The secret to having more joy, less stress, and more success in your life begins with how you start each day. Adopting a mindful morning routine is key to living each day more fully. We’ve come up with 23 mindful morning habits and rituals that will have a positive impact in your life. Before we dig into the list, though, let’s get clear about what a mindful start to your day really means.
If There’s Anything You Want to Change About Your Life, Start by Creating a Morning Routine Grounded in Mindfulness
Starting a new morning routine is really about making changes in your life. It’s not about that 30 minutes or hour before you head off to work or school. It’s about getting clear on what you want most for your life every single day.
I don’t know how many times I wanted to make a change and yet couldn’t seem to make it happen. Maybe you can relate to the following scenarios …
- Overwhelmed and stressed: Have you ever wanted to reduce overwhelm and stress in your life, but felt helpless to do so?
- Big life goals feel elusive: Have you ever set big life goals … for your career, relationships, money, or anything else … only to fail to meet those goals because you got trapped in your old ways?
- Unfulfilled and uninspired: Have you ever felt unfulfilled and uninspired in life but didn’t know how to change your life?
- Helpless to change bad habits: Have you ever wanted to lose weight, but then found yourself eating donuts that your coworker brought in (that you promised yourself you’d resist)?
- Broken promises to yourself: Have you ever promised yourself that you would be positive and not let stuff get to you, only to find yourself frustrated and aggravated only hours later?
We’ve all been there. We promise ourselves we’ll change and then we find ourselves trapped back in the habits that are depriving us of the things we know we truly want in our lives. It may seem crazy, but the path to getting all you want — the path to making huge life changes — starts with how you begin each day. That’s why a solid morning routine that works for you is so important.
I’ve found that when I adapted my morning routine to focus on what really matters most in my life — my top goals and most dearly values — then everything changed.
Create a Simple Morning Routine: It's Time to Be Deliberate About How You Start Your Day!
How you begin your day has an enormous influence on how you’ll experience your day. How you experience each day will determine how you’ll experience your life. Yes, the habits you embrace in your morning routine have the power to influence your life, and hence, also have the power to transform your life.” So, starting your morning mindfully matters.
Before I Added Mindfulness to My Morning Routine, I Struggled
I used to drag myself out the door each day. Sure, I’d wash myself and look presentable enough, , but I made no effort to mentally or physically prepare myself for the day. I’d grab something quick and easy to eat (which often meant unhealthy) then I’d head out to the car and be on my way. I was anything but mindful; it was more like I was sleepwalking.
I was barely awake when the realities of my stressful job and unfulfilling life hit me once I sat down at my desk. My top values and priorities were not fresh in mind. The life goals I desperately wanted to achieve took a back seat to the difficulties of the day. I was living my life on autopilot based on habits that weren’t working; habits that could be changed if I just improved how I started each day.
How to Create a Perfect Mindful Morning Routine for You
To create the best morning routine for you, you’ll need to commit a little time to your mindset and at least a little time focused on your body. The body and mind work together to help you create your best morning routine, and thus your best morning, and thus, your best day.
A Perfect Morning Routine Includes Moving Your Body
I’m not advocating strenuous physical exercise unless that’s your thing. Instead, here are some ideas to move your body mindfully in anticipation of the day ahead:
- 10 minutes of dancing to happy songs you love
- 10 minutes of gentle stretches
- 10 minutes of walking
- 10 minutes of yoga
- 10 minutes of Tai Chi
You don’t have to buy any new equipment or videos. In fact, YouTube has hundreds of exercise and movement routines that will help you get your heart rate up a bit and help make your body more limber.
I’m suggesting 10 minutes of movement because I believe that a 15-minute, focused morning routine is enough to change your life (especially if you’re used to zero physical activity in the morning). Ten minutes of movement leaves five minutes left for mindset work.
The truth is, if you can find the time, 20-30 minutes of exercise in the morning would be better. Yet, I realize, some of us simply don’t want to commit to too much time to physical movement in the morning. So, just try 10 minutes. It’s amazing what those minutes will create for you.
A Stress-Reducing Morning Routine Includes Focusing Your Mindset
If you don’t deliberately focus your mind on what you want in your life and from your day, then the world around you will distract you. If you don’t get your mindset right in the morning, you’ll move you farther and farther away from the goals that matter most to you.
