How to Implement a Morning Routine You Can Actually Stick to 100%
posted on September 9, 2019 | by Vanessa Peers
You’ve likely seen articles about the benefits of having a morning routine or how the most successful people spend their mornings. From what I’ve read, all of the routines seem unrealistic and typically involve getting up at the crack of dawn to ensure there is enough time to meditate, read, write, journal, exercise, have a healthy breakfast, and do about a million other things before getting dressed and ready for the day ahead!
However, it did get me thinking about improving my usual morning routine of hitting the snooze button a few times before rushing to get ready and grabbing a quick breakfast on my way to the office. And also if it is possible to still reap the benefits of a morning routine even if you don’t manage to do everything on the overwhelming list supposedly prescribed by the most productive among us.
So, for the past few months, I’ve been perfecting a new morning routine and can certainly attest to the benefits of consistently waking up an hour earlier, exercising, and arriving at the office not frantic and rushed. If you’re looking to start your day right, here is how to get started.
Decide on a reasonable wake-up time
The first step for me was figuring out what time I could realistically wake up every morning. I know I enjoy going for drinks and dinner after work so it wasn’t reasonable to expect I would be at home and asleep by 9 pm every evening. I also need a good 7 to 8 hours sleep at night so a 4 am wake up call was out of the question. But obviously in order to achieve more than I was each morning, I had to get up earlier and so I settled on 6 am.
I truly believe that figuring out what time to wake up is paramount to developing a morning routine, even before you think about what you might do with the extra time. Because if you’re anything like me, you already have an endless list of things you could do if you had the time. Think hard about what time you most often go to bed, how much sleep you need and what time you need to be ready by and then decide what time you can actually wake up.
Once I knew what time my alarm was going to go off, I thought about what I might be able to achieve with the extra hour each morning. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it all, so I decided to prioritize just one thing and for me that was exercise. Be realistic about how much additional time you will have in the morning and focus on doing one or two things that are important to you. Also, don’t fall into the trap of assuming you will be able to do things you are already doing (getting dressed and ready for work, getting the kids ready for school, etc.) any quicker – you will still need to allocate time to these tasks.
Amend and adapt
When I first started my new routine, I realized that I actually had more time than expected (mostly because an hour-long workout was a bit too much for me) so I was able to also make time for a healthy breakfast.
When you start your routine, be flexible. Maybe you need to try a shorter workout that fits within the time you have. Maybe your goal of reading a certain number of pages each morning can be done in half the time you now have so you can set a more ambitious goal or choose to do something else as well. However, unless you completely underestimated your sleep needs and find yourself asleep at your desk by 4 pm, try not to change your wake up time. Rather, think of how you can best use the additional time you have.
Consistency is key
Admittedly, you won’t find me up at 6 am over the weekend (perhaps this will come in time) but the weeks that I feel my best are those when I get up at 6 am Monday to Friday and exercise. Think of the time you have in the morning as a meeting with yourself and commit to it as you would commit to completing a work deadline or doing something for your family.
Although my routine is simple and to some, it might even sound normal, but right now, it is doable for me, which I’ve realized is the most important thing. So, forget trying to do it all and whether you have an additional 10 minutes or two hours, just commit to doing what works for you and I promise you’ll feel better for it!
I’d love to know how you spend your mornings!