I share a lot about making routines and why they are so so important.Having a morning routine is the best thing you can do for yourself. Ever since becoming a morning person, my life has changed drastically. And I swear by my night time routine as well as it helps me get my life in order. But I haven’t really shared anything about sticking to a morning routine.
You see, creating a routine is rather easy. But sticking to the routine is another. The thing is when we start with the routines we are super excited and motivated. But soon after the motivation dies off and we find ourselves going back to the old habits.
Having a morning routine will definitely improve your life but, you will not see any real changes in your life in a week or even two. And that’s why it is even more important to stick to a morning routine if you want to see the changes.
I have tried a couple of morning routines over the years and quite a lot of techniques to help them stick. And I am glad to share that I have been able to keep a solid Morning routine for the last couple of years. I love taking my morning slow and getting to work on my Life improvement plan and having me time before I get started with my work day.
And in this post I am sharing the best tips that will help you stick to a morning routine so that you too can become a morning person and have this time to yourself.
How to stick to a morning routine:
#1: Decide how long your routine is going to be:
As I keep repeating in my posts, this is really important. A lot of people make this mistake as they start their morning routines. They want to do every thing and do a 4 hour morning routine like the ones they see in so many youtube videos. But it gets overwhelming really quickly once the practicality of it catches up with you.
Not everyone has 4 hours to spare in the mornings. And what suits someone might not be great for you. That’s why before you even think about your morning routine, you need to think about how much time can you spare. Think about when you usually wake up and how early can you actually wake up on the daily.
Also, there is absolutely no need for you to wake up at 5 AM to have a good morning routine. You can wake up at 7 AM and still have a great routine. It totally depends on you. If your work requires you to work late hours in the night, you will obviously start your day a bit late and that’s okay. Because it’s your routine.
A Morning routine can be anywhere between 30 minutes to even 3-4 hours long. But you need to be practical when you think about it. You are not going to do it for just one day after all. What’s the point of having a routine then? It will be something that you do everyday. So, in order to avoid getting overwhelmed, start small. And you can add more habits and stretch your morning routine later.
I usually have 2.5 hours to myself before I get started with my work and my Top Priority Task of the day. This is my 5 AM morning routine that I am really proud of.
ACTION STEP: Write down how much time can you spare in the mornings and what time will you have to wake up for the same. Also write down what time you will have to go to bed in order to wake up feeling refreshed.
#2: SET YOUR INTEntION RIGHT:
Waking up early morning and having the time for yourself is great. But you need to set your intention right. Ask yourself why do you want to wake up early and what would having this extra time do for you.
I mean if you wake up 2 hours earlier than your usual time but spend that time scrolling through social media or wasting your time, then what’s the point, right?
So, ask your self what would you want to do if you had more time to yourself in the mornings. Maybe you want to work out and focus on your physical health or maybe you want to tackle a really big project with a fresh perspective. Either way, you need to answer this question first.
This answer to WHY you want to wake up earlier will keep you motivated and help this routine stick. When you are clear about why you’re doing something, it gets easier to find motivation again even when you fall off track.
And every once in a while you will fall off track and that’s okay because you’re human.
ACTION STEP : Write down why you want to wake up early and what do you want to accomplish in the mornings.
#3: Decide what your routine will look like:
Now that you know why you want to wake up early and how much time you have on hand, you can start deciding what your morning routine will look like and what will be your morning rituals.
When you’re just getting started with a morning routine, start small. So think of just 1-2 rituals that you would like to do in the mornings. And do them everyday until they stick. You can slowly add more rituals to your morning routine once you are comfortable.
And once you have decided what your routine will look like, make sure to write it down using pen and paper.
Here is everything I do before 8 AM everyday.
ACTION STEP: Write down what do you want to do in the mornings and what will help you accomplish your goals.
#4: a morning routine that flows:
Being consistent with your morning routine is not always easy but it is easier when you are doing things in a manner in which they make sense. Allow me to explain.
In the mornings, you do certain things and you kind of already have a “routine” if I am using that word loosely. So you get up, you brush your teeth, freshen up and then you do something else. Now what I mean when I say “make a morning routine that flows”.
It means make a routine and list things/activities in an order in which they make sense already. So, here is what a flow will look like:
Wake up > Brush Teeth & Freshen up > Drink water & Get fresh air > Read > Journal > Workout > Shower
Now, this flow makes sense for me because reading and journalling gives me time to work on my personal development goals before I do anything else. And then Workout helps me take care of my physical health. And usually I am quite sweaty after the workout and hop right in the shower.
It would not make sense for to shower and get ready first, then change back into my workout clothes and get my sweat on.
Also, I usually have my breakfast post workout because I can’t workout after eating something. So breakfast comes later.
If you are someone who can’t workout on an empty stomach, breakfast will come before workout for you because that is a flow that makes sense to you.
ACTION STEP: Write an order of things that makes sense and that flows. It should feel like it’s flowing and has minimum resistance so that it’s easy to follow.
5. Focus on improvement rather than transformation:
Okay, I am just going to say it. When you are trying to make a change, it will not always be transformational. A morning routine that will “Transform” you life overnight doesn’t exist. What you can focus on though, is making small changes. So you need to be focussing on improvements rather than transformation.
