What’s the first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning? Is it check your phone? Down a coffee? Open your laptop all bleary-eyed when working from home? Many of us would love to have a good morning routine that helps set us up for the day, but where do you start?! We’re going to cover how you can build the best morning routine for you, what habits you may want to include, and some quick tips to ensure your new good morning routine sticks.
Why Have a Good Morning Routine?
First up, what’s the point in having a morning routine at all? Well, whether you realise it or not, you already have a bit of a morning routine going – it just might not be a good one, that’s all! Don’t believe me? Try making a note of everything you do in the morning for a week and see what you discover.
Humans are creatures of habit and we tend to create routines, even subconsciously, to help us move forward and get on with our days. Maybe your morning routine is:
- Snooze alarm
- Snooze it again
- Open eyes, check phone (“Agh, emails”)
- Stumble absentmindedly into the shower
- Down coffee
- Go to work
In fact, that was pretty much my exact morning routine before I realised that I wasn’t happy with how I was starting my days! If you want to start your day off in the best possible way, then a good morning routine is a must.
How to Build the Best Morning Routine for You
In this article, we’ll dig into some excellent habits you may want to add to your morning routine but it’s important that you know this: Everyone works differently! What might be an amazing thing to add to my morning routine, might not work for you.
Some people don’t want to get up at 5am to exercise (ahem, me) and others thrive on it. The key is to try and enhance the morning routine you’ve already got, not try to completely overhaul your life with habits that don’t make sense for you.
So, my best advice to you is to go through the ideas and then pick the ones that sound exciting to you. Add them in gradually (more on that later) and don’t try to do it all at once. And finally, remember that habits take a while to form so don’t panic if change doesn’t happen straight away.
Ideas for a Good Morning Routine
So now we know the point of a good morning routine and how to build our own, let’s look at what science says are some of the best ways to start our day.
- Wake up naturally – If you can, waking up naturally is far better for you than being jolted awake by a noisy alarm. You can use a sleep cycle app to help wake you up in the optimal part of your sleep cycle, keep your curtains open to wake up with the light, or even a sunrise alarm in the winter months.
- Ditch the phone – Ideally, try keeping your phone away for as long as possible when you first open your eyes. Nothing good comes from scrolling Instagram or checking emails first thing in the morning. Plus, if you read any bad news then it will set you up in a negative space for the day.
- Down water, not coffee – Look, I like coffee just as much as the next person (I had to wean myself down to 2 cups a day). However, when we wake up our poor bodies are dehydrated and so the first thing they need is water. Ahhh, cool, refreshing water. Keep a glass or bottle by the bed to hydrate yourself first thing.
- A little mindful moment – Before you get swept up in the hustle and bustle of the day, try taking some time for yourself with a little mindful moment. You can do this alongside something else, such as brushing your teeth or showering, and there are some great free exercises to try here too.
- Make your bed – There’s really something to be said about the seemingly small act of making your bed every morning. It is the first thing ticked off the to-do list for the day and gets that motivation going. It also keeps our bedrooms a tidy and serene space, perfect for the end of the day too.\
- Move your body – Whether you feel pumped for a bit of HIIT in the morning or prefer a gentle yoga stretch, there’s nothing better than waking your body up with a bit of movement in the morning. It releases happy hormones that can make us feel good long after we’ve finished exercising too.
- Setting intentions – How do you want to feel today? What do you want to achieve? The morning is the ideal time to set your intentions for the day. Use daily intentions alongside long-term goals to achieve (pretty much) anything you want.
- Affirmations – Similar to intentions, affirmations can really set us up for the day. There’s something so powerful about positive affirmations first thing in the morning, and it’s far better for us than scrolling social media (and feeling bad about ourselves).
- A nutritious breakfast – Want to feel energised and full of life throughout the day? Pick a delicious and nutritious breakfast that’s perfectly balanced to start your day. A great breakfast should have some protein, some slow-release carbs, some healthy fats, and some fruit or vegetables. We have some gorgeous breakfast recipes that tick all those boxes on our platform too (sign up to see them here).
- Something just for you – Whether it’s reading a book, soaking in the shower for a few minutes longer, painting your nails, having a kitchen disco, or journaling, start your day off with something just for you. We always think ‘me time’ has to be in the evening, but try adding a little bit of it into your morning routine to kickstart your day.
