Have you heard all the hype about morning routines, but you just can't seem to find one that works for more than a few months? Morning routines are not one-size-fits-all and may even need to adapt during different phases of your life. Rather than give you a routine that will probably not work for you, this post walks you through how to create a sustainable routine that's tailored to you and your life right now.
In the self-help world, there is a lot of talk about morning routines. All the big gurus swear by them and almost every one of them lay out what they think your morning routine should look like.
I've tried to implement a morning routine many times throughout my life, but none of them have lasted longer than a few months. While I felt better when I had a routine, I couldn't seem to get one to stick long term. I used to think that I was just lazy or that there was something wrong with me, but I now realize that the problem wasn't me. It was the fact that I was taking these morning routines and just doing them exactly as they were created, rather than looking inside of me and creating an authentic morning routine catered around what I wanted and needed.
Why is it important to have a morning routine?
What you do in the morning sets you up for the rest of your day. Having a morning routine helps you to be intentional about your day. You get to decide how you want your day to go, rather than just seeing what life throws at you. When I didn't have a routine, some days turned out good, some horrible, and others just ok. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Now that I have a routine, I know I have more control over how my day goes and the majority of my days turn out good.
How to Craft the Perfect Morning Routine
I've read books, bought and tried many journals and planners, and tried many different variations of morning routines. I took all of these different resources and broke it down into four steps that you can use to not only create a morning routine that fits what you need and want, but one that you can sustain over the long term.
1. What do you want your morning routine to do for you?
In order to get the result that you want, you need to know what you want the result to be. Do you want to feel fully energized to tackle your day? Do you want to get in touch with your intuition, so that it can guide you? Do you want to get into a productive headspace, so that you can be efficient and knock out that to-do list? This is the foundation, so don't skip this. Everything you add into your routine, just support the result you're trying to get. For me, I wanted a routine that was energizing, helped me connect to my intuition, and from that space, decide how I wanted my day to go.
2. What could you realistically sustain in the long term?
Decide the time and length of your morning routine. Will you wake up at 5am or let yourself wake up naturally? Will your morning routine be a half hour? A full hour? This is a great time to be really honest with yourself. You can say that you'll wake up at 5am because that's what other people do, but when you miss a day, will you fall off the wagon and never get back on? An even better question to ask is whether you even want to do it. If you don't want to do it, you'll likely give up on it eventually. Now that you have the basic logistics worked out, let's start adding activities. I had got into a habit of waking up at 5am, and even though I could do it, I hated it. I was always exhausted by the afternoon and had a hard time being present. Once I got honest with myself, I decided that just because I could get up at 5am, doesn't mean that I had to. Now, I get up naturally, which is around 6-6:30am and allow myself an hour to do my morning activities. This one shift has made it possible for me to sustain my morning routine.
3. What activities will get you the result you want?
When you think about the result you want from your morning routine, what activities will help you get there? Think about both the physical and mental activities. Physical activities might be making your bed, stretching, exercising, or drinking a full glass of water. Mental activities might be meditating, journaling, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or a gratitude practice. Whatever you choose to add, make sure it's something you want to do and that it supports the result you're trying to create.
4. What does success look like today?
The best morning routines always end with setting an intention for your day. Before you shift into go-mode, take the time to decide what success will look like today. As women, we tend to make really long to-do lists, hustle to accomplish them, and then forget to acknowledge all that we get done. Take a look at what your day holds. How do you want to feel today? What could potentially be your biggest roadblock and how could you decide to see it and deal with it? How will you know you've been successful? You can decide all of this beforehand. This step has been one of the biggest game changers in my morning routine. When you set your intention for the day, you know what happens? You end up focusing on that and then create that success by the end of the day. And then you end up feeling successful at the end of most of your days. Life is so much more exciting to wake up to when you know that you can crush your goals and live the life you want. I promise if you add this to the end of your routine, it will change your life. Add it in however you'd like. Journaling is my favorite way because by writing it out, you are declaring to yourself that this is what you want. Plus, when it's written down, you can't change it as easily as when it's just in your mind.
I hope that these four steps help you create a morning routine that is not only authentic, but one that stands the test of time!