.
Some successful people, such as Tim Bilyeu, co-founder of Quest Nutrition and current CEO of Impact theory, think it’s pointless. Others, like Jim Kwik, CEO of Kwik Learning and expert on brain performance and accelerated learning absolutely love it.
Why the mixed feelings on it? The reason is that different people are motivated by different things.
If you are absolutely driven by accomplishing goals, sometimes it helps to get the momentum going by accomplishing little things at first.
This used to be me! I would literally write “get dressed” and “brush my teeth” on my to-do list in the morning so that I could get the momentum of accomplishment going.
Navy SEAL Admiral McRaven delivered a very inspiring speech, presenting the idea that making your bed can change a persons life. It’s in the first 7 minutes of the speech so if you have a minute to watch, it’s totally worth it!
The conclusion on this one is up for debate. If you are driven by goal accomplishment, do it for momentum!
4) Recall Dreams
I thought this one was a little strange when I first heard it but after doing some research I learned that when you sleep, your brain is processing the thousands upon thousands of data points you took in throughout the day.
It sifts between what it thinks is valuable and what isn’t.
Your brain is processing your day… Including any challenges you have been through while you are sleeping.
Have you ever taken a shower and out of nowhere had an answer come to you? That’s because sometimes what is necessary to solve an issue is to stop actively thinking about it! Then your subconscious side of the brain takes over and goes through it for you.
When you are dreaming, your brain may very well analyze the issue and come up with a solution. Many great inventions have been rumored to come about while in a dream, including the periodic table.
if you want to try this but sometimes struggle to remember your dream the next morning, before going to bed at night, say out loud to yourself that you are going to remember your dreams.
Then, when you wake up, write your dream down. After a while of actively trying to remember your dreams, it becomes easier and easier.
It may just surprise you what your dreams help you solve in life.
Many studies have been done on the health benefits of “meditation” or as I like to explain it to some people, taking a few minutes to sit down, clear your thoughts, and breath. You’re basically hitting the pause button for a moment. (source)
Get in a comfortable spot. I like crossing my legs and sitting against a wall…. personal preference.
Then, breathe in as much as you can through your nose, then breath out slowly through your nose. Your brain is going to get a surge of oxygen doing this, and you’ll feel more awake and alive in just five minutes.
If there are times of your day that you are extremely stressed out, these breathing exercises work wonders.
6) Set Intentionality for the Day
A few years ago, I realized that my life was a mess. I felt overwhelmed by everything I was trying to accomplish in my day to day life. My house was always cluttered, my finances were a wreck, and my to-do list was always a mile long.
Eventually, I discovered intentional living and learned how to simplify my life in a way that allowed me to get the most joy out of it and still do all the necessary things on my list.
I like to establish my intentionality for the day in the morning now. It’s made a world of difference in every area of my life.
If this is something you’re interested in but don’t know where to start, I highly suggest checking out 7 Simple Days: Kick Start Your Simple + Intentional Living Journey.
I used to have a million things whirling around in my head. Thoughts, emotions, old memories, and usually today’s (and tomorrows) to-do list.
Sometimes I would feel overwhelmed by it all.
Journalling has completely changed things for me because it’s such a great way to work through things. I keep a couple of different journals on hand but I love spending time almost every morning now writing in them.
I have one I just write about things that are going on in our lives for the memories. I also have a thought journal I use to write out my emotions and work through self-reflection.
Need help finding a good journal? Pretty much all my journals are from Fringe Studio Journals. They are always the perfect size, I can find them in spirals or bound, and they have the perfect sized lines. They also come in the cutest covers. Here’s an example I found on Amazon but honestly, I always get mine for a few bucks at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx.
The other journals I love to use to get my day started is the 5 Second Journal created by Mel Robbins and the Start Today Journal by Rachel Hollis. You can get both of the layouts for free from their sites and use a regular blank journal to use the practice. They both tend to sell out pretty quickly when they are in stock so if you plan to get one, grab them when you see them in stock!
