March 17, 2020
What do your mornings look like?
Are they a planned time, where you get specific tasks done and make progress towards your goals? Or do you find yourself running to the car with your breakfast in hand and your mind full of clutter?
If you’re more of a breakfast-on-the-go person, perhaps it’s time to create a morning routine.
A morning routine is a list of actions you take as soon as you get up in the morning. It’s a way to provide structure to your mornings, so you’re not simply rushing to get in the car the minute your alarm goes off (for the eighth time!).
In fact, you probably have a morning routine already, you just haven’t planned it out beforehand. For example, when you get out of bed, you likely hit the shower, get dressed, have a bite to eat, and then spend some time on your phone.
Technically, that’s a morning routine.
It’s the complete list of routine habits that you perform every morning. However, in this article, we want to talk about how you can thoughtfully structure your routine in order to get something meaningful accomplished every day. Because as it turns out, living our mornings without any structure can actually have negative consequences for our health.
If you need help structuring a solid morning routine, try System2’s virtual coaching. We’ll connect you with a health coach and do all the work for you.
For far too many of us, the morning can be a hectic, chaotic time where we frantically search for our keys, wipe sleep from our eyes, and feel mildly anxious about all the work we need to get done later. Not fun.
What’s worse, living our mornings like this can actually be harmful.
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that folks who started their days feeling stressed out or unhappy in the morning, would remain that way for the rest of the day. Whereas those who spent their mornings feeling happy or calm, tended to continue to feel that way throughout their day, and even found their mood enhanced when speaking with customers.
We’d like to help you join the second group of happy people who show up to work happy and stress free. And to get there, we’re going to help you create a morning routine that you actually enjoy sticking to.
A more structured morning routine might look something like this:
That’s a pretty basic one, but you get the idea.
The person who does all of that every morning, without fail, is someone who’s built a serious amount of discipline and willpower. By getting everything done, they now have a clearer head thanks to their meditation, a good idea of what they need to do today, a clean email inbox, and have even managed to get active. When they come home, they’ll have a made bed waiting for them, proof that they’re someone who can consistently do what they set out to.
It’s powerful stuff.
In creating your own morning routine, take a moment to figure out what time you’ll wake up and what you want to do during this time. What’s the first thing you’ll accomplish when you get out of bed? What’s the next thing you’ll do, immediately after the first?
If you’re having trouble thinking of things to build into your new routine, here’s a few popular ideas that can help make your mornings more powerful:
If you’re only just starting to improve your morning routine, this is a fantastic habit to begin with. Making your bed signals that you’re up, being productive, and ready for the day. As you continue to wake up and make this happen, you’ll have a daily reminder that you’re able to accomplish the things you set your mind to.
Just woke up in the morning? Grab a coffee, sit down, and get your thoughts on paper. This is a popular one, with plenty of folks using this time to plan their day, review goals, reflect on yesterday, or simply empty their mind on the page. This is also a great time to track your morning routine’s success— are you doing everything as planned?
For some of us, clearing our minds with morning meditation can be the perfect way to start the day. The key to building this habit is to start small. If twenty minutes feels like too long to sit still and think of nothing, try ten minutes. Build on your new habit over time.
Your education doesn’t need to stop when you leave school. Forge yourself into a lifelong learner, by setting aside some structured time to learn something every morning. You could do this by giving yourself a set amount of time to work on an online course. Or, you could create x amount of new flashcards each day for a topic or language you’re studying.
Never enough time to read during your day? Still stuck on page 213 of that book you’ve been on for months? Start making progress towards your reading goals, by taking a few minutes to read something every morning.
Rise and shine. Time to figure out what you’ll be working on today. What chores and errands to be completed today? What’s going on at work? Write down your tasks for the day and now, in addition to being super organized, you’ll also be able to check them off throughout the day— an awesome feeling!
A little exercise as soon as you wake up is a good way to get your body moving and get all the last bit of sleep out of your system. You might try stretching, yoga, or even a full bodyweight routine, whatever suits you best. If you’re interested in building a stronger core, an app like Fitmoola can help you stay motivated over the long term and build unbreakable workout habit with cash rewards.
If your email inbox is constantly overstuffed with spam, newsletters you never read, and notifications from some app you downloaded last year… it’s time to clean house. Set aside a few minutes every morning to respond to urgent emails, delegate or delay less urgent messages, and delete the rest.
For folks with financial goals, a good way to keep your eye on the prize is to check your account balances every morning. Track the difference day by day, and you’ll be able to see your overall spending. Are you in line with your goals this year?
Those are just a few ideas, but be sure to consider what you want to include in your morning routine. Think about your short and long term goals, and how you can begin working towards them by completing small, daily actions every morning.
One final note before we let you go here.
Right now, while you’re just starting out, it’s important that you don’t take on too much, too soon. You may be tempted to come up with an elaborate plan for your new mornings.
That’s amazing, and we love that you’re so ambitious. But make sure you stay realistic. Start with just one or two small, achievable tasks that you want to make routine. Get those down, and then build on that success until you’re consistently doing bigger and better things each day.