What’s the best morning routine?
Depending on how you identify yourself, mornings can be the best of times or the worst of times. This means that the “best morning routine” is the one that actually works for you!
I think you’ll agree that the way the morning goes can set the tone for the whole day. So how do you ensure an easeful morning that prepares you for a calm and focused day?
Establishing a routine is key to having a good morning.
Life is all about routines—whether you live for them or could live without them.
Sleeping, waking up, eating, working, exercising—you build your life around routines. In fact, you probably already have a morning routine even if you don’t realize it.
You might get up, stretch, shower, brush your teeth, get dressed…automatic things you do to get your day moving. So why not be purposeful and create a morning routine that puts you in the direction you’d like to go?
For starters, a consistent wake-up time helps you stay in sync with your circadian rhythm. A consistent bedtime sets the stage for waking up (and I’ll get back to that in a minute).
If you work out in the morning, that’s part of your routine. Hydration and regular elimination can and should be automated as habits that support moving into your day feeling light and buoyant.
When you create a purposeful routine for your mornings, it frees you to have healthy habits on autopilot so that your body and head are clear and ready to support whatever comes your way during the next part of the day.
The best morning routine is one customized to you.
You know that each individual is unique—like stars or snowflakes, no two are the same. With that in mind, you don’t need to adopt a routine that’s the same as everyone else’s. There can also be room for adjustments based on the season or your current life circumstances.
There’s no need to compare your morning routine with what others are doing if it is already helping you evolve into your next level of growth.
Just because your friend rises early and works out every single morning doesn’t mean you have to aim for their exact routine. However, you might take note that your friend’s healthy routine gives them energy, and they seem to have a greater level of resilience for the unexpected parts of their day.
Is that something you would like to cultivate? Here’s where you can get curious, rather than judgemental with yourself.
Rather than deciding to start where your friend is, you can ask yourself, “What is the next small step I can take in the mornings that will gradually take me closer to the healthy habits and the energy my friend receives from them?”
This is where the circadian rhythm and the Ayurvedic clock come into play, because your morning routine technically begins the night before.
Begin to acknowledge that a solid morning routine is unlikely to happen if you are tired or groggy. If you haven’t yet established an evening routine that consistently gets you to bed at the same time (preferably by 10 p.m.), then you’ll need to customize your evenings before you tackle your morning routine.
Once you’re in a consistent evening routine that supports your biological clock, you’ll be able to determine the best morning routine for your schedule and your body.
Evaluate what you enjoy and make a plan.
Now that you’re ready to create a morning routine that truly supports your well-being and progress with the things that are most meaningful to you, it’s time to brainstorm your options.
Work backward from the way you want to feel at a certain time of the morning.
Let’s use the example of leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. to drive to work or drop off your kids.
How do you want to feel when you pick up your keys to leave the house?
Let’s imagine that you want to feel energetic, well prepared, unrushed, and clear about what needs to happen today to move your life forward.
What needs to happen each morning for you to leave the house feeling this way at 8:00 a.m. most mornings?
Here are some ideas:
- Waking up with enough time to spend 10 or more minutes in silence
- Using a written or digital planner to see the time blocks for your day ahead
- Hydrating and eliminating so that you have cleared yesterday’s waste and your digestive tract is physically primed for a new day
- Unloading thoughts that are draining your energy by writing them down. If you have the power to take action to change something you are writing about, choose one simple next step to take that day. If it’s out of your control, get the venting out of your system and then shred the paper. Think of this as taking out your mental trash each morning.
- Clearing your energetic channels and getting your blood flowing by moving your body in sync with your breath. Examples of this could be 10 or more minutes of yoga, tai chi, pranayama (breath practice), or qigong
- Walking, cycling, or jogging in nature for cardiovascular fitness, connection to the outdoors, and positive hormonal function
- Meditation practice
Start with one keystone habit.
It takes time to establish the habits necessary to build a purposeful routine. Don’t try to reform your entire lifestyle at once, or you’ll set yourself up for frustration.
Remember, you’re aiming for progress, not perfection.
Make a list of the morning habits you already have in place and identify one that is a positive keystone habit.
Once you’ve identified your keystone habit, use it as a catalyst for a new positive habit. As you gradually build more healthy habits into your routine, you will see how your keystone habit supports better choices all day long.
Keep in mind that it takes commitment to develop a habit, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if you incorporate your new morning habit four or five days out of seven, that’s still progress from zero.
Take notice of the way you feel once your habit becomes a part of your morning routine. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishment! You deserve it and it will help your brain rewire itself to keep taking action which will help you get things on autopilot.
Your best morning routine comes from you.
Don’t be afraid to recognize and own the parts of you that make you unique. Utilize them and turn them into a customized morning routine for yourself that helps you thrive.
Before you know it, you’ll be well into the flow of healthy habits and building a lifestyle that starts with a clear, grounded morning. Your best morning routine will usher you into a smooth day—where you can experience vitality and energy all day long.
Photo credit: Alexandra Gorn