Updated: Mar 9, 2021
I am not good at mornings. Actually, I should amend that—I am not naturally good at mornings. No matter what time I go to bed, I will probably still feel like I was hit by a bus when the alarm goes off in the morning. Then when I’m finally able to unglue my eyes, it takes a solid hour before the fog finally clears from my head and I can be productive.
The good news is I’ve gotten MUCH better over the years at designing a morning routine that not only helps me get out of bed in the morning, but also makes me more productive and fulfilled for the rest of the day. Now, this exact routine hasn’t been feasible during every stage of my life, but I’ve always been able to apply some version of these principles in one form or another.
Take a look, and if something doesn’t seem like a good fit for your life, adapt it or throw it out! This routine is not meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but I hope it will inspire you as you design your own perfect morning routine. Now, without further ado, I present my top 5 tips for creating a morning routine you can get excited about:
1) Plan an Easy, Exciting Breakfast
Let me emphasize… Easy AND exciting. Both components are crucial to achieve the desired effect, which is to make you want to get out of bed. If a big ol’ breakfast buffet is your thing, more power to you! Personally however, I find I’m more likely to push snooze and grab a granola bar if I feel like my first task in the day is going to take so much effort.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but I prefer a simple menu that still makes my mouth water. Plus, I plan ahead by preparing batter or cooking up muffins or cutting fruit in advance so it doesn’t turn into a hassle. Here are a few delicious, easy ideas:
Greek yogurt with berries and a sprinkle of granola
Pre-made bran muffin and a glass of milk
Oatmeal with fresh mango chunks
Homemade low-carb toaster waffles
Drooling yet? But yummy isn’t the only requirement to make breakfast exciting. It also helps to make breakfast anexperience! Whether that’s family gathered around the table or a solitary breakfast with soft music and a candle, make it work for you. Make it worth waking up for!
2) Connect with Heaven
This is the most important step of all. Whatever higher power or spiritual practice you believe in, make sure you take time in the morning to center your spirit and connect with heaven. For me, this looks like praying and expressing gratitude, asking for direction about what I should continue to do or stop doing, and reading scripture to find answers. When make time for God in the morning, the rest of my day magically flows more smoothly. I feel more whole and happy, I get more done, and I have more strength to confront challenges.
3) Set your Intentions for the Day
You know those days where you’re frantically busy all day long but suddenly evening rolls around and you feel like you haven’t gotten anything done? That’s why setting intentions is so important. Planning and prioritizing at the beginning of the day gives you something to work towards and it helps you stay focused when distractions try to derail you.
I like to look at my calendar and my to-do list, identify my priorities and set goals for what I want to accomplish and who I want to be throughout the day. I’ve used a number of different tools and methods over the years, but one of my favorites is the StoryBrand Productivity Planner. It is such a great tool, and it’s FREE!
Rachel Hollis’ Start Today journal method is another good one. You can either buy her journals or watch her video and apply the same process using any old notebook or scrap of paper. If neither of these methods appeals to you, find something that does! Just make sure you find a way to be intentional at the beginning of every day.
4) Choose Joyful Movement
Working out doesn’t have to be something you dread or something you do because you have to. Find a reason to love it! Personally, I love getting a workout in before I start the rest of the day. I can clear my head, have more energy, and be more productive for the rest of the day. Plus, if I get it done early, then it’s not hanging over my head all day long. But if you’re someone that prefers working out later in the day, and you have a routine that works for you, stick with it! A workout is a workout regardless of when it happens.
Whether you’re working out in the morning, afternoon or evening, don’t get sucked into the mindset that you have to work out. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. Here are a few ideas to make movement joyful:
Find a super fun workout buddy
Go for a walk and listen to a podcast or audiobook
Jam out to your favorite pump-up music
Compete against yourself
Choose activities you enjoy, like swimming, biking, Zumba or yoga
Mix it up—try new things
Watch your favorite show while you run on the treadmill or do sit ups
Relish the post-workout high
Use an app
Reward yourself with a yummy smoothie you ONLY get if you work out
5) Get Cleaned Up
When you look good you feel good. I’m not saying you need to spend 2 hours primping in front of the mirror, but a shower, a cute outfit, and some earrings can do WONDERS for your confidence and productivity. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ponytail and fuzzy socks day. I’m sure COVID has taught us all about the benefits of stretchy pants, am I right? But have you ever noticed how POWERFUL a good outfit and hairstyle can make you feel?
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, my favorite power outfit is a plain white tee, a good pair of jeans, and cute earrings. You know which shirt or hairstyle does it for you. You can choose bold and fashionable, bright and silly, or soft and sweet, it really doesn’t matter. Curl your hair. Put on some lipstick. The point is picking something that makes you feel confident, happy, and positive. Then stand back and watch how your productivity skyrockets!
I hope some of these ideas have been helpful and inspired you to make some changes! In the words of John C. Maxwell, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Here’s to big changes that come from little changes!