Hit the snooze. Check the socials. Roll over and fall back asleep. And the next thing you know, you’re late for work as your alarm clock is screaming in your ear, and you’re rushing to get ready, grab a slice of toast, and head out the door all at once.
There’s nothing more stressful than starting the day on the wrong foot and having it create a domino effect for the rest of your day. But a well-crafted morning routine could help mitigate the chaos.
“One of the secrets to taking control of your daily life is to develop certain specific routines or rituals,” says Vishen, founder of Mindvalley. That’s why he and so many successful people, like the trainers at Mindvalley, swear by their daily wake-up practices.
Fresh starts, new beginnings, and renewed perspectives—that’s the intention, tone, and energy of every great morning. And that’s how amazing adventures always start.
Why Should You Develop a Great Morning Routine
Early bird catches the worm, as the saying goes. However, a 2020 survey by RestoreZ found that 65% of Americans don’t usually wake up feeling rested and energized.
The thing is, a great morning routine is all about self-care, and no one knows that better than Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. His “power suit up,” high-fives, and the “Get Psyched” playlist are ways he gets pumped up to make every day legen—wait for it—dary.
While his vibes might be a bit much for non-morning people, he’s onto something. In fact, science shows that having daily rituals when you wake up can help you be happier and more productive at work.
The benefits don’t stop there, though. Here are a few more that demonstrate the power of:
- Improved time management. It can help you prioritize your time and make the most of your day, leading to better time management skills.
- Reduced stress. It can help you feel more in control of your day, which can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Better sleep. It can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle, leading to better sleep quality and a more restful night’s sleep.
- Increased physical health. Because your routine could (and should) include exercise or movement, that can lead to improved physical health and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
- Enhanced mental health. Morning habits that include mindfulness or meditation can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, improving overall mental health.
- Enhanced creativity. Journaling, drawing, or similar activities in the morning can help stimulate the mind and boost creativity.
It goes to show that a positive and productive routine is a great way to kickstart your days.
How to Create a Morning Routine That Works for You
Everyone is unique—some people wake up at the crack of dawn while others are more of the mid-day wakers. So it begs the question, “What is a good morning routine?”
Simply put, it’s about what works for you. And these rituals, according to Vishen, when done as a daily routine will have “a profound impact on how you move throughout the day.”
So here are steps you can take to create a morning routine:
1. Identify your goals
What do you want to achieve with your morning routine? Is it to be more productive? Perhaps you want to feel and look healthier? Or maybe it’s having mental clarity?
Identify what they are, and these will be your daily set points. These points are essentially your goals, or, as Vishen describes in a video on Mindvalley’s YouTube channel, “a line drawn in the sand that [you are] determined to never step across.”
He also advises checking in with your body every morning to understand how it’s feeling. Maybe you’d want to create a rating system for how you feel—1 for lousy and 10 for excellent.
For Vishen, it’s about his weight and body fat percentage. He explains, “If I find I’ve crossed my set point for weight or body fat, I make sure I work out regularly and I eat right for a couple of days to move back down to my established set point.”
2. Experiment with different activities
Think of the last time you made a resolution and kept it to this day. If you’re still at it, big kudos go to you. It’s more common to give up on a resolution than to keep one.
In fact, a 2016 study discovered that 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. However, only a mere 9% of them are successful at keeping them by the end of the year.
The main reason for this is that when people set their goals, they choose activities that are mainstream, like CrossFit or veganism. The thing is, though, what may be fun for one person may not be for you.
Try out different activities, like meditation, listening to music, or going through a Mindvalley Quest. See what works best for you, according to your own interests, and at your own pace.
After all, it should be a self-love routine, not a self-force routine.
3. Start small
Doing so many things at one time can get overwhelming. It’s not a race, so break it down into small, manageable chunks. This will reduce stress and help you avoid procrastination.
Start with a couple of easy activities you like and can realistically fit into your morning routine. Here are a few examples:
- Waking up at the same time every morning.
- Drinking a glass of water right after you wake up.
- Taking a cold shower.
- Doing some journaling for at least 10 minutes.
- Going for a 30-minute walk after breakfast.
Marisa Peer, a renowned Rapid Transformational Therapy®️ trainer, has one interesting piece of advice: successful people do what they hate first. (She also happens to be the trainer of Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest.)
As she says in a sit down with Vishen, “It’s a great way of thinking because it starts to move you around wanting to do [the thing you hate] for all the right reasons.”
5 Morning Routine Ideas by Mindvalley Trainers
You may already have an idea of how you can revamp the start of your day. But you can also take note of these morning routine ideas, inspired by Mindvalley trainers.
They’ve not only helped countless people with productivity, health, and joy, but they’ve also gone through it themselves. So they know exactly what it’s like when the mornings get started with the right pep in their step.
1. Begin with meditation
The biggest misconception about meditation is that oftentimes people think it’s about clearing the mind. However, according to Vishen, it’s far from that; instead, it’s more of a “transcendent practice.”
His morning routine consists of the 6 Phase Meditation, which is, to put it simply, six thought exercises that comprise the following:
- Love and compassion
- Happiness and gratitude
- Peace and forgiveness
- Vision for your future
- Mastering your day
- Support and blessing
This particular meditation allows you to be in a state of being. And, like Vishen, you can be in the most optimal flow and get your mind prepared for the challenges that lie ahead in your day.
The best part? It only takes 15-20 minutes.
