10 Morning Routine Ideas For Perfectionists

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Creating a morning routine is a simple way you can set yourself up for a productive and organised day. If you’re smart and ambitious but struggling to move yourself forward – a solid morning routine might be the very thing you’re missing!

Without my morning routine, I would have never been able to leave my full-time accounting job, build a thriving business or achieve my heath and fitness goals.

Since I’m such a huge believer in the power of morning routines, I thought I’d round up 10 of my favourite morning routine ideas.

If you’re a perfectionist like me, when you read through the list below you’re going to want to do ALL THE THINGS. All or nothing, right? But don’t do that to yourself.

Surprise yourself by making your morning routine simple and build your self-confidence by creating a plan you can *actually* follow through on (for more than 3 days). 

Get Your Free Morning Routine Guide

Because I know how life-changing a morning routine can be, I’ve created a free guide to help you design the perfect morning routine. 

In the guide, I share how to avoid the biggest mistakes perfectionists make with morning routines as well as a step-by-step process to create your own. Plus I’ve included links to dozens of tools and resources that will set you up for success.

And it’s all yours for free! Just click the button below to sign up for instant access.

1. Wash Your Face

This is one of my faves for a morning routine because it always does such a good job of waking me up. Even though I’m a morning person, if I don’t wash my face (or even just splash it with a little water) I just feel really tired and groggy and blahhh.

It’s also a great one to start a morning routine with because it’s an easy win straight away. If you start your morning routine with something hard (that you might be ‘too tired’ to do properly) it’s likely you’ll justify skipping your morning routine altogether.

Choose something like washing your face or making your bed to start off your morning routine, it’s the best way to build momentum. And momentum is what you need!

2. Handwrite An Affirmation

First up, I just want to say that I don’t love the word ‘affirmation’ (it feels a little too woo-woo for me) but that’s what you could call what I’m suggesting:

– Set a stretch goal
Create a statement affirming that you will achieve your stretch goal
– Handwrite that statement 15 times every morning

Of everything in this blog post, this is probably the single most powerful thing you could do in a morning routine – in my opinion.

When you write down a goal 15 times per day, in language that makes it sound absolutely certain you will achieve that goal, you genuinely start to believe you will achieve it. And when you genuinely believe something will happen, your brain looks for ways to make it happen. And then it does happen.

If you need a scientific explanation to convince you this works, it’s called reticular activation. Basically, by writing your affirmation over and over again you’re training your brain to focus on your goal and how to achieve it. This then opens your eyes to opportunities and possibilities you would not have otherwise seen. Affirmations aren’t magic, they’re just a reflection of the power of a focused and determined mind (though that is kinda magical). 

You might already know that writing an affirmation was something I did to help me leave my full-time accounting job for blogging

At the end of December 2016, I started handwriting an affirmation 15 times per day after learning about it in the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss (you can read something very similar to what I read here). The sentence I repeatedly and laboriously wrote down was this – ‘I will celebrate my last day at my full-time job on Friday, 30 June 2017 or sooner.’

It took me a bit of playing around to get to that sentence. I realised I needed to say ‘celebrate’ to indicate I hadn’t been fired or anything bad like that. And I added ‘or sooner’ to the end to indicate I could over-achieve on my goal (something I learned from Jack Canfield’s book Success Principles).

And it’s important to say that when I first started writing out my goal, I felt like an idiot (btw I think this is the best indication it’s a stretch goal). I felt stupid for even writing it – there was NO way it could ever happen! But I was so intrigued what I’d read in Tools of Titans that I committed to writing that phrase 15 times every morning.

After about a week, I stopped feeling stupid when I wrote down that sentence. Another week later and I was completely and utterly convinced I would celebrate my last day at my full-time job on Friday, 30 June 2017 or sooner. And then my brain got to work. I began to see opportunities and put things together in ways I’d never done before. I handed in my resignation on 7 February 2017 and celebrated my last day on Friday, 10 March 2017 – more than three months earlier than I’d ever even dreamed!

If you’re willing to try this out for yourself (trust me, you’ll only feel silly for a few days at the most) here are my recommendations:

– Play around with the wording until it sits well with you – write it out a few times and just see what works
– Start your statement with ‘I will…’ (NOT ‘I will try’ or ‘I hope’)
– While the wording needs to feel good, make sure your statement doesn’t feel believable – it needs to be a stretch goal which means it should make you at least a little uncomfortable
– Add something like ‘or sooner’ or ‘or better’ to the end of your statement, if it works

And remember this can be done for any type of goal – whether it’s a career goal, a financial goal or even a romantic goal!

Recommended post: How To Use Affirmations To Achieve Your Goals

3. Read 10 Pages

If you read just 10 pages of a book every morning, you’ll finish a book every month (most are less than 300 pages). So if you’ve been struggle to read as much as you’d love to, I highly recommend this.

I know 10 pages might not seem like much (and if you’re a perfectionist you’ll probably want to set a much higher expectation for yourself) but that’ll still take you 10 to 20 minutes, depending on what you’re reading.

And if you aim to read too much, you risk triggering your all-or-nothing mindset which means you won’t read unless you have enough time to be able to read for hours. And since it’s easy for life to get in the way of a long read, you’ll probably give up on this habit quite quickly. So make it simple – just read 10 pages!

