There’s a lot of hype surrounding the benefits of a great morning routine. Whether you’re a morning person or not; in fact, no matter what time of the day you get up, it’s said that a ‘morning’ routine can work miracles; increase productivity, reduce stress; keep you in control; and create positivity. Naturally we decided to investigate – does a great morning routine really make a difference, and can we create a morning routine that sticks?
What is a morning routine?
Well, as it turns out, it’s a little more complicated than just rolling out of bed the first time the alarm sounds. A morning routine is purely by design, it can include whatever action or ritual you wish; from drinking a glass of water with lemon, to meditation and exercise. At the start, it can simply be about getting out the door on time.
The idea behind a good morning routine, according to Mel Robbins, is to “build momentum and progress”. A morning routine is a “deliberate way of thinking to reprogram the default network in your brain. It’s about being deliberate about what you want to achieve today”.
Contrary to some beliefs, a great morning does not necessarily involve clearing your inbox or “eating that frog”. In fact, it can be said that a well-crafted morning routine is exactly the opposite – one that is all about you.
Creating a morning routine that sticks
I decided to call on the experts and discovered some common themes about setting up a great morning routine. Here’s a checklist.
The rest can be up to you, but Mel Robbins suggests that you “make a decision to be present in the first ten to thirty minutes of your day”. That means no ‘outside-world’ input; that’s no phones, no devices and no work; and definitely means no checking emails or Instagram. “Give those ten to thirty minutes to your dreams because they deserve ten to thirty minutes” says Mel.
What to do?
Now, what to do in those ten to thirty minutes? Think about meditation; journaling; breath-work; letting your imagination run wild and dreaming of your future; or practising gratitude. You can even exercise, but it has to be consistent, and it has to be something just for you.
You might consider a range of things, something different each day of the week. If you have kids or responsibilities that have you up early, think about setting the alarm 15 minutes before you need to get started just to fit in some me time.
My morning routine
I was a bit stuck on the whole idea of what to do, so I downloaded, Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Journal prompts to assist. It felt a bit tedious at first but after a few days I found myself looking forward to the idea of setting myself up for the day by writing it down.
The premise of this journal and journaling in general I suspect, is to anchor your mood on something positive. I used the journal to focus on the one thing that I wanted to achieve on the day. I am usually a perpetual long list writer, so having just one focus felt daunting at first but then like a breath of fresh air.
The 5 Second Journal also encourages you acknowledge how you feel on waking and give some thought to why you feel this way. Practice gratitude, and importantly draw boundaries around the things you must do today vs the things you want to do today. It encourages you to decide on a time to stop working and turn your focus to something else.
What started off as a week-long experiment to investigate morning routines has now happily developed into a habit. Now nine months later I still find myself completely invested in my morning routine. I have definitely created a morning routine that sticks!
Whilst it can take some practice and perseverance at the start, a consistent morning routine finds me better organised, calmer and definitely more productive. The tendency to get over-whelmed with the day ahead has disappeared; and it’s definitely helped with that ‘work/life’ balance conundrum.
Try setting up a morning routine for yourself and see if it makes a difference in your life.