Starting the day in the right way can help to set you on the path to success.
Consistently following a great morning routine ensures that you’ll be in the best position to get the very most out of the day ahead.
But how should we go about creating our ideal morning routine and what are some of the common mistakes to be avoided?
We asked a group of experts for their advice on how to create the best morning routine for optimal success. Here’s what they said.
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Think About Why You Want A Morning Routine
Sharon Grossman, Psychologist and Success Coach
When it comes to creating and following my ultimate morning routine, I have several points I can share.
It helps to do the same things in the same place at the same time each day.
Some mistakes people make is that they aren’t consistent. They do it in an area where they are distracted or interrupted, and they don’t stick with it because they lack accountability to because they don’t reflect on the benefits they get from the routine.
Identify which activities you want to create a habit around and be clear on the ‘why’ behind them.
Track how consistent practice makes a difference for you over time, depending on your goals (for example: improved mood, less reactive, more resilient).
Have a flexible plan that allows you to have a shortened version on days you have less time.
A Good Morning Is The Foundation Of A Good Day
Ayoola Kaffo, Founder of The Success Feed
Having a good morning routine is extremely important not only for achieving a fulfilled and successful day, but for maintaining balance throughout the day.
The morning is considered the ‘foundation’ of the day and can be likened to the foundation of a house – it sets the platform for building the rest of the day.
The foundation (the morning) determines if the day ‘stands’ or ‘scatters’ or is ‘secure’. The morning determines how well the day is ‘built’ or if it ‘breaks’.
A strong and solid foundation is required every morning for performance at our best levels. This emanates from daily consistent good habits carried out every morning, some of which includes gratitude, affirmations, journaling, mindfulness and meditation etc.
These morning habits and routine continually produce positive outcomes and tremendous results for me personally.
It has also helped my clients, who include the tips and habits as part of their return to work (RTW) plan following periods of short-term and or long-term sickness absence.
A common mistake people make with their morning routines is making it rigid, boring and monotonous.
The best way to prevent this is to respond appropriately and as necessary to the changes experienced in the journey of life and to the varied seasons of life. The ability to incorporate flexibility and creativity into your morning routines can make it more sustainable.
Harness The Power Of Meditation
Dagmar Bryant, Mindset and Transformational Coach
I believe that having a morning routine sets you up for the day, both physically and mentally. Here are four tips for a beneficial start to the day.
1) Have a plan for the day – What is it that you need and want to get done? Put a plan in place in how you are going to do that, either first thing in the morning, or better still, the evening before.
You can use a diary, planner, spreadsheet, CRM or whatever best works for you. Schedule the things that you want to complete, including breaks and this helps you with your productivity and mindset to get the most out of the day.
2) Exercise – Make a point of including exercise in your day.
If you can do this in the morning, it will help give you more energy and improve your focus and mood.
This means that you will feel more motivated to getting on with the things that you need to do. The most important thing to consider with exercise is to make sure that it is something that you enjoy.
Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym or running a few miles. Stretching, yoga and walking are great ways to get you moving and motivated.
3) Healthy food – Good, healthy food is brain food. When we eat healthy food, our body is able to respond more effectively and productively. Our mind is more alert and our body can achieve more.
Not everyone likes to eat breakfast, but if you can, at least have a shake filled with wholesome ingredients like fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts.
4) Meditation – Meditation has many benefits including reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, putting you into a positive state of mind, improving relationships and overall wellness.
Doing a meditation first thing in the morning brings a sense of calm and can give clarity to a situation or anything that needs to be done.
Meditation can be beneficial at any time, but especially so in the morning as it assists us with focus, which leads to greater productivity and a sense of achievement.
One of the most common mistakes with a morning routine is trying to force something that doesn’t resonate with you.
We each have different ways of doing things and what works for one person, may not work for somebody else.
Also, not everybody is a morning person. There are people who are productive later in the day and if that is you, use these suggestions for use at a time that is more suitable to your body clock.
Our bodies love routine. Find one that works for you and use it to get the most out of your day.
Keep Your Morning Routine Simple And Doable
Prianca Naik, Internal Medicine Physician and Life Coach
Our morning routine is how we set up the day for success and happiness.
Start by skipping screen time for the first five to 20 minutes of your day. Set an intention for the day and practice gratitude.
Take a few minutes to connect with yourself and either sit outside, appreciate nature, or savor your morning cup of coffee.
Reflect on what you did well in the past 24 hours. Take a few moments to hold yourself and give yourself self-compassion for any recent mistakes or missteps.
My clients tend to do well with morning routines that are not too extensive, but all encompassing enough to make them feel rejuvenated to start their day with the correct mindset.
People need to take into account how realistic it is to wake up at a certain time and how much they can truly fit in to allowed morning hours.
Start Small And Don’t Strive For Perfection
David Naidu, Founder of Skilled at Life
A set routine that we adhere to every morning reduces the need for extensive decision making.