Of course, all of these habits are individual like I said. So, pick the ones that work best for you and add in your own too! What matters is that your morning routine makes you feel amazing.
Good Morning Routine Examples
Now you’ve got a ton of ideas, how do you put these together into the perfect morning routine for you? First, work out how much time you actually have to spend on your routine in the morning and then fit them in. Let’s look at three different examples depending on how long you have each morning:
Short Morning Routine (For When You’re in a Hurry)
7am – Wake up with the sunrise (or sleep cycle alarm) and practice some affirmations/intentions for the day
7.05am – Make your bed
7.10am – Drink a glass of water
7.15am – Quick round of sun salutations
7.30am – Mindful moment in the shower
7.45am – Overnight oats or similar breakfast (can be to go)
Medium-Length Morning Routine (For When You Have a Bit More Time)
7am – Wake up with the sunrise (or sleep cycle alarm) and drink a glass of water
7.10am – Make your bed
7.15am – Journal/practice affirmations or set intentions for the day
7.30am – Morning rise and shine yoga or quick HIIT class (or whatever movement works for you)
8am – Mindful moment in the shower/longer soak in the shower
8.30am – Overnight oats or similar breakfast (can be to go)
Long Morning Routine (Perfect for Weekends)
8am – Wake up naturally and drink a glass of water
8.10am – Make your bed
8.15am – Journal/practice affirmations or set intentions for the day. Can also use this time to plan your week ahead or reflect on the week that’s just been.
8.45am – Morning rise and shine yoga class (like our Live yoga classes with Becky on Sunday mornings) or longer movement class that works for you.
9.45am – Meditation, mindful moment or something else just for you
10am – Longer shower or bath
10.30am – Cook up something delicious and nutritious for breakfast/brunch
Ensuring Your Good Morning Routine Sticks
It’s all well and good promising yourself the perfect morning routine, but how do you actually make it stick? We can often start this kind of thing with the best intention, only to find ourselves slipping back into old ways after a few days. If you need a little bit of help to ensure your morning routine sticks, here are some quick tips:
- Introduce one thing at a time – Don’t try to completely overhaul your entire morning routine in one go. Your brain will not thank you and you’ll likely feel overwhelmed! Instead, pick one change you’d like to make and add it in. After 1-2 weeks, or whenever you feel ready, add in another one. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Make a visual routine – If you’re a visual person (like me), then it might be helpful to have your good morning routine somewhere you can see it whenever you wake up. You could jot it down on a post-it note, save it as your phone background, or even make something pretty on Canva and print it off. Visual reminders every morning will help you stick to your plan!
- Stack the habits – An amazing lesson I learnt from James Clear’s Atomic Habits book is all about stacking new habits on top of habits you already do. So, say to yourself “Once I’ve got out of bed (Habit A), I’ll drink a glass of water (Habit B).” Or, “As soon as I’m out of my shower (Habit A), I’ll have oatmeal with peanut butter (Habit B).”
- Make it easy for tomorrow you – This is something we’ll cover in more detail in our evening habits post, but consider how Today You can make your morning routine easier for Tomorrow You. Want to do some yoga in the morning? Get all of your yoga gear out ready the night before. Want to resist the pull of coffee first thing? Put the coffee somewhere different (that’s harder to get to) and put a bottle of water in the fridge ready for you.
- Don’t beat yourself up – Habits aren’t formed overnight, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a little bit of time to get into a new good morning routine. If you find yourself slipping, look back at what you’ve recently added in. Maybe you’ve tried adding too much to your morning routine at once, and need to strip it back a little. Maybe one thing in your routine just isn’t working for you. That’s okay, try swapping it with something else.
A good morning routine can make such a difference to your day – it certainly has mine! So, try using some of these ideas and tricks to create your perfect routine and let us know how you get on!
Useful Resources to Get Motivated and Build Better Routines
Want a little more help with motivation and building better routines? Here are some more useful resources that you can use alongside the above tips from the ABC:
- Overcoming Overwhelm Course (no membership required)
- Breath Work for Productivity (no membership required)
- CBT to help improve motivation with CBT Psychotherapist Rachael (membership required)
- Managing Rumination with CBT Therapist Anjali (membership required)
- Spring into Action Course (membership required)
- How to get motivated to look after your wellbeing (podcast, no membership required)
- How to get motivated to do anything – 14 ways to get and stay motivated (blog, no membership required)
- How to create a good evening routine (blog, no membership required)