I’m seriously in LOVE with my morning routine so I’d share it in a little more detail with you.
While I love doing this routine every morning, this post isn’t about trying to get you to do it too (unless, like me, you’re a fan of unnecessarily elaborate plans).
This post is just my way to share how I figured out what works best for me so that it might help you figure out the same.
I do this routine almost every morning, even if I need to be somewhere early. But I’m a morning person.
The point of this whole thing is figuring out what will work for you, so I’ll just say now that if you’re not a morning person try to set yourself up with a morning routine that will give you the best chance of succeeding. Make sure you only choose a few things and be proud of yourself when you do them. This is about you, not about comparing yourself to anyone else.
Focus on your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses.
As you read through what I do, try to think about whether it gels with you or whether it doesn’t. Don’t do something just because I’m doing it! My morning routine gets me feeling productive (important) and awake (very important) and ideally yours will do the same. There are a thousand ways to end up with that result, so what you come up with doesn’t have to look anything like mine.
To help you create your perfect morning routine, I’ll be sending daily emails that will help you stay motivated with your new habits, keep reading to learn about my FREE Perfectionist Power-Ups. They’re motivational boosts sent straight to your inbox and you won’t find them anywhere else:
But having said all of that, here’s what I do every morning and why:
1. Wake Up
Ok, so I know that waking up is kind of assumed in all of this but I still think it’s super important to include this as the first step as often it can be the hardest.
Sometimes it’s a serious struggle to wake up on the first alarm instead of just thinking ‘5 more minutes’, hitting snooze and rolling back over into your warm, cosy bed. I’ve definitely been there.
But it is possible to train yourself to get up when you want to get up. Here are some things that have helped me.
- Only setting 1 alarm. I used to be a serial alarm-setter but my boyfriend, Steve, helped me realise that I will actually get better quality sleep (and more of it) if I just set one alarm and wake up when it goes off. I think it works best because you know there’s no back-up coming (though I do still set a couple of alarms if I have something super important on).
- Putting my alarm clock/phone on the other side of the room. I used do this because having to physically get up to turn off my alarm can be the difference between hitting snooze and starting the morning the way I’d like (I don’t do this any more though because now I almost always get up on the first alarm – but for ages I didn’t).
- If you’re using your phone as an alarm, change the name of the alarm so it’s something that will motivate you to get out of bed (sometimes I just put a lot of emojis in there).
2. Open the blinds & make the bed
Unless my boyfriend is still sleeping, I always make the bed and open the blinds as soon as I wake up. This is just a way to create another obstacle to me crawling back into bed (it’s definitely harder to go back to sleep after you’ve made the bed).
There may have been one or two times I’ve gone back to sleep on top of the made bed… but generally this works well for me.
3. Wash my face
The next thing I do after putting a few hurdles in place is washing my face. I use the Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser because the smell really wakes me up (this does leave my skin a little dry so I also moisturise after that).
Really, the point of this step is just to wake me up ever more (plus I’ve found that once I have washed my face I will rarely go back to bed).
4. Fill up my 1L water bottle
I love drinking water but if I’m studying or working all day I often forget to drink the recommended 8 glasses, so I guzzle 1 litre of water during this routine.
The final stage in waking myself up is doing some exercise. Most days I will do some other kind of workout later in the day so I really do this just to get my heart pumping (but if you wanted to do your workout for the day in your morning routine I think that’s a great idea!)
Until about a week ago I was doing different combos of squats, push-ups and abs but then I discovered Blogilates. I know I’m seriously late to the party with this one but for some reason, even though I’ve heard AMAZING things about it for the past year, I was really resistant to checking it out. The other day I was watching an Essie Button video on Youtube and she mentioned it so I finally checked it out and I’m so in love with Cassey and Blogilates. Here are the ones I’ve done (and loved) so far:
- The ULTIMATE Hot Body Workout for Flat Abs, Slimmer Inner Thighs, Perky Butt & Toned Arms (that’s quite a title)
- Extreme Abs Workout 2
- Perfect Legs Workout | POP Pilates
I’ve just been playing around with it for now and trying out whatever pops up on Youtube. If you have any favourite Blogilates workouts please let me know in the comments below!
6. The 5 Minute Journal
At this point I’m fully awake so it’s ok to start doing things that involve sitting down.
First up I do the 5 Minute Journal.
Basically, The 5 Minute Journal is an actual journal you can but I just write out the prompts in the pretty 365 journal I got from Kikki.k (like these).
