Few things in your day are as important as your morning routine. As Lemony Snicket said:
“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend you morning can often tell you what kids of day you are going to have.”
Your morning determines whether you go through your day with energy, patience, and focus or if you spend your day feeling scattered, rushed, and 2 steps behind until your finally crash into bed.
It can also mean the difference between developing good daily habits (like exercising regularly) and feeling like you just can’t find the time to do anything other than survive the day.
And to help you start your day off right, we’re going to go over 8 powerful morning habits that will help you start your day feeling peaceful, happy, and energized.
Plus, you can grab the 2 free printable morning routine checklists for adults to help you start your own awesome morning routine.
The download includes 2 printable PDFs:
- A Morning Routine Checklist for Adults: Which includes the 8 simple and easy (yet powerful) habits to start your day off right.
- An Editable Morning Routine Template: Which guides you through building your own customized morning routine and creating healthy habits that stick.
WHAT’S THE BEST MORNING ROUTINE?
It’s human nature to want to set out to find the best morning routine ever created. To find the magical morning routine that will change everything.
But the truth is, there really isn’t any “perfect morning routine” that works for everyone.
Because what’s right for you depends on your life situation and your goals.
For example, after reading The Miracle Morning, I was super motivated and 100% set to follow everything to a T.
And I did. For a bit.
But as a working mom of 4 little ones, doing all 6 habits daily (meditation, reciting affirmations, visualizing, exercising, journaling, and reading) was a tall order.
I either had to wake up everyday at 4:00am (not realistic) or rush through my routine (not particularly peaceful).
If you read about the morning routines of successful people (like in this great–and short–book), you realize that there isn’t a cookie cutter formula that works for everyone
It’s not about uncovering some magic formula as much as it’s about gathering the tools and finding which ones work best for you.
MORNING ROUTINE CHECKLIST FOR ADULTS
Which is what these checklists and this whole post is all about: giving your tools to figure out YOUR awesome morning routine.
It’s not about giving you the “one true way” to do mornings.
This sample morning routine checklist gives you 8 super simple (and super easy) things that can help you start your day.
Let’s go over them:
1. Prep the Night Before
If your morning determines your day, then your evening determines your morning. And preparing the night before to start your day off right will have a massive impact on how things go once you jump out of bed.
A few things you can do:
- Set out clothes. If you plan to workout, set our exercise clothes. You’ll be more likely to get your sweat on if you make it easy!
- Make to short to-do list. Getting your plan out of your brain an onto paper will help you wind down and start the day with purpose.
- Get your alarm set up. If you struggle to wake up, set it on the other side of the room
- Give yourself enough time to get 7-9 hours of sleep. This makes the difference between energetically jumping out of bed and slowing oozing out of bed into a cup of coffee.
A note about sleep:
In the US, there is this cultural idea that getting less sleep makes you better than others.
Like pushing your body to the brink and declaring “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” somehow makes you morally superior or more hard-working than those who get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut eye adults need.
But the research is not ambiguous. Sustained sleep deprivation leads to a host of health issues and most notably, early death. Plus, it just makes you crabby and less productive.
You will be more efficient, productive, healthy, and happy getting the sleep your body needs.
For more, please listen to this amazing podcast interview with sleep scientist Dr. Matthew Walker.
(Changed my life. It was my gateway to becoming a little sleep science nerd.)
For more help building a great evening routine, check out 4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Mornings (and How to Fix it)
2. Avoid Your Phone
I know just how easy it is to pick up the phone of the nightstand, open up email or a news app and get sucked in for 30 minutes of mindless scrolling and reading.
Frankly, the quickest way to derail a productive morning is to look at your phone.
Your phone and all those fancy apps are designed to steal your focus and attention (that’s how they make money).
But your morning routine is about preparing yourself to meet the world on your terms.
Checking your smartphone (even for “just a minute”) take your focus from preparing yourself to about 50 gazillion other things. Plus it wastes a lot of your precious morning time.
Wait until AFTER you finish your morning routine to your check your email, text messages, breaking news, social media, and whatever else you check.
And not only will you feel better and be more productive, you’ll realize that you didn’t even miss anything by waiting a bit to look at your phone.
3. Drink a Glass of Water
It’s so simple, yet it gives you so many benefits. Drinking a glass of water:
- Helps you to wake up
- Gets your digestive system revved
- And gives you a jolt of energy
To make this easier, you may want to set out a glass or water bottle the night before so all you have to do is grab it and drink.
Don’t force yourself to drink a huge glass of water if it feels uncomfortable. Just start with 6-8 oz and see how you feel.
4. Brush Your Teeth
This is another super simple habit that gives you multiple benefits. It’s good hygiene and it helps to wake you up and feel alert.
5. Make Your Bed
I used to 100% be on the “making my bed is a waste of time” wagon, so get it if you’re not convinced.
But hear me out.
Making your bed within the first few minutes of being awake gives you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Which puts you in a more productive mindset from the moment you wake up.
And not only do you get a boost from simply doing something productive, but you’ve also made your bedroom a more relaxing place to be.
Just try it.
6. Get Dressed
While technically you could write a 300-page scientific thesis in your pajamas, most of us would find that hard.
(And not just because of the science part of it)
Because how we dress often influences how we feel.
Like when I put on my robe at the end of the day (after the kids ar in bed), I immediately shift into relaxation mode.
The reality is that when we get dressed at the start of your day, we mentally to shift gears to dive into our day.
When we get dressed, we leave sleep behind and put on clothes that signal it’s time to DO something.
If we put on exercise clothes, it signals it’s time to move.
If we put on the clothes we wear to work, our brains start shifting into “work” mode.
Getting dressed puts us in the space to get things done.
While I mostly work from home, I always get dressed. And I’m almost always wearing shoes. It may sound crazy, but I think better in shoes. Something about being able to run through a field of rocks or away from a burning building gets me in a mental space to think more clearly.
7. Set Your Intentions/Plan Your Day
Now that you’re physically ready, it’s time to mentally prepare for the day. You want to get yourself centered and focused so you know what you want to accomplish.
This can come in many different forms including:
- Make to to-do list. Or review the list you made the night before. Don’t write down everything, but focus on the most important tasks. Don’t write things you know you will do anyways.
- Journal. Personally, journaling and free-writing is one of the quickest ways to center myself and figure out what I need to do for the day. Open a google doc or use a paper notebook.
- Meditate. If you’re a parent, this one can be a little hard, especially if there are small humans out and about while you run through your routine. But even short meditative practices can have tremendous benefits.
- Read something uplifting.
8. Move Your Body
Note that “move your body” doesn’t have to mean “go for a 3 mile run” or “go to cross fit”.
It could mean:
- going for a 5 minute walk around the block
- folding a load of laundry
The key is to just get your body moving and going for the day.
Now, if you’re trying to develop the habit of daily exercise, morning is actually a great time to do it.
Because you’re more likely to exercise if you do it first thing. If you leave it to the end of the day, you increase your chances of skipping your workout and watching Netflix.
That’s just how willower works.
And you don’t have to start an exercising habit by working out for a long period of time. Pick an activity you enjoy and start doing it for 10 to 15 minutes. And build from there.
EDITABLE MORNING ROUTINE CHART
To craft your own morning routine and find what works for you, I’ve also created a really handy editable morning routine chart for adults.
It also helps you track your morning routine over a week so that you can build the perfect routine over time.
Here’s how to use it:
1. Set a Weekly Goal
We’re more likely to make changes when we set solid goals. Decide what your main goal is for your weekly morning routine.
Is it to wake up at a certain time?
Make your bed every day?
Exercise Monday, Wednesday, and Friday?
Whatever your primary goal is, write it down.
2. Plan Your ideal Wake-up Time
Determine your ideal/goal wake up time. Sleep research tells us that we function best when we go to sleep and wake up at the same times everyday.
While this isn’t always possible or practical, it’s a goal to shoot for.
For help waking up earlier, check out How to Wake Up Early Even When You’re a Night Owl
3. List the tasks in your Routine
In the Morning Tasks section, you can list out the daily habits you’re like in your morning routine and then track how you do over the course of the week.
Put a checkmark on the days that you do the task.
Tracking how you do over time will allow you to see improvements.
For morning routine ideas, check out these 50 Morning Routine Ideas from Inc.
4. Schedule it out
With the tasks in mind, then schedule out your ideal morning using the Morning Schedule section.
Put the time, and then the task. For example:
- 6:00 AM – Wakeup, drink H20, brush teeth, get dressed
- 6:05 AM – Make bed
- 6:10 AM – Stretch
- 6:20 AM – Go for a walk
- 6:50 AM – Read
- 7:00 AM – Make breakfast
I’ve found that creating a schedule along with my to-do list is a powerful way to build routines that actually stick. Because I can look at the clock and see if I’m on target.
Don’t hesitate to play with your schedule to figure out what works best for you.
5. Tweak & Repeat
The key to building a routine is to make it a habit. And the key to making a habit is repetition until it become automatic.
So once you get through your week, you have a good idea of what worked and what didn’t. You can print off a fresh copy of the routine chart template and tweak your routine/schedule to better work for you.
BUILD AN AWESOME MORNING ROUTINE
If you’re ready for a better morning routine that puts you in control of your day, grab the checklist printables below. Whether you want to use the sample morning routine checklist for adults with the 8 simple (yet powerful) or you want to build your own with the customizable template, you’ve got what you need to get started with a great morning.
And remember, the best morning routine is the one that sets YOU up for a great day.
MORE MORNING ROUTINE RESOURCES
5 Day Morning Makeover Email Challenge: In this free 5-day email challenge you’ll build a morning routine that helps you start your day with focus and energy.
The 7 Secrets of Fining Motivation to Wake up Early and Workout: Want to workout in the morning, but struggle to actually do it? Check out these tips!
How to Wake Up Early (Even When You’re a Night Owl): Waking up early is tough of you’re a night owl. But these tips will make it waaay easier.