That’s why it’s important to review what you want in your life each morning before you walk out the door. I have a list of the 3 things that are most important to me:
- I choose to be happy
- I choose healthy habits that support my healthy lifestyle
- I choose to be patient, kind, and loving towards myself and others
These ideas are cemented into my brain, but I recite them each morning to remain crystal clear about how I want to lead my life. Your list might be different than mine, and that’s fine. In fact, I would it expect it to be different. You’re building the very best morning routine for you, not for anyone else.
The Most Successful People in the World Have Morning Routines that Fuel Their Success
Lady Gaga’s morning ritual includes yoga and a focus on self-love and gratitude. Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey incorporate 30 minutes of meditation into their morning rituals.
Anthony Robbins developed what he calls, an “Hour of Power” to start off his morning, which includes rigorous exercise and plenty of heartfelt mantra work.
Steve Jobs used to begin each day by asking himself, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” What a powerful way to stay focused on what you want most in your life: a happy, fulfilling life!
23 Ideas You Can Incorporate Into Your Mindful Morning Routine
The morning ritual that works for one person won’t work for all people. I stand behind that statement 1000%. You have to find something that works for you. What you absolutely, positively don’t want to do is continue to sleepwalk through your morning routine. That will only foster stress and poor focus throughout your day.
When you create a morning ritual that encompasses a review of your top wants and goals, you set yourself up for success. It really is as simple as that. Small habits repeated over time create amazing success stories.
I’ve already mentioned that both doing some type of movement and reviewing/affirming important life goals are critical to a good morning routine. When you create a morning routine that’s customized for you, you might also want to explore some of these other ideas that some people find useful.
Below are 23 ideas of things you might want to add to your morning routine (just chose those that work for you — don’t try to do them all) …
1 Write in a journal. Perhaps write about a new behavior you’re now embracing to live the life you desire.
2 Hug someone you love. If there’s no one around to hug, send a quick message to someone you love. Keep it simple and sweet.
3 Practice mindfulness as you drink your water, tea, or coffee, as Ram Dass says, “be here now.”
4 Read from a book of poetry.
5 Visualize yourself one year down the road, having fulfilled your vision for your life. I’m partial to using the EnVision visualization app to get a clear vision for my future.
6 Light incense or a candle before you do any mantras or affirmations. As you light it, recite, “today I let my light shine” and take a moment to let that thought permeate your whole being.
7 Thank your body; thank your eyes, ears, hands, feet, heart and entire body for all it does for you.
8 Watch a Ted talk. Make sure you keep a list you want to watch, so you don’t have to search for one in the morning.
9 Do a short series of gentle stretches before leaving your bed.
10 Use a foam roller to loosen tight muscles.
11 Thank God for the gift of a new day.
12 Make your bed and give thanks for the comfort and security it offered you the night before.
13 Keep a “new ideas” log, and write down 5 new ideas every day. Keep the ideas broad and simple, lest you get distracted. You can revisit your “idea list” at another time.
14 Deliberately listen for songbirds and smile at the beauty of their song.
15 Start a video log on your phone; name one thing you’re excited about for the day. You can review the log at the end of the week or month (or year!) to further inspire yourself.
16 Take a walk in nature. If that’s not possible, look through some nature photographs and imagine you’re there.
17 Pay attention to your thoughts. If an unhelpful or negative thought pops up, use kindness to comfort yourself and then choose a more positive thought.
18 Take time to sit at a table and mindfully eat a healthy breakfast.
19 Avoid all news for at least the first hour of your day; avoid focusing on anything that could be negative (you want your first hour or two of the day to be focused on everything good).
20 Think of one act of kindness you can perform today.
21 Do a breathing exercise. I suggest doing the 5-5 breath meditation.
22 Read or listen to inspirational material (check out B&C’s collection).
23 Set your intentions for the day; be deliberate about how you choose to live your life.
One Last Word of Advice: Keep It Simple!
My number one piece of advice for you is to keep it simple, especially at first. If you make creating a new morning routine too hard or too complicated, the odds of adopting your new morning routine are low — near zero, in fact.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it on the social media channel of your choice. Also, if you want to tell others what rituals help you in the morning, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.