Here are the prompts:
- I am grateful… (3 things)
- What would make today great? (3 things)
- I am… (2 things)
- 3 amazing things that happened today…
- What would have made today better?
As the name suggests, it takes only a few minutes to do this but it’s a great tool to help you spend your time the way you’d like to. Plus you will like your life SO much more if you practice being grateful for things on a regular basis (it is so easy to lose the big picture after all).
If you’re interested in trying this out I LOVED this podcast interview (called The Science of Gratitude and Simple Behavioral Change) with the creator of The 5 Minute Journal and highly recommend listening to it!
7. Read 10 pages of a book
I got this idea from one of my favourite books – The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. If you want to read more but ‘can’t find the time’ then this is a perfect thing to do first up in the morning.
I love this because 10 pages is hardly anything, so it’s not intimidating (like me, you might have that thing where if you can’t do something perfectly you don’t do it at all – this kind of habit is perfect for people like us).
Plus if you read 10 pages a day, you’ll finish reading an average size book every month. At the moment I’m reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr (and it’s the first book in the Smart Twenties Book Club!)
If you’re not sure what to include in your morning routine – put this one in!
You might already know I LOVE the meditation app Headspace but if I don’t do this first thing I find it really hard to do it – so I worked it into my morning routine.
I love this app because it directly addresses all of the misconceptions I had about meditation (mainly that you have to be able to not think, which really isn’t what it’s about at all). I’ve finished the 30 day intro series and I’m now doing the 30 day series on improving focus. Once you’re past the intro series you can choose the length of your meditation (10, 15 or 20 minutes) so I’m doing 15 minute meditations at the moment.
Of course you don’t have to use the Headspace app, but if you’re just starting I highly recommend it!
9. Finish off that water
If any water is left in my water bottle I finish it off now.
10. Get dressed and do my makeup
Again, this seems obvious but it’s so important.
I’m sure you’ve done that thing where you just don’t get out of your pyjamas for a whole day. While it seems like a dream come true, whenever I decide to stay in my pyjamas I get absolutely nothing done. So even if I’m just having a day home I make sure I get dressed – it just changes the whole vibe of the day. (If I’m planning to workout later that day I get dressed in my workout gear so it immediately removes that obstacle and I know I’ll feel guilty if I change out of them without working out – it’s just another little trick to set yourself up to succeed).
Also I try to always have my outfit picked out the night before so I don’t have to make any decisions the next morning (which can seriously fatigue you, as you probably know when you’ve tried on 30 outfits and still don’t know what you’re going to wear).
The final (and best) part of my morning routine is breakfast – my favourite meal of the whole day! I’m often a little hungry when I wake up but the 1L of water always tides me over until breakfast.
I almost always have the same thing (porridge or muesli) and it really isn’t a struggle for me to have breakfast – it really is my favourite meal.
If you’re not a regular breakfast eater I know I don’t need to preach to you about why it’s important (you’ve heard it all before) but if you’d like to try some of the delicious food that the breakfast timeslot has to offer, it’s great to have it as a set part of your morning routine.
How to create your own routine
As I said at the beginning, this post isn’t about me trying to tell you that you should do my morning routine too. In fact, I don’t really recommend it. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s best to build up your routine. I didn’t just go from zero to this. Over time I added in one thing here and one thing there and it’s all piled on top of each other.
Focus on one or two things and do them every morning for a month. Then add another the next month, and another the next month. If you want to create a routine that you’ll actually keep doing, don’t try to do everything at once!
Choose things you want to do, not what other people tell you to do or you feel you should. This whole morning routine thing really works best when you have your own reasons.
I think it’s SO good to make a morning routine that involves you making as few decisions as possible while you’re doing it. After playing around with your routine for a few weeks, choose an order that you’ll do things and stick with it. I always do my routine in the order I listed it so I don’t have to decide what I’m going to do next (plus it takes away temptation to skip something and also means that I never forget anything).
I choose the Blogilates workout I’m going to do the night before and leave Youtube open on my laptop. I know which book I’m going to read. I have my clothes picked out and have decided what I’m going to do with my hair. I know what I’m washing my face with.
And not having to make a lot of decisions first thing in the morning means you’ll have the capacity to make good decisions for the whole day (which means you won’t decide to skip the gym after work).
