Several years ago I read a book by Hal Elrod (The Miracle Morning) that was life changing. The basic premise of the book is to wake up about an hour early and employ 6 daily practices. I practiced Hal's suggestions pretty religiously for some time, but over the years, I have developed my own morning routine which is what I will share with you here. I highly encourage you to read through this post as well as the The Miracle Morning book to find your own way to start your day.
“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life—in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.”
― Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
But, first just a quick word on "why" you should prioritize a morning routine. I think Hal Elrod explains it pretty well in the quote above. If you get blood flowing and your mind working first thing in the morning, it sets a positive and productive tone for the rest of the day.
Practice #1: EXERCISE!!!!!!!
This is THE #1 way for ME to start my day! First of all, I am a physical therapist, so I am uber aware of all of the benefits of exercise and it is a NON-NEGOTIABLE for me. And, while the morning is not the only time to get a workout in, it works the best for me for two main reasons:
The longer I wait to get my workout in, the more time I have to make excuses. For example, if I plan an evening workout a million things may come up in the course of the day that may become a higher priority such as working late, social gathering with friends, kids activities, etc.....
I start the day with an endorphin rush and I am in a better mood as a result. This is more apparent on the rare days where I may miss a workout; I am noticeably crabbier.
Now, I get a full workout in (45 min to an hour), but anything is better than nothing. A 10 min brisk walk would definitely get your day starting on the right "foot". See what I did there ;-)
Practice #2 - Bible
I am a child of God and being saved is the #1 best thing that has happened to me. I am a FIRM believer in renewing my mind every day. I don't know if you can relate at all, but the enemy feeds me lies every day.
"You are not good enough"
"You are not worthy"
"You are a fraud"
Starting my day in the word, armors me against the enemy and his lies. I want to fill myself with God's Truth and LOVE.
Practice #3 - Prayer
After absorbing His word, I want to talk to Him. More importantly I want to take some quiet time and just listen to Him. Although it takes a little more time, I love to write out my prayers and what I am hearing from my Heavenly Father during this morning time.
Practice #4 - Journal
For me, this is closely related to Practice #3. It's my routine and I can do it any way I want and I find that I vacillate between praying and journaling. Sometimes I need the prayer, but then I may segue right into trying to sort out something that is bothering me to understand it better- and that is where my journaling comes in. Or I may just want to record events and thoughts in a journal format.
Practice #5 - Read Something to Grow My Mind
Lastly, I spend about 10 min reading something to stretch me in someway. Here are some suggestions that I have enjoyed lately:
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Building Love Together in Blended Families by Gary Chapman and Ron Deal
Rethinking Sexuality by Juli Slattery
Get Our of Your Head by Jennie Allen
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
I always want to better than I was yesterday, so I enjoy reading to learn and challenge my perspective.
Other Suggestions for Morning Routines
As stated earlier, I am sharing with you what my morning routine has morphed into over the years. Some of the things in Elrod's book that I have moved away from (but you might find useful) include:
Meditation - Don't get me wrong, I love meditation. However, I have found that it serves me better in the middle of the day rather than the morning. I use it to give my mind a break and then to restore my focus.
Affirmations -Design and write out affirmations that you repeat daily. For example: I am a loving and patient mom who is teaching her children to be capable and confident adults.
Visualize goals and dreams. Picture yourself achieving what you are dreaming of.
I'll be honest. My morning routine takes a couple of hours. But, I have learned that spending this time in the early morning sets the rest of my day up for success. Yes, I am more productive and focused, but I am also more positive, kind and loving. And that is important to me. This could easily be a 30-60 min routine if you spent 5-10 min on each component. You truly have to see what your needs are and what works for you.
If you want help creating your own morning routine, I'd love to help. You can book a complimentary life coaching session with me here.