We’re creatures of habit, so whether your feet hit the floor at 5 a.m. or 10 a.m, there’s a pretty good chance you already have a morning routine—for better or worse. Perhaps your morning habits include hitting the snooze button once, twice, or 5 times.
Or maybe checking social media is something you regularly do as your eyes struggle to open. You might not even mean to, but you reach to turn off your phone’s alarm clock, see that you’ve gotten notifications in the last 8 hours, and—next thing you know—you’re scrolling for cheap dopamine hits and running late for work.
Then, because you’re running late for work, you make do with coffee alone for breakfast. You arrive at work tired, depleted, and stressed. A poor morning routine can send your stress levels soaring, hijack your best intentions, and waste your time.
But there’s a way to make the most of your mornings: a positive morning routine.
Back in my corporate days, I often felt depleted before even getting out of bed in the morning. My first thought of the day would be something to the effect of: “Ugh, I just need to get through this day—week—month and then I can catch my breath.”
I was wishing the days away from the moment I woke up. At some point, I realized that if I changed my mornings, I could change my life. So I did.
A good morning routine can mean the difference between a good day and a great day, it’s also an essential element of my Nourish to Flourish philosophy. Here’s why:
Morning routines allow you to set a positive tone for the day, so it’s a good idea to prioritize activities that will positively impact your mindset.
Routines bring a sense of balance and eventually turn into habits. If you’ve had trouble getting consistent in some areas of your life, incorporating baby steps into your morning routine is a great place to start.
It’s all about starting the day in control and not letting the day control you. Crafting a morning routine where you are intentional and in control will help you proactively set yourself up for a productive and enjoyable day.
Okay, full disclosure: I am by nature an early riser. Now I know not everyone is, so timewise it’s important to do what is best for you and your circadian rhythms.
My routine also changes with the seasons (and the weather), so I believe in having a slightly malleable morning routine. In the winter, I wake up a little later. In the summer, a little earlier, which would be a little after 5 a.m.
Then, these are the things I focus on throughout my morning:
The first thing I try to do is set an intention for how I want the day to go. It is usually just a word like “joy,” “ease,” “productive,” “fun,” etc., or it could be a phrase like “reach out” or “get creative.”
Next, I get dressed in exercise clothes. (Pro tip: I set these out the night before to save time.) Putting on exercise clothes forces me to get set for exercise (or else I won’t do it!).
Then, Tula (my dog) and I go for our “soul stroll.” (Basically, she drags me around the neighborhood.) I love having a dog because it forces me outside, and spending time in the fresh air is super important for me. It calms my nervous system so that I greet the day with a sense of calm I wouldn’t have otherwise.
After that, it’s time for exercise. This could be a Peloton ride (I’m on a 91-week streak!) or a 10-minute yoga video. Mostly, I try to listen to my body and perform some kind of exercise that feels good for that day.
I always make an effort to hydrate with a cup of warm water and lemon. After that, I can have my coffee and breakfast, which is usually an egg with sprouted grain toast, before starting work.
All positive morning routines don’t have to look alike. And that’s great news. Your most impactful morning routine can look any number of ways. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your morning routine should be carefully crafted to suit your lifestyle and season of life.
The most important part of your morning routine is that it should make you feel good in body, mind, + spirit. If you’re accomplishing that, your routine is doing its job.
The activities you add to your morning routine don’t have to be time-consuming. You don’t have to read three chapters of a book or take an hour-long yoga class. Adding activities that take no more than 5 minutes each day has the power to change your day and your life.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to your new morning routine. Maybe you tried to do too much or maybe something isn’t a great fit for this season of life (for instance, if you have small children). You’re now a scientist. Try different things to find what feels the most nourishing for your mornings.
Set a reminder of each step of your morning routine on your phone. Get a habit tracker and color in the boxes for each positive part of your morning you accomplish. Try not to miss coloring in any boxes.
“Night you” and “morning you” are two different people. Set yourself up for success by prepping for “morning you” the night before. Lay your workout clothes out. Set a pen and journal next to your bed. Gather the ingredients for your healthy breakfast and put them in an easy-to-access spot. Remove all the obstacles for the “you” you’ll be in the morning, so there’s no way you can come up with excuses.
Not a morning person? That’s okay! The important thing to keep in mind about morning routines is that you should keep it simple and start small. You don’t have to wake up an hour earlier. Making incremental changes of 5 minutes each day will work. Just do one tiny thing to start each day off on a good note and in control.
Need more ideas? I’ve created a PDF download, 5 Minutes To Flourish, that includes 20 ways to nourish body, mind, + spirit in 5 minutes or less. Get 5 Minutes To Flourish now.
Flourish Careers is a career coaching and consulting business dedicated to helping individuals find their unique path to flourishing professional success. Learn more about how I can help you here.