Your life is made up of day-to-day thoughts and actions. As historian and philosopher Will Durant said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Your daily routine can truly dictate your health, happiness and productivity.
Routines are important for health and can be practiced at any time of day, but the early hours are particularly wonderful for creating new habits. If you start an activity right after waking, you can do so with fresh energy and a decreased chance of getting derailed by the challenges and distractions you meet throughout the day.
Importance of Morning Routines
From Benjamin Franklin to Anna Wintour, many successful people credit their morning routines for setting them up for success. While it’s tempting to emulate the routines of people you look up to, the more important thing is having a routine that works best for your specific needs.
One study from 2019 found that routine can help improve resilience in the face of stress. Another 2019 study on the importance of creating habits and routine reported that people in good health usually have habitual behaviors, like stretching every morning or getting a consistent amount of sleep every night.
Generally speaking, regularly performing healthy activities increases the benefits of those activities. For instance, engaging in consistent physical exercise comes with many benefits including possible disease prevention, improved mood and greater energy. Practicing meditation regularly can improve mental health, and drinking water every day can help your body function better on every level.
Productivity is often attributed to intentional habits. And researchers believe good habits to be the foundation for long term achievements, such as developing healthy eating practices and reaching financial goals.
How to Build a Morning Routine
Now that you know how a morning routine can benefit your health and well-being on a holistic level, you’re probably eager to get started. But before setting the alarm clock extra early tomorrow AM, take a step back and really focus on building a plan tailored for your success.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Which activities make me feel my best?
When considering your morning routine, ask yourself: What fills me up? What gives me energy? What makes me happy? What makes me feel prepared? Then, you can begin to devise a routine based on your answers.
2. How can a morning routine help me achieve my goals?
Once you’ve defined your goals, identify actions to practice in the morning that will help you reach your objectives.
3. What makes up other people’s morning routine?
There are many accounts of the habits of successful people online and on bookshelves. Do a little digging into the things people you consider successful are doing. If something sounds like it could be helpful for your own goals, try adding the activity into your morning routine in a way that makes sense for you.
4. Is your ideal morning routine realistic?
Maybe a long hike helps you feel centered, but time-wise it may not be reasonable to incorporate into your morning routine. Keep your routine activities attainable and easy to fit into your schedule so you are more likely to stick with them.
Healthy Morning Routine Checklist
Need a little more guidance in planning your morning routine? Try selecting a couple activities from each category that resonate with you and your AM goals.
Dietary Wellness Morning Routine
Which foods and beverages can help you start the day off with healthy habits? A few activities you might want to incorporate into your morning routine include:
- Drinking a glass of water
- Drinking a warm glass of water with lemon
- Eating or drinking fresh fruits and vegetables
- Drinking a cup of herbal tea
- Mindfully taking any supplements or tinctures that are part of your regimen
- Expressing gratitude for the food on your plate
Emotional Wellness Morning Routine
Which activities make you feel grounded and clear? Which ones energize your brain and improve focus for the day? A few activities that might make sense to add to your morning routine include:
- Practicing breathwork and/or meditation
- Going on a nature walk
- Writing in your journal
- Expressing gratitude
- Reading quietly
- Engaging in introspection
- Checking in with a beloved friend or family member
Productive Morning Routine
Which activities can help you achieve your overall goals? A few activities you may want to add to your morning routine include:
- Reflecting on where you can make the most impact in your day
- Identifying challenges and potential solutions
- Creating a vision board
Physical Wellness Morning Routine
Which activities help your body feel good? What makes you feel ready to start your day with exuberance and energy? A few activities to consider building into your morning routine include:
- Taking a walk outside
- Practicing yoga or a quick cycle of sun salutations
- Heading to a group fitness class
- Stretching and/or foam rolling
How to Get the Most Out of Your Morning Routine
Even the best laid plan won’t be effective if you walk into it tired or distracted. Here are a few ways to make sure your morning routine will work for you:
- Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep has so many benefits, from boosting your immune system to maintaining a healthy weight and improving relationships. It is also important that you feel rested to take on your day. Starting your routine while groggy isn’t going to do your health or productivity any favors.
- Avoid text and work emails until after you finish your morning routine. Texts and emails can spike your stress levels and cloud a clear and focused headspace. One exception to this is if a conversation with a loved one is part of your morning routine.
- Take it slow. Trying to incorporate too many lifestyle changes at once is a recipe for failure. Start slow and add in one activity to your morning routine at a time. Once that activity begins to feel like second nature, then it’s time to add a new activity.
- Constantly review your morning routine. If an activity feels like it isn’t serving you, maybe it’s time to make adjustments in your plan. Keep in mind that what nourishes your body can change seasonally or with added work or life stress.
- Stick with your routine. Make your new habits a priority and focus on the benefits you will experience if you persevere. If you miss out on your new morning habit one day, don’t dwell on it, just jump back into the activity the next morning. Remember, habits take a long time to form!
Including a morning routine into your daily schedule can help you become healthier, happier and more productive. The great news is you can begin a morning habit at any time—so why not start tomorrow?
Become a Health Coach
Are you interested in learning how you can help others create healthy habits? Join HCI’s Become a Health & Life Coach program to learn about health, wellness, diet and nutrition. For those looking to make a career shift, you can begin coaching in as little as six months. If you’re already a coach and want to advance your skills, check out HCI’s Coach Mastery program. Feel free to get in touch with one of our clarity coaches directly by calling 1-800-303-2399.