Morning Routines: The Definitive Guide to Design Your Perfect Morning Routine
A morning routine is simple yet effective.
It’s easy to set up to accommodate your unique circumstances and goals.
And best of all, it’s tested.
This guide is going to teach you how to set the perfect morning routine that will allow you to accomplish your goals.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Why Set a Morning Routine?
The benefits you’re going to experience when you design a morning routine for yourself, are going to be unique to you. However, most people have reported the following benefits:
#1. A Morning Routine Gives Structure to Your Day
Repeating your chosen activities will make your morning, as well as the rest of your day, more predictable, which helps you accomplish your tasks with greater efficiency.
#2. You Experience More Energy
Morning activities such as exercising, or eating a high protein breakfast, or taking a cold shower can dramatically increase your energy and make you feel energized.
#3. You Become Less Susceptible to Decision Fatigue
The more decisions you make throughout the day, the less rational these decisions will be. This is called decision fatigue.
A morning routine cuts down the number of decisions you have to make. As your morning routine becomes a habit, you’ll be able to conserve your willpower for more important decisions.
#4. You Become More Productive Throughout the Day
A quality morning routine prepares you to deal with the inevitable challenges and obstacles of the day that would otherwise hinder your productivity. A morning routine, also, gives you a positive outlook and makes you feel more in control of your day.
#5. You Feel Better.
A quality morning routine includes activities such as drinking a glass of water, meditating, reading, exercising, having a high-protein breakfast, etc. These types of activities are not only healthy for your mind and body, but will also make you feel good about yourself.
#6. You Experience Less Stress
A morning routine will eliminate the stress that accompanies waking up at the last moment and rushing to get to the office on time, or make sure the kids are ready for school.
#7. You Enjoy a More Positive Mindset
It’s hard to have a negative attitude when you’re feeling energized and in control. Naturally, a quality morning routine will make you happier and more optimistic about your day, regardless of the challenges you’re going to face.
#8. Your Health Improves
Whether you choose to go for a jog, or meditate, or do some yoga, or eat a nutritious breakfast, your morning activities will help you improve your overall health.
How to Set the Stage for a Successful Morning?
Your ability to maintain a quality morning routine will be influenced by your intention and the quality of your nighttime sleep.
#1. Set Powerful Intentions
This is about the reasons you wake up in the morning. Intentions are powerful, they can motivate us, but they can also cause us unnecessary stress when you feel like you need to get up to get to work, for example.
This is why intention shouldn’t be born of necessity, but of passion. You go to bed excited to wake up the next morning and go through your routine. This makes the difference between maintaining a quality morning routine – and feeling great to go through it – and feeling dreadful to wake up and wasting precious time snoozing.
To create empowering intentions, think of the goals you want to achieve through your morning routine.
If you want to lose weight, for example, creating a morning routine designed to help you achieve your ideal weight should thrill you.
#2. Get a Restful Sleep
Going to bed at a decent hour isn’t enough for you to adapt a purposeful morning routine. The quality of your sleep matters, too.
The quality of your sleep will determine how you feel the following day and how motivated you are to get up. It can also influence your focus and productivity.
The following are some quick tips to ensure that you fall asleep faster, enjoying uninterrupted rest and get a quality night’s sleep:
1. Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Night
Your body has an internal clock that determines when you need to sleep and when you need to wake up. But this internal clock is most effective when you go to sleep at the same time every night.
Having irregular sleep patterns where you go to bed at different times throughout the week will cause you to experience difficulty getting to sleep.
2. Avoid Sleeping In
To make sure your internal clock works effectively, you also need to wake up at the same time each morning. This also includes weekends.
If you feel like you haven’t gotten enough sleep, a nap during the afternoon can be a better option.
3. Limit the Duration of Your Afternoon Naps
Naps can make you feel refreshed and boost your mood, but you need to take naps the right way to not affect your ability to sleep at night. The best approach is to take naps early in the afternoon (preferably before 3:00 p.m.), and limit them to 20 minutes.
4. Stop Consuming Caffeine Six Hours Before Going to Bed
The effect of caffeine can take hours to wear off. Also, keep in mind that coffee isn’t the only source of caffeine. Chocolate, protein bars, and many sodas and teas also contain caffeine.
5. Create an Environment Conductive to Sleeping
Make sure your room is as comfortable as possible. Dim the lights, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow, use a humidifier if the air is dry and causing you discomfort, if you have a television in your bedroom remove it, etc.
6. Turn off Electronic Devices an Hour Before bedtime
Studies have found that the blue light emitter electronic devices can shift your internal clock, making it hard for you to sleep.
