What Makes a Great Morning Routine?

Some people greet the morning with boundless enthusiasm. Others prefer to ease into their day, after their first cup of coffee. Regardless of which approach you use, both start with a morning routine. What you do during that time will determine whether you control the day or it controls you. Learn why morning routines are so important and get some ideas for establishing your own practice.

Why It’s Important

There are a number of benefits for having a morning routine. Here are a few payoffs:

  • Creates predictability – Having a regular routine takes the guesswork out of starting the day. The pattern is set; all you have to do is follow it. That means you avoid wasting time and energy deciding how to start. Instead, you can gear up for what’s to come.   
  • Provides motivation – Morning routines give you a quick win. That sense of automatic accomplishment motivates you to move forward. It’s the one thing you do every day just for you.
  • Fuels your body – Routines can fuel you physically. The accomplishment you feel can release chemicals in your body that reduce pain and trigger positive feelings. That’s especially true if your routine includes exercise.

Ideas for Your Morning Routine

The internet is full of reports on how successful celebrities start their day. For example, Craigslist founder, Craig Newmark, dives into customer complaints. Oprah reportedly starts with a 20-minute meditation. Former Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz, walks his three dogs. 

Yet the truth is, there’s no ideal morning routine that works for everyone. Different people have different body rhythms and ways they like to work. But here are some great ideas to consider as you create your own routine.

  • Start with a full tank – Start your day with the energy you need to reach your destination. Physically, that might include diet and exercise. It can be a simple 5-minute stretch or a full cardio/weight workout at the gym. Mentally, many people find that meditation helps center their thoughts for the day. Here’s a 24-minute routine that combines both to help you become an entrepreneurial rock star. 
  • Begin the night before – Why wait until morning to start the routine? Begin the night before by writing down the top three things you want to accomplish tomorrow. It’s when your greatest challenges are the freshest in your mind.    
  • Eat the frog first – Mark Twain once said you should eat a frog each morning so you can go through the day knowing it’s likely the worst thing that will happen. The idea is that morning is when you likely have the most energy, so it’s the best time to tackle your toughest challenge.  
  • Perform a quick win – Give yourself a mark in the plus column by performing a simple task right away. Make your bed, let the dog out, open the blinds, get the paper off the front porch, plug in the coffee maker. Without realizing it, you’ve set your day in motion.
  • Set up barriers – Think about what you don’t want to do. For example, if your first impulse is to check emails (and waste the first 20 minutes of your day), don’t keep your cellphone on your bedside table. Put it across the room where you have to make a conscious effort to get it.  
  • Wake-up on time – Experts recommend you stabilize your body clock by waking up the same time every day (even on weekends). And don’t hit the snooze bar. The payoff is a better night’s sleep, greater productivity, and sharper focus.

The most important part of morning routines is having one. You can’t realize its benefits if you don’t find what works best for you. Start with these ideas and build a routine that you can add to  over time.

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