I don’t particularly like mornings. I wish I liked mornings, I really do! I’ve dreamt of being a morning person, but I’m not going to pretend anymore. I like nights better! Once the sun goes down, something inside me wakes up. Mornings, on the other hand, are a constant struggle. But I have learned to make peace with my mornings. Mostly because I had to. And I want you to learn how to thrive even when you have to get up early! Here is how to create a morning routine AND stick to it – even if you are a night owl.
It’s survival, really. And who doesn’t want to have a good day? Learn to work with your mornings, instead of fighting against them!
The Importance of a Morning Routine
Unfortunately for me (and night owls everywhere), mornings matter! How I start my day has a huge impact on the entire rest of my day. If I get up right away when my alarm goes off and then move my body and continue on calmly, that peaceful feeling carries through the rest of my day. But when I snooze and drag or get sucked first thing into nonsense on my phone – I feel off for the whole rest of the day: distracted, unfocused, and tired.
Make peace with your mornings (and stop sabotaging your day) by putting in the effort to create and establish a morning routine that works FOR you, instead of against you.
“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.” -Mark Twain
What is Your Ideal Morning?
I’d like you to imagine if you can, what your perfect morning would look like. Please don’t just say “sleeping” (I hear ya). If you knew that no matter what time you woke up, you would be well-rested and ready to get up, what would your perfect morning look like?
- Would you go out for a run? Do yoga? Sit on a balcony and sip coffee? Go to a rave?
- What would it feel like? Calm? Peaceful? Energized? Exciting?
- Is there something you’ve always wished you had time to do in the morning? Something you think would make a big difference for you, but you’ve just never been able to find the time or energy for?
Take a minute and imagine your perfect morning. It’s not rushed or stressed and you have time to do everything you want to do. What do you do? Do you take a long shower? Go for a run before breakfast? Sit and have a quiet chat with your partner over coffee? Spend a quiet hour writing? What feels good to you?
I want you to get as clear a mental picture as possible of what your perfect morning would look like. Then get a piece of paper and write down every single bit of it. Include as much detail as you can. Paint a vivid colorful picture of what your mornings could look like.
Don’t skip this step! It’s important! You can’t make meaningful changes until you know where you want to end up. You need to have a destination in mind before you can figure out to get there! Don’t move on until you have that magical morning all figured out and visualized in your mind.
Mornings don’t HAVE to be so painful you know. That’s not to say that you’re going to wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly have all the time and energy to do everything that you’ve written down, but you have to know what you want from your mornings and what’s important to you before you can make it happen. Right now you’re just dreaming and imagining what could be. You can figure out the logistics later.
What To Do if You Are Always Rushing in the Morning
Everyone knows that mornings can get a little chaotic. If you barely have enough time now to get yourself ready to go, how can you find time to do anything else?
Remember that there is a difference between chaotic and busy. Would you rather be rushed and frantic and running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Or would you rather feel calm, at ease, and flowing? It’s up to you!
Get Up Earlier
I’ll be honest, I have a cozy relationship with my snooze button. But I’ve learned that there is a direct correlation between how many times I hit that button and my energy level after I get up. Just the idea of setting my alarm a little early so that I have extra time in the morning can feel exhausting!
But when it comes down to it, the IDEA of getting up early always ends up being worse than actually doing it. And the first couple days are the hardest by far – once you get into the habit of it your body adjusts quickly. And having even a little bit of extra time is the key to having an unrushed morning.
When you don’t have enough time in the morning:
- You are behind from the start
- You are rushing to get out of the door on time
- Any little unforeseen hiccup becomes a big deal
Does that sound like a nice morning? How do you think the rest of the day is going to go after a morning like that?
Do yourself a favor and just get up a little earlier. Grit your teeth and make yourself get up when that alarm goes off. Put your alarm clock in another room so you can’t hit snooze if you have to. It gets easier with time, I promise! Give yourself the gift of a beautiful morning.
Start Your Day Off Right
Giving yourself extra time in the morning is HUGE, but it won’t help you if you don’t know what you want to do with that time! So the next step is to think about what you WANT to do AND what you DON’T WANT to do in the mornings.
Routines are helpful, but we want to make sure they are the right routines! It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same things just because that’s what you’re used to doing. But it is really what you want to be doing? Is it the best use of your time and energy? Is it supporting you and your goals?
Don’t Try to Do Too Many Things in the Morning
What we don’t want to do is try to cram as much as possible into your precious morning time. That may work if you have a looming deadline you are trying to meet, but as a long-term strategy – well, it falls apart pretty fast. YOU fall apart pretty fast. It isn’t sustainable.
Try to pare down your to-do list for the morning as much as possible. Only include the things you absolutely must do AND the things that will enable you to start your day in a way that’s consistent with your larger goals. The point is to have a relaxed and nourishing morning, not to rush from task to task.
Save Your Mornings for What’s Really Important
Instead of thinking about how many things you can cram into your mornings, think instead about what the best use is of your time in the morning. Compare your current morning with your ideal morning.
What are you currently doing in the morning that you wouldn’t do on your ideal morning? Is it a necessary evil or something you cut out?
- Where can you find a few extra minutes?
- What can be set aside or rearranged?
- What can you do ahead of time?
Making small changes here can add up really quickly! 5 min here, 10 min there, and all of a sudden you have an extra 30 min (even without getting up any earlier!)
