Having a strong morning routine can be life-changing. Sounds maybe a bit extreme, but it is absolutely the case. Setting yourself up well for the rest of the day begins when you first rise. It stands to reason that if you begin your day with intention, inspiration, positivity and a clear set of goals, you can’t help but feel more in control and on top of it than if you wake up late, groggy, grumpy and rushed. But what if you’re not a morning person?
Let me tell you a secret…I’m not a morning person either. Or rather, I wasn’t. But then about 4 years ago I found something strange began to happen. Everywhere I looked people were referencing having a morning routine. It was in my social media feeds, on Pinterest, I would walk past people in the street and hear someone talking about their 6 am run that morning, and personal development books I read were also recommending breaking up with your snooze button.
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Becoming a morning person
I began to get curious.
And listen, when I say I was not a morning person, I mean I was NOT a morning person…I LIKE my sleep and could easily stay in bed well into the afternoon given the chance, so the fact that I was even giving this morning routine thing a moment of my attention was actually pretty scary to me and kind of a big deal…
But I’m also the kind of person who feels that if something keeps presenting itself to you, then it’s because you need it. So I read some articles, I made some notes, I bought Hal Elrod’s book ‘The Miracle Morning’, but I did it all with a slightly defensive “Well Universe, you can try if you must, but you won’t separate me from my pillow…” attitude. I’d say I didn’t actually make the commitment to get out of bed earlier until I read this:
“If you really think about it, hitting the snooze button in the morning doesn’t even make sense. It’s like saying ‘I hate getting up in the morning, so I do it over, and over, and over again’ ”
The truth of this statement hit me hard (although I would argue that it should read ‘waking up’ rather than ‘getting up’ – but that’s just me being persnickety…)
So I committed to just giving it a go. I told myself I’d get up early every day for the next week and see what happened. I followed The Miracle Morning system of getting up 1 hour earlier and practicing 10 minutes of each of the SAVERS.
The Miracle Morning SAVERS
SAVERS is the anacronym devised by Hal Elrod as a way of dividing your morning time into 6 key areas to work on:
S – silence
A – affirmation
V – visualisation
E – exercise
R – reading
S – scribing
I meditated, read some positive affirmations, started building a vision board, did some yoga stretches, read a bit more of the miracle morning, and then journalled about how badass I was feeling about being up early, and how this was a new me.
The next day, I hit snooze. 4 times. Ho hum. Best intentions and all that….
There is no magic wand, like so much in life, if you want to do it, you have to put the work in, and (importantly) it won’t always work out, but that doesn’t mean you should quit.
Fast forward to now and I can tell you that since my early rising journey began I have had ups and downs…sometimes I’m on it and up with the larks, I have seen some beautiful sunsets while out on an early morning run, I have been at my most productive and efficient, I have been inspired and motivated, and then other times I just haven’t had it in me and had prolonged periods of sleeping in.
I don’t beat myself up when this happens, but what I do know is that if I get up early my day always goes smoother. (Top tip: If possible, put your alarm/phone somewhere away from your bed so you are forced to get up in order to turn it off!)
If you are struggling with the transition then maybe don’t go for the full hour at first – even getting up 10-15 mins earlier can make a huge difference to your day. Alternatively, you could work a slow morning routine into your weekends.
What do you do when you fall? You get up.
Make the most of your time
So how do you create a perfect morning routine?
What do you want to get out of your mornings? Are you hoping for more energy? Some quiet time for reflection? Time to work on a personal project? A bit of everything?
Whatever you hope to get out of your mornings, preparation is the key to success.
I’ll be honest, there have been multiple occasions where I have found myself sat awake in the early hours, with not a clue of what to do with my time and wondering why on earth I was there when I could be snuggled up in bed warm and drowsy.
This is obviously not the aim! So prepare ahead of time – work out exactly how you will spend your time in order to make it work for you.
Personally, I still like to divide my hour into 10-minute sections and work on several things during the course of my morning, but you can really do whatever you feel you need to.
You may prefer to spread your routine out over the week. If you are particularly athletic you could spend a whole power hour working out one day for example. Maybe the next day you could spend an hour journalling and meditating.
Think about what areas in your life you’d like to work on and craft your personal morning routine from there.
Tried and tested ideas for a successful morning routine:
Drinking a glass of water first thing on rising will energise and hydrate you after your night’s rest. This is a super easy and beneficial habit to get into. Just do it eh?
My absolute favourite way to start the day (but do make sure you are actually up and out of bed for this – if you stay in bed and meditate there is every chance you will just go back to sleep…not that I have ever done that, oh no, not me, cough, cough…)
Meditation is a lovely way to ease from sleepiness to wakefulness, gradually allowing yourself to acclimatise to the day, becoming mindfully aware of the space around you, the quiet time you have for yourself before the business of the day takes hold.
“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day”
Read also: Meditation – a Beginners Guide
Just doing 10 minutes of exercise before you start your day can really boost your mood and energy levels for the rest of the day. Whether you greet the day and stretch out with a sun salutation, find a short kettlebell video on Youtube, or just do some star jumps while the kettle boils, it’ll set you up for a better day. Trust me.