7. Exercise Every Day
“If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep,” says Max Hirshkowitz, PhD
8. Create and Follow an Evening Routine
Following a consistent nighttime routine can help you ease your way into sleep. Brainstorm a few ideas of activities that will help you to wind down, and do them every night in the same order and starting around the same time.
Reading a novel, taking a hot bath, practicing yoga, etc can help you relax and sleep better.
Do You Have to Wake Up At 5:00 A.M.?
Many people share the common assumption that early risers are more productive. But studies show that the connection is one of correlation, not causation.
Early risers are usually productive, but it’s not because they wake up early. However, early risers act with intention. They decide to get up early with a purpose in mind.
So, even though waking up early alone isn’t necessarily going to make you more productive, becoming an early riser has many advantages.
The following are some of them:
#1. You’ll Enjoy Peace and Quiet
Because the majority of people aren’t early risers, you’ll be able to savor peace and quiet at home before your family wakens, or at your workplace before anyone else arrives.
#2. You’ll Experience Less Stress
Early risers have more time in the morning which allows them to get things done without feeling rushed. They can relax as they go through their morning routine as they know that they’ll reach their work place, or wherever they need to be, on time.
#3. You’ll enjoy a Real Breakfast
People, usually, eat poorly in the morning because they’re rushing and don’t have time to fix themselves a nutritious meals. They end up eating frozen waffles, muffins, or breakfast cereals that contains highly-processed sugar, only to experience a mid-morning crash that typically follows a high-sugar breakfast.
When you become an early riser, you can take the time to scramble a few eggs, for example, enjoy some oatmeal, eat some fruit, etc.
#4. You’ll get More Work Done
Waking up early will also allow you extra time to get some work done. It could be work for your own, job, business, or a side hustle. You’ll have the tranquility you need to focus on your work.
5 Steps to Creating a Perfect Morning Routine
There’s no right morning routine. It all depends on your intentions and your goals.
But the following are 10 steps than essential to enjoying a quality morning routine.
Step 1: Identify Your “Why”
Having a strong purpose will make it easier to stick to your routine and sustain from hitting the snooze button. This is why the first step to create your ideal routine is to define your purpose so you can build habits around it.
Here are some examples of goals:
- Feel more relaxed
- Be more productive
- Feel healthier
- Become fit
- Show up at work on time
Step 2: Select Habits That Align With Your Goals
After determining your purpose or the goals you want to achieve from setting a quality morning routine, you need to build habits that will support these goals.
For example, if you want to feel more energetic, the following activities will help you realize that goal:
- Drink a glass of water
- Exercise or go for a morning jog
- Eat a high-protein breakfast
- Take a cold shower
Or suppose you’d like to have a more positive mindset, the following habits can help you with that:
- Read a chapter from an inspiring book
- Listen to a motivational podcast
- Write a list of things for which you’re grateful
- Write in your personal journal
Whatever your goal is, the most important thing is to build habits that will help you achieve them.
Step 3: Determine How Much Time You Need
Start with identifying the things that needs to get done before heading off to work, and estimate how much time each activity requires.
Here’s an example of how breaking down activities can be done (working backward):
30 minutes – commute from home to your office
5 minutes – say goodbye to your family
20 minutes – prepare and eat breakfast
15 minutes – get dressed (and apply makeup)
20 minutes – shower and fix hair
10 minutes – use the bathroom, wash face, and brush teeth
The process will require 1 hour and 40 minutes. So if you have to be at your office at 9:00 a.m., you’ll need to set your alarm no later than 7:20 a.m.
This is the minimum waking up time to which you need to add the time required to go through your new morning routine.
Step 4: Start Small
Making huge, radical changes will set you up to fail.
Instead, try adding your chosen activities one at a time. So, for example, during the first week, try focusing on waking up earlier and doing some stretching exercises for five minutes. The next week wake up even earlier and fix yourself a healthy breakfast, and so on.
Also expect not to wake up immediately and to waste some time on social media at the beginning. This isn’t a matter of willpower as much as it is a matter of incorporating new habits, which usually takes some time, before it become automatic and effortless.
Step 5: Familiarize Yourself with Habit Stacking
The key to establishing any new habit is to have a reliable trigger that’s going to prompt you to take a particular action. This trigger, automatically and without having to think about it, stimulates the urge to act in a given way.
For example, if you want to start flossing, and you normally brush your teeth before going to be, the act of brushing your teeth (a deeply-rooted habit) can serve as the trigger to floss (a new habit) afterwards.
Habit stacking is a series of acts that happen in a predefined sequence. Each habit serves as the trigger for the activity following it.
