I’m always drawn to articles with titles like “18 Habits of Highly Successful People” or “14 Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Everyday.” Even though they’re usually not that interesting, the articles do contain some helpful tips. Having a consistent morning routine is almost always at the top of any “How to be Successful” list and now I know why.
Last summer I was determined to establish a regular morning routine. Nearly a year later, I can confidently say that I have a consistent morning routine that I absolutely love.
A successful morning routine contains a set of activities to ground and center yourself before the busyness of the day begins. The activities usually revolve around the physical (body), the emotional (mind), and the spiritual (spirit).
I’ve been a morning person for as long as I can remember. I’ve been that person at spin class at 6am. In high school rather than staying up all night to finish a project, I would wake up at 4am to finish. My whole family thrives in the wee hours of the morning. In a perfect world, I would go to bed at 9am and wake up at 5am every single day. Since getting married, I’ve become less and less a morning person. Unfortunately, it’s not very realistic. Because Tony and I both work in the music business, we have to work a lot of late nights. We also live in the Pacific Northwest and all I want to do is sleep on those cold and dark, winter mornings.
There’s just something about mornings. The smell of the air is different. It’s cool and the earth feels calm. It’s quieter and I adore the sound of birds chirping.
I used to always want to be that person that gets up, puts on workout clothes, and immediately goes to exercise. Overtime, I’ve found that working out first thing in the morning leaves me a little bit anxious. Instead, I now enjoy slow mornings and a morning routine that I’ve crafted specifically for me. It’s my favorite part of the day and I’ve found it makes my whole day better.
When I choose not to treat myself to quiet time first thing in the morning, my day is almost always less calm and focused. I’ve found that I can always fit a 30-minute routine as long as I make it a priority. No matter how crazy the day might get, I will always have a peaceful morning to look back on. It has helped decrease my stress and anxiety levels immensely and I’m much more focused throughout the day. When I’m tempted to skip my morning routine, I remind myself that I’m better able to care for the people I love when I start with me.
My Morning Routine
1. Lemon Water
As soon as I wake up, I head to the sink and immediately fill my electric kettle with water and turn it on. Then I drink a big glass of water while waiting for my water to heat up. I usually just stand in the kitchen looking out the window in a daze. When my water reaches a warm temperature, I pour it in my favorite polka dot mug and add the juice of a 1/4 of a lemon.
I think I once read somewhere that drinking lemon water on an empty stomach is good for you. While I don’t do it just because someone said to do so, I have found that I enjoy the acidity and warm water first thing in the morning. I don’t really know. It just makes me feel good.
2. Pray & Meditate
I usually hold the warm mug in my hands while I sit on a yoga block at the front of my yoga mat. I also put a blanket around me if it’s cold. The yoga block helps my hips and back open up since they usually feel tight in the morning. I turn on my headspace app and begin my daily meditation.
Right now I’m on day 24 of the Headspace “Self Esteem” 30-day pack. Guided meditation has really helped me stick to a consistent routine. I do it for 10 minutes and then I like to sit there and pray/meditate a little bit more.
3. Move My Body
Next, I like to move my body in whatever way feels good. It always changes. Since I don’t always have a lot of time, I usually just do a little bit of stretching. When I have more time, I love to do several sun salutations or go on a walk. Sometimes I just move my neck around in circles. I just do what my body tells me to do.
Around the same time I started practicing a consistent morning routine, I discovered bullet journaling. I don’t have a fancy bullet journal. Mine is a $5 journal from Home Goods. I also don’t follow any specific prompts. I just write exactly what I want when I want in whatever order I want. It’s great and makes sense in my organized and slightly scattered brain.
Right now I have a page where I write down 5 things I’m grateful for every single day. I also have a daily habits check-off page. The 6 things in my morning routine are listed there. I’ve found that my mental, physical, and spiritual health is the best when I do these 6 things every single day. The check-off list helps keep me on track. I also have a prayer journal where I keep track of things I’m praying for. It’s been a deeply faith building practice to help me to see God’s hand in my life.
5. Read Scriptures
After journaling, I like to take out my scriptures and read at least a few verses. When I have more time, I like to read several chapters and study for longer. Right now I’m reading through the Book of Mormon. Sometimes I like to just open to a random page in my scriptures and let it take me somewhere. I enjoy reading a little bit every morning. It keeps me grounded in my faith and focused on what matters most in my life.
6. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
I’ll never understand those people who don’t eat breakfast. Whether it’s a green smoothie or waffles, one thing is always the same: I always, always, always eat a really good breakfast! I was blessed to have a mom that made me breakfast every single morning of my life until I left for college at 18 years-old. It’s been instilled in me to start the day by nourishing my body.
How To Start Your Own
Perhaps now you’re feeling like you’d love to start your own morning routine. I know not all of us can devote 30 minutes to ourselves first thing in the morning, especially if you have little kiddos needing all of your attention. Even just a 5 minute routine that you repeat every single day can help prepare you for a successful day.
1. Make a List
Start by writing down all of the activities you would do first thing in the morning if you had all of the time in the world. Make a list of those things that bring you joy. Try and fulfill all 3 categories: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
2. Test it Out
Take one week and practice the different activities on your list every day. Discover what feels the best and repeat those for several days. Cross anything off of your list that doesn’t work for you. Use your intuition to discover what feels best to you!
3. Write it Down
After a week of discovering what works best for you, write down a final list and keep it posted on the fridge, bulletin board, journal, or anywhere else you’ll see it often. The list will serve as a reminder to give yourself a little bit of time to center yourself each day.
Give a little bit of time to yourself every single morning to go through your list. If you miss a day, a week, or a month, don’t beat yourself up and forget it all-together. Just wake up the next day and begin again.
Now go out there and have a great day. You deserve it.