8) Move Your Body
Whether your stretching for ten minutes or going full out cardio gym session, moving your body will make you feel so much better. It awakens your brain, gets your blood flowing, and makes you feel good about yourself.
I doubt that at this point in our society, you really need to be told this. I think most of us struggle with taking the time to move because it doesn’t always feel fun and there are always so many important things to get done. We put ourselves, our bodies, and therefore, our workout time pretty low on the list.
Adding it to your morning routine and making it a habit, instead of something you do when you have extra time (which is never) will make you feel better and give you more energy.
Something we could all use a little more of to help us get through a day.
9) Read Personal Development Books
As a kid, I loved to read. I would read a 200-page book in a day if my mom let me. I was that kid with a flashlight under my covers reading in the middle of the night. I absolutely loved how much I could learn from books.
These day’s I’ve switched from the wild adventures of fictional characters to reading the advice of other people’s life experiences.
Reading is one of the easiest ways to increase ourselves and to learn. The reason for this is because no matter what you are doing in life, there are people who have accomplished what you are trying to do, and have probably written a book or a blog on it. You can learn from their experiences, failures, and successes.
Jim Kwik talks about how reading can make it so that you “download decades of experience instantly.”
What better way to encourage yourself, prepare for life, or delve into self-discovery than through the words of others?
You can check out my favorite personal development books here.
My Morning Routine
These nine things are the list I started with. Over the years, I’ve done my own adjusting and tweaking to make my morning routine perfect for me.
These days, my morning routine habits look something like this:
- Oil pull and read a personal development book for 15 minutes
- Brush my teeth and wash my face
- Get dressed
- Drink a glass of lemon water while I make breakfast
- Eat breakfast and drink coffee
- Journal and prep for my day
- Check my phone for the first time
- Create my to-do list for the day
- Stretch or workout
- Start my work day
As you can see, some of these original list ideas are still a part of my personal morning routine but I’ve made some adjustments and added a few things.
I’d also like to note, I don’t currently have any babies or children. I know that’s a huge game changer and don’t doubt for a second that my whole morning routine will change at some point.
It’s all about creating the morning routine that works best for you in whatever lifestyle you’re living and for right now, this is it for me.
This morning routine makes me feel great and far more prepared for whatever the day has to throw at me than my old hit snooze button a million times and drown myself in coffee routine did.
Morning Routine Checklist for Adults
That’s all a whole lot of info so to help you break it down a little and get started without feeling overwhelmed, I’ve created a free morning routine checklist for adults (cause that’s what we’re all trying to be, right?) to help you get started!
You can save it to your Pinterest or take a screenshot to save to your phone.
Do you have a morning routine to help you have a successful day? How did you find the best morning routine for yourself? Tell me about it in the comment box below!
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I recently started my own morning routine and it has made a big difference for me! I’m trying to improve my routine a little and I know you say it only takes 45 minutes to get everything on this list done, but this seems like a long list of things to do every morning. Do you actually fit them all in?
Hi Macy! So glad to hear that a morning routine is helping you. We definitely saw a big difference in our quality of life also!
Yes, we really do get everything done in about 45 minutes. Each suggestion we give is only meant to be done for a few minutes (about 5) each morning.
I think it’s also important to note that Josh’s routine differs slightly from mine. Try tweaking your routine a little each week until you find the perfect fit for you!
Hope that helps!
Very good article. I too have morning routines that start me off on a positive note and support my goals, which is another element of successful people They have goals. Thank you.
Thanks, David! So glad to hear that you have your own morning routine! We both love ours. It really does help you to feel motivated and feeling that you have already begun to accomplish something for the day. Definitely a key to success!
For.me….drink water, run, shower, meditate, coffee, a little YouTube……off to work
Sounds like you have found the perfect morning routine for yourself! Love that you start with water.
Very good article .
I always want to win my morning but as it’s so difficult at beginning… Like any thing, well this article is so helpful for my motivation. I’m so glad and feeling energetic about my morning. Thank you for such a gracious help man!
So glad to hear that you are feeling motivated again!