Working Out: How to establish a powerful morning routine

The first hours of the day are some of my most valuable.

I love waking up early. I feel like I’m stealing extra time that the rest of the world slumbers through. There’s a silent hum in the air at 6:00 am, before the the alarms cry and the showers start running. The possibilities are infinite. I could crack open a book, hit the pavement or squeeze in a sunrise flow. And if I manage to keep my phone away, I can soak in the first glimpses of sunshine.

In all honesty, I’m probably already scrolling on Instagram. But this image of being a wholesome early bird is alluring.

Regardless, I’m a firm believer that your morning sets the tone for your day. It’s your choice how you spend those moments, but here’s what I’ve found has been helpful for me.

Make decisions the night before

If you walk into my bedroom at 9 pm, you’ll see stacks of folded clothes and my bag packed for the next day. Yes, I’m that kind of girl.

It might sound tedious and very uncool, but one of my top time-saving hacks is picking out my outfit the night before. Why? Besides ensuring I actually have enough clean clothes to pull together a respectable outfit, this process means my sleepy morning self doesn’t have to blindly trawl through my wardrobe before rushing to the shower.

The fewer decisions you have to make when getting ready, the more mental space you’ll have to tackle awkward conversations and last minute tasks that may crop up during your day. Plus, if you’re a visual creature like me, affording a few minutes the night before to try on your outfit (along with 14 other possible options) will help to get you out the door faster.

Same goes for packing your bag. If you load it up with everything you need prior to hitting the sack, you’ll be able to grab and dash out the door with confidence the next day. Here’s to never forgetting your swipe key or laptop again!

Set a time, and stick to it

Humans are creatures of habit, whether we like to admit it or not. If your morning feels like a race against the clock, reconsider what time you’re setting an alarm. Or purchase an alarm, preferably one that won’t let you snooze.

Decide when you need to be out the door in order to stride into the office, coffee in hand, on time. Work backwards from there, allowing an extra 20 minutes to give yourself wiggle room (read: unexpected outfit changes).

Once you’ve factored in all the steps you need to get ready, set a non-negotiable wake up time and stick to it. None of this ‘alarm 1, alarm 2…’ business. Forget the snooze button, too. It takes roughly 2 weeks to create a habit, so keep with it.

Soon enough, your body will tune into the pattern and you’ll be springing out of bed.

Organise by priorities

Have you always wanted to hit the surf before work? Or maybe fit in an hour of work on your side hustle before brekkie?

Your schedule is in your hands. Start by writing out every step of your existing routine, followed by a list of extra tasks you wish you had time for, and order by highest to lowest priority. Look at how much time you have available and craft your morning routine from there.

Be realistic about what’s achievable. If a 5 km run and yoga session before an hour long commute doesn’t sound realistic, it probably isn’t. You don’t need to do it all, start slow and build up from there.

I find making 1 change to my routine each week is a good rule of thumb to follow. Slowly incorporate more of what you wish you were doing each week to avoid overwhelm and burnout. Sometimes sleep is just as as powerful as ticking off a giant to-do list before 9 am.

Repeat, repeat, repeat

The final step? KEEP GOING.

The more you practice your ideal routine, the more likely you are to develop habits that’ll stick. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon a few times. Remember, change takes times. And you’re only human.