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Morning Routine Mastery: 30 Key Habits For Success

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Our morning routine sets us up for success, and we should all be starting our day the way we intend to carry it on—whether that is energized, relaxed, productive, slow, organized, or rested. A healthy start1 to the day leads us to a better day, a better week, and a better year!

We will only experience about 25,000 mornings in our adult life.

It is essential to make each morning count. 

What is The Perfect Morning Routine?

A morning routine is a set of habits you commit to complete every morning to set yourself up for a successful day. The perfect morning routine is down to each individual, but in general, you want to balance your emotional and physical needs with the tasks you need to get done every morning.

It will look different for different people. For me, I like a low dopamine morning2 This means I have my alarm set to play relaxing classical music and spend some time lying in bed and reflecting on my day ahead. When I leave my bed after a few minutes of stretching and deep breathing, my first task of the day is always to water my plants. 

I have found that keeping away from my phone and upbeat music until I have at least showered and had breakfast means my brain is more relaxed throughout the day, and I can better balance my work/life balance. 

This might sound like heaven for you, or it might sound like your idea of an incredibly dull nightmare. The important bit is that your morning routine should be carefully designed around your personality, aspirations, and interests.

Let’s look at some famous examples that might resonate with you:

  • Jane Austen’s first task of her day was playing the piano before making breakfast with her family, then settling down to write.
  • President Obama starts his day with a cardio and weight routine and then has breakfast with his daughters.
  • Arianna Huffington makes sure she starts her day with yoga and meditation.
  • Steve Jobs would start his morning by asking himself, “If today were my last day on earth, what would I do differently?”

Does this give you some ideas for where you want to take your own morning routine?

If you have found this article, the chances are you do not have a morning routine, or you feel like your morning routine can be improved. 

As you consider building your routine, pay particular attention to when you feel most productive in the morning. For most people, this is mid-morning (with another burst of productivity in the late afternoon or early evening). 

When you understand your body’s natural rhythm, you can design your morning routine around it.

It’s much easier to design your day around your body than to try to fit your body around your day.

Once you have answered the questions, you can set your intention because a good morning routine must have a set purpose.

Watch our video below to learn how to perfect your morning routine!

30 Morning Routine Ideas to Incorporate Into Your Mornings

Now you’ve got the basics down, let’s get to our 30 habits to master your morning routine. Remember, not all these will work for everyone, so only take what serves you and leave the rest.

1. Commit to spending your morning intentionally

What do you want more of in your day? Are you aiming to be more productive or more peaceful? Do you have any health concerns you want to be able to address in your morning routine? 

Figure out what your goals are in your morning routine to make sure your day is off to the perfect start for you and your life

Some examples of setting your intention could be:

  • You want a morning routine that makes you feel energized. If that’s the case, you might want to include a cold shower3 in your morning routine to increase alertness, improve mood, and boost circulation.
  • You want a morning routine that incorporates time with your family. Studies suggest4 that children with a parent reading to them are more likely to have better literacy skills later in life, so you could take time in your morning routine to read to your children. Or, you could spend 15 minutes of quality time5 drinking a coffee with your partner, which can help you feel more connected throughout the day.
  • You want a morning routine that allows you to eat well. You would benefit from an evening routine that prepares food for the following day.

As soon as you wake up, make a promise to yourself. You could do this by speaking it out loud or writing it on a sticky note in your bathroom mirror. 

Committing to this goal of spending your morning intentionally might look like this: 

“I am going to spend today intentionally. This means I am not letting myself indulge in hours of scrolling on my phone; I won’t keep pressing ‘next episode’ on Netflix. Instead, I am going to experience each moment and just watch as the world passes around me, starting with enjoying my morning routine.”

It might feel strange to start with at first, but once you build a habit, this type of mindfulness will become second nature, and you will find you appreciate that small moments more often.

2. Set Your Wake-Up Time (and sleep time)

Choose a time to wake up every day. This helps your body establish a rhythm, so getting up in the morning is easier and is linked to better health outcomes6 Once you have done this for a few weeks, you will find you start waking up just before your alarm, and your hormones know what to expect. 

Remember, your morning routine works best when paired with a good nighttime routine. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep by unwinding properly, avoiding looking at any screens for an hour7 before bedtime, and making sure you have prepared anything you might need the next day—bananas ready on the kitchen table for your favorite smoothie, gym clothes folded on the bottom step. 

