There’s a reason so many articles are written about the morning routines of highly successful people! The best way to have a productive day is to start off strong. This doesn’t mean you have to accomplish a million things by 9 am. An effective morning routine is intentional, well thought out and tailored to your personal needs and goals.
Listed below are some of the most highly recommended habits successful people incorporate into their morning routines daily. Don’t feel like this is a suggestion to take on all of these! Your routine should never be overwhelming or feel like a chore. It’s meant to make you feel refreshed, focused and ready to take on the day! Taking on more than you can realistically commit to can actually be detrimental to your productivity. A more achievable goal would be to choose 3-4 of these activities and make them daily habits. If you’ve never had a structured morning routine before, 2-3 is a more attainable number and you can always work your way up to 4 if you’re feeling ambitious.
1. Create a to-do list.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed or stuck, weighed down by the number of things you have to do? Let’s be honest, who hasn’t felt overwhelmed on a Monday?! It might sound counterintuitive but making a to-do list is one of the most helpful things you can do in these situations. I live by my to-do list, especially when things are busy and seem unattainable. Once you write out the things you need to do, you might be surprised to find the list isn’t as overwhelming as it seemed in your mind. I know I do!
Once you have your list written out, prioritize the top three.
These are your non-negotiables, the things you have to accomplish, no matter what. Add a fourth if you must but only if it really needs to be done that day. If you finish more items than the three you’ve prioritized, congratulations! If not, give yourself grace.
Remember, these were not your priority for a reason and they can be done tomorrow. Do NOT feel guilty. Not even Oprah can do everything on her to-do list in one day!
2. Get moving.
Endorphins, need I say more? In case I do, let me quote the great legal mind of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” They also make you strong, energized and ready to take on the world!
How you get active is really up to you. If you aren’t a morning person, a practice like yoga that focuses on being present and connecting with yourself might be more your speed.
I love early morning yoga for the stretch and mindfulness it provides! However, if you’re the type who jumps right out of bed, maybe you’re ready to hit the ground running (pun intended)! Don’t worry about how you’re getting active. You’ll never regret the workout you choose, only the workout you didn’t do.
Strapped for cash but want to get in shape? No problem. Check out our article on 5 Ways to Exercise on a Budget.
3. Practice self-care.
Self-care is such a buzzword these days but, whatever you want to call it, it’s so important to do something for yourself in the morning. This can look however you want it to! Ask yourself: if I had an extra fifteen minutes in my day, what would I do with it? Unless it’s sleep (because lack of sleep is more than a routine can fix), do that!
Read that book you’ve had sitting unopened on your nightstand for over a month. (Here are a list of our favorite self-help and personal empowerment books for women!)
Get up 15 minutes early to enjoy that cup of coffee on the front porch. Take a relaxing, leisurely bubble bath instead of a quick shower. Even Mondays seem less daunting when you feed your soul first.
I recently became more intentional about reading at least one personal development book a month. By adding this to my morning routine, I’ve been able to not only exceed this goal but also feel a sense of accomplishment before my day truly begins.
4. Say your daily affirmations.
You are strong. You are beautiful. You are enough.
If reading these made you instinctively doubt these things about yourself, add affirmations to your morning routine ASAP girl! In a world of picture-perfect social media pages, it can be hard not to compare or feel less than those glamorous insta influencers. Affirmations not only help shift mindsets and perspectives to more positive ones but they can also help people create the realities we envision for ourselves.
Strong affirmations are written in the first person, evoke emotional responses, convey positivity and are written in the present tense. It’s important to write them in the present tense because you are working to reset your subconscious mind. Therefore, if you say you “are” something instead of you “will be” something, you are more likely to exhibit the characteristics and follow the actions of a person who has already achieved their goal. My current personal favorite (thanks to Rachel Hollis) is, “I am made for more.” More dreams. More passion projects. More success.
5. Practice meditation.
Meditation has a number of health benefits that will likely lead to increased productivity: reduces strength and anxiety, strengthens memory, improves sleep and enhances self-awareness. Because meditation is a process used to train your mind to focus and redirect thoughts, it’s especially effective in helping to set your intentions and mindset for the rest of your day.
There are so many great guided meditations online! I have been loving the ones on the Yoga with Adriene YouTube page. She has guided meditations for morning and night, from mental balance and grounding to anxiety. The best part of meditation? It can be done anywhere! Namaste.
Also: Check out our interview with Adriene here.
6. Write in your journal.
Journaling is an incredibly effective way of processing your thoughts and feelings, many of which you might not even know are present. If you get stuck, just start writing. Whether you write what you ate for dinner the night before or start making a grocery list, just one line will get your thoughts going. Just let the pen flow wherever your mind takes it: no need to worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar!
Journaling can be especially beneficial when paired with one of the above activities such as meditation, being active or self-care. It’s not uncommon for people to have some of their deepest revelations while working out, doing yoga or reading a personal development book. I almost always take a few moments after my personal development reading to journal and reflect on what I’ve read. Releasing these ideas and putting them on paper allows me to clear my mind for the day ahead!
Remember, whichever of these items you choose, your morning routine is yours and yours alone. It is personally designed to give you the comfort of knowing each day, you will be participating in activities that create a state of calm and contentment.