Recommended podcast episode: How To Make The Most of Self-Help Books

4. Meditate

Meditating is one of those things you don’t realise you need until you stop doing it. When I meditate every morning, I honestly can’t tell if it’s working – but what keeps me doing it is what happens when I stop.

When I stop meditating I realise that meditation makes so many everyday things easier to deal with. I’m not as reactive. I’m a lot more considered and intentional. I find it easier to stick to healthy habits and I’m WAY more productive.

Almost every time I meditate I end up thinking about me to-do lost, for the majority of the time. We all ‘think too much’ and it takes a lot of practice to watch your thoughts without getting caught up in them. But the best bit is that it doesn’t really matter if I spend my whole meditation lost in thought – I get all the benefits just by showing up.

If you’ve never meditated before I recommend using an app to help you learn how to do it. I personally use Headspace (the first 10 days are free and I love his accent) but there are many free and paid guided meditations that will teach you everything you need to know.

5. Exercise

My biggest tip with having exercise in your morning routine is to make sure you don’t set an overwhelming target. If you’re a perfectionist, you might find that when you set your expectations excruciatingly high (which is often the case) it feels more overwhelming than motivating. So the more simple, the better. And you can always get bonus points for anything extra.

My other tip is to focus on appreciating yourself for ‘showing up’ to the workout rather than trying to have a ‘good workout’. It’s normal to be skeptical about whether you’ll have enough energy for a ‘good’ workout when you’re sleepy in the morning. If we only want to workout when we think it’ll be ‘good’ (which is common for perfectionists) it’s so easy to snooze that alarm! But if the goal is just to show up and do your best, then it doesn’t matter whether you feel tired. And even though the workout might not be as ‘good’ as other times, it’s always better than nothing. And it keeps up the momentum which is so important!

It can take a little while to get into this mindset. My recommendation is, if you have a gratitude practice (like I talk about later in this blog post) then say things like ‘I’m grateful that I worked out yesterday even when I didn’t feel like it’. That’s what’s helped me the most!

Recommended podcast episode: My Fitness Journey + How I Created A Growth Mindset

6. Make A Healthy Breakfast

This is a huge one! Even though we all know how important it is to have a healthy breakfast, it’s one of those things that can be easy to let slip – especially if we’re already running late.

If you’ve been struggling to eat a healthy breakfast every single morning, please don’t overlook this. If you skip breakfast you’re much more likely to make poor food choices throughout the day and that’ll lead to other poor decisions (because you’ll probably feel disappointed and guilty, which are never good feelings for decision-making).

It only takes me about ten minutes to prepare and eat my healthy breakfast every morning. I’m currently having porridge every morning – I put ½ cup of oats in a bowl, cover them with water, put them in the microwave for a minute, stir through a teaspoon of peanut butter and top with some chopped up banana. And there are lots of other healthy breakfasts you can make that are as quick and simple as this.

I also recommend eating the same one or two things for breakfast every morning. This might sound boring but it’ll be so much easier to stick to your morning routine.

7. Enjoy Your Coffee or Tea

This one is all about making your morning coffee or tea (or whatever else you love to drink in the morning) an experience, rather than an inconvenience or hassle.

If you’re already having something to drink in the morning, ask ‘how can I really enjoy this?’. Maybe it’s drinking it outside in the sun or having it with a friend or while reading your favourite blogs or even just leaving yourself more time so you’re not rushed! Make it an experience.

8. Practice Gratitude

Every night before bed, Steve and I tell each other 3 good things about the day and one thing we’re grateful for. And you can easily do this in the morning! You don’t even need someone else to do it with. Just write them down or say them to yourself as you’re putting on your makeup or having a shower.

If you want some prompts, you can use something like The 5 Minute JournalRegardless of how you’re doing it, you’re training your brain to see the good in your life. And when you believe your life is good, it is good.

9. Prioritise Your To-Do List

Instead of working off an insanely long to-do list, I recommend taking two to three things (maximum) from you endless to-do list and putting them on a daily list so that you actually get a sense of achievement at the end of the day.

In less than ten minutes, you can take that long to-do list, choose two to three items from it and prioritise them. And if you end up having extra time, you can always go back for more! 

It’s also important to make sure that every item on that list is super specific. We are SO much more likely to go to the gym if we’ve written down ‘go to the gym at 4pm to do upper body strength workout’ rather than ‘go to the gym today’. Don’t be mistaken – being vague is not being flexible, it’s an opportunity for excuses. Make sure everything’s super specific.

10. Put Effort Into Your Appearance

This isn’t about your appearance, it’s about giving yourself enough time to get ready without feeling rushed so that you feel better about your day. 

Also just a note here – I wouldn’t recommend picking out your outfit in the morning. You don’t want to have any decisions in your morning routine as this will create decision fatigue and deplete your willpower more quickly. And this could be the difference between plonking down to watch Netflix after work or actually going to the gym like you planned! It’s best to lay out your outfit the night before (or to do it for the entire week on a Sunday night)!

Create Your Perfect Morning Routine

Because I know how life-changing a morning routine can be, I’ve created a free guide to help you design the perfect morning routine. 

In the guide, I share how to avoid the biggest mistakes perfectionists make with morning routines as well as a step-by-step process to create your own. Plus I’ve included links to dozens of tools and resources that will set you up for success.

And it’s all yours for free! Just click the button below to download the Morning Routine Guide for Perfectionists.

Sam xx