12 Wildly Effective Tips to Ignite Your Morning Routine
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Ever wonder how icons like Tony Robbins & Marie Forleo spend their mornings? 12 easy tips to craft your own soul-aligning morning routine for a successful day.
Mornings are rough. Some survive with a cup of coffee and an insanely optimistic spirit ready to meet the day and explore all its possibilities.
Enter my fellow night owls. The breaking of the rays through the window signals a different sort of battle - one raging between circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation, old habits, and the cool, comforting embrace of plush sheets and fluffy pillows. So when those early morning rays break through, your first impulse might be to shutter the blinds and reach for the snooze —
BEFORE SMASHING THE SNOOZE, think about what’s more important to you:
Sleep? Or Success?
Look at almost any successful entrepreneur, and you’ll find a value-aligning and productivity-enhancing morning routine that sets them up for success. While some infamous morning rituals are uniquely designed - you’re won't catch me waking up at 4:30 am for a Tony Robbins style cold shower any time soon - most are founded on a simple principle:
Align your habits with your intentions, and practice them consistently.
We need time to energetically align ourselves in action with where we want to go. If that sounds woo-woo, it’s not.
Getting started early while most are still asleep enables you to focus on your priorities without interference from incoming distractions. A consistent routine streamlines your actions towards achieving your goals; increased productivity becomes a byproduct of your decision to invest 100% of your energy towards achieving them. By repeating this routine, you create a positive productivity loop that energizes you to resiliently keep going through the day.
Morning rituals align your spiritual, physical and psychological wellbeing towards one end: Your Success.
When you align with yourself before getting interrupted by the onslaught of what’s going on in the world, you can swiftly work through your daily to-dos with minimal distractions and maximal positivity and resilience.
12 Tips to Revitalize Your Morning Routine for Success
▶ Morning Routine Tip #1: Fix Your Sleep Schedule
It’s hard to imagine beginning your mornings bright and early each day if you’re going to sleep just as the sun peaks over the horizon...
Although everyone varies in exactly how much sleep we need, the CDC recommends between 7-9 hours of sleep every night for good health. While Tony Robbins might work well with a mere three hours, science doesn’t seem to support this yet.
So if you want to wake up at 7 am every morning, aim to be in bed by 10 pm. Give yourself 30min-1hr to fall asleep, especially if this is a new bedtime.
Go to sleep at the same time every night to make sure it’s easy to get up at the same time every morning. Consistency is key.
Pro Tip: Eliminate technology about 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Most of the tech we use incorporates blue light which disrupts your circadian rhythms, making your brain think it’s still day. Prioritize stress-reducing and sympathetic nervous system-calming activities to increase melatonin levels so you can get a good night’s sleep.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #2: Only Use Your Bed for Sleeping
Research shows that when you associate your bed with things other than sleeping, your body immediately attaches the energy of those other activities to your bed.
Instead of drifting off to sleep, your body anticipates increased stimulation out of sheer habit, keeping you wired and unable to rest.
Get out of bed first thing in the morning and stay out til it’s time to sleep. It’ll help your body understand your bed’s purpose and send signals to encourage sleep once you slip beneath the covers at night.
Pro Tip: If you find it hard to get to sleep, get out of bed after 20 minutes and do some light activity - you also don’t want to associate your bed with being unable to fall asleep. Light yoga, meditating, journaling, cleaning: all are soft activities you can do when sleep's hard to come by.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #3: Get Up Uber Early
Why do we hear about so many industry icons getting up at 3, 4, 5 am?
Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson is up by 5:45 am, both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey rise at dawn. When you wake up that early, you ensure time for yourself to clear your mind and clarify your goals for the day.
By sifting through your goals before the demands of the day start building in pressure for your attention, you give yourself time to think clearly and intentionally in alignment with your goals and how you plan to achieve them.
Keep in mind you don't have to plan a 3 am wake-up to reap the benefits of an early morning. If quarantine's got you waking up in a haze around 9am? Start with moving your wake-up call to 7 or 8. You can wake up at 2:30 am with Mark Wahlberg if you like, but really... why?
Pro Tip: Place your alarm clock somewhere you’ll need to get out of bed to turn it off. Attach small habits to the act of getting up to turn off your alarm, like drinking a glass of water and making your bed. By attaching smaller habits to a larger one you can’t avoid, you make it easier to build a successful chain of habits that guide you towards success, like an absurdly early morning wake-up call.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #4: Clean Your Room
Research shows that clutter isn’t just an excuse - it actually inhibits quick and creative thinking.
When you have a clean environment, there’s less to distract your brain, allowing you to work more efficiently. Harvard Business Review reports the litany of benefits: increased productivity, decreased procrastination, lowered cortisol levels i.e., less stress.
