13 morning routine ideas

13 Morning Routine Ideas That Will Transform Your Life

There are many ways to improve your health- and a solid morning routine is an excellent option.

Changes to your physical, mental, and social health start with a decision to do better- whether big or small. But what happens when we feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? It’s time to upgrade your morning routine!

Developing and sticking to a morning routine can transform your life (personal and professional) by providing energy, focus, and motivation throughout the day.

In this article, we will discuss the 13 of the most effective morning routine ideas that will maximize your mornings and elevate your day.

But wait, I’m NOT a morning person!

It’s okay. You don’t necessarily have to wake up early. Most important is your intention with the first ten to sixty minutes of your day- no matter what time that is.

Even if you’re not a morning person, and most of us aren’t (to be honest), there are great reasons to start a personal growth journey with simple morning routine ideas. Plus, like any new venture, you can add five minutes increments until you find the best-individualized fit for a good morning routine.

Key Takeaway: A Quick List of Morning Routine Ideas

We will dive into each of these mourning routine ideas in this article. For a quick review, here is what we’ll be covering.

  • Enjoy the quiet
  • Let the light in
  • Drink water
  • Meditate or deep breathe
  • Express gratitude
  • Write in a journal
  • Practice self-affirmations
  • Read and learn
  • Exercise
  • Take a cold plunge/shower
  • Fuel your body and mind with a good breakfast
  • Listen to an uplifting song or podcast
  • Make a plan

What is a Morning Routine?

A routine is anything we do consistently. So whether you realize it or not, you DO currently have a morning routine. However, if it involves running around like mad, hitting the snooze button multiple times, and feeling rushed to get out of the house- it’s time for a positive change!

Generally, a good morning routine involves activities that help you start your day calmly and purposefully.

Anyone that’s learned the immense power of a power morning is likely participating in a series of daily activities, such as drinking water, meditating, journaling, reading, learning, and exercising. (See exact examples and how to get started below.)

benefits of a morning routine

The Benefits of a Morning Routine

Various studies have shown the positive effects of having a daily routine. But why a morning routine specifically?

  • Making extra time for yourself is easiest done in the morning before the day, and other important tasks take over
  • It gives you dedicated time to focus on yourself, your goals, and your dreams before diving into the busyness of the everyday grind
  • Avoid interruptions while everybody else is still sleeping (especially important for anyone with kids!)
  • A different energy level during the sunrise and at the beginning of a brand new day
  • The morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day
  • Most effective for lasting impact on your life and health

Now, let’s review some of the specific benefits of a morning routine:

  • Improved focus and mental clarity throughout the day
  • Increased productivity and efficiency with daily tasks
  • More creativity
  • Better learning capacity
  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • Better mood throughout the day
  • Enhanced physical health and mental health
  • Increased energy levels
  • Lower anxiety and stress levels
  • Higher levels of self-motivation
  • Better quality sleep at night (yay!)

All of these benefits come down to one key difference in how you start your morning: in a state of calm rather than stress. From a physical standpoint, you are signaling to your body that all is well to keep your hormones in better balance (think, more happy and calming hormones like serotonin and fewer stress hormones like cortisol).

13 Morning Routine Ideas

Now that you know why you need to start a morning routine asap, let’s dive in.

Here are the top morning routine ideas that’ll help you make the biggest changes in your life- from daily tasks to hitting big goals you didn’t know here possible.

1. Enjoy the Quiet

There is something to be said about the energy right before the sun comes up, and it can be incredibly calming and inspiring. If you’re not up early enough, don’t worry. Simply getting up early enough to enjoy a calm state is key- no matter the time of day.

Additionally, if you don’t live alone or have kids, you can enjoy quiet time before everyone else wakes up. How magical!

While this morning routine idea may seem obvious, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t feel stressed about starting a morning routine. If you are, then it’s completely missing the point.

