Your best morning routine is more than the ideal start to your day. It’s an opportunity to reset; to forget about what happened yesterday, develop a positive mindset about the day ahead, and to take care of yourself before stressors have a chance to crop up.
While most of us want to get the same things out of our morning routine, we go about starting our day in different ways. Some people love to get up early and exercise. Others are happy to lie in bed until the last minute. Some drink coffee, others drink only water, and some skip straight to breakfast.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those morning habits. So which is the best morning routine for you?
The key is figuring out what works for your schedule, body, and brain.
Your ideal morning routine might be three minutes or three hours. What matters is that it prepares you not just for a productive workday, but for a calm and intentional day from start to shuteye.
Only you can find your best morning routine for yourself. But you can build it by testing out ideas from some of the biggest names in business:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a big word, but what it means is simple:
Paying attention to your thoughts without judging or trying to change them.
You can practice it sitting, laying down in bed, while exercising, or at any time you feel stressed.
Mindfulness can take many forms. NuSkin President Ryan Napierski prefers to pray or meditate before leaving the house each morning. By honing his focus through mindfulness, Napierski says that he’s able to be more productive and decisive at work.
You can start practicing mindfulness easily too: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners
2. Take a Walk
A great opportunity to practice mindfulness — and get some exercise to boot — is to take a walk as part of your morning routine.
If you want to make time for a walk, you may need to start your morning routine earlier. As a rule of thumb, plan to walk a mile in about 15 minutes. If your best morning routine involves walking three miles, for instance, you’ll need a 45-minute block of time.
3. Reach Out to a Connection
If you struggle to make time for networking, take Appointment.com CEO Jon Bradshaw’s advice:
Start your morning routine by reaching out to an old acquaintance or by making a new professional connection.
There are multiple ways to do this. Shoot an email while you wait for your morning coffee to brew. Send a text asking how that new job is treating your old coworker. Do avoid calling people out of the blue before 9 a.m.
4. Drink Tea
If coffee isn’t your style, why not try out tea as part of your morning routine?
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sips a steaming mug with his breakfast every day. Green and black tea are popular picks, though Pichai does not specify what he drinks; alternative options include relaxing tisanes like chamomile, mint, and lemon balm.
One of the most popular ways to wake up is with some light reading. Rather than scroll through your Facebook feed, pick up a newspaper. Make some progress on that library book you checked out last week.
Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, Warren Buffet, reads six different newspapers as part of his morning routine. After that, though, he doesn’t stop reading: 80% of his day, on average, is spent with a book; all told, Buffett aims for 500 pages per day.
6. Take a Cold Shower
Self-help guru and business consultant Tony Robbins advocates all sorts of unconventional self-care techniques. One of his most famous is his 57-degree Fahrenheit morning plunge into a cold pool. Robbins does it for the shock to his system that, in his words, feels like “every organ, every nerve in your body is on fire.” There’re also more benefits of cold showers you should know.
If you want to add a cold cleanse to your morning routine, start by turning down your shower a few degrees. Decrease the temperature by a few more each week, challenging yourself to spend ever-longer amounts of time beneath the water.
7. Talk to Your Partner
If you and your spouse’s work schedules do not match up, you may not see him or her until late in the evening. Why not get quality time with your partner in the morning instead?
Tracey Grace, president and CEO of IBEX IT Business Experts, has said she starts every day with a cup of coffee with her husband. As they sip, they sit out on their deck and discuss upcoming events, meetings, and dinners.
8. Outline Your Goals
What better time to plan out what you want to achieve each day than right when you wake up?
One shortcut with this morning habit is to write down a singular focus for the day. Maybe you want to reconnect with family, or perhaps you’ve got a proposal to get out the door. Then, you can rest easy knowing everything else can be pushed to the side.
9. Ask Yourself a Powerful Question
Your morning routine is a time to reflect on what actually matters. Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO and co-founder, asked himself every morning:
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
Your question might be something else:
If your goal in life is providing for your family, you might ask, “How will I help my family today?”
If you’re struggling with self-care, “What do my my body and mind need from me today?” may be a good option.
Here’re even more inspirations for you: 100 Inspiring Questions That Make You Think About Your Life
10. Eat the Frog
When you wake up, what weighs on your mind? Solve it as part of your morning routine, generational marketing expert Jeff Fromm mentions in his book Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast–and Very Different–Generation of Influencers. By tackling the hardest thing first, Fromm finds that rest of his day tends to fall into place.
Listeners of “The Joe Rogan Experience” will recognize this tip:
After going for a run or doing yoga, the popular podcaster fasts for the remainder of the morning.
Rogan claims that the practice improves his brain function and focus.
Like the cold-plunge routine, add this step to your morning routine gradually. After you wake up, practice going an hour, then two, and then three without eating. Soon, you’ll be able to stave off hunger until lunchtime, when Rogan eats.
12. Give Back
When Craigslist founder Craig Newmark wakes up, he starts his day with others in mind. After spending an hour on customer service for the buy-and-sell platform, he works on projects that promote voting and support military families.
Whatever fires you up, embrace it with your morning routine. Pick up litter. Write letters to your representatives or local newspaper. Advocate for a nonprofit you believe in.
13. Listen to Relaxing Music
Each morning, Saagar Govil, CEO of industrial manufacturer Cemtrex, gets to work on his company’s five top monthly issues. To stay calm and keep his mind on track, Govil turns on some classical music.
If Bach and Beethoven aren’t your style, listen to whatever relaxes you. Who says 6 a.m. is too early for some head-banging metal or hip-hop?
14. Do Yoga
One of the best ways to work up a sweat in the morning is with yoga, according to media mogul Arianna Huffington. After drinking a cup of coffee and riding her stationary bike, Huffington stretches herself out with yoga.
If you’ve never done yoga before, start with foundational poses like downward dog and child’s pose. After mastering those, challenge yourself with an online routine.
Learn more about yoga in this article: How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses)
15. Check in with Family
Almost none of us get as much time as we’d want with family. Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia’s CEO, makes time in his morning routine by calling a family member — typically his mother, father, or sister — on the way to the office.
If your family members would not appreciate an early-morning call, send a text. If you haven’t checked in with multiple members for a while, send an email sharing what’s new in your life.
Kickstart Your Early Morning Routine
Starting a morning routine is about your mindset and perseverance. If you wake up thinking “This is going to suck,” then it probably will. To build the sort of mornings you want:
- Set an alarm: If you want to have time for a morning routine, you need to wake up early. Give yourself at least an hour before work, and realize you may still need more time.
- Get up at the same time every day: Tempting as it is to sleep in on the weekends, don’t. Make your morning routine a habit by doing it every single day.
- Tell others your plans: If you tell your partner you plan to be awake at 5 a.m. and exercising by 6 a.m., you’ll be that much more likely to do it. Peer pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
- Give yourself a reward: Humans are reward-oriented beings, just like other animals. If you like shopping for shoes, create a chart for yourself: If you stick to your morning routine for a full month, perhaps you’ll have earned a shopping expedition.
- Forgive yourself if you slip up: Like it or not, there will be times when you hit “snooze” on your alarm clock. Don’t beat yourself up; tell yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow.
Nothing matters more to your productivity or overall happiness than how you handle your mornings. Change your morning routine, and you’ll quite literally change your life.
More to Help You Start Your Day Right
- Need Morning Motivation? 30 Routines to Help You Start Afresh
- How to Create Your Best Morning Routine for Success
- 7 Monday Morning Habits Of Highly Successful People
- How to Become a Morning Person: 8 Steps to Kickstart
- The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day
Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via unsplash.com