8 steps to build the best morning routine

Same old, same old.
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Ein sportlicher Mann meditiert ©Juzant

Imagine sitting down at your desk on a Monday morning and getting the most important things on your to-do list checked off before even opening your inbox. You’ve been working on a pet project or putting in a workout. In other words, you’ve had time just for you. How do you feel? That’s right – all-powerful and ready to move mountains. A morning routine sets your levels of motivation and productivity for the whole day ahead.

And it’s no secret, either. Books like Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod or The 5am Club by Robin Sharma all argue that the first hour after you get up can make you not only more productive, but also more successful in life. Getting up early, meditating, exercising, and self-improvement are just a few of the suggestions found in these books.

But don’t worry: a healthy morning routine doesn’t have to mean getting up at 5am and downing a green smoothie. It’s important to come up with a bespoke routine that suits your personal goals and priorities in life. Imagine if you were given an extra hour every day: how would you spend it? We suggest 8 steps towards establishing a morning routine that’s just right for you. You don’t need to follow these ideas to the letter; just treat them as inspiration.

1. Get a head start

The key element for the perfect start to the day doesn’t even involve getting out of bed. The foundation for a successful morning routine is laid the night before, by making sure that you get a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips for improving the quality of your sleep:

  • Avoid light before bed: The blue light from cellphones, tablets and the like affect your sleep-wake cycle by delaying your body’s production of the sleep hormone. A 2015 Norwegian study that looked at the habits of 10,000 young people concluded that cellphone use before bed was associated with less restful sleep.
  • Wind down: Right before bed, try a relaxing yoga session or a spot of meditation. This isn’t the time for a sweaty HIIT workout. Strenuous exercise causes your body to release endorphins and dopamine, changing your body temperature. The upshot is that your body is jolted awake instead of coming to rest.
  • Avoid heavy food: Be sure to eat only a small and easily digestible meal just before bedtime. This takes the pressure off your body, allowing it to concentrate on regeneration processes as you sleep.

Check out our article on the ideal evening routine for other helpful tips.

2. Set your own rhythm

It doesn’t matter if your day starts at 5am or 7am; what’s important is that you factor in enough time for all the building blocks of your morning routine. Experiment with how long it all takes, as a full hour in the morning won’t be feasible for everyone. And notice how you feel after the routine. Is it bringing you closer to your goal or is it causing stress? It’s also worth bearing in mind that a morning routine that works today may not work tomorrow. Be flexible, open-minded and honest about what’s working, and leave room for change.

3. Make your bed

You can check off the first task of the day in no time at all. Making your bed as soon as you get up also means that you won’t get straight back in!

4. Stay hydrated

To keep your body working as it should all day, it’s important to keep it hydrated – especially after sleep. Why not make a glass of lemon and ginger tea or any unsweetened tea part of your morning routine?

5. Make a healthy breakfast

A healthy, balanced breakfast is the key to feeling motivated and having a productive morning. Combine complex carbohydrates and proteins with vitamins from fresh ingredients. How about a delicious chocolate porridge with caramelized banana, for instance?

6. Savor the moment

Everything is quiet and still, the phone isn’t ringing, and no one’s expecting an email from you. The early morning is ideal for savoring the silence. Take time just to drink in the moment, without doing anything. If you struggle to stop for a few seconds, try a breathing exercise or meditation.

7. Set a goal for the day

Think of the kind of energy that you want to apply to your day, and let that goal guide your mindset. It’s a good idea to write down your goal, perhaps at the top of your to-do list.

Here are a few examples:

  • I set my boundaries.
  • I will go through the day with optimism.
  • I will act boldly to get closer to my goal.

8. Work towards your goal

What with working 9-to-5 and all the demands of your personal life, it can seem impossible to work on your personal goals. Whether you’re keen to do further study, work on your fitness or simply read more, your morning routine makes the perfect time to work on those goals.

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