It’s true that some of the most successful people wake up early and begin their day. Likely as a result, learning about the “ideal morning routine” of successful people has become a national pastime. (A few standouts: Anna Wintour’s perfect morning routine includes a 5:45AM tennis match; Jack Dorsey takes ice-cold baths; Oprah Winfrey swears by meditation in the early morning).1,2
Can the ideal morning routine really change your life? And do you really have to get up at 5:00AM to seize the day? Read on for tips and tricks to create a morning routine that is perfect for you – even if you don’t think of yourself as a morning person.
The Benefits Of A Morning Routine
If you’re like many people, when you wake up in the morning, your mind starts to race with all of the things you need to do that day. As you jump up to react to these thoughts, things you promised yourself you’d start doing, like exercising or journaling, are put off again and again.
When you have a routine in place, you give yourself space to do some of the things that you know will make you feel good. There are quite a few science-backed benefits of a healthy morning routine. Having a morning routine may:
- Increase productivity
- Support a positive mood
- Boost energy levels
- Allow you to be more present and free from worry
- Support a feeling of efficiency and control
- Lower stress levels
- Improve relationships
- Boost your confidence3,4,5,6
What Is The Perfect Morning Routine?
While one person may not feel right until they do a five-mile run in the morning, another may pat themselves on the back after a five-minute walk. Your ideal morning routine will reflect your own values and goals as they stand right now. Psst: if your morning routine makes you feel guilty or resentful, it’s not the perfect morning routine for you right now.
As a way to guide your thinking, try to come up with at least one task in these different spheres:
Ideas For Creating The Ultimate Morning Routine For You
Do Ten Minutes Of Exercise
The benefits of exercise have been well-documented. From boosting your mood, to helping with weight loss goals, strengthening muscles, supporting energy levels, and more – exercise is incredible for the human body.8 Even just ten minutes of exercise has been linked to a host of potential benefits.9,10
Try this: If you don’t already have an exercise plan in place, start with just ten minutes in the morning. Think of an activity that would bring you joy, and commit to it. Try jump roping, taking a brisk walk around the block, following an exercise app, or lifting weights.
Drink A Full Glass Of Lemon Water
Almost everyone can benefit from drinking more water. Staying hydrated helps support positive energy levels, digestion, mood, physical performance, and more.11 Adding a squeeze of lemon to your water also gives you an extra boost of vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.12
Try this: Before you sip on your morning coffee or tea, pour yourself a tall glass of lemon water.
Eat A Healthy Breakfast (Or Skip It Altogether)
If done right, your first meal of the day can help fuel your body and brain and help you feel more alert and focused.13 But many traditional breakfast foods are full of lectins and sugar. Hard pass. If you’re in the habit of grabbing a bagel, cereal, or juice in the morning, it may be the perfect time to change your breakfast routine.14
Try this: Keep an eye out for sugar or lectins in your meals, and clean up your breakfast game. Gravitate toward healthy fats and healthy greens in the morning, like green egg sausage muffins. (Check out these Gundry-approved breakfast recipes). Make a batch of “muffins” on the weekend, and enjoy one every morning. If you aren’t hungry in the morning, wait to eat until you are. There are many benefits of waiting to have your first meal of the day later.
Take Your Vitamins And Supplements
All of those healthy vitamins and supplements you’ve stocked up on? They work best if you take them. To ensure you’re giving yourself the nutrients you need to start each day on the right foot, incorporate your vitamins into your morning routine.
Try this: Take your supplements at the same time each day to help yourself form a habit. A great time to do this is right after(or with) your full glass of lemon water.
Write Out Your Short And Long-Term Goals
Working toward a tangible goal can help provide a clear sense of motivation. Tracking goals can provide you a sense of focus, confidence, and self-mastery. This can be a great way to start your day.15
Try this: Write out your big picture, long-term goals on one sheet of paper. On another, break those goals down into smaller pieces until they become short-term goals. For example, “get a six pack this year” might boil down to “do 50 crunches every morning.” “Win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction” might distill down to “write for 10 minutes every morning.”
During your morning routine, read over your long-term goals to check in with yourself. Actively keep track of your short-term goals. (Using a calendar or checklist can help with this).