I personally LOVE the Wonder fitness app, a short but powerful 7-minute daily workout, scientifically designed to target your whole body in under 10 minutes, which can be completed wherever you are with no equipment other than a chair!
Taking 10 minutes to write in a journal is a great way to touch base with yourself. You might write about anything that came up during your meditation or a few lines about what you hope to achieve today.
Many people use this time in their morning routine to record their gratitudes. Write down 3 good things, about your life, yourself, your day, celebrate your wins, make a note of what you have achieved – giving yourself this praise can help you take on the day with pride on your side!
Plan your day
Get out your planner and decide on your 3 most important tasks for the day. Going into your day with a plan will help to ensure that you stay on track.
“What you think you create, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you become.”
Visualise your perfect, no holds barred life. Spending time each morning visualising what it is you want keeps it at the forefront of your mind and motivates you to work towards achieving it.
I am a huge fan of visualisation, but this is probably the habit that took me the longest to get my head around.
If this is a new concept for you, then I suggest you start with a prompt and create a vision board. You could create a multi-purpose board which you fill with images that inspire you or make specific ones for different areas, for example, health goals, home, work, positivity etc. You can build these as Pinterest boards, use an app, cut pictures out of magazines and stick them in your journal, whatever resonates with you.
Look at them every day and really feel it… If this vision is what you are striving for, imagine it, believe it is yours and then make it yours!
There is power in words. Write yourself some positive affirmations and read them every. single. day. Repeat after me:
- I am brave
- I am brilliant
- I am surrounded by opportunity and abundance
- I am filled with joy, gratitude and enthusiasm for this new day
- I am a total rockstar for dragging my butt outta bed…
- I am (fill in the blank with whatever works for you….)
It can feel super weird doing/saying this stuff, especially if you tend to be a little more negative about yourself (which is not OK by the way…love on your fine self! You ARE a rockstar!) but positive affirmations work. They just do. If you tell yourself you suck, then you do. If you tell yourself you are awesome then you are. It’s one of life’s simplest truths. So believe in yourself…
“Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts.”
If you’re struggling with writing your positive affirmations you might want to check out these posts for tips:
Watch a TED Talk
There are so many fascinating TED talks, and plenty of short ones at that…pick a 5 – 10-minute TED talk and learn something new…
10 minutes doesn’t seem like a great length of time to read for, but it all adds up…and it’s surprising how taking these mini chunks of time to read and develop can have a knock on effect to your day.
For bite-sized motivational daily reading, I recommend The Daily Stoic by , which delivers a thought-provoking nugget of wisdom from such classic greats as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus for every day of the year and an accompanying reflection for you to consider throughout the day.
Blinkist is an award-winning app which condenses a huge range of non-fiction books down into their key points so you can get the gist of an entire book in the space of about 15 minutes. I do think it’s better to read a book in its entirety if you can, but having said that, this is an excellent way to squeeze extra reading into a small time window (and if you read something on Blinkist which really resonates with you, you can always then read the whole book at another time to delve deeper…)
If you want to access the entire library then there is a fairly steep fee (although if you buy a lot of books then it could be a very good deal indeed..) but the free version does offer a pre-chosen daily book, which can fit very nicely into a morning routine. I have read several books this way which I might not otherwise have looked at, but have been interesting all the same, so it’s quite a nice way to explore new ideas.
Alternatively you may just want to grab 10 minutes to flick through a magazine or read a chapter of your favourite novel, this is good too – it can be hard to find time in our hectic lives just to unwind – remember that this time is for you, and whilst personal development is great, self-care is actually a big part of that.
Following on from my point above, self-care is king. It’s perfectly OK to spend a portion of your morning just relaxing. (Just make sure it’s intentional relaxing, not doing nothing because you are feeling vague and directionless!)
No digital devices
I know this isn’t always a popular suggestion (and is obviously a hard one to implement if you are using apps during your morning routine!) but it is really nice to spend the first hour of the day with yourself, without immediately being dragged into social media and all that represents. And you know as well as I do that you may only mean to take a peek at something for a moment, but before you know it you’ve lost your morning just scrolling…so don’t be tempted. Put your phone away, or at least only use it for the purpose of enhancing your morning.
I have my apps organised on my phone so that any I regularly use in my morning routine are in their own ‘Good Morning’ folder, and I only let myself access that before 8 am. (I try to get up at 6, have an hour to myself, and then we have family brekkie time between 7 and 8, with no digital devices until after then as a family rule.)
Change your life…
It’s no exaggeration to say that having a morning routine has absolutely changed my life for the better. The very fact that I am sat here writing this… this whole blog came out of the time I gave myself in the mornings to really think about what I wanted from my life.
Give yourself this time. To meditate, to reflect, to journal, to learn, to stretch, to plan, to just be.
Your first step towards an intentional life could be as simple as setting the intention to become a morning person, be curious, give it a go!
“Life begins each morning”
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