How To Create A Successful Morning Routine For You
Hello friends! I hope you're doing really well.
Now that I'm temporarily not working, I've been thinking a lot about how to get motivated to complete any of the hobbies we've previously not had time for - like writing, learning a new instrument, or exercise. Many successful people swear by their morning routine as a way of getting them set up and ready for the day - I personally have tried many a morning routine, and never found that they quite work for me.
And yet, without some kind of structure to my day, I find myself falling in to some bad habits - lying in bed until late, mindlessly scrolling through my phone etc. It's really hard when you don't have a clear direction of your day to be bothered to do anything! I do get motivated at times, but I never quite know when it's going to strike and so it's hard to predict and plan my day around.
As the days and weeks have gone by, I've noticed certain patterns - for example, if I don't get up and have a shower within 15 minutes of waking up, it's extremely likely that I'll just crawl back in to bed. If I get some exercise in early in the morning, I feel energised and prepared for the day. If I listen to a podcast about something that excites me and I find interesting, I notice a significant uptake in my creativity and my ideas.
I realised that, by trying to adopt other people's morning routines, I was creating a routine that wasn't meant for my motivations and my habits. It was meant for someone else with different desires, goals and interests to mine.
Not only that, but our goals and interests change over time, so I realised the need to continually change and modify a morning routine depending on where you are in your life.
So with that, I wanted to share with you a template for how I've created a morning routine for myself, and how you can use the same template to create a morning routine based on what makes YOU tick!
Notice Your Natural Habits
It's hard to know what you need in a successful morning routine without first tuning in to what your natural rhythms are. This encompasses a few things:
- Are you an early bird or a night owl? There's nothing to suggest that a morning routine has to start at the first light of day - you can schedule this for whenever is natural for you!
- When you find yourself bored, what lights you up and makes you feel energised? For example, we may all turn to eating or watching TV when we're bored, but if you're anything like me this actually makes you feel more lethargic rather than fired up.
- What gives you connection and a deeper understanding of yourself? That might be tuning in to your body and breath through meditation, or it might be writing down all the things you're grateful for. What do you do to create some self-love?
- How do you experience achievement, and what does that look like? What would be the one thing you could do each day, so that even if nothing else got done, you'd feel like it was a successful day?
- What do you do to feel connected to others?
What you're trying to do here is tune in to the main things that are going to make you feel excited about the day ahead. When we're searching for motivation, there are a few different obstacles that could trip us up:
- Not feeling like we're good or competent enough
- Not feeling like we have control - that could be over our own day, our career or our lives
- Not feeling connected - to ourselves, to our social network, or to humankind as a whole
These obstacles manifest themselves in completely different ways depending on who you are - so asking yourself some of these questions can help us bring these hurdles to light so that we can overcome them.
With that in mind, it's time to start creating a successful, kick-ass morning routine for you! Some of the ideas above might be fulfilled by one thing, or a few things - it doesn't matter if you have many steps in your morning routine, or only a couple, but you want to be hitting these key fulfillments every morning:
Something to make you feel achievement
We are often tripped up by feeling like we aren't good enough and we won't achieve that thing we've set out to do. This can make us feel like 'what's the point?' I can't tell you how many times that one thought has convinced me to stay in bed a little while longer and make me feel more bored, lazy and lethargic.
So do something every morning (or evening, if that works) to make you feel good enough - make you feel competent. By asking yourself the question - what would be the one thing you could do each day to help you feel like you've succeeded that day? - you can tap in to what that thing is for you.
Make it broader than just career or exercise achievements. If you feel good when you've spent time with your kids, or tidied up the house - cool! That's awesome! For me, if I get up and shower and don't go back to bed, that's a huge achievement for me. Remember too - achievement looks different at different points in your life. So if your previous measure of achievement isn't doing it for you anymore, look inside again and switch it up.
Something to make you feel connected with others
Motivation and perseverance can sometimes feel like a lonely task - we get up, we get ready and we plough on. Sometimes I'd get up and go to work and realise that I hadn't looked up and interacted with anyone the whole journey, even if it were just to make eye contact and smile.
Sometimes we develop tunnel vision and we can forget the importance of relationships, love and connection. We can believe that ourselves and our pursuits are the only thing that matters, and that is a one-way ticket to burnout. By connecting with others and remembering that there is a world with other beings out there, we come outside of ourselves and remember that our goals and pursuits are not the most important thing for a meaningful and fulfilled life. The most important thing is the relationships we form, the love and connection we experience, and feeling like we are not alone. Conversely, when we realise and tap in to this, our pursuits feel much more manageable and are put in perspective, which allows us to persevere for longer.
What makes you feel connected? Maybe it's calling up a friend or connecting with someone online. In the absence of an actual other person to fulfil this need for you, what about reading over old texts to make you feel connected to friends and family? What about going for a walk and smiling at another person? Or reading a book that makes you feel understood and validated? Meditation can also be a way of connecting with a higher power and understanding that we're all part of one big world.
One point to make on this is to make sure you are choosing an activity that makes you feel connected and energised, not alienated and drained. So be mindful of using the news, or social media, to connect with others if that in fact does the opposite for you.
Something to get you inspired
In my opinion, the day becomes much more manageable when I feel excited and inspired by life. There are activities I can do - like listening to a podcast or reading an interesting article - that encourage me to think, to see things differently, and get my creative juices flowing.
What's that activity for you? Have a think about a time that you've come away from something and it's generated all these new interests and passions for you. That could come in media form, or it could be spending time with someone interesting. It could be cooking a creative breakfast. The possibilities are endless! For me, I know i've achieved this when I feel energised and excited to put my thoughts down on paper or share them with a loved one.
Something for self-love
Above all, the reason people create morning routines is to take care of themselves and give themselves the love we all deserve. Often I have come up short when practicing morning routines because I've felt like I'm doing something because someone else has told me to. I've felt disconnected from myself. I have felt the morning routine to be an obligation rather than a choice.
This whole template for a morning routine is designed to help you feel connected with yourself and feel like you are special and enough. However, sometimes we need an extra little sprinkling. So if you fancy, incorporate something that you know is just for you, to show yourself that you're worth it. For me, it might be standing in my garden with a cup of coffee and feeling the sun on my face. It's not tied to any agenda or success - it's purely just because it makes me feel good. Other options could be listening to your favourite song, meditating to bring yourself calm, or dancing like crazy around your bedroom. Whatever it is, make the aim to just immerse yourself in the pure joy of just doing something for your own spiritual nourishment. If it stops feeling blissful, try something else!
Above all, morning routines shouldn't feel like a chore. I want you to create a routine designed to fill you up, nourish you and prepare you for whatever the day faces. A key part of motivation is to make us feel in control - so creating your own routine based on your needs and desires is the perfect way to keep us feeling autonomous and in charge of our success.
What's your morning routine? Is there anything else you add that makes you feel really good?