Do you ever find yourself wishing you were more of a morning person, but feel simultaneously overwhelmed by all the health and wellness “gurus” talking about the hour-long routines that they MUST stick to and NOT veer off of or they will instantaneously combust? If that’s you, don’t worry I was right there with you. But when I realized building a morning routine has less to do with adding to your to-do list and more to do with developing habits and streamlining what you are already doing, it actually became quite simple.
Creating a morning route that works for you is not going to happen overnight, but you can rest assured knowing that it is possible to find something that will eventually make you excited to wake up every morning. (Yes, I did say excited)
Importance of a Morning Routine
Take a moment to reflect on the routines you have already established in your everyday life. Even if you don’t think you have routines, you do. Maybe it’s the way you jump out of bed, brush your teeth, grab your coffee and head out the door – it’s still a routine you have established for yourself. You may be unhappy with the routines you currently have, but the good news is that it's possible to shape your routine into something that can bring you joy and start your day on a positive note.
By establishing routines, you are able to live your life intentionally. Isn’t it wonderful that you have the freedom to choose how you want to spend your time in the morning based on what needs you have and what’s important to you?
Your morning routine begins from the second you wake up until you start your actual to-do list for the day, whether you have a full-time, 9-5 job away or you work from home. What you choose to do for your morning routine sets the tone for your entire day, so why not start it out on a positive note?
If you are not intentionally spending your time in the morning, odds are you not setting yourself up for success, spending any time on yourself, or working towards your goals. Mornings are the most ideal time of the day to focus on you. This is because your mind is the freshest after a nights rest and you haven’t had the chance to let the chaos of the world disturb you yet. It’s truly your time for you and you alone.
You should already have ideas flowing in your head and actively deciding what is most important to you and how you want to spend your time in the morning.
The “How To” of Building Your Routine
Now that we went over the importance of having a routine and the necessity of intentionally choosing how to start your day, let’s get into the “How to” of designing your perfect morning routine.
- Evaluate what your current routine looks like. I suggest writing on a blank sheet of paper what you are currently doing in the morning. Write your activities exactly as you do them and give a guesstimate of the timeframe. Put a star or highlight the parts of your routine you enjoy.
- Figure out what you WANT your routine to look like from now on. Define what the perfect morning would look like to you. It is completely up to you, your routine doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. You don’t have to have an hour long, overly complicated routine. It can be as simple and short as you like as long as it is going to truly serve you and your needs.
- Think about habits you have always wanted to implement, but maybe thought you never had time for or habits that you think would make your day better.
After jotting down some ideas on what you would like to implement into your routine, create a basic outline of what you want your routine to look like. Don’t be afraid to get messy here, if you find yourself crossing out, moving things over – that’s awesome! It means you are intentionally trying to figure out what is going to work best for you. Be sure to reference your current routine list too and add the items you starred/highlighted. Every day does not have to be exactly the same either depending on your schedule. That’s the beauty of a morning routine, its YOURS to change based on YOUR needs. And just because days may look different doesn’t mean it has to get complicated either. This is why having an outline/plan helps you to stay on track.
Here is an example of what yours might look like:
- 5:00 – 6:00 am: Workout
- 6:00 – 6:30 am: Shower and get ready
- 6:30 – 7:00 am: Make breakfast and eat
- 7:00 – 7:30 am: Journal or meditate
- 7:35 am: Leave for work
Ideas to Help Jumpstart Your Morning Routine
If you have gotten this far and are still not sure what a good morning routine looks like to you or if you aren’t really sure what to add, I have compiled a list of ideas that may suit your needs.
- Give yourself a “me moment” in the morning – instead of reaching for your phone the minute you open your eyes, try taking a moment for you. It doesn’t matter what you do with this time, for the most part, so long as you take it. It can be journaling, practicing gratitude, putting on a facemask, meditating, practicing mindful breathing or, my personal favorite, taking the time to grab a warm beverage and actually enjoying it. When you start your day out with positive actions you literally wire yourself for happiness. You see things differently and make better decisions.
- Water – HYDRATE! Water fires up your metabolism, rehydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, and gives your brain fuel. Keep a bottle or cup of water by your bedside so that you can drink it before you even get out of bed in the morning ( yes even before your morning coffee(; )
- Movement – getting movement/exercise first thing in the morning is a non-negotiable for me. It doesn’t have to be some crazy HIIT workout or strength training (it definitely can be if that’s your thing), but even just stretching or practicing yoga poses gets your body moving and blood flowing. Running or walking are both great because they’re accessible to most everyone and can be a gateway to a healthier lifestyle.
Get yourself ready for the day – whatever that means for you, it could look something like:
[ ] Brush teeth
[ ] Shower
[ ] Skin care routine
[ ] Get dressed
- Nourish your body – this is huge. You might think that the recommendation to eat breakfast is just plain good advice because after all, you need enough fuel to make it through the morning, right? But there are SO many other reasons as to why nourishing your body in the morning benefits your health. Studies have shown that eating breakfast in the morning, among other things: can improve your performance at school or work, benefit your skin, prevent weight gain, provide energy for your brain and body, and improve your mood. A common excuse for skipping breakfast is simply thinking, “I don’t have time.” Of course you do! That’s why we are finding a routine that will incorporate and make time for all the things that are important to you. I love having a Mylk Labs oat cup in the morning because it takes all of 3 minutes to pour in some water and microwave. Then all you have to do is top it with some fresh fruit, yogurt, or nut butter and you’re good to go. Healthy convenience at its finest, am I right?
Implement & Make Changes as Necessary
Now that you have outlined what you want your routine to look like, start implementing it into your life! I recommend going all in. Start literally the next day and do everything on your outline. No excuses! Going all in is the absolute best way to see if your routine is going to work for you. The best part is that if you find something isn’t working for you, you can CHANGE it!
It is not set in stone and you didn’t fail yourself – you are ACTIVELY working to design a routine that is perfect for YOU. If you planned to workout first thing in the morning but feel sick without eating, switch it up! If you can’t fit in journaling before you get out of bed because you need some coffee first (I feel you), then change it! You don’t have to hold yourself to some impossible standard that doesn’t work for you, because the whole purpose is to figure out what is important to YOU.
Nicolette (or Nikki for short) is a Bachelors prepared Registered Nurse living in Chicago. She suffered from an intense restrictive eating disorder for over 5 years and during this time developed a huge passion for all things health and wellness. Her motto is: “no one size fits all” when it comes to physical & mental health. Therefore, her recipes, health tips, and philosophies are made to accommodate every single person regardless of their life experiences, financial backgrounds, or health conditions. Nikki’s life goal is to help people feel their best-- and that all starts with what we are feeding our bodies and mind.
Follow her on Instagram: @its_nicolettemarie