Morning routines sure sound simple: “Wake early, do wholesome activities, feel good all day.”
But oh boy, can getting up just 30 minutes earlier feel painful!
Many guides on the internet have told me to wake at 5 or 6am, but I’m just not a morning person. 8am is the earliest I can do. If you’re like me and tired of the “typical” morning routine, this article’s for you.
One thing I realized is that there was no ‘one size fits all’ perfect morning routine. I decided to identify what was right for me.
Now, I’ve perfected a morning routine that wakes up my body and brain, keeps me grounded, and energizes me throughout the day.
If you’ve tried following a “generic” routine and couldn’t keep it up for more than 2 weeks, hang in there. I’m going to share the exact process I used, so you can design a morning routine that complements your lifestyle, preferences, and schedule.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s touch on 3 surprising benefits that’ll motivate you a little more.
Routine equals consistency. And our body loves consistency above all else.
One study published in the American Diabetes Association showed the consequences of not sleeping and waking up consistently.
The participants with irregular bedtimes and wake-up times actually put them at an increased risk for obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and other health problems.
But when your body repeats a routine consistently, it’ll reward you back with health and longevity.
This is especially important for freelancers and business owners. Our health is our business! If we’re not in good health, we can’t deliver high quality work to our clients. We need to protect our health as if our life depends on it (it does!)
Did you wake up this morning feeling energetic and motivated? Probably not. Most mornings just feel “normal”.
If you want to feel happy, energized, and motivated, morning routines can hack your body to feel good. This is not a woo-woo thing but scientifically proven.
Some morning routine activities listed in this article (exercise, food, music, meditation) actually stimulate your body to create 4 “feel good” hormones:
Imagine having all these feel-good hormones while working on your project?
You’ll likely enter the “flow” easily because that’s exactly what happened to me. I was able to write an article non-stop for 50 minutes after a yummy yoga session.
There’s just something about mornings! Whether you’re exercising or doing the most important task first thing in the morning, you’re likely to get better results.
If you want to lose weight, exercising on an empty stomach in the morning is linked to priming the body for a full-day fat burn.
If you want to be productive, take advantage of the feel-good hormones and complete your priorities while your brain feels fresh and focused.
“Everyone can have a morning routine, but not everyone has the same morning routine.”
Read that sentence again.
Designing your morning routine is like playing with a shape sorter toy. If you try to fit a triangle into a square, you’ll probably break the toy first.
That’s exactly why morning routines fail. Forcing yourself to wake up at 6 am — when you’re not built for that — is pushing a circle into a pentagon.
A generic morning routine will never fit your unique shape. You need to mold the right morning routine that fits into your life.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to find out what shape you are and each shape comes with multiple ideas for you to experiment with.
Before you look at 127 ideas you could do in a morning routine; you first need to find out what “shape” you are.
And what I mean by “shape” is the “where and how” you get your energy from. Energy could mean power, motivation, hope, trust, creativity, or any positive emotion.
In fact, “energy” is the foundation of a morning routine. You do a series of activities that charge you up with energy so you can tackle the day.
Knowing where and how to get your energy is the first step to designing the “perfect” morning routine. And these energies usually come from 4 sources:
To determine which of these sources your energy comes from, ask yourself – when do you feel most invigorated and energetic? Is it when you:
Most likely, you’ll fall into a few categories. That’s great! It’s what makes you unique and human.
Now that you’ve identified your own “shape”, the next step is to select morning routines that can fit and bring you the most value.
Psst – somewhere down the line, you might notice some ideas overlap with 2 or more energy sources. Awesome! If you can energize 2 sources at one go, it’s even better. For me, doing yoga in the morning fuels me with energy and it comes from 2 sources: physical and spiritual.
Designing the right morning routine boils down to understanding your source of energy and experimenting with each activity.
It took me 5 months to develop the “perfect” morning routine that gives me the most energy.
I tried doing aerobic exercises in the morning, I threw up. But when I tried yoga for a few days, I felt great, peaceful, and energetic.
I tried reading a book in the morning, but I fell asleep instead. So, I moved “reading” to the evening where it became my “winding down” routine. Now, I could focus and read for more than 30 minutes without falling asleep.
See what I’m talking about?
Designing your morning routine is a long-term project that requires doing and testing repeatedly. There is no magic potion.
The good news is that knowing your energy source and needs gives you the right direction toward creating the “perfect” morning routine.
Good luck in your journey and I’ll be cheering for you!
Tifa Ong is a freelance copywriter who writes for coaches and business owners around the world. She’s passionate about enhancing all 5 dimensions of her well-being: physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual.