How to Create your ideal morning routine

Ever rolled out of bed, looked at the clock, and FREAKED OUT when you saw the time?! And then, once you get to work, your whole day feels off doesn't it?

It's because - whether we're conscious of it or not - we have routines. We have routines before bed, we have routines when we wake up, we even have routines when we get our day going at work. Whether it's something as simple as washing your face, then brushing your teeth, then praying before bed...OR putting on your robe, getting a cup of coffee, and sitting down to watch the first 15 minutes of the morning news...

We All Have Routines!

But most of us don't optimize our routines! We're pretty haphazard about them, and then when we don't follow the normal pattern, typically our day feels pretty out of whack!

I knew that I need to re-vamp my routine! It was so disjointed and random, and I knew that it was effecting my stress levels as I ran off to class and lab everyday! So I did what I do best, and I started researching the routines of other successful people, tools, etc. (See below for some of the websites I found!)

Well, finally, I feel like I have developed a routine that works for me! It took me the first few months of 2016 to really hone it in, but that I am LOVING! And, since I got so much out of other professionals sharing their routine, I decided I just had to share mine with you! :-)

My Routine

First Things - Coffee!

Haha - did you think it was going to be something much more creative? Nope! I'm a born-and-raised Seattle girl, grad student, and I LOVE me some coffee! So, the first thing I do when I wake up is get a cup of coffee! I got a Keurig a few months back and have been loving it for my single cup of coffee in the morning!

Then the real routine starts...

With my coffee in hand, I sit down at my desk with my DailyGreatness Daily Journal! I will review this in the near future - promise! But for now, what I will tell you is this! This journal has been a game-changer for me because it gave me a structure to help me implement some of the things that I have really been wanting to do in my life, such as..

  • Meditation - This is one of those things that I have been REALLY trying to incorporate into my mornings for a long time, and the Daily Greatness Journal was crucial for making that happen! Meditation has so many incredible benefits, including treatment of anxiety disorders, may serve as a means of anxiety prevention, improving learning effectiveness, memory, and attention - among other things! And you just feel so ZEN and CALM afterwords! 
  • Daily Gratitudes - I've known for a while that practing gratefulness is important, especially for putting things back into perspective when something bad happens! We always have something to be grateful for, right? Well, there are actions health benefits to expressions of gratitude and expressions of optimisms, like such as a higher level of well-being. Other resources on the benefits gratitude and happiness to health can be found here.
  • Daily Affirmations - Affirmations refer to essentially giving yourself daily support and encouragement, and building yourself up with expressions of self-compassion. Such expressions can quell self-criticism in those of us that are negative nancys, and may even help buffer symptoms of depression.
  • Setting Intentions - This is something that has surprised me how important it is! I used to be one of those people that really never felt like I'd done enough or was productive enough over any given day. Let's face it - there's always more work to do! But that can put you in a state of chronic dissatisfaction if you never feel like you're getting enough work done! So, I set 3 intentions every morning - actions that, if I accomplish them during the day, will mark my day as productive and successful.

If I have time I will also read some personal development! My current reads are I am That Girl By: Alexis Jones, and Fire Starter Sessions By: Danielle LaPorte.

THEN, I GET MY SWEAT ON...

After I sit down and run through the questions in the Daily Greatness journal, I get my workout in! Usually it's a 30-35 minute workout video that I can do in my living room! This is how I love to workout and I have a ton of reasons why I think this is the best way to workout, which I'll talk about in future posts! But, this works so well for me because it's no commuting, no hassle...I can just roll out of bed and get er' done!

 I am a firm believer in morning workouts! Nothing can get in your way and distract you from getting your workout done. For many people, they have to overcome sleeping in. I get that, and to get over that I suggest that, instead of cold-turkey starting to wake up at 5AM, incrementally work your wake-up time to that time. If you wake up at 7, start by waking up at 6:45 for a week, then 6:30 or 6:15. And so on until you're waking up at your desired time. As you move your wake up time up, just start with a simple workout instead of something complicated! Maybe a 10 min squat, push-up, crunches circuit. Then, as you move up your wake-up time, you can begin to incorporate an actual workout program, or going to the gym if that's more your style. My favorite workouts for getting it done in the morning are some of the short and sweet Beachbody programs, which I've listed below!