Cleaning not only helps you feel more in control and gives you a little endorphin rush as you check-off a to-do. Cleaning also makes you feel more connected and intentional in how you express yourself through your environment.
Make your room a reflection of your mind. Decorate sparingly, and only with what inspires and propels you towards achieving your goals. Clear away clutter that actively distracts you - it’ll streamline your day for clear-minded success.
Pro Tip: Clean the night before, so you wake up with one less to-do and a world fresh and alive with endless possibilities. You’ll find fewer obstacles to accomplishing your goals the next day.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #5: Banish Tech Before Bed
As much as our handy tech helps us streamline our days and organize our hectic work lives, its very strengths also keep us wired while trying to fall asleep at night.
A poll conducted in 2013 examined 1508 Americans regarding their use of technology before bed. They found that 9 out of 10 respondents used technology the hour before going to sleep, and that the more interactive the device, the harder it was to fall asleep.
The blue light that most technology emits, like our smartphones, suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin helps regulate your circadian rhythms, enabling you to fall asleep. With less melatonin, you’ll find it more challenging to fall and stay asleep. See the couple in the photo? Yeah - don't be them.
Pro Tip: Download a free app like f.lux that synchronizes to your time zone and starts shifting your screens from blue light to a softer, more sleep-conducive orange light as the sun goes down. This light shift mimics a sunset, helping synchronize your internal clock.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #6: Journal for Clarity
There’s a reason every life coach, speaker, and creative entrepreneur swears by journalling - it’s a phenomenal way to directly ground your abstract, intellectual goals into the physical.
When you prioritize journaling in the morning, even for 15 minutes? You sift through the mental clutter of daily to-dos and prioritize your goals. Journaling affords you a private space to explore all your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
When you move a feeling from the subconscious to the conscious, you can directly interact with it and decide whether you’d like to hold onto it or let it go. Clearing your emotional and mental life through writing is vital to eliminate unnecessary mental chatter so it can't interfere with your creative flow.
When you write your goals, you enact the magical process of repetition. Everything we are is an act of repetition. Habits build our identity in action - similarly, writing your intentions and goals reinforces their importance in your brain, streamlining your focus towards achievement.
Pro Tip: Find it difficult to come up with ideas or tedious to set pen to paper? Set a timer for 15 minutes. If all you can focus on is how much you hate the process, write that. Articulating your deeper thoughts is vital to bringing your subconscious programming to the forefront of your mind so you can choose whether your habits still serve your goals. Look up prompts online to spark inspiration if you want a more guided approach.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #7: Get Your Body Moving
Whatever this looks like for you - meditation, a morning walk, a weight lifting session, swimming - get your body moving and your spirit dancing first thing in the morning.
We all recognize the necessity of movement for physical health. Decreased risk of heart disease, increased joint protection as you age, lowered risk of obesity-related disease, increased happiness, increased energy - we’ve heard it before.
But what does movement have to do with productivity?
Movement doesn’t just help your body -- it helps your brain.
Ongoing research continues to support using working out to improve concentration, memory and mental sharpness. Not only does working out relieve stress by suppressing the production of cortisol - it releases endorphins that make you feel good. For increased results, give yourself a quick carb-load of starchy GI’s in the hour after your workout to suppress cortisol even more.
Pro tip: Have fun! Whatever you choose as your method of movement, make sure you can enjoy and appreciate it. It won’t always feel fun during your training session, but at least you’ll value the work you put in and feel energized the rest of the day. The best workout is the one you actually do, so choose something you’ll enjoy and stick with in the long-run.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #8: Back Away from the Tech - Slowly now…
Don’t allow your first thoughts of the day to be those fed to you by someone else. While important to stay up to date on news and trends in your industry, stuffing your ears and soul full of others’ ideas before you get a chance to breathe makes it hard to hear your own voice.
Instead, choose activities that prioritize your voice, and help you sink into your intentions for the day, rather than the never-ending buzzing of headlines reporting on other lives and events.
Check the news later - first, get in touch with yourself. This way, your voice rings loud and clear as you write and create.
You can always catch up later, and now that you’ve connected with yourself? You won’t be parroting others - you’ll be using their ideas to explore and reinforce your own unique perspective and expertise.
Pro Tip: Download an app like Boomerang that shuts off your internet when you decide it's time for some restraint. For more control, use Cold Turkey Blockers to lock you out of your computer at night.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #9: Make Your Bed
This simple morning ritual is a crucial component to setting your day up for success. This small act of organization helps indicate a shift from sleep into action.
Research similarly supports this perspective. Digital mattress mogul Best Mattress Brand found after surveying a cross-section of 1000 Americans, that 74% of bed makers felt strong feelings of accomplishment and productivity through the day, as opposed to 50% of non-bed makers.
