The idea that implementing a morning routine may steer your brain toward happiness and productivity is not new.
There are books about it. There are entire series devoted to “millionaire entrepreneurs” and what they do first thing in the morning. There’s even this Fast Company article titled Let this brain scientist optimize your morning routine that offers up tips for the “optimal routine” from the perspective of a neuroscientist, leadership coach, author, and medical doctor — all of which is the same person, I should add.
So what is the optimal routine? We think the takeaway is, there is no ONE optimal routine. But the science seems to suggest that simply having a routine and doing some healthy things to kick-start your day is a positive start.
This made us curious: What positive steps do our readers take to start their days?
Read, get inspired, adapt, create your own routine — and then let us know how all the positive changes are working for you!
What Do You Do Every Morning that Grounds You and Leads You in a Direction of Positivity?
“We use alarm clocks. There are a certain number of things that must be accomplished daily, and if they don't, I talk with my children and tell them I am setting the clocks earlier to allow enough time to get stuff done. In the moment, they hate it. But throughout the day, they are better because of the structure. Makes for easier evenings and more time for fun.”
— Sean C.
“Mine is a visualization routine: When I'm in the shower, I close my eyes and feel the hot water cover me from my head to my toes. I visualize this as my protection for the day and then say my gratitude statements to start my day off right.”
— Stefanie M.
“The words ‘The secret to having it all is knowing you already do’ are on the wall over my bed. They're a good reminder that I already have everything I need, particularly when I'm feeling stressed out or a little bit grumpy. They're the words I see first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed.”
— Jackie S.
“I try to set intentions in a journal on Monday morning for the week. And Yoga With Adriene has short routines (15 min or less) to help start the day right. I love her.
— Fran B.
“Morning meditations, journaling and reviewing my goals and intentions. Oh and cuddling with my pups!”
— Amber B.
“Once I wake up, I hug and scratch my dog and play with him to get my spirits up and my dog ‘Bonz’s’ spirits up. Then we go on a small walk to get the blood flowing. Then some good old crazy mind-numbing videos while I eat breakfast. On the way to school/work, I call a family member or friend to just talk to someone I love. From car to class or work, I go over the day with assurance, repeating all the problems and how I will solve them. Other than that? I keep a smile on my face with motivation in my heart.”
— Gino V.
“We used to put clothes out the night before so we didn't have to look for missing socks or end up with dirty shirts. We also poured the cereal in the bowls the night before and placed milk in a small cup in the fridge ready for breakfast! This all led to less stress and rushing around to start a smooth day!”
— Gail S.
“I try to exercise most mornings. And I have a time of prayer, meditation, and reading something that will encourage my soul in the morning.”
— Jacci T.
“I don't run every day, but on days I do, I always, always, always feel better. I don't run far or fast, but I go.”
— April C.
“Two things: I get up before everyone else and take an hour-long walk around our neighborhood while listening to an audiobook. It's how I get a lot of my reading done, it's just for me, I watch the sunrise, and it energizes me, especially since I spend much of the day in a chair at a computer. The second thing is that my daughter's school is adjacent to a city park, so instead of dropping her at school, we park at the park and walk through it to get to school. We get that 10 minutes of quiet beauty and great conversation, planning the day and connecting. Things never feel right the whole day if I don't get these two things to start off.”
— Jessica S.
“I make my happy coffee and read one to two chapters in whatever personal development book I am reading at the moment! Then I write five things I am grateful for and 10 goals in present tense, ‘I am’ statements. Example: I am an exceptional mother and wife. I am debt-free.”
— Megan F.
“I pour myself a cup of coffee, dive into some positive reading for a bit, and then take a walk around my garden. The garden is especially nice in spring. I find new things blooming almost every day.”
— Trudy C.
“Coffee, online newspaper, breakfast and online game. Coffee is priority No. 1.”
— Tami B.
“Cup of tea with my dog on my lap and a book in my hand.”
— Heidi F.
“I drink a big glass of water first thing and then a large mug of mocha!”
— Rachelle P.
“I wake up, feed the dog, start the coffee brewing, then I sit with a full cup of Joe and drink it while chilling with my dog. No social media, no email, just me and the fresh coffee and my faithful sidekick for about 15 minutes before the crazy begins.”
— Lorna S.
“I get all my ‘stuff’ that I’ll need ready the night before. Clothes picked out. Dog food ready. Hair stuff on counter. That way my morning runs pretty smoothly, and I don’t have to stress out or do too much thinking. It feels like it takes me less time to get things ready at night than the morning. My boys pack their lunches the night before as well.”
— Kate C.
“I make my coffee, and then spend a full hour in prayer and meditation. No tv, social media, news, etc. I’ve been doing this practice for more than a year now, and it starts my day on a positive trajectory. I would absolutely say it’s changed my life.”
— Kevin C.
“I work out really early — 5 a.m. Then give myself time to eat breakfast and get ready without rushing. Back in the day, I would jump out of bed (always running late to work) and get in my car speeding all the way to the office. Now my routine is much more calming.”
— Kathleen V.
“We aim to start each day with a grateful heart, which is easy with a springer spaniel in the house, that’s as happy to see us, as we are him. He has a joyous spirit and is so proud to retrieve the newspaper, snow or shine, which is about a 300-foot run. He elevates our moods, enabling us to start each day with a smile. Good dogs, good music, perfect.”
— Melinda G.
“Every morning my man and I do the Five Tibetan Rites followed by a guided meditation. Sets me up to be calm and positive no matter what the day may bring!”
— Marie M.
“I think key is actuality in the statement ‘morning routines.’ Setting yourself up for a successful day may look different for everyone, but having routines is the key to not being a mess. Knowing exactly what is coming is what starts me off right. When something changes in my morning routine (a field trip form with extra snacks or a class party someone forgot to mention), it creates an unbalance. I wake at the same time each day and get myself ready before waking any child or dog. Wake my oldest, double check my youngest’s alarm, and head downstairs to wake the dogs. I make coffee, feed the dogs, pack lunches, pack my work bag and drink coffee with the dogs while I wait for my teen to show his face. We chat while he eats, I remind him of anything going on after school, and we leave the house at the same time every morning. This routine is the same every day, and it helps to keep me secure in the fact that my days can often times be a hot crazy mess, and at least my time in the morning is completely in my control.”
— Beth G.