We’ve all heard that the early bird gets the worm. Someone who wakes up at 5am is glorified as having it all together. They run 10 miles, meditate for 1 hour, listen to 3 podcast episodes, read an entire book, shower and get ready for work all before the sun rises. If only that were achievable!
While the morning is a valuable time to be productive and accomplish the self-improvement goals that we all set for ourselves, it doesn’t have to be a marathon of running from one intense task to another just to post on social media of all we accomplished that morning. Sometimes we work so hard to curate a perfectly productive morning routine that we miss the beauty of having some extra time before we become engulfed in our worldly surroundings that often come with a 9-5 job.
I was not always a morning person–I dreaded waking up at 6am to make it before the high school bell. But when I decided to fill my mornings with choices instead of obligations, it became my favorite time of day. Instead of starting your day with everything you HAVE to do, choose to do the things you WANT to do.
So how do you curate a perfect morning routine without becoming overwhelmed with added tasks and potentially sacrificing sleep time? Throughout my years of designing my own morning routine, I’ve found 5 simple steps.
- Give yourself just one extra hour. If you usually wake up at 8am, set the alarm for 7am. Small changes yield big results. You might be missing out on one hour of sleep for the first couple weeks, but eventually your nighttime habits will adjust so you can easily hit the hay an hour earlier.
- Decide what activities fill you with joy, happiness, or energy and then identify your core activity. For me, I feel most energized after doing some type of physical activity outdoors. For you, it might be doing yoga, reading a novel, or meditating. The most effective morning routines are not about accomplishing as many tasks as possible, but instead focusing in on one main activity and forming smaller habits around that activity to make it enjoyable and effective. My main activity is a morning run or walk, depending on how my body is feeling that day.
- Surround your main activity with smaller habits. How can you get to your primary activity as quickly as possible? There are some unavoidable things that we have to do in the morning like go to the bathroom and brush our teeth. Having a sequence of these necessary tasks that becomes automatic will help you reach your main activity faster. For me, I wake up, turn off the alarm clock, go to the bathroom, floss, brush my teeth, wash my face, weigh myself, get dressed, drink a large glass of water, read and pray over a Bible verse, grab my running gear, and head out the door. Exactly in that order, every single day. I aim to be out the door within 15 minutes of waking if I’m walking and 20 minutes if I’m running. It’s kind of a fun game to compete against the clock!
- Do the activity, uninterrupted. Once your start, you will naturally find your flow since this is something you probably deeply enjoy doing. Enjoy it!
- Crush the rest of the day. One hour later, and you are energized and can start whatever you might normally do when your regular alarm would go off.
It’s that easy, and it’s entirely personal to you! You choose the activity that aligns with your long-term goals and makes you happy. I have two final tips for your miracle morning–avoid using your phone or other technology within this entire hour and set out anything you might need the night before. I like to listen to music when I run and podcasts when I walk, so I have to use my phone for that, but I don’t check or respond to messages or use any social media within the first hour. My clothes and a large glass of water are set out the night before too so there are no excuses or reasons to throw in the towel.
It’s time to abandon the crazy expectations of an out-of-this-world morning routine and opt for a personalized, intentional hour that fills you will joy instead of anxiety.