Here’s an example of a sequence of morning activities:
- Wake up
- Turn alarm clock off
- Get out of bed
- Brush teeth
- Use restroom
- Take shower
- Blow-dry hair
- Apply makeup
- Get dressed
Each of these activities serve as a trigger for the next one, and this is why you find yourself going over the same routine without thinking about it.
Here’s what to do: review the list of habits you want to incorporate into your morning routine and play around with their order.
Some activities will logically follow others, like when you exercise, you’ll want to shower afterwards. Others, you’ll need to arrange into a workable stack where you start with strong habits you’ve already adopted, and build upon them. Like journaling (a new habit) right after you make your coffee (a deeply-rooted habit).
Write It Down
Write down your morning routine instead of trusting your memory. You’ll save yourself the energy it takes to remember the next activity and you’ll feel more inclined to perform your morning routine.
Adjust Your Routine to Accommodate New Goals
Nothing stays the same. As your life changes, so should your morning routine.
You might have more responsibilities and so you have less time to go through your morning habits, or your goals and focus are changing.
For example, your current routine could be designed to help you lose weight and is filled with many types of cardiovascular exercise to effect that outcome. Suppose that now you’ve reached your target weight, so you no longer need to lose weight but you want to maintain it. So you might replace it with yoga, or taking a walk, etc.
The point is that you need to update your morning routine to accommodate the new change.
Morning Routine of Highly-Successful People
Your morning routine should be unique to you and set up to accommodate your own goals.
But here are morning routines of highly-successful people to inspire from:
#1. Tony Robbins’s Priming Technique
Tony Robbins doesn’t just conduct seminars. He coaches high-performance athletes, top executives, and even high-profile investment advisors.
Robbins calls his morning routine “priming”. Here are three components to his ritual:
2. Conveying gratitude
3. Praying / Meditating
Tony Robbins practices a yoga exercise called “Kapalabhati Pranayama” that hones breath control. He Sits upright, breathes in deeply through his nostrils, and then exhales through his mouth in a short burst. He performs three sets of 30 breaths every morning.
After that, Robbins takes a few moments to express his gratitude about three specific things in his life. He notes that it’s difficult to be anxious, angry, or resentful when you feel grateful for something.
After expressing his gratitude, he asks God for strength to get through the day and fulfill his responsibilities. He also prays for everyone he knows, from his family to his clients.
#2. Tim Ferriss’s 5-Part Regimen
Tim Ferriss is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller The 4-Hour Workweek. He’s built an empire around the 4-Hour brand, authoring several other books, giving public talks, and maintaining a popular podcast and blog.
In his book the Tools of Titans, Ferriss details the morning routines of the world’s most successful people. He experimented with these routines and eventually settled on five:
1. Making his bed
Ferriss starts off every morning by making his bed. It gives him a sense of control.
After making his bed, he practices transcendental meditation for 21 minutes. He spends the first 60 seconds getting into the right frame of mind. The next 20 minutes are spent reciting a mantra that helps him to clear his head.
Afterwards, Ferriss exercises for 30 seconds. He usually performs pushups and dips.
Next, Ferriss hydrates with a pot of pu-ehr tea (a fermented black tea). He adds coconut oil or caprylic acid, claiming that the brain craves the type of fat found in both.
Finally, Ferriss spends five to 10 minutes journaling. He reviews his accomplishments and expresses gratitude. He calls this activity “therapeutic intervention.”
#3. Richard Branson’s “Full Throttle“ Morning
Richard Branson is the head of one of the largest business entities in the world (the Virgin Group). His companies operate in a variety of sectors, from travel and entertainment to healthcare. Branson played an instrumental role in launching nearly all of them.
So it’s not surprising that he considers his morning routine vital to his success.
His routine is comprised of three basic practices:
1. Wake up early
3. Spend time with family
Branson wakes up at 5:00 a.m. every morning. He confesses that he’s been an early riser for most of his life, and claims that much of his productivity is the result of this habit.
Once he’s out of bed, exercises. Exercise differs for Branson depending on his location and mood. On some days, he prefers playing tennis. Other days, he favors swimming and jogging. On still other days, he enjoys kitesurfing.
Following his morning exercise, Branson enjoys spending time with his family. Doing so puts him in a healthy state of mind and empowers him to meet his day’s business-related challenges.
Did I miss anything?
Now I’d like to hear from you.
Which techniques from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite techniques.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now!
Wondering what to read next?
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- 6 New Skills to Learn to Advance in Your Career
- How To Get More Done While Avoiding Burnout?
- 10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity: How to Accomplish More & Have More Time
- Top 15 Productivity Tips to Achieve More and Create Peace of Mind
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Portions of this article were adapted from the book:
Morning © 2017 by Damon Zahariades. All rights reserved.