Recent scientific studies have touted the benefits of journaling. It may help support mindfulness, communication skills, healthy sleep, and even the immune system.16 Writing helps us organize events in our mind and free our minds from holding on to stressors.17
Try Morning Pages, a concept that asks you to write three pages of thoughts first thing in the morning. Just pick up a pen and write whatever comes to mind.18
Read Something That Interests You (Besides A Social Media Post)
These days, we read a lot. Many of us are constantly reading emails, scrolling through social media captions, and clicking on news links on our phones. That type of reading has its purpose, sure. But you may want to consider adding a different type of reading to your routine: good old-fashioned reading for pleasure.
Try this: Pick up a physical book, and read just ten pages in the morning. If that isn’t your style, pick up the latest issue of a magazine, like the New Yorker, and dive into a long feature article. This new habit may help stimulate your brain, help you empathize with others, and build your vocabulary.19
Write Out Three Things You’re Grateful For
Research suggests that expressing gratitude can support healthy relationships, emotional wellness, mental stamina, and overall happiness.20,21
Try this: Keep a small journal (or a simple piece of paper) on your bedside table. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Before you get out of bed in the morning, think of three things you’re grateful for, and jot them down.
Hug Someone You Love
There’s no reason why your morning routine needs to be overly long or complicated. One simple action, like a hug, can put you in a positive emotional state. (And it only takes a few seconds). Hugs can trigger dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin in your brain, which can help you feel connected and relaxed.22
Try this: If you already make coffee in the morning, pour your partner a morning cup, and deliver it with a hug. Or make a green smoothie, and deliver it to your child or roommate with a hug.23 Adjust this ritual to work for your own life.
Listen To A Morning Playlist
Listening to some tunes in the morning can help you get out of bed and put you in a positive frame of mind.24,25
Try this: Make a feel-good playlist to listen to while you get ready for the day. Pump your jams while you’re making your morning smoothie, showering, or washing your face. For bonus points, dance around to get your entire body moving, too.
Meditate For 10 Minutes
Morning meditation is hugely popular these days, and for good reason – it can do a lot for your mood and overall well-being. Meditation can help support a better mood, it’s relaxing, and it might also help support a longer attention span, among other things.26,27,28
Try this: Download a meditation app on your phone, and start with just ten minutes a day. Sit quietly in a space inside your home and follow the guided meditation. Commit to meditating every morning for three weeks, and then check in with yourself to see how you feel.
Spend Time In Nature
Studies show that spending time in nature may help support balanced blood pressure and stress hormone levels. It can also enhance self-esteem and mood.29 Sounds like a great way to start your day.
Try this: Time in nature doesn’t have to be a full-day trek. As soon as you get up, walk (or drive) to the nearest park or green space, and take a short walk. Try to absorb the natural elements as much as you can – sit under a tree and listen for birds, notice the shapes of the leaves, and breathe in fresh air.
Say A Few Positive Affirmations Out Loud
Positive affirmations like, “I am worthy” and, “I’m the perfect candidate for this job” are self-help staples. And science supports their efficacy. Regular repetition of affirmations can actually trick your brain into believing them as truth. When you truly believe these positive statements, your actions may follow.30
Try this: Think about an area of your life where you are hoping to improve. Create a present-tense statement that supports the change you want to make. For example, “I can remain calm when I’m driving.” Repeat your phrase out loud for three minutes in the morning.
Sample 15-Minute Morning Routine
Now it’s time to tie it all together. Pick a few tasks, and incorporate them with things you already do to form the perfect routine for you. Here’s an example:
- Make the bed.
- Drink a full glass of water.
- Take your vitamins and supplements.
- Stretch for 5 minutes (focus on your legs and neck).
- Do a 5-minute meditation.
- Get dressed.
- Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea.31
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Now, Do It Yourself
This list represents just a small slice of positive things you can do for yourself in the morning. The trick is to build a routine that feels right for you so you can stick with it. If you hate the idea of meditating, don’t meditate. Try going on a walk outside instead. You want to piece together things that make sense for you.
Once you pick a few tasks you want to start, string them together so they become a routine. Pair them with activities you already do, so you’re more likely to follow through. For example, if you already walk your dog in the morning, make yourself a new morning playlist to listen to. If you already write out your tasks for the day, take a few extra minutes to write out things you’re grateful for, too.
Mornings are full of potential. Once you create your ideal morning routine, you may find that you can get so much more out of your day.