Expert tip for the best morning routine:

Choose activities that make you feel good. It can be as simple or complex as you’d like, although starting simple is usually the easiest for staying on track.

morning routine idea: let the light in

2. Let the Light In

Open your curtains or blinds as soon as you get up and let the natural light come flooding in! As soon as that light hits your face, it will make it easier for you not to hit that snooze button and go back to sleep.

This morning routine idea helps to support your circadian rhythm (internal clock), which is connected to sunlight exposure and can help you feel more awake and energized in the morning.

Additionally, natural light helps boost our serotonin levels which can help improve our mood and lower stress levels. Plus, exposure to natural light has been found to improve productivity.

Expert tip for enjoying the sunshine each morning:

Set up the space you’ll be in so you can bask in some morning light in your favorite chair. If it’s winter or raining, you can try using a light lamp to gain a few of the same benefits.

3. Drink Water

Water is essential for life, and drinking water is, of course, important to our health and well-being. When we wake up in the morning, our bodies are dehydrated from not having fluids for 8 to 10 hours. Thus, it’s important to focus on rehydrating your body first thing in the morning.

Additionally, drinking water can help boost your metabolism and improve your overall health and energy levels throughout the day. You can add extra vitamins and minerals by squeezing in a little bit of lemon juice and adding sea salt if desired.

Expert tip for drinking water in the morning:

A great way to make this morning routine idea more automatic is to prepare your glass of water the night before and place it on your nightstand or kitchen table. It will be there for you to drink, sitting by your bed right after you wake up.

4. Take Deep Breaths or Meditate

Taking a few minutes to practice deep breathing or meditation can help clear your mind and lower stress levels. It gives you time to be mindful of the present moment, slow down your thoughts, and relax before beginning your day. Not to mention it’s also good for overall mental health.

Meditating first thing in the morning helps you quickly reach an alpha brain wave state (aka a relaxation state) since it is the same wave our brains were just in during deep sleep. The alpha wave helps to lower your stress level, increase creativity and productivity, and improve your overall mental clarity.

Meditating is one of the morning routine ideas that people often struggle with due to its perceived complexity. However, meditating can be as simple as focusing on your breathing and repeating a simple mantra or affirmation for the day. You can also listen to one of your favorite guided meditations.

Expert tip for meditating in the morning:

The goal is not to “clear your mind” but rather learn to focus your brain on a task and be mindful, such as deep breathing or an affirmation or mantra.

morning meditation

5. Express Gratitude

This is one of my favorite morning routine ideas! Gratitude is an incredibly powerful tool that can help us appreciate our lives and improve our happiness. Taking time each morning to express gratitude helps you start your day positively.

Take a few moments to give thanks for the things that are going right in your life, such as friends and family, nature, or even food on the table. You could even take it a step further and write three things you are grateful for in your journal each morning.

Expert tip for expressing gratitude:

It can feel hard to think of something to be grateful for if you’re having a tough time. If that’s the case, try starting small by being thankful for your breathing or the feeling of the sun on your skin. As you practice, it’ll get easier, and you’ll notice things to be thankful for easily.

6. Write in Your Journal

Journaling is a great way to express yourself and helps clear your mind. Writing down your thoughts can help release mental clutter and pent-up emotions so that you can start the day feeling lighter and more clear-headed.

Journaling can also help you document your progress and reflect on the positives in your life. To make this practice even more effective, try to reflect on your day by writing your list of accomplishments, ideas, or meditative reflections in the evening.

Expert tip for writing in your journal:

No expression of gratitude is too small. Embracing positive experiences and gratitude can shift your perception toward the good and help your mind focus on the desired outcomes.

7. Practice Self-Affirmations

Affirmations are the practice of repeating positive statements about yourself and your life to help cultivate love, confidence, and feelings of being worthy. Affirmations help you focus on your confidence and set you up for daily success.

Reciting positive affirmations daily helps boost your overall self-esteem, increase motivation, and reduce anxiety. An easy way to incorporate this into your mornings is by repeating positive affirmations or mantras.