If you wake up around 10 A.M. everyday, don’t think about being a morning person who wake up at 5 AM overnight. Of course you could do it, but again, you’re not doing it just for a day. You have to do it every single day and that’s why making gradual small improvements is always easier. It will help in sticking these new habits.
So start by getting up 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually do. Or start with adopting a simple habit of drinking a glass of water before you pick up your phone. These small improvements over time will help you in building a solid morning routine that sticks as well.
If you have not read ATOMIC HABITS by James clear, you need to get your hands on it. It explains in detail how these small atomic habits that are easy to do as well have the power to literally change our lives.
6.USe a habit tracker:
I have been using a Bullet journal for about 4 years now and it is the best way to get organised, in my opinion. I use my bullet journal mostly as a productivity tool.
Curious? Here is how I use BUJO as a productivity tool and the different spreads you can make.
But If there is another reason why I swear by bullet journalling, it’s habit trackers. Habit trackers are such an easy way to well, track habits.
They can be super fun too if you’re making really fun spreads. For me, however, I like keeping my bullet journal spreads really simple and minimalistic.
Anyway, Habit trackers are great at keeping you accountable and that comes in handy especially when you’re trying to adopt a new habit. You can see when you’re lacking on a day or two and you can start back up again. I find them really helpful.
You could even take it as a challenge with a friend or family member to keep you accountable. This is really helpful when you’re just starting out.
ACTION STEP: Track your habits on a piece of paper or a tracker to keep yourself accountable. And keep it in a place where you see it everyday
7. Go to bed at a reasonable hour:
A great morning routine starts the night before. If you’re not sleeping on time, you’re already setting yourself up to fail. Even if you do manage to get up on time, you will not be as energetic to get your morning routine done if you don’t get proper sleep.
Getting enough sleep is important. So is getting quality sleep. And sleeping at the same time every day can help you with getting good sleep. Here are 12 tips that will help you sleep better.
The best way to sleep on time is to remove distractions like screens from your night routine. I find that not using screens at least 2 hours before my bedtime really improves my sleep.
ACTION STEP: Go to sleep early to wake up early. Again, focus on going to bed 15-20 minutes earlier than your usual time. And slowly you can start sleeping 2-3 hours earlier. Gradual improvements is the way to go.
8. Change your narrative:
How you talk to yourself matters. And your sub conscious mind is stronger and more powerful than you think. And when you keep telling yourself that you are a night owl who can’t possibly wake up early, then you won’t be able to. Even with alarms.
That’s why it’s so important to change your narrative. Change how you talk to yourself. Whenever talking about a habit that you want to break, use past tense.
So instead of saying: I am a night owl say I used to be a Night owl. Even when you still haven’t quit that bad habit. What you tell yourself matters. And when you use past tense, your body starts believing that you’re capable of change.
This is where affirmations also come in. If you tell yourself that “I can sleep on time and I can wake up early” It’ll become easier for you to actually wake up early in the mornings.
ACTION STEP: Cut all the negative self talk and change your narrative. Tell yourself that you’re capable of adopting new habits and sticking to a morning routine.
9. Be patient and self-loving:
Adopting new habits is not always easy. What’s even more difficult is sticking to them. So don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall off track.
It is important that you realise that you’re making these changes because you love yourself and not because you “hate” yourself. It is all about your mindset really. That’s why gradual improvements are even more important because that is a self loving way to make the change rather than sacrificing your sleep and taking it on as a challenge.
Also, it takes time to build any good habit and you must be patient with yourself. You know as they say “Rome was not built in a day” and good things take time. So when things don’t go like you expected, be patient with yourself.
When I first started waking up early, I didn’t have a lot of energy in the mornings and wasn’t quite doing the things that the youtube videos tell you to. I was not at all productive in the mornings and had almost zero energy.
So you have to be patient with yourself, focus on your Intention and remind yourself why you started in the first place.
ACTION STEP: Keep reminding yourself why you started to keep yourself motivated and be patient with yourself when you’re trying to implement new habits and routines.
10. COMMIT TO sticking to the routine:
When you fall off track, and you probably will, you need to get back on track as soon as possible.
And to be able to do that you need to commit to sticking to a routine. You need to tell yourself that it’s okay if you took a break (intentionally or otherwise) but you can get started again.
Whenever we are trying to build new habits and implement new routines, going off track is completely normal. We often have a tendency to go back to our old habits and old routines. That’s because we have been doing them for so long and we are used to those routines and find comfort in them.
But you need to tell yourself that nothing good comes out of comfort zone and in order to make long lasting changes, you will have to keep getting back on track.
You need to remind yourself why you are making these change and also tell yourself that you deserve a good morning routine and a break doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
ACTION STEP: Keep getting back on the track, no matter how many times you fail. Good things take time and consistent efforts.
There you have it. 10 step action plan to stick to a morning routine. I genuinely hope you will be able to make a morning routine and stick to it. The benefits of having a morning routine and being a morning person are life changing. You just need to be consistent and keep trying.
Having the mornings to yourself and working towards your self improvement goals in the mornings is the best thing you can do for yourself.