Not only were bed makers “twice as likely as non-makers to be satisfied with their job”; they were also more likely to start work right away, and reported investing more energy at work.
They also found over 80% of bed makers reported creating additional routines for success, increasing their productivity levels throughout the day.
Pro Tip: Attach your new bed-making habit to a habit you already have. For example, if you always make a cup of coffee first thing, try starting the coffee pot then heading to your room for a quick clean-up. Really, it should only take about 15 seconds - take time to test out where your new habit wants to hook into your daily routine!
▶ Morning Routine Tip #10: Get Some Sunshine
While most of us can relate to the glorious feeling of relaxation that accompanies soaking up some sun, there’s actually a scientific basis behind why you should prioritize sunlight as soon as you wake up. Back in the cavemen days, we set our biological alarms by the sun. When the sun rose, our bodies rose with it. As the sun set, so did our ability to accomplish work. We stopped because we literally couldn’t continue in darkness.
But with the advent of the digital market, we no longer keep human hours our ancestors could relate to - we keep tech hours. We operate on a digital schedule now, which requires constant content creation. This non-stop engagement doesn’t help us shut down our brains at night, nor for bursting out of bed each morning filled with excitement for the days' possibilities.
When you expose yourself to sun right when you wake up, “[d]aylight resets your circadian clock and helps shift you toward morningness,” explains Harvard biologist Christoph Randler. Pro Tip: Combine two habits into one - merge your morning movement with soaking up some sun by taking a walk! Or grab your journal and find a sunny spot - the options are endless! A solid morning routine to set you up for success does NOT have to take over your entire day. Mix and match the tips that work best for your specific routine!
▶ Morning Routine Tip #11: Meditate in Mindfulness
Funny enough, I always feel I have to defend meditation as worthy practices for high achievers.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation serves you beyond the realm of the spiritual.
Requiring sustained focus and bodily awareness over varying lengths of time, meditation has been the subject of ongoing research for quite some time. Among its benefits, meditation serves as an effective tool to decrease stress, lessen anxiety and lower your blood pressure.
Beyond its health benefits, practicing meditation increases your concentration, limits mind-wandering and chatter during high-stakes periods, and increases emotional regulation.
One study even found that in comparing brain scans between meditators and non-meditators, those who consistently practiced meditation experienced less age-related decline of grey matter in their brains. Grey matter is crucial for higher functioning and communicating throughout the body. Our brains hit their peak in their mid-twenties and head downhill from there so… no time like the present to start meditating.
Pro Tip: If you're like me, meditation makes your skin crawl. It feels like a waste of time. Luckily, you don't have to sit for hours on end to soak up its benefits. Start with a short guided meditation - 5 minutes each morning is a great place to begin. You don't have to spring for a fancy app - Youtube is loaded with endless meditations specific to your needs.
▶ Morning Routine Tip #12: Embrace the Ugly Frog
Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Once you’ve finished all the things that build you up for laser-focused and creativity-optimized success, embrace the ugly frog.
What do I mean by that? If you haven’t already, write out everything you want to get done today. Rank your list by priority - what's the #1 thing you want to finish? Usually, it’ll be the absolute LAST thing you want to do. That’s your ugly frog.
You don’t want to tackle that frog when you’re at your lowest energy point toward the day’s end. A difficult task is much easier when you come at it energized after a good night’s sleep.
So once you’ve aligned yourself with your purpose and feel fully energized, head straight to the biggest baddie on your list and get ‘er done! Otherwise, you’ll find yourself endlessly sorting through smaller action items, procrastinating on the larger milestones that’ll actually advance you towards your end goals.
Get the most stress-inducing item on your to-do list out of the way before the burdens of the day start piling up. You’ll not only free up your day, but will feel increased motivation and self esteem as you deftly handle the easy tasks that swarm your way.
Pro Tip: If that #1 task is too overwhelming, break it down into more accomplishable goals. That way you still progress towards your overall milestone, without facing burnout or fatigue along the way.
There you have it! As you go through and try out different morning rituals, remember that what works for some, might not work for you. Don’t try to infuse all these steps at once - you’ll go mad. Start small and choose one tip to start. Keep what works and discard the rest.
Maybe you like starting your morning with a sunrise watercolor session. Perhaps spending time with your loved ones is the exact energy booster for you. Experiment to find what you enjoy the most.
Looking for more tips to reduce stress and increase joy? Check out my other blogs here:
Comment below - I'd love to hear what your morning routine looks like!
And of course, if you have any questions about copywriting or need some guidance in identifying your brand voice to infuse into your content, reach out. I'd be happy to schedule a Free 30-Minute Zoom Consultation to go over your goals and see how we can get you there.
With Gratitude, Madison Reid