Whether you are an early bird, a night owl, or somewhere in between, having a morning routine can be very transformative. The trick to this is finding a routine that works best for you. Having a consistent morning routine promotes creativity, productivity, and positivity. In this article, we discuss how to create a morning routine designed around your unique needs and how it can change your life.
Mornings are potentially the most important part of your day.
What do you, your mindset, and choices you make when you wake up set the tone for the rest of your day.
In the morning lies unlimited opportunities for how you want your day to go, thus carries immense potential for life changing decisions. When you choose a morning routine that puts you in the best mindset to begin the day and consistently continue to do that every day, your entire life can change.
There is no “one size fits all” for morning routines. The same routine that one successful person has created might not work for you – and that is okay. The same routine that has made someone else a billionaire might make you miserable and drowsy, unable to get anything accomplished in your day. This is why it is important to create a morning routine around your unique needs rather than following step-by-step instructions.
However, there are helpful tips for you to understand when you create a morning routine that promotes productivity, creativity, and positivity.
When you create a morning routine, it is important to understand yourself and your needs in the morning, what time of the day you feel the most productive, and when you have the most energy.
Early bird vs night owl
Some of us love waking up to the sun rising and feel refreshed at the start of a new day. Their minds are more active in the morning and they are able to get a lot accomplished before many others wake up. These are commonly referred to as early birds.
Night owls are essentially the opposite. Getting out of bed when the alarm goes off can be difficult for them and they are more likely to hit snooze. They won’t want to see or speak to anyone until they’ve had their cup of coffee and need more time for their brains to fully wake up. However, at night they become more creative, invigorated under the moon and stars. Their minds thrive in the sweet stillness of the late night when all the world is asleep.
One is not better than the other, merely different. In fact, what determines whether you are an early bird or a night owl isn’t a decision we make. It’s genetic.
What is important to understand is that whether you are an early bird or a night owl, you shouldn’t fight it. Rather, embrace it and accept that this is who you are and create a morning routine around it. In fact, people who stop fighting their internal time patterns are happier and live better lives.
The Four Chronotypes
The early bird and the night owl are the general stereotypes describing people who function better or worse at different times of the day. However, in clinical psychologist Michael Breus’s book The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype–and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds and More, he breaks down the different internal time patterns even further into four categories.
These categories that he has cleverly named after animals include dolphins, lions wolves and bears.
Dolphins are genetically prone to insomnia, usually waking up feeling groggy around 6:30 am. They generally have a nervous and irritable personality.
Lions wake up the earliest eager to start the day, usually around 5:30 am or earlier.
Wolves are described as similar to night owls. At night they are the most creative and on the prowl at nighttime, so to speak. They typically wake up around 9:00 am.
Bears love their sleep and get a full eight hours per night. They rise a little groggy later in the day and have easy going personalities.
No matter which chronotype you are, here are some tips to follow when you create a morning routine that all can benefit from.
Start your morning routine the night before
Before going to bed at night, begin preparing yourself for the next day so you have less to think about when you wake up. You can lay out what you’re going to wear, prepare your lunch, pack your gym bag, etc. One of the most helpful things to do is write out a list of things you want to accomplish the next day, starting with the most stressful tasks first.
Don’t hit snooze
One of the most important things to incorporate when you create a morning routine is to stop hitting the snooze button. The alarm you set the night before is essentially like setting a goal for yourself, and when you hit snooze you begin your day failing. When your alarm goes off, get yourself up. Even if you need to just sit up in bed for a few minutes before getting out. When you wake up in the morning at your goal time, you start your day winning.
Stay off your phone
During the first few hours of the day, try to stay off of social media and don’t check your emails. When you begin to scroll through your phone you distract yourself from staying present and mindful during your morning routine.
It seems like everyone these days is gushing about having a gratitude journal, but this is for an amazing reason. Practicing gratitude daily can change your life by rewiring the neurological pathways in your brain so you begin to think more positively about your life. You begin to see everything in life you are grateful for already rather than focusing on what you lack. When you begin your day in a state of gratitude and love, it will be easier to keep that feeling alive within you throughout the day and not let life stressors affect your mood as much.
Many people just want a simple morning to themselves to enjoy a good cup of coffee. It is their time to find peace and quiet before their day begins. It is a great way to begin your day from a calm and collected headspace.
Meditating or practicing mindfulness in the morning is scientifically proven to have positive effects on brain function. Finding anywhere from five minutes to meditate to an hour will make a difference if you do it consistently.
Move your body
Incorporating a way to get your body moving in the morning is important for a number of mental and physical health reasons. It not only wakes up all of your muscles and gets your energy flowing, it gets our mind in a more positive state that we carry with us throughout the day. You can go on a walk or jog outside, practice yoga, or do an at-home workout circuit. Start your day doing something good for your body and mind, and they will thank you for it later.
Eat a healthy, delicious breakfast
Starting your day off with a healthy meal makes it easier to keep making healthy eating decisions throughout the rest of your day. You should also include nutrient dense, fresh, raw fruits and/or veggies and avoid highly processed foods.
Studies have shown that we are the most creative in the morning. We can Incorporate ways to express creativity into our morning routine through journaling, reading, drawing, painting, etc. Whatever you enjoy doing that gets your creative juices flowing.
Start small, then expand as time goes on
When you first decide to create a morning routine, don’t expect to be able to start out with Elon Musk’s morning routine. If you’re a wolf or a bear, waking up at 4:00 am to meditate for three hours, run 10 miles, and cook a gourmet breakfast, while reading three books won’t be realistic and you will be very likely to give up after the first day or two. Start small, with a few simple ideas and prove to yourself that you are capable of changing. As time goes on and you begin to develop these ideas into habits, add more.
Creating a morning routine is a situational process. While many people believe that it takes an average of 21 days to build a habit, the real number is in fact 66 days. Stay patient with yourself and don’t give up. It will get easier and you will notice every other area of your life begin to shift in a positive way.