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How to Create a Personalised Morning Routine

hand holding cup of coffee

Let’s talk about a personalised morning routine and how to create it. I promise it is not difficult, but it does take some time. Some soul-searching and preparation are also required. In this article, I will share what I found helpful when creating my morning routine; hopefully, you will too.

Plenty has already been written about the importance and advantages of creating and following an effective morning routine. It is fundamental to have one in place because how we start our day has an immense impact on how the rest of the day rolls out. 

However, there is no perfect or universal morning routine. It is very personal. We all have different short and long-term goals. Our physical and emotional needs can vary greatly. We should consider our health conditions and general energy levels as well. 

So how do we create it? Let’s dig into a few things that need consideration and some planning.

Assess your habits 

The first step is to assess your current habits and systems you currently have in place. Then understand your wants and needs. Why your mornings are as they are and why you want to change them. Are you the type of person that stays in bed until the very last minute and then rushes around trying to get ready in nanoseconds and incidentally is always late? Or are you lacking focus and cannot finish a simple to-do list? Are you struggling to find time to follow through with your new project idea?

person holding coffee and cigarette bad morning routine example

Find your WHY

To be able to implement any changes in your habitual routines, you will need to find your WHY. Even though creating a seemingly perfect and personalised morning routine is easy enough, sticking to it is another story. You will have to form new habits that support you and release bad habits that keep you stuck in your old ways. And you will need to be consistent. It might be hard to stay on track and motivate yourself. For that, you will need a strong WHY.

Remember that it takes at least 30 days to form a new habit. And might take much longer. It all depends on the difficulty of the task and the resistance to change you might have.

Functional and realistic morning routine

A good morning routine needs to be functional and realistic. Consider that when crafting one. Not everyone can meditate for an hour every single day. And we might want to be able to do that, don’t we? 

So a great way to start is to measure how long it takes to perform different tasks. How long does it take to shower, get dressed and put make-up on? Do you enjoy having breakfast with your family unrushed? When you understand what it takes to keep up with all the small activities you wish to engage in, you can evaluate how realistic your routine is.

When the initial count is ready, evaluate how much time you can spare for other things you might want to include in your mornings. And also what you are willing to let go. Aim to leave only essential items. If you need to get up earlier in the morning, know that will be tough and will need some getting used to.

In the case of irregular sleep and wake cycle, for example, for people working shifts, it might be more challenging to cling to healthy routines. I can relate to this one. Working late and then needing to get up early is stretching enough. Then trying to squeeze in exercise, a healthy breakfast and calming practice in the morning seems like a distant mirage. Having an elaborate morning routine is not realistic. Aim for minimalism. Your health and well-being are the top priority here.

Make it easy to help keep up with your morning routine.

Remember that your brain will look for excuses and shortcuts. Make it easy for yourself to follow through. Or at least a bit easier. For example, if you intend to practice yoga in the morning, you should set up everything you need for your practice the night before. Yoga mat, comfortable workout clothes (even though pyjamas might do in this case also), plaid for Shavasana. If you want to meditate, set up your meditation corner, and create a guided meditation playlist. Don’t forget the headphones! If you decide to hit the gym in the morning, prepare your gym bag and water bottle the night before. So you are ready without needing to look for stuff in the morning. That will save you time and help you skip the excuses.

workout clothes and equipment laid out for morning routine exercise

Avoid taking on too much 

You will need to choose your battles here.  Do not overcrowd your mornings because you will only get stressed out. We want quite the opposite, don’t we? So let’s dive in and choose what would be great to include in your perfect morning routine: 

  • Meditation, breathing exercises, tapping, positive affirmations, visualisation or gratitude practice
  • Yoga, pilates or stretching
  • Journaling, reading, listening to podcasts or completing your to-do list for the day
  • Going for a walk or going to the gym
  • Eating a healthy breakfast
  • Drinking water or lemon water
  • Dry brushing or performing a self-massage
  • Having a cold or warm shower
  • Cleaning and moisturising your face, putting on sunscreen
  • Make your bed, have a quick tidy-up, take out the trash
  • Dress for success, and make yourself feel your absolute best
  • Learn something new, e.g. read a follow-up professional article or learn a few new foreign words
  • Do an act of kindness or hug your family member, friend or pet

Set an intention for a day 

You should always set an intention for your day. This step alone will change your days and life for the better. If I needed to suggest one fundamental task to include in your morning routine, that would be setting an intention for a day.

Aim to know how you wish to experience and face the day ahead. What are the most important tasks you need to handle? How do you intend to manage your time and energy? How will you manage your emotions? Where do you want to direct your focus and attention? How do you hope to handle emergencies and unpredicted situations that might mess up your daily flow?

This step is particularly individual and might be done in different ways. Aim to create a personalised version to include in your morning routine. I set up intentions for a day during my morning meditation or brushing my teeth. I do enjoy a morning meditation when I can squeeze it in.

Eat the frog 

The most difficult tasks should be tackled first. Or the ones that you try to avoid at all costs. Aim to get them out of the way immediately so you can move on with the rest of your day with a sense of accomplishment. Dear fellow procrastinators, practice it. When we deal with the most grinding tasks first thing in the morning, the rest of the day feels much lighter and happier.

No emails, messages, TV and social media

If your goal is to create a fabulous personalised morning routine, no scrolling, no emails, no WhatsApp first thing in the morning. Do not clutter your mornings with negative messages and distractions. It’s the easiest way to mess up your head and get sidetracked from your most important tasks and goals. Complete your morning routine, and handle your most important tasks. Emails and messages can wait a few hours. They are rarely that urgent. People can still contact you via phone in case of a real emergency.

Relapse is normal

If you miss a day, do not beat yourself up. Relapse is common, but do your best not to skip two days in a row. Stay focused and be consistent. Your hard work will eventually pay off. Do your best to avoid including too many new things in your morning routine. Four should be tops at the beginning.

Continue for at least 30 consecutive days and see how you’re doing. Then evaluate and decide if you need to add something new or leave out something.

A great morning routine starts in the evening before

Remember that a great morning routine starts with a great evening routine. Please don’t overlook your evenings. Every day should end in a constructive way and on a positive note. Do your best to set up your evenings so you can rest, get quality sleep and then wake up refreshed for the day ahead. So to accommodate your morning needs, create a personalised evening routine as well.

Do general tidying up, wash dishes and wipe kitchen and bathroom surfaces, prepare your lunchbox and water bottle, gym bag, clothes you intend to wear the day after, etc.

You probably don’t want to start your day grinding your teeth while washing up after last night’s dinner. All because you need a clean pan to fry some eggs. Or lose precious minutes trying to pair socks as they all seem different colours.

woman's hand with a pen and a planner great for morning routine

Final thoughts 

To round up, your mornings are perfect for setting up your intention for the day and charging up mentally. Never overlook the importance of it. Aspire to be present and make every minute count. How you spend your mornings will define how you spend your days. And how you spend your days will then frame how you spend your life.

“Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.”

Hal Elrod
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