We wake up knowing exactly what needs to be done and we can start right away after waking up. It makes us more productive and increases our efficiency.
Having an established morning routine eradicates the need to plan and prioritize our tasks every morning. There is no need to wake up and plan our activities because this has already been carefully established beforehand.
In designing and establishing my own daily morning routine, I realized the following:
1) Start small – Small but constant steps produce amazing results. If your goal is to eventually run a marathon for example, establish a daily habit of running half a mile at first and then slowly build up your endurance.
2) If you falter, jump back in – On the occasion that I have failed to follow through on my daily routine, I simply resume my routine the next day. It is important not to get discouraged.
I think about all the other days that I have successfully stuck to my routine and I jump right back in.
3) Strive for consistency, not perfection – Nobody is perfect so forgive yourself when you occasionally come up short. If you did not go to the gym today, realize that all is not lost because you can go tomorrow. Forgive yourself and move on.
4) It’s OK to modify and fine-tune your routine – Sometimes, it becomes apparent that the routine we designed needs some modification. For example, I learned that going to the gym in the evening did not work well for me because I often was tired and unmotivated.
Therefore, I modified my routine and made sure that I did my exercise early in the morning.
This modification also had the added benefit of keeping my mind sharper and giving me more energy throughout the day. Feel free to adjust your routine accordingly.
Here are some common mistakes people make:
1) Starting too ambitiously – If you have been a couch-potato and have not exercised in months, do not try to include a six-mile run into your daily routine.
Start small, perhaps by walking for fifteen minutes, and build upon that success. Remember that great things are achieved by small, consistent steps.
2) Discarding a routine after a small setback – Rome was not built in a day, so remember that when you trip up. If you stumble and fail to stick to your routine on a certain day, forgive yourself and resume the next day. It’s what you do on most days that counts. You only fail if you give up.
3) Monitor and modify your routine – Despite your best intentions, you may find that the morning routine you establish may not be ideal. There is nothing wrong with that. Simply find out what works best for you and make adjustments.
Create A Bespoke Morning Routine For You
Cristina Roman, Certified Life Coach at Pique Coaching
There are three very common mistakes that I see my clients make with morning routines.
1) Thinking they need a morning routine, because they’ve heard it’s important, but not actually being bought in. This tends to lead to people giving up the routine within a few weeks.
2) Adopting someone else’s morning routine, instead of creating a bespoke routine that actually fits their needs and desires.
3) Telling themselves they’ll just do it, rather than proactively brainstorming all of the obstacles that might arise and then solving for them with strategies.
You can ask yourself a few simple questions to overcome these challenges.
Why is a morning routine compelling to me? What is the result that I want to have at the end of my morning routine? What actions would make that result inevitable?
What obstacles might stand in the way between me and the result I want, and how can I solve those obstacles with strategies?
Make Your Morning More Mindful
Lena Suarez-Angelino, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Writer at Choosing Therapy
I am very familiar with the busy mornings and jumpstarting the day with stress and overwhelm. Building a good morning routine has been extremely helpful, not only for myself, but for my clients as well!
A good morning routine is important because it helps your brain know what to expect while it is still waking up.
Some of my favorite morning routine habits are journaling, meditating, even mindfully drinking my coffee.
I especially like taking a mindful moment to drink my coffee, I engage all of my senses:
Sight – What does my coffee look like?
Smell – What is the aroma?
Taste – Is my coffee sweet or a little more bitter?
Feel – Hot or cold?
Sounds – I love to hear the sounds of a fresh cup of coffee brewing!
With morning routines, people often try to do too many things or they overcomplicate them.
Think about something you already do and try to slow that down and pay more attention to it. Practicing a few, calm, mindful moments in your morning are sure to help you feel grounded throughout your day.
Start The Day With A Small Win
Kelsey Cohrt, Owner of Northwest Health Coaching
There are two things I suggest to my clients to include in their morning routine.
First, do a small but productive task like doing the dishes or making the bed. This easy task starts your day off feeling productive.
You also clear the clutter for the day so that, when your morning routine is over, your brain can focus on your bigger tasks for the day.
Second, drink a cup of warm lemon water. When we wake up from a night of sleep, our body is dehydrated.
Lemon water rehydrates it and helps to detoxify the liver. Your body was working on detoxing your organs throughout the night and the lemon just gives the liver a little extra detoxing boost.
Also, when consumed on an empty stomach, lemon water jump starts your digestion, clearing things out so you feel lighter and ready for the day. You can enjoy the warm lemon water (1 cup of water with the juice of half a lemon) while doing your task (see above), doing breathing exercises, watching the news, or whatever routine you enjoy in the morning.
The biggest mistake I see my clients make is not having a morning routine.
They set their alarm, hit snooze a few times, and then rush out of bed in a panic. This often has a lasting effect on their day, everything feeling rushed and discombobulated.
Starting the day off knowing what to expect when you wake up, and enjoying it, gets your day moving in the right direction.