Stop hitting the snooze button. Studies8 have shown that hitting the snooze button prolongs sleep inertia (that groggy feeling when you wake up). It might take some time to get used to springing out of bed the second your alarm goes, but you will feel more energized for it in the end.

Top Tip: If you find it too hard not to hit the snooze button, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you have to get up and out of bed. Once you are already out of bed, you will find it much easier to get on with your day.

3. Don’t use your phone

While you are going through your morning routine, it is best to avoid using your phone entirely for the first hour you awake. The temptation is strong, but our brains are wired for dopamine. 

If your first dopamine hit of the day is something as strong as scrolling TikTok videos or getting lots of likes on an Instagram post, you have set your brain up to crave this for the rest of the day. I would argue that if there was only one tip you remember from this article, make this the one.

Want to increase productivity even more? We got you covered:

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4. Stretch your body to increase blood flow

Your body has been in a stasis mode for the last 8 hours. Before you can wake up your mind, you must wake up your body. You can do this by doing some gentle bed yoga. 

Yoga is known to increase blood flow9, which will get more oxygen to your brain, making you feel more awake and ready to face the day.

Studies10 have shown that yoga has other health benefits, including

  • Calming your nervous system
  • It helps you sleep deeper
  • Improves digestion
  • Aids in draining lymph fluid
  • Increasing bone density

If yoga feels too tricky, just copy your pets and do a big stretch—this will be enough to give your brain a big boost.

5. Make your bed

And do it intentionally. This makes you take notice of the way the covers feel under your fingertips and the smell of the fabric softener as you flip your pillows. Take your time to slow down and enjoy the task as if you were experiencing its magic for the first time. 

Even if you do not mind the bedcovers being untidy, you might find that making your bed first thing in the morning sets you in the right mind space. You are deserving of a nice space, and you put the love and care into your home that it deserves.

6. Meet your basic needs

At your most basic level, you need oxygen, water, and sunlight. So your first focus of the day should be to access these needs. Start by taking a few big breaths right into your core. You have spent all night breathing less oxygen11 than in the day, so you want to increase your oxygen. 

Then pour a glass of cold water to rehydrate yourself after your deep sleep and get some fresh air. Some days this might mean sitting in the sunshine; others, it might be just opening a window.

This can be a great time to get the 20 minutes of sunshine on your face and forearms daily that you need for your Vitamin D quota.

7. Set three tasks you want to do every morning and do them in the same order

This will get you up and moving and mean you are less likely to get distracted. 

For example, turn on the radio, water your plants, and take the dog for a walk or maybe brush your teeth, get dressed, and call in on your neighbor for a cup of tea.

8. Eat a carbohydrate-based healthy breakfast

Research12 has shown that breakfasts high in refined sugar or high in protein decrease your alertness, but a healthy breakfast based on carbohydrates (like whole wheat bread and natural cereals) can increase your attention. 

Trade your usual breakfast of bacon and eggs or sugary cereal for…

  • Oatmeal with berries and nuts
  • Quinoa porridge with almond milk and sprinkled with cinnamon
  • Whole grain toast with slices of avocado and tomato 
  • Buckwheat pancakes with banana/berries and honey
  • Greek yogurt with berries and chia seeds
  • Whole grain cereal with almond milk and sliced apple

These high carbohydrates, low sugar, low protein breakfast options will release energy throughout the day, keeping you focussed.

9. Spend 30 minutes doing something you love

I mean something you really love—something that connects you with your inner self, whether emotionally, physically, or spiritually. 

This will remind you that there is more to life than being productive and successful in your career, and it will keep your morning balanced.

This might be: 


Reading a chapter of a book


Phoning your mom

Writing poems



10. Delay drinking your first cup of coffee

It can be tempting to fire up that coffee machine as soon as you roll out of bed, but research13 shows that your cortisol levels are naturally higher for the first one to two hours after you wake up. 

This means you should already be feeling quite alert in the first hours you are awake, and if you drink coffee now, you will crash earlier, which won’t help your 3 PM slump14

But, if you delay your first coffee by 90 minutes, your caffeine boost will kick in a little later and help you sail through the day. 

11. Learn something new

There are several different ways you could learn something new in your morning routine. You could download an app like Word of the Day, subscribe to a magazine like The New Scientist, or start a new hobby like knitting or playing the violin.

Research15 suggests that it takes around 10,000 hours to master something, so if you get started now, you will be an expert in a couple of years. 

Learning something new will help you boost your confidence, expand your interests, and become more skilled, so it’s good news.

12. Do a good deed

This one is fun and easy, and there are so many great ideas to choose from for random acts of kindness.

There are endless ways you could incorporate a good deed into your morning habits, and—added bonus—altruism is known to increase our feelings of happiness16 It’s a win-win!

Here are some good deeds you could do in a morning routine:

  • Call a friend who needs some extra support
  • Run an errand for your neighbor
  • Donate some money to a charity
  • Buy a coffee for the person in front of you at the coffee shop
  • Follow / like / comment on a new small business’s social media

Whatever you choose to do for your good deed will not only boost your own mood but will start someone else’s day off on a positive note.

13. Take a cold shower

While you might not be ready to plunge yourself into an ice bath, introducing a cold shower into your routine might be doable. 

Studies3 suggest that cold water immersion seems to reduce insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity, which could have a protective effect against cardiovascular, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. It will certainly give you a jolt to get you up and rearing to go.

A cold shower seems17 to work best if you start it hot and, after a few minutes, gradually turn down the heat until it’s as cold as possible. It might take a while to work up to this, so go as far as you are comfortable until you can completely turn the hot water off.

14. Tend to your skin

Do you wake up with puffy eyes or pillow creases over your face? Take some time in the morning to tend to your skin. 

A good science-backed skincare routine has cleansing and moisturizing steps (at a bare minimum).

This will leave you feeling refreshed and keep your skin looking younger.

15. Reset your home

Some people find that this works best at night, whereas others prefer it in the morning, but if it works for you, use the time in the morning before you start to work to “reset” your home. This includes the tasks such as placing items back where they belong, taking out the trash, and washing dishes.

If you reset your home in this way, even just for 15 minutes, you will find that your home is consistently neater, which will help you feel focused. Especially make sure that distractions like game sets or books are tidied away as they can be too much temptation on the kitchen table.

16. Go for a walk or a run

Especially important if your intent with a morning routine is to increase happiness or your health, this morning routine step is a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of deal—boost your energy and mood while exercising and getting fresh air. Studies suggest18 people who engage in regular walks have better emotional health than those who do not.

17. Cuddle your pets

This one is great—whether you are a dog or cat lover or opt for a more exotic companion instead, cuddling your pets19 releases oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for love and connection and can help you feel happier.

18. Journal

You might think with all of the other steps you need to incorporate into your routine; you will never get the time to journal. But a journal doesn’t have to be complicated or particularly long. 

In fact, it can be as short as one line. A one-line-a-day journal can help you focus your takeaways from each day and provide a nice keepsake to reflect on one day.

Here are some journal prompts you could use to journal in the morning:

  • What am I most excited about for today?
  • What are my three big goals?
  • How does my body feel right now?
  • What is one thing I could do to feel more physically comfortable?
  • What are the thoughts behind procrastinating that one big task?

Once you have got into a routine with journaling, you can start writing your own journal prompts.

19. Meditate for 10 minutes

Various scientific studies20 have demonstrated that small daily meditations enhance memory, attention, mood, and emotional regulation, even in those of us without any meditation experience. 

Here are some different types of meditation you could try:

If you are not sure where to start, try an app like Headspace, which will start you off with short guided meditation and work up from there.

20. Listen to music

This one is super easy; you can incorporate it into almost any other part of your routine. Music increases mood, ability to concentrate, happiness, and even productivity. Get the tunes playing while you cook up your breakfast, or get a shower radio to keep you company for your cold plunge, and enjoy the soundtrack for your morning routine. 

Top Tip: If you are looking for some songs to start with, check out this article.

21. Reflect on positive things from the day before

While you drink your tea, take your cold shower, or run, reflect on some of the positive things that happened the day before. Maybe you spent some time with your closest friends or finished some work and are proud. 

Reflecting and thinking positively in this way has been shown by various studies21 to improve our quality of life. 

