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How to Design a Morning Routine That Energizes You All Day

Tifa Ong
WRITTEN BY
UPDATED
November 25, 2021

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.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

How To Design Your “Perfect” Morning Routine

  1. Physical
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Spiritual

 

The Takeaway Message

 

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.

 

3 Sneaky Benefits Of Keeping Up A Morning Routine

 

Benefit #1: Consistency can help you live longer

 

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!)

 

Benefit #2: The right routine makes you feel great

 

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:

 

  1. Dopamine
    Associated with pleasurable sensations, along with learning, memory, motor system function, and more.
  2. Serotonin
    Regulates your mood as well as your sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory.
  3. Oxytocin
    Promotes trust, empathy, and bonding in relationships.
  4. Endorphins
    Your body’s natural pain reliever.

 

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.

 

Benefit #3: Mornings can give you the most results

 

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.

 

 

But Why Do Most Morning Routines Fail?

 

“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.

 

why Morning routines fail

One person’s “best” routine is another person’s nightmare.

 

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.

 

 

How To Design The “Perfect” Morning Routine For Yourself

 

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:

 

the 4 energy sources for a morning routine

Do you get your energy from physical, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual 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:

 

  1. Do any form of exercise, eat healthy delicious foods, massage or like clean, tidy spaces (physical)
  2. Read books, engage in intellectual conversations, or learn something new (intellectual)
  3. Connect with your loved ones, express gratitude, or listen to music (emotional)
  4. Meditate, pray, be in nature, journal, or self-reflect (spiritual)

 

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.

 

 

1. Physical activities for your morning routine

 

Physical activity can be revitalizing in the morning

Physical activity in the morning can revitalize most of us.

 

  1. Exercise
    Jog, run, hike, cycle, HIIT, yoga, anything to get your body moving — and do what you enjoy. Listen to your body after the exercise. Did you feel good? Or did something feel off?
  2. Food and drink
    Eat healthy, nutritious foods and drinks that give you plenty of energy to start your day, like oatmeal, eggs, papaya, berries, avocado, green tea, and many more. For example, Oprah Winfrey starts her day with a healthy breakfast that’s rich in complex carbs, fiber, and protein.
  3. Water
    This deserves to have a place on its own because you’ll feel a clear difference between drinking a full glass of water and not drinking.
  4. Take a cold shower
    I think whether you’re a physical person or not, this definitely wakes up everyone.

 

 

2. Intellectual activities for your morning routine

 

  1. Reading
    Anything that stimulates your mind and makes you think. It could be a morning newspaper, magazine, a business book, or a fictional novel.
  2. Learn something new
    It could be watching an educational video, listening to a podcast (here’re our favorite podcasts for freelancers), or practicing your craft.
  3. Set priorities
    Set 3 or 5 priorities that you need to get done for the day. This also allows some flexibility for unforeseen circumstances. You can also set them the day before, like the former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault. He ends his evenings by writing down three things he wants to accomplish the next day.
  4. Plan your day
    If you enjoy having certainty in life, try time-boxing.

 

 

3. Emotional activities for your morning routine

 

  1. Gratitude
    Don’t just “think” 3 things you’re grateful for. Feel how those 3 things made a difference in your life or imagine a life without them.
  2. Listening to music
    Listen to your favorite songs that give you goosebumps or a surge of motivation.
  3. Hug your loved ones
    Hugging feels good. When the other person hugs back as tightly, it feels even better. If hugging is not your thing, connect with your loved ones like Payal Kadakia, founder and CEO of ClassPass does. She’s said, “I’m recently married, and my husband and I make it a point to chat every morning — especially when I’m traveling. It grounds me and ensures that I start my day on a positive note.”
  4. Freestyle drawing
    A great way to release pent-up emotions if you don’t like writing. Close your eyes (so you don’t judge) and draw anything that comes to your mind for a few minutes.
  5. Bonus
    Play an instrument.

 

 

4. Spiritual activities for your morning routine

 

  1. Meditate
    A great way to be in the moment and release yourself from worrying about the past or future. Mark Cuban, Jack Dorsey, Oprah, and Tim Ferriss all start their day with meditation.
  2. Freestyle journaling
    I know this might sound weird, but writing what’s weighing you could temporarily make you feel lighter and free from those thoughts. For many people, this temporary moment of lightness brings them immense joy.
  3. Self-reflection
    Look back at the day before and ask yourself a series of questions like, “How was yesterday? What did I do? How did they make me feel? How do I want to live today?” Steve Jobs asked himself a simple question every morning: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? If the answer is no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
  4. Follow your heart
    The answer to your “perfect” morning routine could already be in you. You just need to listen to your body, ask, “What do you feel like doing?” and just do it. If it makes you feel energized and great, make it part of your morning routine. Otherwise, give it a few more days before you decide to throw it out the window.

 

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.

 

 

The Takeaway Message: Know Thyself!

 

experiment and build your own morning routine

Experiment your way to your dream morning routine.

 

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

About The Author

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.