How to Create a Powerful Morning Routine (and the surprising reasons you’ll want)
How often do you press the alarm clock and desperately long for a few more glorious minutes with your eyes closed? A couple of days a week? Every day? Unsure why you would NOT ever want to go off the alarm?
For many of us, working from home has enabled a much more relaxed morning routine. And by relaxed, I mean sleeping until the last minute, throwing off the covers, putting on a decent looking top, and scraping down a bar or several cups of coffee while you log in to log on to your first Zoom call.
If you start your morning like a fire drill, guess what? The whole day follows. Every minute feels like you’re catching up. Things tend to fall through the cracks with no chance of regaining control. And all your good intentions – You prepare a healthy high protein breakfast and go outside for some fresh air quickly become a task for another day when it’s less busy.
Why a morning routine will help you destroy it
Aside from the obvious reason (see above), having a solid morning routine sets the tone for your entire day. No matter what happened yesterday or what is on your plan for today, A morning routine is a constant that you can rely on – something that you can use to assert your authority throughout the day. It is a ritual that you consciously made time to do in the name of self-care and sanity because you value your health, happiness, and general well-being.
Look at people who are known to totally crush it. You will find that they all have something in common:
- Tim Ferriss starts making his bed every day because it is a simple action he can take that gives him a sense of pride and achievement. Also, he can do something that is completely under his control.
- Julianne Hough swears by her morning gratitude ritual, where she thinks about five things she’s grateful for and sets small spiritual goals for the next 24 hours.
- Even former President Obama has a routine that starts each day with a workout followed by breakfast with his kids.
It’s not just the corporate, celebrity, and political groups that are privy to creating such a routine. In fact, this is one of the first things I recommend to my clients when we start working together. When you take the time to create a morning routine that means something to you, you decide that it is worth putting yourself first.
You decide that you’d rather be proactive than reactive in your day. What do I mean by proactive or reactive?
What it looks like to be proactive:
- Stay actively engaged
- Feel a sense of clarity and control
- Know what is important to you
- Look ahead and anticipate your needs
What it looks like to be reactive:
- Let the circumstances control you
- Feeling helpless or threatened
- Neglect your own needs
- Act without thinking
Too busy to get up early? Read this
If you’re someone who works the early shift or can’t stand earning extra time in the wee hours of the morning, I get it. But here’s the thing. Nobody said your routine had to take up a large part of your morning. Some of the best routines last no more than 5 minutes and can seriously transform your day from feeling empty to feeling strong and fulfilled.
There is plenty of scientific evidence to support this as well. According to this study, published in the Journal of General Psychology, early risers hesitate less than their cohorts who hit a snooze button. And routines that involve meditation can lead to improved brain function, as shown in this study, in which researchers from Canada and Germany analyzed 21 studies and found that people who meditated regularly had changes in regions of the brain that dealt with things how self control and emotion regulation were related and memory.
What’s the best morning routine?
I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve seen arguing that warm lemon water or a cold shower are the best way to start the day. Everyone is different with different biological rhythms, preferences and styles. Besides that, The most effective morning routine you can perform is one that is tailored specifically for you – one that produces results that you personally find useful.
Here are the exact questions and strategies I use with my clients to help them create a morning routine that is practical, useful, and most importantly, will make them want to jump out of bed in the morning (yes, it can ).
1. Ask: What do I want more of in my day?
Honestly, when I ask this question I usually get a blank look back. Many people use the autopilot as soon as they open their eyes. But you actually have a say in how you want to feel throughout the day. And your morning routine is the best time to set the tone for that feeling. Your routine can include one thing or a series of things, depending on how much time you want to devote to it.
Examples: If you want to feel energized you should include some form of exercise in the morning: yoga, stretching, running; To feel more grounded, try meditation, reading, or journaling. To feel more organized, make your bed, cook a quality breakfast, or tidy up your work area. Check out this list for more ideas for the morning routine.
2. Ask: What might be in the way?
If nothing got in your way right now, you wouldn’t be reading this article (hint: these * things * sound a lot like excuses). Now take a minute to look at your mornings and get a clear picture of any barriers that may be holding you back from your new routine, and then take action to correct them.
Examples: If your children need help preparing for school, start your morning routine earlier or ask your spouse to do this for you. If the alarm clock is in close proximity, find a better place for it than in the bathroom.
3. Ask: What is exhausting me?
Think about the activities that cause stress or make you feel drained. You know, check email, read headlines, scroll through social media. These are the LAST things you want to include in your morning routine. A choice is always yours, and if certain behaviors start your day on the wrong foot, drop them.
Examples: Save your emails for the official start of your work day. delete Instagram and TikTok from your phone; and become aware of the habits you have that chronically work against you.
4. Ask: What inspires me?
Remember, this is YOUR time to do the things that make you shine. Things worth pouring into your morning to make you feel more focused, energetic, or even get closer to your health goals. This is the time to be selfish. It is not a to-do list, so please do not “fold the laundry” or “wash the dishes” unless you find it irritating.
Examples: You may find that you love the quiet hours of the morning just to compose a few pages of the book you have dreamed of writing. or maybe you can’t get enough of the clarity you experience while meditating. Whatever that is, do it. And do it regularly.
5. Ask: What is my schedule?
This question is more logistical, but I would argue that it is just as important as the other four questions on this list. When you have a schedule that is pretty consistent, like a 9 to 5 job, find out how long your morning routine is going to be, then pull it back from your hard stop. If your schedule is more organic, set a timeframe that works for you regardless of when you need to be somewhere.
Examples: Suppose your first call always comes at 9:00 a.m. Decide when to get up to be ready for your day and how long your morning routine will take you comfortably, and then set your alarm for that time – without hitting the snooze button.
5 questions to start your morning routine
No matter how much time and how many tasks you have, you always have a choice about how to start your morning. It’s the difference between feeling at peace and in control (even if it only lasts a few minutes) and letting your circumstances rule your day. Are you ready to create your solid morning routine? First, ask yourself the following questions:
- What more do I want from my day?
- What could be in the way?
- What is killing me
- What inspires me
- What is my schedule?
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what does yours look like?
About the author
Erin Power is the coaching and curriculum director of the Primal Health Coach Institute. She also helps her clients reestablish loving and trusting relationships with their bodies – while restoring their metabolic health so they can lose fat and gain energy – through her own private health coaching practice, eat.simple.
If you are passionate about health and wellness and want to help people like Erin for their clients every day, you should consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. In this special information session hosted by PHCI Co-Founder Mark Sisson, you will learn the three simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in a maximum of 6 months.
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