“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin
If you want a values-led, purposeful life then a great place to start is with a simple morning routine. It’s an easy way to incorporate more of what matters into a busy schedule.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Just choose a few small but meaningful actions and do them consistently. It might not seem like much at first but that’s the beauty of daily routines. With time, tiny decisions add up and can have a huge impact.
Here are 15 simple ideas that will help you create your own meaningful routine, so you can start your day off on the right foot.
Before You Start: Define your Morning Routine Goals
Before you create a morning routine (or add anything new to an existing routine) I recommend taking a minute to think about your goals.
- Do you want to feel more energised?
- Learn new things?
- Connect with loved ones or your religion?
There are no right or wrong answers but thinking about your goals will help you create a morning routine that actually serves your life. You want to be careful that you’re not mindlessly adding more to your plate without a clear purpose.
15 Ideas for a Simple Morning Routine
INTENTION SETTING OR PLANNING
Using a planner or journal, think about the day ahead. What are your goals and priorities? I recommend clarifying not only what you want to do but also how you want to feel.
CHOOSE A SIGNATURE SCENT
Use scent to create a warm and welcoming start to the day. Try lighting a candle, diffusing essential oils or burning incense.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Find a way of moving your body that feels good to you. Go for a walk and enjoy the morning light or do a yoga video from the comfort of your bedroom. (Or get sweaty in the gym if that’s more your style!)
Read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a TED talk. Consume information that awakens and inspires your mind instead of scrolling mindlessly on social media.
If you need a recommendation, check out:
- 10 Intentional Living Books That Will Make This Your Best Year Ever
- 7 Simple Living Podcasts to Inspire You
Drink your coffee in the backyard and if the weather permits, feel the grass between your toes. (There are reported benefits—including better sleep and reduced pain—to walking barefoot outside.)
Or if you’re an apartment dweller like me, simply open a window and enjoy a few deep breaths of fresh air
Is there a simple way you can make gratitude part your morning routine? It doesn’t have to be complicated—just jot down a few things on a list each day. It will make you happier.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Learning new things can be daunting but if you do a little every day as part of your morning routine, it becomes achievable.
Do something special for yourself. Use your expensive face cream, wrap yourself in a silk robe, or indulge in your favourite cold press juice. Stop saving these items for “one day” and instead, treat each and every day as a special occasion.
CREATE A PLAYLIST
Research has shown that music can improve your mood, so why not create an uplifting playlist to accompany your morning routine?
CONNECT WITH A LOVED ONE
Take a few minutes to give a loved one your full attention. Ask your husband about his plans, read a story with your daughter or take a few minutes to text your mum.
DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” – Elizabeth Gilbert (from Big Magic)
I’ve met so many people who want to create but feel like they don’t have enough time.
Can you relate? If so, remember that being creative doesn’t mean that you have to take on a big project. Instead, just find a few minutes every day to sketch, write poetry or do whatever fills your creative soul.
DRINK A FAVOURITE BEVERAGE
I know that coffee or tea is probably already part of your morning routine but look for ways to make is special. Can you create a ritual? Use a favourite mug, freshly ground beans and then—make time to savour it. Don’t consume it mindlessly while checking email!
If you struggle with a busy mind, you might want to consider making meditation part of your morning routine. If you’ve never meditated before, Headspace is a great resource for beginners.
WRITE IN YOUR JOURNAL
I think journaling is a bit like having a conversation with yourself—you can use it to explore your emotions, better understand your priorities or to simply clear your head.
If you want to learn more about journaling, here are some resources you might find helpful:
- Why You Should Start a Journaling Habit + How to Begin
- Self Care Journal Prompts For When Times Are Tough
- 7 Journal Prompts to Inspire Simplicity
- 5 Ways to Use Your Journal For Self Care
ADD AN ELEMENT OF SUPRISE
Finally, have a little fun and add an element of surprise to your morning routine! I’ve recently started pulling an Oracle card from this beautiful deck but there are lots of options.
You could also try: opening a book of poetry to a random page (this is a personal favourite), using the Factly app for daily random trivia, or why not create a jar of memories?
Put sentimental items (photos, old ticket stubs, cards, etc.) in a jar or box and pull one out each morning for reminiscing. What a lovely way to start the day!
Morning Routine Tips
Here are a few more tips that will help you put together a simple morning routine.
Decide what NOT to do … for example, decide not to reach for your phone until after a certain time or not to drink coffee until you’ve had a full glass of water.
Make your morning routine easy … by following your natural flow. Think about your existing routines and incorporate new elements into those rhythms. It’s the little things that help. For example, if you want to write every day, then keep your journal near your bed.
Notice where you feel resistance. … if you want to incorporate movement into your morning routine but you dread the thought of going to the gym then look for alternatives. Does taking your dog for a walk sound more appealing? If so, keep it simple and do that instead.
As the saying goes, be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods!
Morning Routine Examples
If you’re curious, my morning routine is slow and simple: I spend time with family, reflect on my blessings, drink coffee (always!), and take in the view. (One of my favourite things about where I live are large floor to ceiling windows that overlook the city).
I also like to journal or read but that’s become a bit more challenging since adding baby #2 earlier this year— but that’s OK. Your morning routine shouldn’t be rigid and it’s not about forcing yourself to do things. Instead, it’s about finding flow and crafting gentle rhythms that work with your life.
If you’re looking for more examples, I recommend checking out My Morning Routine. There are interviews with over 300 people (authors, entrepreneurs, creatives and more) about how they start their day. I love taking a glimpse into other people’s lives for inspiration.
What’s the best part of your morning routine? Let us know in the comments!