The habit that’s had the most impact on my productivity and sanity, has been how I start my days. If you’re trying to make moves or just have a lot going on, I highly recommend that you create a morning routine. According to Laura Vanderkam, author of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, early risers aren’t just happier, they are more satisfied in life! They have morning routines and get up early to do those activities that most people usually push to the sidelines when their schedules get busy later in the day.
Morning routines work. They help us start the day off right and if you wake up a bit earlier, morning routines help you get to more of the good stuff.
Here are three simple steps to help you create yours:
STEP ONE: Visualize the benefits
Telling yourself “Those two hours before work are my best chilled out ‘me-time!’” may be the first step to bouncing out of bed excited for the day!
Imagine yourself having stress-less mornings. Spend a few days “observing” yourself in your current dash-and-go routine and really experience its effects on you. Then (maybe on your commute to work), think about how you could have done things differently to help your mornings go smoother: What about if you had picked out your clothes from the night before? What about if you had gone to bed earlier and risen earlier? What about if you had a place for those items you’re always misplacing?
Tweaks and changes that free up time will help you carve out the “me-time” that make it possible to ease into your days.
STEP TWO: Create your routine
Mornings are peaceful and quiet, which makes them a perfect time for uninterrupted rituals and routines. Think about the activities you might like in your routine — those things you know will help your day run smoother AND that you’ll do:
- Reading your fave blog or listening to a podcast
- A light healthy breakfast you prepped the night before
- Fresh squeezed juice or smoothie
- Review and prioritize your to-do list for the day
- A relaxing 10 to 15-minute yoga routine like this one:
Find what gets YOU into the right flow for the day
Check out My Morning Routine, which posts an inspiring morning routine every Wednesday from a range of people from different backgrounds, careers, and lifestyles. You may find a few to inspire you to help you create your own.
With a morning routine you design just for YOU, you will arrive at work relaxed, shoulders down, with a clear mind and maybe even a beaming smile.
STEP THREE: Repeat
In fitness, they say 21 days is all it takes to create a habit but the 21-day rule doesn’t apply to every situation and habit. I recommend that you stick to your new routine for at least a month.
Do your routine even when it (and you) are not perfect. Consistency is ALWAYS more important than perfection. It’s fine that some days your morning routine is 30 minutes and some days just 5 minutes. If you skip one day, don’t give up or get down about it. If you fall back in your trap, climb back out immediately.
You want and need routines in your life!
Routines let us add structure to our day, which will helps us get control of our lives. Create a morning routine to build that structure.
One final thought: One of the best ways to approach goals like these is to look at them as an opportunity to make yourself proud. It’s a mind trick that successful people use to psyche themselves up and build intrinsic motivation!
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. Using systems, routines, and some psychological trickery, she can help almost anyone hack their mind and life for greater productivity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if she's available for one-on-one work.