In an earlier post, we looked at how to design a saner morning routine. It’s a 3-step process where you 1) think about why you need one, 2) design one that’s helpful to meet your needs, and 3) stick to it.
Repetition is the name of the habit formation game. Anything we keep doing, we get better at. And to help you stick to your new morning routine, this post has some tips for you.
We first change our habits, then our habits change us.
We hear a lot about mindset these days and when it comes to making life changes, the hype happens to be true. Before you start a morning routine, you should know why you want one.
You don’t want to do it because you see people doing it on social media, or because your boss or mentor has one. You want to do it because it can help you get something you need—to help your mornings run smoother so you can dial the stress of getting out the door every morning, for example.
About 7 years ago when I started a morning routine, I did it so I would get up and write in the mornings. I had visions of doing what I’m doing now and needed to carve out the time if I was ever going to do it. My Why was to ultimately do work I loved and trying to write at the end of my day was hit or more.
With something so important on the line, I had a solid incentive to start a morning routine. Then with strategies like these, I was able to stick to mine.
1. Start the night before
When you start your morning routine the night before, you shave off time and leave fewer decisions to make in the mornings. Picking out your outfit for the next day, prepping your lunch and/or breakfast, pouring out your pet’s food, or tidying up the kitchen the night before are some examples of what I mean.
Something that I do the night before that helps me start my routine the next day is to leave a glass of water on my nightstand at night. In the morning, before my feet even touch the ground, I’ve started my day with a healthy habit and want to do more.
2. Stack your habits
Right after drinking a glass of water, I meditate in bed. By drinking water before or after I meditate, I’m doing what’s called “habit stacking.” Habit stacking is adding a habit to an existing one, and it’s an excellent way to help you remember to do all the things in your stack. One stack can add up to a big chunk of your morning routine, making it go by easily. Drink water, meditate, go for a run or workout—these are all things that fit neatly together.
3. Use the KISS method
You don’t want to start doing morning routines with a lengthy or complicated routine. A simple manageable one is better. You can slowly and deliberately add new activities over time. My first routine was to get up and write at 6:30 a.m. for 30 minutes. That was it—do one thing. This routine eventually evolved to include things that would help me get in the mood for writing. Meditation. Little by little, I added things and tweaked others to get where I am today. So, if you want to have better luck sticking to your routine, Keep It Simple, Sister!
4. Make it beneficial to you
If the activities in your routine are things that will benefit you personally, you’re going to do what any healthy person will and try and stick to it. That glass of water that I drink every morning is supposed to kickstart my sluggish metabolism. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t help my metabolism but it sure kickstarts my brain! The exercise I do helps to regulate my under-active thyroid, gives my mood a boost and it keeps my weight in check. These are all things I really really want, so you bet I’m doing them.
5. Get outside
Getting outside within an hour of getting up is potentially life-changing. I kid you not. Not only will this help to give you more energy for the day ahead, getting out has habit-forming benefits too. The natural light of the outdoors cues our brain to shut off melatonin production, which makes us less sleepy during the day.