“There is no such thing as a perfect morning routine for everyone, but there is absolutely a morning routine that is right for YOU.”
How to Create the Perfect Morning Routine
Hello, Gorgeous Soul.
I’ve said it a million times over the years in my classes, one-on-one coaching, and here on the podcast: how you start your day is everything because of the snowball effect it has on your life.
Your days set the tone for your weeks, your weeks set the tone for your months, your months set the tone for your years and your years set the tone for your life.
You want to change your life? You need to start with your mornings.
No doubt over the years, you’ve played with lots of different ideas for how to start your mornings. There is no SHORTAGE of information out there telling you what are the most important components of a morning routine.
There is no “perfect” morning routine that works for everyone.
If you’re like me, you’ve definitely had an ideal morning routine in your mind, and you’ve set your alarm clock many a Monday morning way earlier than normal to give yourself plenty of time to do the things you read in that book or saw on that TikTok video informing you of what the most successful people do when they wake up.
- Drink lemon water
- Morning pages
- Guided Visualizations
- Set intentions
- Do breath work
- Sit in silence
- Recite affirmations
- Have a gratitude practice
- Do yoga
- Go in the sauna
- Do a cold plunge
- Eat that frog
- Write down your goals
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Don’t eat breakfast
- Make your to-do list
- Read a book
Which I guess means you should be setting that alarm for what…3am?
AND pray your kids don’t wake up, or you don’t see all those work emails that came in that you need to do first.
While I’m a big advocate of mindful morning routines, we have to acknowledge that a routine that makes you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or resentful is counterproductive. The OPPOSITE of the purpose of the routine.
The undeniable importance of a morning routine.
one of the key benefits is that it sets the tone for your day. You’ for sure know the difference between a morning that flows smoothly and one that feels like an uphill battle from the get-go.
But there are other compelling reasons to prioritize a morning routine, too.
First, your brain craves certainty and loves a good plan. It thrives on predictability because it gives you a sense of control. And as you are well aware, there’s lots of unpredictable shit happening once your day is rolling. A morning routine can help you start your day feeling empowered, like “The rest of this day might be a shit show, but at least I can count on my morning routine.
Another good reason to have a morning routine is because obviously the purpose is to start your day with healthy habits. Someone who decides to start a morning routine isn’t gonna be like first I’ll drink some vodka, and then I’ll numb out for 2 hours on my phone and then I’ll have a breakfast of doritos and oreos. It’s an intentional decision to prioritize your health and self-care from the moment you wake up. By committing to a morning routine, you’re setting the tone for the day and declaring, “I am becoming a person who takes excellent care of myself.”
Your brain craves certainty and loves a good plan.
How to create YOUR perfect morning routine.
First and foremost, obviously there’s no such thing as a perfect morning routine. If there were, ALL the people who talk about it and write about it would agree on what it is. There is no right way for everyone, but there is a morning routine that is right for YOU.
Let’s come up with it!
You want to start by being really fucking honest with yourself. This plan needs to work for who you ARE – not for who you think you’re supposed to be.
I’ll give you an example. My client Amy is NOT a morning person. But every time she decides she needs to get her shit together once and for all, she decides she needs to get up at the crack of dawn. And that’s not by accident. You will often hear people who write about morning routines advising everyone that in order to be successful, you need to get up uber early. Guess who’s writing these “how to have a perfect morning routine” articles? MORNING PEOPLE. So Amy and I set out to make her morning routine and she was like, “Ok so I’ll get up at 5.” I asked her what time she normally gets up. I could see the shame wash over her as she said, “Well, honestly I am usually getting up at 8 because that’s the latest possible time I can get up and still get the kids off to school on time. She told me that she’s exhausted in the mornings because nighttime is the ONLY time of day that no one needs her. So even though she’s tired, she’ll stay up and watch a show or play on her phone. And then she’s tired in the morning. Vicious cycle.
So I was like “How does it FEEL in your body when you think the thought, I need to get up at 5 am?”
And she was like “absolutely awful.”
Don’t try to change who you are to fit the routine. Make the routine fit around who you are. If you’re not a morning person, don’t force yourself to wake up at the crack of dawn. You’ll only end up feeling frustrated and disappointed. Instead, create a routine that accommodates your natural tendencies.
If you’ve got little kids or you start work super early or you have a needy pet, and know you’re likely to have a shorter routine, that’s okay. You can still include all the things that matter to you, even if they don’t all happen in the morning. Maybe you prefer to journal, practice yoga, or read a book later in the day instead.
Rigidity isn’t your friend when it comes to any habit, especially a morning routine. Be flexible and open to adjusting your routine as needed.
Also, it’s totally ok if not every day looks the same. I am officially giving you permission to have a different looking morning every day.
This is important to remember if your schedule is frequently changing OR if you aren’t a person who loves things being the same, like me.
