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How to create a morning routine you'll love

Starting your day in the right way can set you up for a day that flows so much more easily. You feel better in your body, have more clarity of mind and more energy. But maintaining a morning routine is easier said than done, right? Not necessarily.

You see, the trap that many of us fall into is creating a morning routine full of things we think we should be doing, rather than filling it with things that actually energise and uplift us.

Particularly when we have insights into so many other people’s lives through social media (real or otherwise), we can think that because a particular routine works so well for this person or that one, that we should be doing it the same way.

But their approach may not be right for you, which means that it’ll take willpower and perseverance to stick to it. And like a muscle, willpower will eventually get exhausted.

If your morning routine is going to be sustainable over the long term, it needs to feel good - so it’s essential that it fits you, your lifestyle and your fundamental needs. Otherwise, it’ll be just another chore to get done, instead of the nurturing and replenishing experience that it should be.

A morning routine isn’t just for when life is going smoothly either. A firmly established morning routine can actually be a life-raft during more challenging times, holding you steady and bringing you back to your centre, strengthening you to deal with whatever life throws at you.

When you’re creating your morning routine, it’s good to consider how you can tend to yourself in the following areas:

MOVE: getting your body moving

BREATHE: taking some time to connect with your inner self

NOURISH: eating beautiful, fresh food

GLOW: doing the things that make you feel joyful and alive

The first step to creating the perfect morning routine is knowing yourself. Your strengths, your natural body rhythms, the things that make you feel your best.

My morning routine

Let me illustrate by sharing my morning routine, and why it works for me. Then you can work through the steps to allow you to create one for yourself.

Things to know about me:

I’m a morning person

My top five signature strengths are Love of Learning, Gratitude, Capacity to Love & Be Loved, Hope, Optimism & Future-mindedness, and Curiosity & Interest in the World

Music makes me feel alive and gives me energy

Meditation helps me feel calm & grounded, allows me to process anything that’s going on in my life, and boosts my mood

I love food and the whole experience of eating

With these things in mind, this is what my morning routine usually looks like:

5:30 am - Get up. Drink a big glass of water to start the day, then have a cup of tea and read for a while. I’m currently revisiting In An Unspoken Voice, by Peter Levine - can highly recommend!. (Glow - expressing my signature strengths of Love of Learning and Curiosity & Interest in the World)

Mediate for about 20 minutes (Breathe)

Do some kind of movement practice to music that I love. I like flowing yoga sequences, with some body weight exercises thrown in if I feel like it. My focus is not on exercising but bringing my attention to how good it feels to move my body to music, feeling the rhythm of the music, the stretch of my muscles. (Move - maximising pleasure by incorporating music)

Make breakfast, then sit down and give myself time to really enjoy it. (Nourish - giving myself time to enjoy the experience of eating)

Now I’m ready to shower and get on with my day, feeling so much better for giving myself this time.

You can see how my morning routine integrates Move, Breathe, Nourish, Glow activities and allows me to experience them in ways that are deliciously enjoyable for me.

Now it’s your turn! Take a pen and paper and answer the following questions:

Are you a morning or night person?

If you’re a morning person like me, then a more extended morning ritual will work for you. If you’re a night person, you may need to take this into account, leaving more active things for later in the day.

What are your Signature Strengths? *See note below to discover yours.

Knowing what conditions you need to thrive can be really helpful in knowing the things that are important to prioritise. For me, reading non-fiction in the morning allows me to feed my constant hunger for knowledge which for me feels stimulating and inspiring.