Your day only starts once—it’s important to start it well! For many people the morning can be a challenge, especially on weekdays when there are more responsibilities. It might seem like the time when you’re least likely to stick to a well thought-out plan of action. However, developing a morning routine will actually make it easier to motivate yourself to get out of bed and seize the day!
Beyond the basic idea of having some structure, a strong morning routine can profoundly benefit you in all sorts of ways. For example, feeling good in the morning helps you be more open to social connection with others throughout your day. If you feel that way consistently, you’re more likely to maintain positive emotional health. A strong routine also greatly decreases the chances of having to rush in the morning, helping you avoid a very common stress trigger. Overall, your mood, confidence, productivity, physical health, and relationships all stand to gain from a good start to the day.
It’s not rocket science, but a strong morning routine does take a little planning. Here are the six main elements of any successful morning routine that you can use as a guide when developing your own.
1. Start with sleep
Set yourself up for a successful morning by being well-rested. If you’re somebody whose bedtime varies from night to night, try committing to a specific time. You can even set an alarm on your phone to remind you to wind down your evening and get ready for bed. It may be a challenge at first, but over time your body will adjust to your new schedule.
Good sleep is a fundamental building block of good health, both physically and emotionally. With a little late night discipline, you’ll find waking up, getting out of bed, and starting your morning routine much easier. And when you do get up—make your bed! It may seem unimportant, but completing a simple task first thing in the morning is a great way to get energized. Plus, you deserve to come home later to a nice clean bed.
2. Hygiene, hydration, and healthy eating
Right after making the bed, do all of the things that keep your body healthy and clean. No matter what kind of responsibilities or worries you may have throughout the upcoming day, your health should be your number one priority.
Drink water in the morning, as a rule. Even if you’re a coffee or tea drinker, have a little plain water on the side—your body will thank you! Think of the first meal of the day as fuel for a machine. If you’re eating sugary or processed foods, the machine of your body won’t function at its highest capacity. Instead, incorporate more whole foods, grains, organic produce, and protein-rich foods like Greek yogurt that will keep you energized for longer.
3. Get active, even if it’s something mild
Some people swear by hitting an entire gym routine first thing in the morning. But most people lack both the time and the energy to get a high-intensity workout done before work. However, that shouldn’t stop you from seeking the benefits of a simple daily exercise practice. By getting active in the a.m., you’ll work your heartrate up, feel your muscles stretching, improve your mood as the endorphins flow, and kickstart all of your body’s important processes.
Something as basic as a Friday morning stroll through the park with a community like the Forest Park Walking Group can contribute to a more positive outlook on your week. Motivating yourself to take a light trek in the morning is even easier if you have a dog. The two of you can join an adventurous and adorable outing with a community like the San Diego Dog Meetup – #PackWalk. If you simply don’t have the time to get active outdoors in the morning, check out a group like Denver Meditation, which hosts online Nature’s Flow Yoga classes you can do at home.
4. Make a little time to reflect
Although getting up and getting active is important for starting your day with energy, it’s also important to create a calm mental space. Once you’ve accomplished a few things in the morning and you’re feeling awake, spend a few quiet moments with yourself. Meetup groups like Miami Energy Healing and Meditation host online classes you can join from anywhere, with themes such as making your dreams a reality, psychic awareness, and simple breathing for inner peace.
Even something as basic as walking out of your home to spend a few minutes looking at trees has been proven to increase your mood and relieve anxiety! You could also try mindful tasks like journaling or doing a crossword. Anything that focuses your attention in a productive way is good, as opposed to zoning out in front of the TV and allowing your mind to wander back to your stress triggers.
5. Structure the rest of your day
Now that you’re awake, well-fed, energized, and balanced, make a straightforward to-do list for the day ahead. Avoid the “big ideas” and focus on tangible tasks and activities that you can get done today. Be specific: plan out your work hours and breaks, as well as your free time after work. It’s easy to do nothing after a long day of work, but you’ll feel so much better if you provide a little structure for the evening.
For example, figure out what you’re going to make for dinner so you don’t have to come up with a meal on the fly when you’re tired. Plan a little pocket of time for nourishing activities like reading, and allow yourself a window to just chill.
6. Be consistent
The key to any good morning routine is that it actually becomes routine. Having a well-structured day every so often is nice, but you’ll truly reap the long-term rewards when you practice discipline and consistency.
Luckily, you’re not alone in this challenge. It’s incredibly common for people to struggle getting a strong start to their days. You can find strength in numbers and make good mornings a habit by inviting others in your community to join you for walking, talking, meditating, breakfasting, exercising, or whatever a.m. activity gets you going. Create your own morning Meetup group today.
James Quigley is a writer, editor, and educator whose work has received Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominations. James was born and raised in New York, where he lives and works as a freelance writer. See more of his writing here.
Last modified on November 13, 2023