In case you can’t tell, I’m passionate about my morning routine.
In my dream world, I would hop out of bed every morning at 5 am and conquer the world before noon. There are a few reasons I don’t do that — specifically, when I do wake up at five in the morning, I usually crash by about seven in the evening, and that’s not a realistic time for me to go to bed. But I do love utilizing my mornings and making the most of my time before the world gets busy around me, so I keep testing morning routines.
This week, I’m trying the internet’s best hacks to become a morning person and maybe I’ll find the secret to success.
I can go without many luxuries in life, but I cannot go without some form of my morning routine.
My current routine takes about 3-5 hours and already incorporates many elements that most successful people swear by for the mornings. But again, it takes 3-5 hours, and I don’t think that’s a sustainable amount of time to need every morning.
I currently have my routine down to an art — I wake up, do yoga, walk 2 miles, listen to a news podcast, do my quiet time, take a barre class, jump in the shower, then get breakfast by noon.
While I love my routine, I know there are ways I should improve on it.
So I researched what the most successful people do in the mornings to get their day off to the best start.
Morning Habits of Successful People
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After doing a bit of research online, I found millions of morning routines. Everyone seems to have cracked the code for finding success before the sun rises. While I’d love to try a different routine every morning, I’d also like to find or create one successful chain of events that I can incorporate into my everyday.
Initially, I was going to take three elements I saw everywhere and build a routine from that.
1. Make a to-do list the night before.
This will eliminate any element of surprise and confusion for the morning. I can prepare for the next day knowing exactly what is expected of me and what I need to be ready for.
2. Get moving and be mindful.
All the best routines suggest movement and meditation be at the top of your morning routine. Movement gets your blood flowing and your energy going, and mindfulness allows you to begin the day in a healthy headspace, rather than being glued to your phone or opening up work emails first thing.
3. Begin your mornings at night.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success in the morning is to prepare at night. Don’t go to sleep late and be forced to sleep in the next day, don’t drink caffeine after one in the afternoon, don’t take naps throughout the day, and don’t binge-watch TikTok in your bed all night.
Day 1: Throw Everything Into the Melting Pot and Feel Like a Failure
The first morning I tried this was discombobulated and messy. I’m not going to lie, I felt like a failure right off the bat. The first thing was that I didn’t wake up at 5 am on the dot. I actually slept in until 7 am. I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a repeat of the 5 am challenge and I didn’t need to get up early to have a successful morning routine, but I still felt like a failure for some reason.
I also had some circumstances the night before that were out of my control. Even though I was in bed by 9:30, my neighbors were having a party and there’s only so much you can do when the rest of the world is up and you want to sleep.
But I think the biggest part that I felt let me down in a way was that I didn’t add too much to my pre-established routine. Nothing was too different from what I already do. I always make a to-do list on Sunday nights, and every morning, I do yoga and meditation, first thing. I was more mindful today and didn’t touch my phone until I got out of bed, to avoid an hour of scrolling, but otherwise, this morning was pretty normal.
I think I’m going to go back to the drawing board and stick with the basic idea of the morning routine, but add different elements to it that I don’t do as regularly.
Day 2: Center on Mindfulness
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Today, I let go of all my other morning goals and focused solely on mindfulness.
Focusing completely on mindfulness in the morning takes time. I woke up earlier than I usually do and thought my morning would go by in a flash. I even got out of bed first thing because I decided not to touch my phone while I was still in bed.
But then I did a few mindful yoga classes and some meditation. I took my time and sat in my feelings this morning and allowed myself to just ‘be’.
I’ve gotten caught up in becoming a human doing rather than a human being from the second I wake up in the morning to when I go to bed, so this morning’s challenge saw me negating that.
I was able to use both my Headspace app and my Yours meditation app this morning to fully encompass my mindful practices. I also FaceTimed my fiancé and we talked about our feelings. Then I wrote down my daily affirmations, tracked my mood in my journal, and wrote an entry in my other journal.
Yes, this morning did take longer than I might have liked, and it dragged a bit in some places, but I felt more grounded than before, and now I don’t feel as rushed this morning.
Day 3: Movement
The first thing I do every morning is yoga. I love to get those early morning cricks and cracks out of the way before anything else. I continue with my workout routine throughout the morning (hence the 5 hours), but this morning, I focused solely on movement, first thing.