I have a few constants that I do every day, but honestly my morning routine are always changing. Yes it looks different now that my kids are teenagers than it did when they were toddlers, BUT it also looks different from week to week because I am a person who LOVES changing things up. I go through periods of time when waking up really early and doing all the things…meditating, tapping, journaling, yoga, walking or whatever feels right.
And then one morning I’ll wake up and be like “You know what, that doesn’t feel great anymore. I’d rather stay in bed longer and bring my coffee up and read a book.” Who cares? I’m not going to make my shifting moods or fluctuating energy mean something is wrong and neither should you. I’m working WITH the way I’m wired and I know if I try to stick to some rigid routine forever, I’m going to get bored AF and quit it all together.
So before you create your morning routine, KNOW yourself, be HONEST with yourself. Make your morning routine work for who you are and what season of life you’re in.
Understand what you want to achieve with your morning routine.
Obviously It would be amazing to feel inspired and exhilarated every day, like you’re at a self-care retreat, but again, you can’t build your life around your habits. You need to build your habits around your life.
The top objective of a morning routine is to STOP starting your day feeling you are going from deep sleep into a panicked emergency state.
The point of the morning routine is to start your day feeling empowered and regulated.
So what should you include in your routine?
Obviously I’m not going to be prescriptive. I just told you why that DOESN’T work. But I AM going to offer a few suggestions.
In order to create a calm AF Life you need to be tending to the whole calm AF system, which comprises the mind, the body, and the bubble.
So when you’re deciding what you want to include in your mornings, see if you can find practices that touch on each of the components.
So let me throw out some suggestions of some of the practices that have the biggest bang for the buck, particularly for your mind and body.
Set an intention. Here’s the GREAT thing about setting intentions…it is, in my opinion, the most impactful practice AND it can literally take you 30 seconds and you can do it from bed. An intention is a decision. It’s you deciding the feeling state that you are going to align with during the day. Intentions are not a to-do list, they are the feeling you want to feel while you’re completing your to-do list.
Some tips: if you tend to struggle with coming up with intentions, decide the night before. Just ask yourself how you want to feel the next day so all you have to do in the morning is recall it. If you don’t know how to set intentions, you can search this podcast because I’ve talked about it a lot. Also I teach it in depth inside the Calm AF Life course AND there’s an intentions thread in the private community to add accountability.
Breathe. Again, this can take 30 seconds AND you can do it from your bed. Here’s why this one matters so much. I want you to think about what happens to your nervous system when you go from deep relaxation to an awake state where your thoughts are probably already going the second you wake up. It’s JARRING. Especially if you happen to wake up late OR you are woken up by other people, namely kids. This is something you can do EVEN if the kids are bugging you to get up. Just take three deep breaths and get your nervous system regulated and ready.
Hydrate. Again, 30 seconds. It’s amazing to me how people want to even complicate having water. Do not overthink this. Just get some damn water in your dehydrated body. Cold water. Warm water. Lemon water. Just put some water in a cup and take a few sips.
So those are 3 ideas that are tending to your mind and your body, all of which will take you less than 5 minutes.
Now how about your bubble. So the bubble component of the Calm AF system is referring to the things happening outside of you. The people around you, the environment that you are in. On my days that I have a long luxurious amount of time, I might go around the house and say good morning. This is a practice my home guru feng shui expert Amanda shared with me long ago and I LOVE it. When I have time. And if I don’t? I will open the curtains and let light in. I will put new water in the flower vase.
Another way to be tending to your bubble that takes ZERO minutes, in fact it probably gives you minutes BACK is to delay your external input. What do I mean by that? Don’t wake up and start checking emails, don’t start scrolling facebook or TikTok or instagram. Seeing something negative or disturbing will trigger your nervous system before you’ve even gotten out of bed. And those emails that are so urgent? The second you open them, you are putting your nervous system in a reactionary state. Not to mention, you are starting your day reinforcing the belief that everyone else’s needs are more important than yours.
So there are some ideas to get started with.
Give yourself some options when creating your morning routine.
I suggest that as you start creating your perfect morning routine you make sure you create a few different options. One option for your BEST days. Like, if you had 2 free uninterrupted hours – the kids sleep late, you wake up rested, feeling good, all the conditions are IDEAL. What would you do on THOSE days?
But also create one for the days that you have 10 minutes OR 1 minute because the alarm didn’t go off.
Come up with your ideal morning routine and a shitty morning routine.
A shitty morning routine is still a morning routine. Even a shitty intention is an intention. 2 sips of water is better than no sips of water. One big stretch is better than not tending to your body at all.
There is no perfect way to have a morning routine except what feels right for you. Be relentlessly committed to starting your day with SOME sort of routine but also give yourself permission for that to be ever changing and sometimes letting it be shitty will set the regulated tone you want for your mornings, which will set the tone for your days, your years and your life.
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