Getting Ready & Getting inspired

After my workout, I shower and then I get ready to go to work - drying and styling my hair (such a pain! haha), drinking my breakfast Shakeology, and getting all my food out and ready to bring to work that day. But, while I'm doing those thing...I'm doing something else! Perhaps my favorite part of the routine!

While I'm getting ready for work, I'm reviewing my Goals, Vision, and Purpose!

Firstly, I review my Personal Mission Statement. This is a small, 30 second blurb which is something I created while I was doing affirmations one day last fall. It's got some f-bombs, and other curse words, but if that's what it takes to get your motivated then go for it! Here's a little sneak peak at my Personal Mission Statement...

I spend each and everyday NOT in negativity and lack, but in a stubborn and unrelenting pursuit of what I want in life.
— My Personal Mission Statement

After my Personal Mission Statement, I review my Priority Clarity Statement. This is something I originally wrote while doing Chalene Johnson's Smart Success program. I have since tweaked it, and I now call it my Manifesto, because, for me, it's about so much more than my priority at the time. It includes my priority and the biggest focuses of my life, but it also includes my vision, my family, my business, my ideal home, my ideal lifestyle, my other goals, etc. 

The Voice Memos app on my IPhone where I keep recordings of myself reciting my Mission Statement, Defintion of Success, and Manifesto!

The Voice Memos app on my IPhone where I keep recordings of myself reciting my Mission Statement, Defintion of Success, and Manifesto!

You might be asking, how the heck can I do that while I'm getting ready? Easy. I've recorded them. Once I had completed my Personal Mission Statement and my Manifesto, I recorded them into the Voice Memos on my IPhone. Now, each morning, just like you would listen to music, I listen to myself reciting my Personal Mission Statement and Manifesto from my phone. I highly suggest this exercise! Not only is it great to review these things as often as possible (daily is ideal!) but there's something about listening to you reading them in your own voice that makes them so much more impactful.

and then, personal development...

Personal development is my FAVORITE! But I think you all know this! After I'm done listening to my goals and what not on my phone, I do some personal development.  If I have time, sometimes I will sit down at my desk and get some nice relaxing reading in before I head to work for the day. But, otherwise, while I'm getting ready and while I commute to work, I plug into some personal development. This can be anything from audiobooks on Audible, which I love and highly recommend you check out, or listening to Podcasts on the podcast app!

Then I'm at work and ready to tackle my day!

So, that's my morning routine! I also do a little mini-review of my day before I go to bed in my Daily Greatness Journal, but my nightly routine is a little more haphazard! When I get it dialed in, I'll let you all know!

I hope you got a little bit out of seeing what I do in the morning! 

But, how should you create your morning routine?

My first suggestion is to decide all of the things that are necessary habits for you. Maybe you want to meditate, journal, read, workout, etc. Then, ask yourself, which of them would definitely like to get in in the morning? Maybe you want to absolutely workout in the morning otherwise you won't do it. Whatever these things are right them down!

Then - and this is key - start incorporating these things one-by-one. Choose whichever item is most important for you, and start my incorporating that. For me, it was my workouts. I had established a morning workout routine long before I started incorporating any of the activities from the daily greatness journal. But, those things were still important to me, so I started building them in slowly. Start slow, prioritize the most important to the least, and build those things in. And be flexible with yourself! Some days, you may be able to hit everything and other days you may not. I shoot for 85% and if I achieve that, then my morning is a success! Heck - if I get my workout in my morning is a success!

Bottom line - don't shoot for perfection! Don't shoot for anything more extravagant or complicated than what you want or need. If my routine is too intricate for you, that's fine! Just do what works for you. That's all that matters! 

Routines & Rituals resources: