We’ve all heard the saying “the early bird catches the worm,” and while this may be true, it’s not that easy to always get up in the morning and jump right into action. You may often find yourself snoozing your alarm a few times before you actually get up, or maybe you’re just struggling to find the motivation to make the most of your mornings. That’s why creating a morning routine checklist can be really helpful in setting yourself up for success throughout the day. Having a set of tasks that you need to complete each morning will not only help you stay motivated and organized but also ensure that you’re hitting all the important goals for the day.
What Is A Good Morning Routine?
Think of your morning routine as the foundation for the rest of your day. It sets the tone and helps you get out of bed with a sense of purpose. Your morning routine should include activities that make you feel energized, productive, and motivated so that you can tackle whatever tasks are ahead.
To get started on creating your own morning routine checklist, consider breaking it down into four main categories: physical health, mental health, productivity goals, and daily errands.
In this section of your checklist include any physical activities that are important for maintaining your health (1). This can include anything from exercise, to stretching, to following a skincare routine. Make sure that the activities you choose to do are ones that will help you wake up and energize your body for the day ahead.
Here are some ideas that you could include in your physical health list:
- Exercise (5-10 minutes of stretching, or a full workout)
- Skincare routine (cleansing, toning, moisturizing, etc.)
- Hydration (water and/or other healthy drinks)
- Nutrition (breakfast or a nutritious snack for energy)
- Self-massage (to ease tight muscles and joints)
- Sun exposure (for vitamin D, if possible)
- Supplements (vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements)
- Personal hygiene (brushing teeth, showering, etc.)
For this part, think about any activities that will help get you in an emotionally healthy headspace (4). This can be anything from writing in a gratitude journal to meditating to even just taking some deep breaths and clearing your mind.
Spend at least a few minutes each morning focusing on your mental health and wellbeing so that you can start the day with a positive outlook.
Below are some ideas that you could include in your mental health list:
- Meditation or prayer
- Journaling (gratitude, manifesting, etc.)
- Affirmations and/or mantras
- Visualization exercises (imagining desired outcomes)
- Setting intentions for the day
- Listening to music to uplift your mood
- Aromatherapy (using essential oils)
- Reading (a book, an inspirational quote, etc.)
- Listening to a podcast or TED talk
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This part of your routine should be focused on the goals you want to accomplish during the day. Writing down tasks that you want to get done will help set you up for success as they’ll serve as reminders throughout the day. This can be anything from working on a specific project to cleaning up the house or even just setting aside time for self-reflection.
Your productivity goals list could include the following ideas:
- Writing down tasks that need to be completed during the day
- Making a to-do list and setting priorities
- Reading emails, responding to messages
- Working on specific projects or tasks
- Setting aside time for self-reflection and goal setting
- Going through your calendar or schedule
- Brainstorming ideas
This section will vary depending on what daily errands you have to complete each morning. Take some time to think through what tasks you have to do each day and which ones should be a part of your morning routine.
Your daily errand checklist could include:
- Preparing meals or snacks for the day
- Packing your bag or lunchbox
- Preparing the house for the day (putting away dishes, tidying up, etc.)
- Going through the mail
- Grooming (shaving, styling, etc.)
- Completing pet care duties (walking the dog or taking them to the park)
- Car maintenance (checking oil, tire pressure, etc.)
- Shopping for groceries or basic supplies
- Making appointments (doctor visits, hair cuts, etc.)
- Paying bills or doing other financial tasks
- Running errands (post office, bank, etc.)
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How To Start A Healthy Morning Routine
Starting a healthy morning routine can be daunting, but with the right approach and planning, it can become a part of your daily life. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Step 1: Make Sleep A Priority
Sleep is one of the most important things for your physical and mental health. In fact, research shows that people who get adequate sleep perform better during the day and have more energy than those who don’t. Make sure to get enough rest so that you have the energy to tackle your morning routine checklist (2).
Step 2: Set A Reasonable Wake-Up Time
Setting a reasonable wake-up time is key to starting a healthy morning routine. Pick an hour that is early enough for you to get all of your tasks done, but not so early that it’s difficult for you to wake up.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, so it’s best to work backwards from there (3). For example, if you need to wake up at 6AM in order to start your morning routine checklist on time, then aim for going to bed no later than 11PM.
Step 3: Use Natural Light And Alarms
Using natural light, such as opening up blinds or turning on lamps, can be a great way to wake up and get your body ready for the day. Additionally, using an alarm clock or phone can be a great way to make sure you’re staying on track with your morning routine.
Step 4: Have A Morning Ritual
Having a ritual that you do each morning can help set the tone for the rest of your day and make your morning routine more enjoyable. This could include anything from journaling, stretching, or meditating. Having a ritual will help you create positive habits and establish an anchor for the day ahead.
Step 5: Stick To It
The most important part of creating and maintaining a healthy morning routine is sticking to it even when it’s difficult. This means setting realistic goals and staying consistent with your morning routine checklist over time. The key is to focus on the activities that make you feel energized and motivated in the morning.
Step 6: Celebrate Your Progress
Finally, remember to celebrate your progress. Even if you only accomplish one task on your morning routine checklist, give yourself credit for that. Celebrating your progress will help keep you motivated and focused on the long-term goals for your morning routine.
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How To Create A Morning Routine That Works
Once you have a good idea of which activities should be included in your morning routine checklist, it’s time to figure out how to make them work for you:
1. Be Realistic
Many people set themselves up for failure by creating overly ambitious morning routines. Don’t try to do too much in the morning and make sure that your routine is realistic enough for you to be able to stick with it for the long haul.
2. Start Small
It’s best to start out small when creating your morning routine and gradually add new tasks as you get used to waking up earlier. Starting off small can also help create a sense of accomplishment which will motivate you to keep adding more activities each day.
3. Have An Accountability System
Having someone or something to hold you accountable can really help keep you on track with your morning routine checklist and make sure that it works for you in the long run. This could be anything from setting a reminder on your phone to writing out your routine and sticking it in a prominent spot.
4. Pair It With An Evening Routine
Creating an evening routine checklist can also help ensure that you wake up ready to tackle the tasks on your morning list. Having a set of activities you do each night before bed, such as turning off all electronics, will help create better sleep habits and make it easier for you to get out of bed in the morning. Other activities, like meal prepping, can also help make your morning routine go more smoothly.
5. Be Flexible
Lastly, make sure that your morning routine checklist is flexible. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t seem to get everything done each morning and know when it’s time to adjust things accordingly. After all, life happens!
The Bottom Line
Creating an effective morning routine checklist can help set up the rest of your day for success and make sure that you are achieving all of your important goals each morning. To get started on creating your own morning routine checklist, consider breaking it down into four main categories: physical health, mental health, productivity goals, and daily errands.
Be realistic when creating your routine, start small and gradually add new tasks as you get used to waking up earlier, and have an accountability system in place to make sure that it works for you in the long run. With these tips, you can stay motivated, organized, and productive each day.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Benefits of Physical Activity Why should I be physically active? (2017, nih.gov)
- HOW SLEEP WORKS Why Is Sleep Important? (2022, nih.gov)
- National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: final report (2015, nih.gov)
- The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices during times of crisis such as COVID-19 (2022, nih.gov)