I’m not going to lie, getting out of bed this morning was harder because I knew this routine would take more energy out of me. I chose energizing yoga practices this morning and focused on how my body felt during each of the movements and what made me feel good. I also made a few phone calls and turned them into a walking meeting as I started to do laps around my house during them.
Day 4: Communication and Community
I knew this one would be a challenge, but thankfully, everything lined up well for me.
Usually, my mornings are the only time when I’m really quiet and present with myself. By about noon, the only time I’ve had a conversation is to talk to my cat. But my fiancé and I spent the weekend with his family, so there was no shortage of people to talk to.
I planned to wake up, talk to some friends, then maybe get coffee with my fiancé and his mom. As luck would have it, there was a tornado warning and the entire family was in the basement for a good chunk of the morning.
While it wasn’t the best of circumstances, it was nice to be around people and exchange my usual routine for one centered around community. This routine made me very aware of how often I’m goal-oriented and self-oriented rather than people-oriented. It helped me reframe my mindset and have a positive outlook on the rest of the day.
Day 5: Productivity
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I was iffy about this routine the night before, too, but I ended up loving it.
I was mostly concerned because I have a very performance-oriented mindset. While I’m learning not to judge or reward myself based on what I do, but rather who I am, it’s hard for me to completely ignore all of my accomplishments. So I reframed my idea of productivity.
While I did work and knocked things off of my to-do list this morning, I also kept the idea of mindfulness throughout my routine. I didn’t want to cross things off or add them to my list just so I would feel accomplished. I wanted to actually do things, no matter how difficult, uncomfortable, or long they would be.
I did my workout, getting one step closer to finishing my fitness goal for the month. I also finished a book I fell in love with. I worked a bit and finished a few things that I’d been putting off. I also called my internet company to talk about a payment issue, but they were closed today, and honestly, that’s for the best.
I felt extremely accomplished by the time this morning was over, but I also didn’t feel run down or burnt out. I did just enough to cross some big things off my list, but not so much that I couldn’t work the rest of the day without feeling exhausted.
Day 6: Cleanse
This morning’s focus was all about cleansing my life, and I needed it. Going into this challenge, I knew that my 5-hour morning routine wasn’t going to cut it for much longer, so today’s focus was on cleansing my life and my morning of all those extra little annoying bits that tend to weigh me down.
I loved this routine. I woke up, did some yoga, mostly focusing on cleansing twists, but cut it short because there was no need for me to take another hour to stretch. I also meditated. I know I meditated when I did the mindfulness section of this challenge, but today’s meditation had more of a mind-cleansing focus. I was so calmed by the meditation that I took a little nap on my yoga mat during it. So it was very successful.
But this morning was also about getting rid of the small things that had been weighing me down in my life. Before I did anything else, I started my laundry and made a list of all the things I wanted or needed to get done today. I can often get so distracted adding to this little list that I don’t actually get any of the big things done, so I made it my mission to do all the little things before I started on the big ones. And I loved it.
Day 7: Mixing It All Together
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It was the last day, so I broke my morning into each separate element I’ve practiced this week. For yoga, I focused on moving mindfully with no distractions. I then meditated and focused on my mind/body connection and how I felt. Afterward, I did some work and some cleaning — both being the productivity and cleansing sections. I also called my fiancé and talked to my friends this morning to keep up with communication.
It was more exhausting than other mornings, but I also felt like I accomplished more because I allowed myself to do everything I could today.
I don’t know if it was better to mix them all up and really focus on what each element was allowing me to feel, but I did like the earlier days where there was only one specific purpose to every morning.
My Morning Habits Review
I initially thought I would gravitate to a certain morning routine once I separated them into sections. But I honestly enjoyed each section so much for what it was.
I could see myself doing something very similar to this weekly rotating routine in the future. I love that it didn’t put all the pressure on every day to do everything, but instead, it sectioned the days off.
I loved every day for what it presented to me and what I was able to accomplish because of it. If you feel overwhelmed by your morning routine or if it feels unfocused or disjointed, I would suggest focusing all your attention on one element and seeing what, if anything, stands out to you!
Do you have a morning routine you love? What are the elements you have to include every day to feel good? Comment below!
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