To help you find more things that you can stop doing in the morning, look for the following things:
- Busy work
- Old habits
- Things that don’t need to be done every single day
- Tasks that can be done later in the day
- Tasks that can be done by someone else
Again, these little chunks of time can add up really fast, especially when we’re talking about limited morning time! Don’t discount anything as being too small to make a difference.
Add in Nourishing Habits to Your Morning Routine
Try to add at least 1 new habit into your morning routine that supports you and nourishes you and helps you start your day peacefully. Keep it simple to start! You want it to be something short and easy that you can commit to doing every day. Once it becomes second nature you can with more.
Here are 9 nourishing morning habit ideas:
- Something that gets your body moving
- Drinking a whole glass of water
- Gentle stretching or yoga
- Something that gets your heart rate up
- 1 thing that makes you happy
- Sing a song
- Read something meaningful
Now Put it All Together to Create Your New Morning Routine
So far you’ve:
- Fleshed out your ideal morning
- Picked out things that you don’t want or need to do any more
- Found extra time in your existing mornings
- Identified at least 1 nourishing morning habit that you can commit to every day
Now it’s time to put it all together into a game plan for your new normal. Start with the things that are the most important to you and decide when during the morning you want to get them done.
If you want to exercise, do you want to do it first thing, before a shower or breakfast?
If you want to meditate, do you want to do it before or after a cup of coffee?
If you want to spend time journaling, do you want to do it before anyone else gets up in the morning?
Whatever it is that you most want to get done in the morning, decide when would be the best place in your overall routine for that to happen.
Now organize the rest of your morning tasks around those primary tasks. Don’t be afraid to completely mix up your current routine! Just because you’ve always done things in a particular order doesn’t mean that that’s the best order.
Keep in mind that your new plan isn’t set in stone! Just because it works in theory doesn’t mean that it is going to work well for you in practice. Don’t be afraid to adjust and change your routine whenever you need to. Whenever you first implement a new routine, plan on some time for tweaking the details and making adjustments. Sometimes a little trial and error is what you need in order to figure things out.
Make Your New Routine a Habit
Keep in mind that changing routines and undoing old habits is hard! It doesn’t happen automatically; you have to put in focused effort! It will take time for you to adjust to a new routine and for it to become a habit.
Put your new morning plan into writing and put it up somewhere where you can’t forget about it (like on your bathroom mirror). This will remind you of your intentions and help you stay motivated so that you don’t fall back into your old patterns.
The first couple of weeks sticking to a new routine is the hardest. You have to push through with sheer willpower until it becomes a habit. But if you put in that hard work, it WILL become automatic and then you can turn all of that energy and focus to other purposes.
I always find that here’s a sweet spot when I am most likely to give up on a new habit or routine. When I first start, I’m very excited and motivated… but after a week or so, it starts to get harder. And that’s the danger zone – that’s when you have to dig in and make yourself keep going, especially on the days when you really don’t want to. Those are the days that will make or break your habit. Once you start skipping something it just ends up getting skipped more and more frequently, and eventually, it’ll just get dropped altogether.
Promise yourself that you will stick with your new routine for 21 days before you give up! If after that time you really want to stop – then stop! It’s ok if it’s just not working for you and you need to try something new – but be sure that you are stopping because it’s the right thing for you, not because you can’t muster the willpower to follow through.
Take Time To Review Your Morning Routine Regularly
This final step is the one that’s going to make or break the success of your new morning routine: regular review. Once you’ve settled into a new routine, it’s normal to check-out mentally and keep on mindlessly doing the same thing. But you need to take the time out to evaluate and reassess!
Any routine can help you streamline processes, and save time and mental energy. But only if it is in alignment with what you want. As we grow and change, we need to evaluate our habitual patterns and update or toss them. It’s better to have no routine than to have a counterproductive one.
Circumstances change. Lives change. People change. Goals change. Let your morning routine change with you. What worked in the past is not always going to work into the future.
Your best morning routine is going to change a lot over time (and probably even by the season!)
When you sit down to review your morning routine, ask yourself:
- Is this working? Is it working well?
If the answer is no, figure out what needs to change or be adjusted. And remember, no change is set in stone. If you’re not sure, try it out. If it doesn’t work, drop it.
There is no progress without change. Learning to embrace change and work with it instead of fighting it by adjusting your morning routine as needed.
Mornings may be a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be frantic and frustrating! Give yourself the gift of a morning routine that eliminates unnecessary stress and helps you start every day off the way YOU need.
What’s the biggest obstacle standing between you and the morning you wish you had? Tell me in the comments below!
Check Out the Rest of the Series!
This is the seventh week of our 8-week series about setting yourself up for your best year ever!
You can check out the other posts here:
- How to Prepare for the New Year [an 8-Week Plan for Your Best Year Ever]
- How To Do a Year-End Reflection [Make peace with 2020]
- How to Let Go of the Past and Move Forward Into the New Year
- What You Allow is What Will Continue
- In-Between Moments: Sitting in the Space Between Two Things
- 7 Powerful Questions to Help You Create a Vision For Your Life
- A 5-Step System for Breaking Goals Down Into Manageable Steps
- 17 Small Daily Habits to Instantly Improve Your Quality of Life
Get the Workbook!
Want to dive deeper? Get the workbook:
Make peace with 2020 and move into 2021 with grace and clarity! Transition mindfully from the old year to the new with this workbook designed to take you from frazzled in December to peaceful and focused in January! This workbook will help you dig deep, look mindfully at your journey over the past year, think about where you’re heading, and start the new year in alignment with your dream life!