22. Have a cup of herbal tea

There are lots of different herbal teas, and you are sure to find one that will help complement your mood. Perhaps you feel quite on edge, in which case a calming lavender22 might be beneficial to you. Or maybe you feel a bit low, so even the smell of lemongrass tea23 could boost your mood.

You can also use herbal teas like chamomile24 to aid in digestion if you struggle with tummy troubles.

23. Make a smoothie

A great way to get all of your vitamins and minerals into your body at the same time, and a perfect breakfast time drink, a smoothie is fun and easy to make. Use fresh fruit and vegetables or, if it works better for you, use bags of frozen smoothie ingredients.

Here are some smoothie ingredients that you might want to include:

  • Spinach: A good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium, which can support healthy bones, skin, and immune function.
  • Chia seeds: Rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. It may support digestion, heart health, and weight management.
  • Greek yogurt: Packed with probiotics, which may support gut health and immune function. 
  • Banana: A good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. May support digestion, heart health, and athletic performance.
  • Ginger: Contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body. It may also support digestion and immune function.

Top Tip: Remember to stay mindful by taking little sips and savoring each one, thinking about how it tastes and how it feels.

24. Practice affirmations

You can write your own affirmations or use ours online, and use whichever works for you. Here are some of my affirmations to help you get started:

  • “I trust in myself and my abilities, and I will stay calm and breathe in the face of challenges.”
  • “I make the most of each opportunity to learn, grow, and improve myself.”
  • “I prioritize my time and energy to achieve my goals.”
  • “I let go of distractions and stay focused on the taste that matters to me.”
  • “I approach my tasks with a clear mind and positive attitude.”

25. Ground yourself

Use the soles of your feet or palms of your hand (or even your entire body) to touch the earth. This means getting some time to go outside so you can pair it with another point of your morning routine (like getting fresh air or going for a walk). Grounding yourself will connect you to your body and give you a healthy boost to start your day.

26. Set reminders

Use a habit-tracking app to monitor and remind yourself to keep to your morning routine and schedule the other tasks you must complete throughout the day. Here are some of our favorite apps to set reminds and meet goals:

27. Take a minute to listen to your body

How does your body feel this morning? Are they well-rested? Is there any part of your body that feels painful or sore? What does your mood feel like? Where can you feel your mood? Ask yourself if there is anything else you can do for yourself to make your day as comfortable as possible. 

28. Schedule in ‘worry hour’

You have finished your morning routine’s spiritual, emotional, and physical parts and are about to delve into your work. But you know there are some tasks you are dreading – paying the bills, sorting your credit card, calling the insurance company, writing an email to decline a job offer, and filling out an extra long and tedious form. To stop you from procrastinating, schedule these tasks into something we call ‘worry hour.’ 

It will stop you from feeling paralyzed25 and from feeling pressured to finish every single one of the daunting tasks. Because doing something is much better than doing nothing, and doing just one worry hour a day will quickly catch you up on your most demanding tasks.

29. Write a to-do list for the day

Get all of your thoughts down on paper for the day ahead. You might find this easier to do if you divide it up into 3 sections – morning, afternoon, and evening. If you are not already familiar with the Eisenhower decision matrix, check out this article from Asana

A graphic image of the  Eisenhower decision matrix, with four different components. The four categories are urgent important tasks, urgent not important tasks, important not urgent tasks, and not urgent not important tasks. This is helpful when it come to crafting your day or morning routine.

Source: Todoist

30. Start with the hardest task first, followed by the urgent, important tasks

It is important to get your most challenging tasks done first. This is known as the ‘eat the frog26’ technique. This will stop you from procrastinating and will give you a boost of dopamine when you finish. 

Morning Routine Takeaway

Once you have tried out some of the ideas in the article, see what works for you. If you feel something feels right for you, incorporate it into your routine for 21 days to make it a habit (remember the 21/90 rule27 

And remember the important takeaways from this article on mastering a morning routine:

  • Move: stretch, run, walk, whatever it takes but get your body moving
  • Rehydrate and reenergize: drink water and fuel your body with nutritious food
  • Inspire yourself: through affirmations, creative tasks, and time on the things you love the most.

If you are looking for more ideas on how to get the most from your day, check out our article 14 Unique Productivity Tips: How to Be More Productive with Less Effort.

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