- Greater Hartford Wellness
How to Create a Morning Routine
If someone asked you what your morning routine was, what would you say? If that question makes you pause, you’re not alone. Our busy and unpredictable days often make creating a “routine” feel almost impossible. The good thing? It’s not - and starting your day in a more intentional way can actually make the rest of your day a bit easier. Here are a few reasons why:
1. You’re proactive, not reactive
Nowadays, we are always waking up in response to things. We wake up to the alarm, check our phone, respond to emails, and scroll through Facebook as the first part of our day. Rather than starting our day with a plan, we start it feeling like we’re already running behind. Before we know it, we wake up in anticipation of things being thrown at us. When we create a routine, we’re getting ahead of the day’s craziness. We are making a conscious decision to create our own start to the day rather than having our schedule control us.
2. You’re setting the tone for the rest of the day
If you find yourself waking up as the day goes on and waiting for the coffee to hit, you’re less likely to have a productive day. By creating a morning routine that promotes wakefulness, you get to set the tone. By the time you need to get things started, you’re ready to go!
Creating the new morning routine
So how do we do it? There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re deciding on how to start your day:
1. Understand your “why”
When thinking about our goals for a morning routine, it’s important to think about what exactly we want to achieve. What is our purpose in creating a routine? Are we hoping to be more active? Incorporate self-care? To be more productive? By understanding what we are hoping to work towards, it makes it easier to create tangible, realistic goals. Decide what you want to gain from this morning routine and think about what would help you get there. If your first priority is to make it to work on time, well-dressed, and caffeinated, you will want to create a routine that focuses on that before making other changes. However, if you want to expand and start your day feeling more focused, that could mean a morning routine that involves meditation or journaling.
2. Make a plan
Before you jump into a new routine, it’s important to consider a few different factors. We all know the feeling of trying to jump into a new routine or habit - we go from zero to 100 and find ourselves wondering why we aren’t able to sustain it. While it can feel exciting to change everything and incorporate different things at once, change has to be slow and incremental. This is where taking the time to make a plan can help you structure and prioritize your morning. Based on your “why”, think about what you would like to change about your current routine. After making your list, arrange the items in order of importance for you. Depending on the items you’ve prioritized, choose just one (no more than two) to start. Even though it would be nice to set aside time to workout, journal, eat a full breakfast, and meditate all at once, pick one of these that you feel is most relevant to your current goals.
Making a plan doesn’t just mean thinking about what you will change about your morning - almost as important as what you do when you wake up is what you do before going to bed. Consider your current nighttime ritual and if there are any small changes you could make to prepare for the next day. If you want to have a fruit salad with your breakfast, consider cutting up your strawberries the night before. The night before you exercise, plan out your outfit and set it aside. In addition to looking at making changes, evaluate any current issues with your nighttime routine. If you find yourself struggling to start your day because of poor sleep quality, rethink your screen time before going to bed. Try going to bed at a consistent time if you find irregularity to be causing issues the next day. Morning routines start the night before, so don’t underestimate its importance!
Another important aspect of making a plan is thinking about a morning routine that works for YOU. Not everyone is a morning person - if you find that you’re someone who struggles to wake up early, that might mean starting small. If you can’t imagine waking up before 7 AM, maybe a plan to start running at 5 AM is not the most realistic. That doesn’t mean you can’t get things done, however; it means that your nighttime routine will be especially important for you to be productive and make your mornings as seamless as possible.
Time to get started!
Now that we’ve established a plan for the morning, here’s the main thing to keep in mind while you carry out your routine.
Work towards consistency
This next part hinges on what we discussed earlier - the most important part of creating your new morning routine is making fewer changes that are ultimately more sustainable. This can be done by treating this new habit as an “addition” to your morning. For example, instead of using the five minutes you normally spend waiting for your coffee to scroll through social media, use that time to journal. If you have never exercised in the morning, start small - instead of planning to go on a run at 5 AM, do a five-minute circuit exercise while you wait for the shower water to get hot. When we add habits that can be easily integrated into our current morning routine, it is much easier to be consistent. And ultimately, it is that consistency that will make the difference between maintaining a new routine and getting burned out within two weeks. Once you’ve kept your new plan going for a few weeks, then feel free to begin making adjustments based on your goals!
Failing to be consistent every single time isn’t a cause for concern, it’s human. Life happens, and if you’re not able to keep up one day don’t beat yourself up. As a good rule to start with, try to not miss two days in a row. If you find that it is hard to maintain this routine, it’s important to listen to your body - either you may not really want the routine you think you do, or you’re taking on too much at once. If that happens, regroup and go back to the drawing board of your “why” and your plan. What needs to change? Go back and think about the routine you’ve made and if it fits what you need. If it doesn’t, you have all the power to make changes. All in all, there’s no such thing as the “perfect” morning routine - just the one that works for you! Take joy in the fact that however you create it, this routine is yours.
Forest, Danny. “How to Build a Strong Morning Routine: The Essential Guide.” Medium, The Startup, 6 Nov. 2020, https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-build-a-strong-morning-routine-the-essential-guide-2f8b50fc505.
Guiness, Harry. “Develop a Morning Routine That'll Stick.” Popular Science, 26 Apr. 2021, https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/create-perfect-morning-routine/.
Law, Thomas J. “How to Start a Productive Morning Routine for Success .” Oberlo, Oberlo, 3 Mar. 2021, https://www.oberlo.com/blog/productive-morning-routine.
McLain, Cody. “The Importance of a Morning Routine.” Medium, Medium, 19 Feb. 2019, https://neocody.medium.com/the-importance-of-a-morning-routine-b64ec1b642f1.