If this practice feels cheesy, go for it anyways and get out of your comfort zone. You’ll be astounded at the effects as you get used to it.

Need some inspiration? Check out these self-growth quotes.

Expert tip for practicing affirmations:

You can place post-it notes with your affirmations on the mirror and read them to yourself, or combine them with your morning exercise or cold shower for even more impact.

8. Read and Learn

Reading is a powerful habit to adopt and can help you stay informed, inspired, and motivated throughout the day. Whether it be an educational book or magazine, reading helps expand your knowledge base and encourages creative thinking.

You don’t need to set aside hours of time for this activity; reading just one page from your favorite book or an informative newsletter can help you activate your mind and feel engaged in other areas of your interest (professional, personal, and beyond).

Expert tip for a morning read:

Find a book that has a quote or an idea for each day of the year. This will give you something to think about each morning. You can also write down what it means for your life in your journal.

9. Exercise

Exercise and movement are important activities that you can do to improve your overall health, reduce stress levels, and increase energy. Regular exercise can help to boost your mood, promote better sleep, strengthen muscles and bones, and lower the risk for health problems down the road.

From the list of morning routine ideas in this article, starting your day off with a bit of exercise is arguably one of the best ways to start your morning. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block for five minutes or 30 seconds of jumping jacks, exercising in the morning can help improve your focus and productivity.

Not only does exercise release endorphins – the “feel good” hormones that improve your mood, but it can also kickstart your metabolism for the day. Choose exercising morning routine ideas that you enjoy, such as running, yoga, or HIIT training, so that you stay accountable and motivated to keep going.

Expert tip for a morning exercise:

Engage in a movement right after you get out of bed. This will get your blood flowing and help wake up your body and mind. After this first step, there will be no more temptation to return to your warm bed. It is counterintuitive and will be hard initially, but keep it simple. A few pushups or half a minute of jumping jacks will get you going. You can always do a full workout later.

10. Take a cold plunge/shower

Taking a cold shower or dipping in a pool is the perfect way to finish off your morning routine and give yourself an extra boost of energy. The cold water helps promote circulation, reduce inflammation, invigorate the nervous system, and even helps improve cognitive function, leading to greater immunity.

Taking a cold shower also helps stimulate your body’s metabolic processes, which can help you to feel energized in the morning. This practice can also help to release endorphins and serotonin, which help improve your mood for the rest of the day.

Expert tip for taking a cold shower in the morning:

Jump into the shower right after your workout and hit your overheated body with cold water. It will be easier to do it when you’ve worked up a sweat, and it will feel amazing when you dry off. Plus it will be quick and save you time to implement other morning routine ideas in your schedule.

11. Fuel Your Body and Mind with a Good Breakfast

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and can provide your body and mind with essential energy, vitamins, and minerals. Starting your morning with a good breakfast will help you stay energized throughout the day and fuel your brain for work or other activities.

Aim to include balanced meals full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy carbohydrates such as oatmeal or yogurt with nuts and berries or a veggie egg scramble. Eating a balanced breakfast can also help you to maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and improve your mood.

Expert tip for a healthy morning breakfast:

Eating breakfast should be one of the last items on your morning routine list. And making healthy choices first thing in the morning can make it easier to stay on track with other nourishing foods throughout the day.

morning routine: eat a healthy breakfast

12. Listen to an Uplifting Song or Podcast

Listening to an uplifting song or podcast is a great way to start your day feeling motivated and inspired. Listening to positive music can help you to boost your mood, stay focused, and reduce stress levels.

Uplifting podcasts are also an excellent source of knowledge that can help you gain valuable insights into various topics while giving you the motivation to power through the day. Listening to podcasts can also help you stay informed, connect with like-minded people, and expand your network.

Expert tip for listening to an uplifting song or podcast:

Incorporate your favorite music with other morning routine ideas for an even greater effect. The right song will get you moving for a quick workout, and repeating some powerful affirmations along with it will make you unstoppable.

