As a recovering procrastinator, I NEED structure in my life. I use music, mind tricks, and all sorts of strategies to help me focus and stay productive during the day. The two things that make the biggest difference in my productivity though, are things I do beforehand. Those two things are a good night’s sleep and a morning routine. Having a morning routine helps me start my day in the most positive way possible and is one of the single best productivity habits you can develop.
But like all healthy habits, it may take time for you to notice the benefits from your new routine and feel confident that there’s a point to doing it. These morning routine strategies can help you stick to yours, the way they helped me.
1. Start from the night before
Pick out outfits, prep your lunch and/or breakfast, pour out your pet’s food, tidy up and do whatever you can the night before. I leave a glass of water on my nightstand because drinking water is an important part of my morning routine that I want to remember to do. Before my feet even touch the ground, my day is off to a better start and I want to keep it going. When you start from the night before, you shave off time and leave fewer decisions for you to make in the mornings. Your routine will run smoother and you’ll feel motivated to take the next healthy step.
2. Stack your habits
I also meditate in bed. By drinking water before or after I meditate, I’m doing what’s called “habit stacking.” Habit stacking is adding a habit to an existing one, and it’s an excellent way to help you remember to do all the things in your stack.
We all take a shower and brush our teeth in the mornings, right? If you can’t set aside time to do a visualization meditation or you tend to forget it, do it while you’re showering or brushing your teeth. For 2 minutes while the water is beating down on your head and onto your shoulders, there you are, visualizing your day or a specific situation going the way you want it to.
3. Use the KISS method
While you might want to transform your life ASAP, don’t even think about it. You don’t want to start with a lengthy or complicated morning routine. A simple manageable one that you slowly and deliberately add new activities to over time, increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to it. This is what’s called the KISS approach and it’s one of the best ways to hone a skill or a new habit. It’s by far one of my most often recommended habit-formation tips and morning routine strategies.
4. Make it beneficial
You’ll be less tempted to give up something that benefits you so make sure the habits, practices, and activities in your routine truly benefit you and your life. That glass of water that I drink every morning (usually with ACV or lemon), kickstarts my sluggish metabolism. My early morning walk helps to “wake” me up and make me more alert (the natural light tells my brain to shut off melatonin production). Both of these practices help my underactive thyroid to work better and rev up my metabolism. A revved up metabolism is something I really want so I’m inclined to stick to my routine—even when I don’t have time!
5. No phones
For at least the first 30 minutes of every day, stay away from your phone. You’re pretty much giving the best part of yourself to strangers when you check your phone first thing in the morning. View early mornings as sacred “Me-Time” and protect it from outsiders. Early in the morning, is when you’re most likely to have great ideas. It’s when the critic in your head is the quietest (the bitch is still asleep) and you want to take advantage of that. Checking your phone as soon as you wake up shuts off all those positive instincts and cues. I think of at it as silencing your wise woman and waking up your crazy roommate. Why would you want to do that?
6. Show up!
By showing up every day, you move closer and closer to the levels where you know you belong. With each practice, you build confidence. With each practice, you grow prouder of yourself. Keep this in mind if you’re ever tempted to ditch a routine (or something else) that’s working for you.
The structure that morning routines provide is helpful to anyone who juggles a lot, need to save time, want to have less stressful mornings, or just want to start their days off on a positive note. I started a morning routine to help me beat procrastination and distraction. Mine has evolved over time into a routine that makes me a better person but I would never have stuck it out if I didn’t use “stick-to-it!” strategies like these.
So, if you’ve been thinking about starting one, it’s a smart move. Now, follow through and use these strategies to help you stick to your morning routine.
Wake up and be awesome!