Want to check it out? You can do the guided meditation here:
2. Do yoga
Yoga is something that Ronan Diego, Mindvalley’s health and fitness brand manager and trainer of the 10X Quest, does as part of his morning exercise. His reasons are threefold:
- Yoga works on mobility and helps loosen stiff muscles,
- It’s a mindful practice, somewhat like a “moving meditation,” and
- It raises the heart rate.
The thing is, it’s no secret that yoga has some incredible benefits for one’s overall well-being. There has been plenty of research on it; one study, in particular, found that women who did yoga on a regular basis had reduced levels of stress after only 12 sessions.
So roll out the mat and get those poses on.
You can also find other tips from Ronan on how to get the most out of mornings:
3. Stand in cold water for two minutes
Showers should be part of your morning routine checklist. Specifically, cold showers.
“Cold exposure, in the absence of inflammation, is one of the best ways to take fat cells and convert them into metabolically active tissue or to kill them,” explains Ben Greenfield, a biohacker and trainer of Mindvalley’s The Longevity Blueprint Quest. Not only that, but it also releases adrenaline and noradrenaline, neurochemicals that help us feel more alert.
If you currently live in a cold climate, go outside and play in the snow for a few minutes. If you’re currently in warmer seasons or live in the tropics, you can simply “stand in the cold water for two minutes at the beginning of the day.”
Ben, as a biohacker, has other great methods for longevity. You can get more insight from his stage talk at Mindvalley University 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia:
4. Eat an optimized breakfast
Think of what your breakfast consists of. If it’s store-bought, chances are likely that it contains sugar and preservatives.
The truth is, the food industry is failing us. So one of the most important things to do to live long and look good is to reconsider how and what you eat, especially when it comes to a healthy breakfast.
For Jon and Missy Butcher, the founders of Lifebook and trainers of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest, green smoothies are what they have to kick-start their day. It’s what Jon calls “a liquid salad.”
Missy explains the simplicity of it:
- Take your blender,
- Throw in your fruits and vegetables of choice, and
- Press “blend.”
“You can feel them in your body,” says Jon. “You get an immediate energy jolt.”
If you’d like to learn how to live an extraordinary life, you can get more tips from the Butchers:
5. Spend a few minutes journaling
There are plenty of psychological benefits to journaling. It can be used as a way to pour out your feelings rather than stuff them down. In addition, it helps organize your thoughts into meaningful narratives.
There are several types of journals you can keep:
- Dream journals. According to Jim Kwik, a brain performance expert and trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest, your day is spent learning and working to solve problems.
“When you sleep, your mind doesn’t stop working,” he says. “Your unconscious mind is still working on those problems and you come up with incredible insights and solutions.”
So when you wake up, do as Jim suggests: write down what you remember of your dreams in a journal.
- Gratitude journals. The purpose of this practice is to cultivate a habit of noticing and appreciating positive aspects of one’s life and surroundings, no matter how small they may be.
“You develop the mental muscle to focus on the good things in your life,” explains Ana Juma, journaling expert and founder of Prophsee®. “They’re already there but often left unnoticed.”
Dream journals and gratitude journals are just two of many types you can choose from. There are also reflection, fitness, travel, creative, learning, career, and prayer journals, just to name a few.
No matter which you choose, spend at least 10 minutes writing.
How to Stick to a Morning Routine
Creating a morning routine is one thing, but sticking to it can be a whole other ball game. Here are a few tips you can use to make sure you stay committed to your new daily habits.
1. Be consistent
Surely you’ve heard the age-old advice: consistency is key—and with good reason.
It turns out that it takes more than two months—66 days, to be exact—for a new behavior to become automatic, a.k.a. a habit. This was discovered by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, and her team in their study aimed at determining how long it takes to form a habit.
So try to stick to your activities every day, even on weekends or holidays, to establish a consistent morning routine.
2. Be flexible
One of the habits of successful people is that they’re aware that, sometimes, sh*t happens. That’s just how life rolls.
“Many of us struggle throughout our day,” says Vishen. “We find ourselves constantly reacting to the daily situations that inadvertently crop up.”
So it’s important to remember that life can be unpredictable, and there may be days when you can’t follow your routine exactly as planned. Stay adaptable and open to adjusting your routine to make room for the unexpected.
3. Assess and adjust
After a few weeks or months of following your morning routine, assess how it’s working for you. Ask yourself:
- Are you achieving your goals?
- Are there activities that you don’t enjoy or that don’t seem to be making a difference?
Based on your assessment, make adjustments as you see fit to optimize its effectiveness. After all, the best morning routine isn’t one that you do because everyone else is doing it; it’s the one you enjoy, and that helps keep you motivated.
Rise and Thrive
It’s time to take action. Don’t wait for tomorrow or next week—you can start your new routine today.
As Vishen says, “Remember, perfect days lead to perfect weeks. Perfect weeks lead to perfect months. Perfect months lead to a perfect year. And perfect years lead to an extraordinary life.”
The key is to be consistent and make it work for you. And if you need a little help, you can seek insights, advice, and guidance from Vishen, Marisa Peer, Ronan Diego, Ben Greenfield, Jon and Missy Butcher, Jim Kwik, and all the experts at Mindvalley.
When you sign up for a free account, you can sample the first few lessons of their quests. Even with a snippet, you can experience the power that lies in a hint of knowledge. (Imagine what it’d be like when you go through the whole quest!)
So here’s the thing: a morning routine can transform your days and your life, setting you up for success, joy, and fulfillment. And Mindvalley can absolutely be a part of it.