My Awesome Morning Routine & Success
A solid morning routine naturally sets you up for success!
Whether you are wildly famous or someone who is less well known, you have the same number of hours in your day. How you choose to use your hours makes all the difference!
Even more importantly, how do you choose to start your day? Your morning routine has the potential to alter everything that follows!
Examples of Morning Routines
There’s no one right way to start your day. Your morning routine must work for you. Here’s a peak into the morning routines of some well-known folks:
Queen Elizabeth II
She began her day by waking up at 7:30am. Soon after, her maid brought her a cup of Twinning’s English Breakfast Tea in a bone China cup with a saucer of milk, no sugar – along with Marie cookies. After a bath, she would join Prince Phillip for a breakfast of cornflakes when he was alive and then take an hour to catch up on the latest horse racing news before she focused on important government matters.
Her day began by getting out of bed and exercising for 10 minutes with light weights to keep the “right places” firm – nothing crazy. Next, she would warm milk while she showered, then whip in two raw eggs with a fork and drink it, and take a multivitamin while dressing.
His day began around 7:30am with a cigar and whiskey. He would stay in bed for hours after waking and would eat his “two tray breakfast” in bed. He would dictate to his secretaries from bed and scan newspapers before taking a bath and strolling in the garden. Then he would head to his study or to meetings.
Ludwig van Beethoven
He started his day by counting out exactly 60 coffee beans for his morning cup O’ Joe and would work at his desk writing music until mid-afternoon.
After eight hours of sleep, she typically wakes up without an alarm and starts her day by breathing, being grateful, and setting her intention for the day before practicing yoga and meditating. She has a no phone policy for the first part of her day.
She kicks off her morning with her quiet time, a little self-care, and then tackles her home care with chores like doing the dishes or laundry, makes breakfast and wakes her kids sweetly, followed by devotions. Waking her kids sweetly is important to her because it sets the tone for their day.
A prolific writer frequently writing more than 500 letters a week while caring for his wife and two sons, leading 60 ministries, and pastoring a very large church made an effort to spend time with Jesus “first, and thus earliest” believing Jesus should be an all-consuming priority in a godly person’s day. For him, that consisted of reading the Bible because that’s how God speaks and in prayer, “his business with heaven.”
That’s just a wee sampling of different morning routines. How people start their day varies widely and may change in different seasons of life.
Here’s how I like to start my day and why:
1. The Night Before
To get my morning routine off to the best start, it helps to do a few things the night before including setting out my workout clothes and getting to bed by 10:30pm. Here’s more on my Evening Routine.
2. My Morning Alarm
Except for Saturdays, my alarm goes off at 5:25am every morning. That’s the one day I sleep in until 7am and take a break from working out. Everything else about my morning routine remains the same on Saturday.
3. Easing into My Day
I prefer a slow start to my day. After my alarm goes off, I linger in bed for ten minutes, turn on some soft lights and listen to my Abide morning meditation which typically lasts about ten minutes. Then I get dressed for my workout.
4. First Things First – Connecting with God
Spending time daily with God is a big priority for me. I like to read through the Bible by alternating between an Old Testament book and a New Testament book. I just finished reading through 1, 2 & 3 John, and will be reading Zephaniah in the Old Testament next. Each day I also read a Psalm or a chapter in Proverbs.
Next, I read a devotional or spiritually themed book. Right now, I am going through Streams in the Desert, which I read back in high school so it’s been a while! A few other books I’ve enjoyed in my morning devotional time are…
- I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is by Michele Cushatt
- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young – I’ve also read many of her other volumes and would recommend them too. They are short, but powerful.
- Awe & New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
- Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
5. Gratitude & Prayer
I believe God is delighted when I come to Him with an attitude of gratitude. Psalm 100:4 says “Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” That’s why I choose to make gratitude my focus as I transition to prayer. I write my prayers down in a prayer journal so that I‘m able to go back and see the many ways God has been at work in my life.
Here’s the structure I follow…
Today I am grateful for…
Thank you, Lord, for helping me…
These two sentences keep my focus on all the good in my life. I need that! When I struggle to come up with five things that I’m grateful for it’s a tip off that something in my life is out of whack.
A relatively recent addition to the structure I follow is this: “Today I’m feeling…” where I list out the feelings or emotions I’m feeling at the moment. For me, it’s helpful to tune into what I’m feeling before I go to God in prayer. It allows me to lay at His feet anything that is causing me negative emotions and to acknowledge His part in my happier feelings.
6. Planning My Day
At this point I take a moment to plan my day. Doing this as a part of my time with God encourages me to include Him in that process.
First, I identify the three most important tasks for that day – the tasks I will focus on first because if completed, they will have the greatest impact on my life or business. Those go in the box at the top of the page.
Next, on scratch paper, I list all the other tasks that I would like to get done. Then I add them to my to do list in priority order under the box at the top.
At the bottom of the list each day I include these three things:
- Organizing (30) – I try to set aside 30 minutes to organize something like computer files, a closet, or an area in my house that needs some attention. It’s an investment now that saves me time later.
- Journaling – In addition to my prayer journal I also keep a work journal and a health journal where I reflect, evaluate, and ponder different topics and events in my life.
- My ♥ Thing – A reminder to do something every day that I love, like a phone conversation with someone I treasure, lunch with a friend, reading, coloring, or doing something creative that feeds my soul!
As you may notice from this picture, this planning process is something I’ve followed for many years and it continues to work for me today!
7. Talking With God
After planning my day, I write out my prayers and listening to what He might have to share with me.
Just like any relationship, it’s essential to me to keep my time with God fresh. Some days I meditate on an aspect of God, listen to a worship song, or light a candle – whatever I’m feeling in the moment.
8. Get Moving!
I exercise after making my bed (yep, every day – it just makes me feel better and I like climbing back into a neatly made bed at night!). Because I prefer lots of variety in my workouts, I alternate between taking walks and being outside on my recovery days in my incredibly hilly neighborhood and muscle days. On days when walking outside isn’t possible because of weather or time, I walk on the treadmill or do a cardio work out on YouTube or my DVD collection.
On the muscle days, I thoroughly enjoy doing YouTube work outs by YouTubers such as…
After each work out, whether it is cardio or muscle focused, I take about 15 minutes to stretch. Then I do Yoga before wrapping up, even if it’s just for a few minutes because it’s a calming transition before breakfast and a full day of work.
Why My Routine Matters
A morning routine naturally enables me to fit into my life the activities that are important to me. More than anything, I need to be reminded that I’m abundantly loved by God, that He’s in control, and that whatever happens in the day ahead – He’s got me! When my day starts in that place I’m better prepared for whatever is ahead!
While I plan my day carefully and make sure I have plenty of margin, I never know what a day will bring. What I do know is that God knows what the day will hold and that when I trust Him everything works out – He’s proven that over and over again to me. It might not be what I had expected, but it all works out when I make Him the focus and priority as I start my day.
What’s your morning routine? What’s working and what would you like to change?
Originally posted on 9/5/17, this post has been updated and revised just for you with my current morning routine!