13. Make a Plan

The last step of your morning routine should be to create a plan. This could mean making a daily schedule that outlines the tasks you need to accomplish during the day or writing down action steps to help you reach your goals.

Making a plan in the morning can help you stay organized, prioritize important projects, and break down large goals into smaller chunks that are easier to accomplish. This also gives you a sense of direction and purpose, making it easier for you to stay focused and motivated throughout the day.

The key while making a plan for the day is to prioritize tasks and reduce overwhelm. Based on your long-term goals, try to decide on the most important things you need to focus on and tackle them first.

Expert tip for making a plan:

Start with a big picture of what you want to accomplish in life. Based on that vision, define your long-term goals. Break those down further into smaller goals and assign milestones for each. In the end, you should have it broken down small so that you have a clear idea of what you can do each day!

Tips for the Best Morning Routine

Now that you have thirteen great morning routine ideas to choose from let’s review some tips for maximizing your mornings.

  • Get up earlier. Start with just 5 minutes and see if you gradually add more.
  • Keep the phone away and stay off social media. This will derail your focus and put your body and mind under stress.
  • Be mindful and intentional. Don’t feel rushed or anxious; choose a routine that works for you and makes you feel good.
  • Get a good night’s rest. Feeling too tired? It might be time to get your bedtime routine in order.

Morning Routine FAQ

What If I’m not a morning person?

If you’re not a morning person, that’s okay. You can start slowly and adjust your routine with just a few minutes in the morning. Start with small habits such as getting up 5 minutes earlier and gradually increasing the time until it becomes a normal part of your day.

What is the perfect morning routine?

There is no such thing as a perfect morning routine. However, there are many benefits to having a consistent one. It doesn’t have to be complicated- build upon what you already do.

Every morning routine can be highly personalized depending on your lifestyle. The best morning routine is the one that fits your need. The more you get into the habit of doing it, the easier it will be to dial it in.

What practices have the biggest impact?

There is no wrong or right way if you choose your activities intentionally. You can take a few minutes to brush your teeth, make your bed, practice self-care, eat a healthy breakfast, drink a glass of water, go for a walk, or take a cold or hot shower.

Chances are you’re already doing a few of these, so try adding a few new ideas for a good morning.

How We Swapped Chaos for Calm

Still not sure if these morning ideas are for you? Or if it’s worth all the effort?

I feel you! I remember when my husband read a book called “The Miracle Morning” and started obsessively sticking to a morning routine. I could see how it was helping him start his day off right. Plus, I noticed he was toning up and in a better mood every day. I was, well, annoyed, to be honest.

I’ll admit it took me almost a half year before I came around to the idea of changing my morning habits. As a new mom, I didn’t think a morning routine fit my lifestyle. When I realized I could keep it simple (and that it was most important to get started), it made a big difference.

What I’ve Learned…

Over the past 4+ years, I’ve been grateful to have a solid morning routine. It’s not always perfect with kids, but when I focus on starting my day with intention, it leads to a productive day that I feel great about. I feel like a more level-headed mom, wife, friend, and employee/boss (most of the time).

The Bottom Line: Make Your Morning Routine a Habit

When you automate these morning routine ideas into your daily practice, you can take your life to a higher level and be the best version of yourself. Start small and gradually add more ideas to your routine as you become more comfortable with the practice.

Even a short practice that only takes five minutes will make you feel ready to take on the day. The habits you create to start your day matter, so make sure you make it count!

Want morning ideas for building good habits? See our ultimate list of habits for a better life.

Most Importantly, Just Get Started!

Successful morning routines do not have to be hard or complicated; it’s all about creating a structure that works for you and helps you to start each day with clarity and focus. Now that you are familiar with our list of morning routine ideas and their benefits, it’s time to start implementing them into your own life.

Do you already have a morning routine in place? What are some of your favorite elements to include in your morning routines first thing? Share with us in the comment section below!

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