6 steps to creating a morning routine you'll actually stick to


by Joanne Sotelo, MD

Mar 30, 2023

Do you ever feel like you’re rushing out the door in the morning, barely able to grab a cup of coffee before starting your day? Beginning your day with a morning routine can have a profound impact on your physical and mental health. A well-structured routine can help you feel more energized, focused and ready to tackle the day ahead with a clear mind.

But where do you start if you’re new to the concept of a morning routine? It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, simplicity is key when it comes to creating a successful morning routine. Let’s explore the benefits of having a morning routine and some tips for creating one that works for you.

The benefits of a morning routine

People who have a consistent morning routine often experience many benefits—physical and mental. Here are a few of the positive effects of starting your day with a morning routine.

  • Boosts energy levels: Waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm, which controls your sleep-wake cycle. This leads to increased energy levels throughout the day, so you’re better able to tackle whatever challenges come your way.

  • Improves mental clarity: A structured morning routine can help you start your day with a clear mind. Taking just a few minutes to meditate, stretch or practice mindfulness can help you focus and reduce stress.

  • Increases productivity: When you have a morning routine in place, you’re less likely to waste time or feel overwhelmed by the day ahead. Having a set plan for how to start your day can help you be more productive and focused, both in your personal and professional life.morning-routine-exercise.jpeg

  • Enhances physical health: Incorporating physical activity into your morning routine can have a positive impact on your physical health, and sometimes it’s easier to squeeze a workout in before the day gets busy. Whether it’s a quick workout, yoga or simply a brisk walk, getting your heart rate up in the morning can help you feel more awake and energized.

  • Sets a positive tone for the day: Starting your day with a routine that you enjoy and that makes you feel good can set a positive tone for the rest of your day. This can help you approach challenges with a more positive outlook and better handle stress when it arises.

How to start a new morning routine

Sold on the benefits of a solid morning routine, but still not sure where to start? Try these steps to get you going on the path to a healthier morning.

  1. Determine your goals
    The first step in creating a morning routine is to determine what you hope to accomplish. Do you want to increase your energy levels? Improve your focus at work? Get a better workout in? Having clear goals will help you create a routine that’s tailored to your needs.

  2. Plan your routine
    Once you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to plan your routine. Make a list of activities that will help you meet your goals, and then determine the order in which you’ll complete them. Keep in mind that your routine should take no more than 60-90 minutes.

  3. Keep it simple
    It’s important to start small and build your routine gradually. Choose activities that are easy to incorporate into your daily life and that you enjoy. For example, if you’ve tried meditation before and found you’re not a fan, don’t feel like you have to incorporate it into your morning just because other people do.

    Don’t feel like you need to do everything all at once. It can be helpful to start small and build upon your routine as you get comfortable with it.morning-routine-coffee.jpeg

  4. Make it a priority
    A successful morning routine requires discipline and commitment. Make it a priority to stick to your routine every day, even on weekends. The more you stick to it, the more it will become a habit and an integral part of your daily life.

  5. Be flexible
    While it’s important to stick to your routine as much as possible, it’s also important to be flexible. If you have a day where you can’t do everything on your list, that’s okay. The important thing is to get back on track the next day. You don’t want to be so rigid that any small deviation from your routine throws you off.

  6. Get enough sleep
    A successful morning routine starts with a good night’s sleep. Make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure you have the energy to stick to your routine. If your new routine means you have to wake up a little earlier in the mornings, push your bedtime up a little to accommodate.

Creating a consistent morning routine does take time and discipline, but the effects on your day-to-day life and energy levels are surely worth it. Just imagine, what more could you accomplish with your day if you started with a clear, focused mind?

About the Author

Joanne Sotelo, MD, is a psychiatrist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock.

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