The truth is that we all have morning routines. Whether they’re happening intentionally or by default, we already have a way that we go about starting our day.
A few years ago, I decided to start my day on purpose. I’ve found it to make such an incredible difference for me. I used to start my day whenever kids woke me up. I’d make a cup of coffee and inevitably drink it cold as I ran all over the house changing diapers and making breakfast for everyone. I’d be packing lunches and backpacks and trying to brush my own teeth and hair and yelling for everyone to get their shoes on so we could leave the house on time and I’d probably chug my cold coffee as I was walking out the door.
And if any variation of that sounds familiar, you’re definitely not alone. Mornings can feel really rushed and chaotic. Wherever you find yourself, I believe that if you take a few minutes to create a morning routine that serves you, you’ll be amazed by the difference it makes to start your day intentionally. Productive mornings will generate productive days. Intentional, peaceful mornings will generate intentional peaceful days.
A great morning routine really starts the night before. I have two small humans who do a great job of keeping me from getting a good night’s sleep, so I try to control what I can control. I aim for a dark room, cool temperature, and keeping devices off and out of the room at bedtime.
And then I set my intentions for the next day. I keep my planner or a notebook beside my bed, and I jot down whatever is running through my mind. It’s usually things I’m trying to remember for the next day – making appointments, stuff I need to bring to my kids’ school, groceries to get for dinner, etc. And then I write down the top 3 things I need to get done the next day to move my family and businesses forward. Getting those things out of my head and on to paper not only helps me sleep better because it allows my brain to not be going 100 mph all night. It also means when I wake up, I’ve already decided what I want to focus on that day.
1. A few minutes of silence
The single biggest game changer in a morning routine is to wake up before your kids do. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes earlier. I promise you, if right now your alarm clock is a little body standing at the side of your bed staring at you and repeatedly saying “mom, mom, mom” you are missing out. You’re missing out on an opportunity to have a few minutes to yourself to focus on yourself. To get your head and heart aligned and, in a place, so that when your kids do wake up, you’ve taken care of yourself a bit and you’re ready to jump into what they need from you.
Have a place in your home that’s comfy and relaxing to start your day – maybe it’s a cozy blanket, a candle you love, or a special view where you can watch the sun come up. Just choose a place where you can look forward to spending time every morning.
And then start the day with some silence. For me, I notice it reduces my stress levels and brings a calm to my day. I start with 5-10 minutes of silence. I use this time to pray and do a gratitude journal. If you want to use this time to meditate or do some breathwork, that would be great too. But I would encourage you to use this time ground yourself and to connect to something bigger.
After a few minutes of prayer and gratitude, I try to spend some time reading. This is a time I’m really investing in myself. I like to use this time to read my Bible or a Bible study I’m going through. This is also a great time to read a chapter of a personal development book, a leadership book, a book on marriage or parenting, or a business book – whatever in your life you’re trying to focus on or improve. You could even do an audio book if that works better for you. I spend about 15-20 minutes reading, and I’m amazed by the number of books I can fly through just by consistently reading each day.
And then after reading, I do a few minutes of affirmations. And this is fairly new to my morning routine, but I’ve really found it to make a difference. If it’s something you’re interested in starting, I’d encourage you to include it. I read a stat that 80% of women have self-deprecating thoughts about themselves throughout the day. 80%! That’s heartbreaking. And of the thoughts we have each day, research has shown that 90% of our thoughts are repetitive. Let that sink in.
It happens to the best of us. Sometimes something doesn’t go as planned and we can snap or lose our patience, and we can be really hard on ourselves. So, starting the day with strong reminders of the truth of who I am and what I’m capable of is a way to purposefully form new neural pathways to re-route my thinking. I can be intentional about what I’m feeding my mind so my default thought pattern isn’t these self-deprecating thoughts that we can all face.
The key with affirmations though, is that in order for them to have any impact, you’ve actually got to believe what it is you’re saying to and about yourself! I invite you to check out the worksheet here where I walk you through the 5 steps I use to create my affirmations. Doing this will help you focus on what you really want in different areas of your life, why you want it (so important!), whom you are committed to being to create it, and then what you’re committed to doing to attain it.
For your affirmations, I would also encourage you to add an inspirational quote, a scripture verse, or some philosophy you’ve come across that really resonated with you. If you hear or read something and you think, woah that’s good, or that’s an area of improvement or focus for me, include it in your affirmations and you’ll begin to integrate it into your thinking and living. And say these affirmations out loud. But don’t just say these in your head. Actually speak them out – its so much more powerful that way!
Then I spend just 5-10 minutes jotting things down in my journal. Getting my thoughts out of my head and down onto paper. I’ve really gained valuable insight by doing this. Sometimes I use this time to track habits I’m focusing on. There are times I’ll vent about something going on in my life that’s frustrating me. And sometimes I use it to take notes on something I’m studying. Once in a while I’ll use prompts online and sometimes, I journal about the things I’ve been praying about and how I’m seeing God move. Often, I just journal about life and what’s going on in my day-to-day.
The last part of my morning routine is getting my body moving and working up a sweat. Four to five days a week I try to get some exercise to start the day, and it’s made such a difference for me. I try to work out on the weekends because the mornings are a bit slower, and I have more time. Then if I can get just 2-3 more workouts in during the week when things are a bit more rushed, that works great for me.
And find whatever works best for you here – I personally don’t go to the gym. I have a Beachbody subscription and I usually just put one of their programs on the TV for about 30 minutes and move around. You can even find a workout routine on YouTube for free. Sometimes I’ll do yoga, sometimes it’s just stretching, and I just get my body moving.
In this season of my life with small kids, it works for me to workout at home because I can pause my workout and pour a bowl of cereal, or whatever it is my children need from me in the morning. I can take a moment to help out and then jump right back in and finish up. If you love being outside, just go for a run or a walk outside.
For me, moving in the morning is best because I find it really helps release any anxiety I’m feeling as the day is starting. I also know myself, and if I wait until later in the day to workout, the day’s going to get the best of me. There are more opportunities for excuses to arise, so the chances of me breaking a sweat later in the day are slim.
That’s my 5-step morning routine! On days I don’t work out, this whole routine takes me about 30-40 minutes. If this feels overwhelming right now, I get it. You don’t have to do it all. Start small – wake up 10 minutes earlier tomorrow and just start with a few moments of silence and journaling somewhere peaceful before your kids wake up. And then when you feel like you’ve got that down, add in some affirmations. And then maybe keep the book you’re reading in that spot and if you find you still have a few more minutes before the kids wake up, read a few pages.
The point though, is to create a new routine. And the only way you do that, is if you’re being consistent. So, I would encourage you, take a few minutes now to think about when and how you’d like to start. What sounds manageable right now? And then commit to it. Set yourself up for success – plan and prepare what you can the night before and start small. As you commit and stay consistent, you’ll see changes and it’ll motivate and encourage you. You are worth it, Mama! You deserve this time in the morning all to yourself to take care of yourself. To prioritize yourself. To start the day in strength – it’s going to make all the difference!
What’s your favorite way to start the day? Let me know in the comments below!