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How to Create (and Stick to) a Morning Routine

A woman wearing earbuds and drinking a smoothie in a kitchen.
Josep Suria/Shutterstock

Getting the most out of each day takes a lot of motivation and zero procrastination. If you develop a morning routine, it provides some structure, so you can be more productive and achieve your goals.

In this article, we’ll explain how you can benefit from a morning routine and give you some practical tips so you can create one that works for you.

Why Have a Morning Routine?

Chances are, you’ve heard at least one billionaire attribute his success to a 4 a.m. wake-up call, followed by an hour of meditation. While that might be part of the reason, it doesn’t mean copying that routine will help you become the next Elon Musk or Richard Branson.

However, a solid morning routine can, indeed, do wonders for your productivity, mindset, and, ultimately, your life. If you prioritize your responsibilities or things that are meaningful to you first thing in the morning, it makes it easier to face the rest of your day with enthusiasm. It can also give you the determination to make that initial sense of accomplishment last.

The more goals you fulfill, the more you’ll want to keep up your productive habits. Eventually, the sound of your alarm won’t be so daunting anymore.

Develop (and Stick to) a Morning Routine

The goal is to find a set of activities you want to accomplish every morning that prepare you to seize the day. Evaluate your priorities, commit to the changes, and then let them turn into your new lifestyle.

It might take a little time to adjust, but it won’t be long before you reap the benefits. Here’s how to start the process.

Step 1: Create Your Routine

The key to building any habit is to start small. This is why it’s good to focus on one thing that’s important to you that you believe will make you feel better once you accomplish it. For example, you might decide to have a healthy breakfast every morning. This will certainly prepare you mentally and physically for the rest of your day. Another example could be working out, meditating, or even reading a certain number of chapters in a book.

These are all small challenges that can push you out of your comfort zone and help you set a foundation to fulfill your morning routine. So, pick one activity to start with and go from there. Patience and commitment will be the driving forces behind the process.

Step 2: Wake Up Early

A woman splashing water on her face at the bathroom sink.

Easier said than done, right? An early wakeup call is certainly an effort, but it’s necessary to establish a morning routine. If you give yourself extra time, you can tackle any task and bathe in the sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day. You’ll be proud of yourself for getting so much done first thing in the morning, and it will give you the motivation to do more throughout the day.

After you set an appropriate time to wake up, refrain from hitting the snooze button even once. Get up as soon as your alarm goes off. To make it easier to get out of bed and stay focused, leave your phone in airplane mode, and only go online after you finish your routine.

Step 3: Tackle the Yucky Stuff First

When you start to feel comfortable with your morning routine, challenge yourself even further by tackling the least appealing tasks first. It might seem dreadful, but it gets them out of the way, and then you can reward yourself by doing something you enjoy.

You’ll also get accustomed to the rewarding feeling that comes with checking things off your to-do list and be less inclined to procrastinate throughout the day. It’s a good way to prepare yourself for the duties that await you after your morning routine, like work or school.

Step 4: Track Your Progress

Good habits take time and repetition to develop. A good goal to start with is 21 days, but committing to your new morning ritual might require more or less time.

To make it more attainable, write down each step of progress you make until you complete the challenge. For example, mark the day you start your routine on a calendar, and then scratch off each day as you go. You can also add comments about the things you didn’t do and those you did.

Bullet journaling is also a popular way to stay organized and plan your daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, with the added benefits of complete customization and privacy. Whatever crosses your mind, jot it down in your bullet journal. Seeing your development can make things more exciting and motivate you to stay engaged.

However, if you’re not a pen-and-paper type of person, you can use apps to track your progress. Habitfy (iOS) is a multi-platform habit tracker that helps you stay on top of your daily tasks and goals. It also highlights your habits through data analysis and engaging graphs. HabitBull (Android) is a similar option with the bonus of a like-minded community to interact with and reminders you can set to get things done.

Step 5: Be Mindful of Your Evening Time

After a long, busy day, it’s only natural to want to unwind and reward yourself. While you shouldn’t refrain from doing so, you should be mindful of your bedtime. It’s easy to lose track of time and end up oversleeping. This puts you back at square one and having to rush around all morning, leaving little motivation to get anything done. Lack of sleep also does you no favors.

To keep your plans organized, prepare everything you’re going to need the following morning each night before bed. For example, if you’re going to the gym, pack your gym bag, fill your water bottle, and leave them by the door. If you’re going to make breakfast, prepare anything you can the night before, and then leave the ingredients you’ll need in the morning out on the counter so you can quickly grab them.

Finally, decide on an appropriate bedtime that will give you enough sleep, so you’ll feel rested the following morning.

If you’re struggling to establish a morning routine, don’t worry—most people do! Rather than giving up after the first week, though, just start again and work your way forward day by day.

Carla Cometto Carla Cometto
Carla has been writing professionally for five years and blogging for many more. She's worked as a journalist, photographer, and translator. She's also an avid traveler who hopes to inspire a sense of curiosity and adventure in others through her writing. Read Full Bio »
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