Power Hour: Creating a Morning Routine

Reading as part of a morning routine

Why you need a morning routine

I believe that the first hour after waking sets the tone for the rest of our day. I think we’ve all felt the effects of this phenomenon. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t hear ‘Can this day just be over’ and ‘It’s just one damn thing after another’ nearly as much. It wasn’t that long ago that I was the farthest thing from a morning person. I wasn’t taking care of myself (poor diet, little to no exercise) so I woke up unrested. My morning routine was to sleep as late as I could possibly get away with, jump out of bed and rush the kids to get ready for school. (That last part still happens occasionally.)

My life was basically set on a wash, rinse and repeat cycle. And while there’s nothing wrong with a routine, especially with young kids, the problem was there were vital components lacking from mine. I was getting by on the bare necessities, and the only time I ever saw a sunrise was when I had to get up super early to travel for work. These days, I try to catch one a day. (See what I did there.)

Setting a foundation for the rest of the day

It took quite a while to create better a.m. habits because step one was to wake up earlier. I needed a little extra time for me. In Transforming Stigma: How To Become A Mental Well-ness Superhero, Mike Veny talks about his morning routine. He, like me, has tools he uses to set a good foundation for the rest of the day. He uses an acronym to outline how his morning begins, RPM which stands for Rise, Pee, Meditate.  

Not every day is the same so not every tool is incorporated daily. However, setting non-negotiables helps give structure or a foundation to the rest of what could potentially be a chaotic day. For me, non-negotiables would include warm lemon water and taking my medication. Then I have coffee in one of my favorite mugs and sit in silence for a few minutes. I use my journal to set intentions for my day: what I need to accomplish and what I’d like to accomplish. Then I write down a few things I am grateful for. I also take an emotional inventory: how am I feeling, how would I like to feel at the end of the day. You can read an article with journal prompts here in case you’re experiencing writer’s block.

In his book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM), Hal Elrod uses an acronym to summarize six key actions he recommends his readers implement into a morning routine. Life SAVERS stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. You can hear Mike Veny talk about how he applies this method in a video he made about his morning routine here.

An alarm clock set a few minutes early to begin a morning routine
Set an alarm clock just a few minutes early to start your morning routine.

Early to bed, early to rise…

There are numerous studies that conclude that going to bed earlier and waking up earlier is a good practice. If you’re already an early riser, kudos to you. I suggest implementing practices that help set a desirable tone for your day. If you’re like I was and developed a habit of staying up too late and sleeping until the last possible minute, you can try disconnecting from media (television, cell phone, etc..) an hour before going to bed so you will be able to fall asleep easier. Try to go to sleep and wake up thirty minutes earlier than you normally would. This will give you a few minutes for yourself. Hopefully, you won’t won’t be as rushed which will lead to feeling more at ease and less frazzled.

What are some things you like to do in the morning to get ready for your day? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

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