When it comes to morning routines, there is no one size fits all formula. We all have different needs, goals, and temperaments and our routines should be considerate of those differences.
Any habit you choose to add to your routine must be adapted to your set of needs. It should work well with your lifestyle and be in line with your must-haves and your wants. Thinking this part through will help ensure the success of your routine. Failure to plan around these issues may leave you stressed out and struggling. This defeats the purpose of self-care, which ultimately is what a good morning routine provides. The idea is to get in front of potential obstacles and solve them before they ever become an issue. Asking the right questions will give you an edge in crafting a routine that fits you and supports you as you go out there and build for the future.
What are your goals?
Your routine is there to support your goals. It should generate the focus and motivation necessary for you to pursue your goals on a daily basis. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for the other. A stay-at-home mother has different needs than a college student or a corporate professional. As such, a good routine for each of those groups will likely be different. Being clear on your goals will help you decide the types of routines that will work best for your own personal and particular needs.
• Are you learning a new skill? Schedule some time in the morning just to practice. A quick 20-minute session may be enough to take in knowledge and have you feeling accomplished before you even step out the door.
• Are you starting a business? Write out your to-do list first thing when you wake up, or commit to knocking the hardest task of the day off your list before heading out the door. You could even take time and visualize the success of your business.
Are you a morning person?
Naturally, if you’re a morning person you have an advantage when it comes to morning routines; you won’t have to work so hard to wake up the rest of your body.
If – on the other hand – you’re not a morning person that’s fine too. It just means the first part of the morning should likely focus on loading up on motivation to shift your energy. It’s also wise to have a good nightly routine. This applies to everyone, but especially the night owl. I talk about this more in week three.
Again, this is about create something that works for you. It’s important not to try to fit a square peg into a round hole. It won’t work long-term.
How much free time do you have available in the morning?
If you have a job that starts at 9 am how much time does that leave for morning self-care? Some people have morning routines that last for hours; everyone doesn’t have that luxury. Just decide what you’re comfortable committing to then work backwards to make the routine fit the allotted time.
For example – let’s say you’ve decided to commit an hour each morning to your routine and let’s say you’ve chosen three habits to make up that routine. You could simply dedicate 20 minutes to each activity, and you’d be done. Setting up these parameters in advance makes it easier to create a routine that conforms to your life and not the other way around.
Does your schedule change often? Do you travel a lot?
Changing schedules can make morning routines difficult. One way to set yourself up for success is to set up contingencies. If morning meditation is part of your routine, instead of committing 20 minutes daily to meditate in solitude, find a type of meditation that’s more in line with your lifestyle. Walking meditation is a great example of a style that may work better for you. If exercise is part of your routine, consider having a set of workout videos ready that you can take with you when you travel so you don’t miss out on sessions when you can’t get to the gym.
Do you live by yourself or with others?
Having a spouse or kids also means your schedule is often not your own. It’s important to understand the limits of your time and work within them. What part of the morning can you call your own? That may mean getting up a little earlier than you’d otherwise want. It also means allowing greater flexibility in your routine.
These questions will help you craft a great routine tailored to your needs. Remember, it’s not about what works for someone else, it’s about finding what works for you. Start there, and you have something you can build on.