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I do so many of the same things as you, but switched around! My current routine is to wake up (and try not snooze because I seriously feel terrible after snoozing), fill up my water bottle & pee of course haha, meditate, read 10 pages, write in my journal (I’m definitely using some of the prompts you mentioned), work out for around 30 minutes, shower, get ready, make breakfast and usually watch a few youtube videos while I’m eating. I like having this routine because even if the rest of the day goes to shit, at least I can feel accomplished with everything I did in the morning haha.
So hilarious that we’re doing nearly exactly the same thing! And I definitely agree with you, I feel like even if the only thing I do that day is my morning routine it’s been a good day 🙂
Ah interesting, I wish I could do more in the morning but it is usually so early and I need to beat the rush hour that it mainly involves getting up and getting out the door! I do try and do a few of these at night though, I use a grid diary to think about what Im grateful for which I really enjoy x
Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog
I know what you mean with the waking up early, it can feel so hard to do anything else besides running out the door! If you could, even waking up 10 minutes earlier and just adding one thing to your morning routine could be a huge benefit! But if you don’t think you can than doing things like this at night can definitely work too!
Ahh thank you so much for this! I love seeing examples of how other people do routines. I am currently the latest of night owls but I’m really trying to switch it around. I’ve read you really CAN train yourself to become a morning person and I know I can as long as I get enough sleep. Such a good idea with opening the blinds, making the bed, and washing your face right away! That would definitely wake me up. And I always love a glass of ice water right as I get up. I don’t know that I’d have time to work out and everything just yet, but the first few things will be a start and I’ll see where I want to go from there!
Thank you again!! Love all the posts I’ve read from you so far 🙂
Thanks so much for your lovely comment! And you are completely right with the sleep thing – getting a proper sleep is the best way to become a morning person!! No one is going to be able to get out of bed at 6am if they were up until 2am the night before! Waking up when you want to is such a good thing to focus on!
I’d love to know how you’re going with the whole morning person thing!
Great Post 🙂 I also included the 5 minute journal into my “morning routine” blog post:)
Thanks Manu! Glad to hear you’re loving the 5 Minute Journal too!
Loved this post, giving me some great ideas to further set my day up for success. I do some of this put would love to add a few more that I think would work for me 🙂
I’m so glad this has given you some ideas! I’d love to hear what you would add into your routine (as in the things I haven’t got in mine that would work for you!)
Great morning routine, especially the part about writing in your journal and exercising
Thanks so much for your comment, I’m happy you found this helpful!
Just thought I’d start by saying I love your blog, and I love this post! I’ve been trialling my own morning routine lately and I think I may try your idea of writing in a five minute journal!
Also, I too have recently become obsessed with blogilates and have now been doing her videos on her workout calendar for two months 🙂 Although I have not been able to complete a video without stopping yet a couple of the videos that have really challenged me are any of the hiit (high intensity interval training) ones and if you’re feeling really brave the 100 burpee challenge! But my favourite would probably be the 4 min to a hot body cause its a great whole body workout when you’re pressed for time 🙂 Hope this helps!
Thank you SO much for your lovely comment!! I’m so glad you found this post helpful and thanks so much for the Blogilates tips haha I’m going to try all of those videos (even though the 100 burpee challenge sounds horrible (but good)).
No problem Sam! And yes the 100 burpee challenge really IS horrible haha
This is so great. Thanks for the encouragement!
I’m so happy to hear you like this post Jamie!
This is really great motivation inspiration for me to get my day started in the morning. I’m definitely not the morning type at all. However, this post has kind of inspired me to start being more productive in the morning! Thanks! Also, I have a blog too if you want to check it out!
Thanks so much for your comment! Being productive in the morning is SO amazing because what you do in the morning really sets the tone for the whole day! If you’re not a morning person just try to keep it simple and focus on the waking up thing the most haha I’m a morning person and I struggle with it so don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a while to get there!
This is a great routine to be in, I definitely want to add some stretching / yoga into a daily routine instead of just as and when I feel like it. I ALWAYS make the bed in the morning, it makes going to bed in the evening much more pleasurable!
Thanks for your comment! Yes yoga is the best, what a good thing to add in!
I love your reference to The Slight Edge, because I think it’s so true! I’d like to incorporate some stretching and yoga into my morning routine. I have a tendency to rush through things in the morning and any chance to slow down would be a game changer. Thanks for a great post!
Thanks so much for your comment! I think you’re so right with slowing down – that really is why having a solid morning routine (that you don’t rush through) is amazing!
