Countless articles, blogs & YouTube videos outline specific morning routines & guidelines, often focused on losing weight, building a successful business, or balancing your chaotic life. Regardless, for myself & many others, it's all very overwhelming. And this overwhelm quite honestly kept me from moving forward & creating a morning routine for a very long time.
Between learning about a process called Core 4 & reading a book that told me to "eat the frog" (get the thing you're dreading the most done first), I started creating the following list of questions to build my own morning routine.
What Calms You?
When you are feeling frustrated, angry, or antsy, how do you spend your time? A few examples might be coloring in an adult coloring book, talking to someone, driving, journaling, meditating, etc. I know that some of you might be thinking of mimosas right now (guilty!), but for now, let's stick to the healthier options for everyday routines & maybe we can add that one in for Saturdays?
What Gives You Clarity?
For many, the thing that calms you may also give you clarity. Although I hate to admit this, for me, this means a good jog (or, if I'm really upset, sprinting intervals). My head is clear & I've let out all of my confusion & frustration in one activity, but this doesn't just come from workouts. You can gain clarity from all of the examples shown above in "What Calms You?" along with many other activities. It all depends on you personally, & that's what this process is all about.
What Energizes You?
Or rather, what's something that you do when you already feel like you're on top of the world? For example, when I'm celebrating something big, I belt it out to loud music in the car. For others, this could mean painting, reading, brainstorming with friends, organizing (yes, I said it!), trying something new, etc. Consciously knowing what energizes you will give you a secret advantage when it comes to setting up a morning routine. Not only do you now know of a few things that might just get you out of bed, but you can use them to motivate yourself to do other things you struggle with; working out, doing the dishes, etc.
Who Do You Want To Be?
Woah! Loaded question! But hang on, this is actually pretty good. There are several things we may have always wanted to try - to improve our health, mold our minds or just because. You'll add them here. (Let's get real - this is where you put those things that don't fit into the questions above but might mean a better life for you in the future.) Mine would include waking up earlier, doing more yoga & journaling & meditating daily.
How Do All Of The Above Connect?
You may or may not have noticed that a few of your choices can intertwine quite nicely. Specifically, the things that energize you can motivate you to push through some of the things that are less than motivating. Someone who enjoys reading might consider choosing books to push themselves toward their "Who Do You Want To Be?" answers. The person who loves painting can reward themselves with new paints or even the process of painting only after finishing their morning routine. And the person who is energized by music might create detailed playlists for each process that they are ONLY allowed to listen to while running, meditating, yoga, doing the dishes, etc. Get creative here! Personally, I've also limited myself to watching the Bachelorette ONLY while on the treadmill. (Thank you, digital world!)
Follow Up: How Does The Process Make You Feel?
When I started noticing how I feel on the day that I do my morning routine vs. the day that I don't, I was SHOCKED. While we are on that treadmill (or, let's be honest, staring at it pre-workout), it can be very easy to want to run to the coffee maker & never come back. If we are somehow able to focus on how we feel FOLLOWING each routine, it might just have us kick-starting each & every day (even weekends!!) in a way that we've always wanted to, & thus we slowly but surely become the person we've always wanted to be. This is the part that I'd also recommend documenting your experience in a journal of some sort... just tell me you'll think about it!
BONUS: Still Struggling?
Consider what might make your morning routine easier & more appealing. What could you do the night before that will have you saying, "you're welcome future self!"? This means laying out clothes for workouts (or, in my case, wearing them to bed), preparing your meditation space, setting up your paint canvas, untying your running shoes, charging your earbuds, scheduling brainstorming meetings with friends, picking the book to read, etc. I've also taken the liberty of putting a "You VS You" sticker on my bedroom ceiling, making a workout routine checklist on our whiteboard & scheduling our Keurig to make me coffee promptly at 7 am.
Also, check out Mel Robbin's 5 Second Rule. Her success story is an incredibly good one, & it just might have you changing your ways!
You've got this!
Amy Riordan is a Coeur d'Alene Commercial Photographer & FAA Certified Drone Pilot specializing in helping small businesses succeed in online media. She is also a proud wife, dog mom, writer & runner.