I would love to start going out for an early jogg, but I don’t always manage to get up that early! Nice post! x Josune
I definitely have the same struggle with waking up, even though I’m getting better at it. Just do the best you can and set things up in a way that makes it easy for you to succeed!
I have the 5 Minute Journal App, but I sparingly use it; definitely something I have to work on. It really makes a difference in my mood when I use it consistently. Meditatation is also something I’d like to add to my morning routine. Great post!
Thanks so much for your comment! I haven’t seen the app but I find that writing it out with pen and paper is the best way to do it (for me at least). Apparently it has something to do with a certain part of your brain that is activated when you’re physically writing (haha so scientific…) but it might be worth a try writing it out by hand!
I realized I’ve read this post when it was published but forgot to leave a comment letting you know how much I enjoyed reading it. I’ve been working on my morning routine lately too. I was never a morning person, it was always super hard for me to get out of bed, but that is something I’m trying to change. I want to enjoy mornings and start the day in a good mood! So I’ve been waking up earlier, drinking more water, exercising a couple of times a week and started meditation in the morning. And after reading this post, I started setting only one alarm (I used to set 3 everyday) with my favorite song and putting on the other side of my bedroom. It’s still hard to wake up but I don’t feel as tired as if I had pressed snooze three times. And I have a gratitude journal too but I usually do it at night before going to bed. It helps a lot at looking at the bright side of life and appreciating the little things 🙂
And you’re welcome Sam! I really enjoy reading your blog, it’s truly inspiring, so I decided to share it 🙂 x
Thanks for your lovely comment!! It sounds like you’re doing so well with your morning routine and setting only one alarm has been a game changer for me so I’m happy you’ve found it helpful too! (Though there are always days when it is still a serious struggle haha).
Sam I loved no. 7! Lately, I’ve really been struggling to find the time to finish off my book and had never thought of doing this. It sounds perfect!
Yes it’s seriously one of the best days to create a reading habit you can stick to. I’d love to know what you’re reading!
Hi, thank you for this post! May I ask how long would all of this take so I can somehow adapt this routine and schedule my waking up time etc 🙂
Thank you so much!
It takes me about 45 minutes to one hour to do this whole routine. If you’re just starting out I don’t recommend trying the whole thing at once, just build your way up to it 🙂
I love this! Such a great post Sam, I will definitely be using your tips! Especially putting my alarm across the room. I am a snoozer lol.
Fashion – Beauty – Healthy Living
Great post. My mornings are a bit more minimal. I wake up an hour before my breakfast (because I have a daily medication to take). I make my bed, open the window to let some fresh air in and turn on the radio. I don’t like trying to choose what to listen when I’m barely awake so Classic FM in the background is so nice. Then I wash my face, put on my moisturizer/SPF, sort my hair out and prepare some breakfast. After food comes gettign ready for work and leaving to walk to the office. Always accompanied by several cups of tea. Mornings are my favorite parts of the day.
This is a great idea to have a morning routine. The only issue with me is that I always rebel against routine because I get bored of it 🙂 Despite that, I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking a glass of water when I wake up. I don’t drink enough but I read this is a good way to start the day fresh and you beat dehydration in the process. My morning routine also involves reading–this is my chance to catch up on reading when I have a few quiet moments to myself. I had a good habit going that I’ve since got out of where I would go for a quick bike ride in the morning. This helps energize me and makes me feel productive. I think one thing that would get me feeling awake and productive is washing my face first thing in the morning and making the bed, like you mentioned.
Very interesting article! 🙂
I love your morning routine! Over the past few months I have slowly getting myself to become a morning person, that was really hard for me lol. Now that I have accomplished that, I need to set my own morning routine. Yours has really inspired me!
It’s so important to set your intentions for the day the first thing in the morning. Hope everyone has a successful day!
I really love this. Thank you!
Such a great read! I read it last night and decided this morning I would try washing my face first thing upon waking. Well, I have a breastfed baby so I fed her first, but then up outta bed and washed my face. I must say, it was a nice way to start the day. It made me fee immediately productive (which led me to complete 90% of my todo list within the first part of the morning). It was refreshing and I think I am going to continue first thing in the morning for the rest of the week. I will be making up my morning routine list as I go. Thanks for the advice and tips 🙂
These are such great tips! I really like the idea of the five minute journal. I usually keep a journal and write in it at night, but I never thought about doing so in the morning! http://carleehebert.com/
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