For a while I thought that a morning routine had to be the same every day. I think I was surrounded by people who really thrived with routine, and I compared myself to them, so I would set this strict plan that I would keep for a couple of days or maybe a full week, if I really pushed myself.
But then I would start skipping my morning routine and jump straight into work, which hardly ever made me feel good. I would get annoyed with myself, and question whether I lacked self-discipline, or what was the problem?
I asked myself; what is my intention with having a morning routine?
My intention was clear: to be with and nurture myself and set the foundation for the day. It wasn’t important for me to keep a strict schedule, on the contrary, I know myself well enough now to know that I thrive with flexibility and change. I want to be able to feel what I need that exact morning and do that. This knowledge changed everything for me.
Instead of defining the exact practices I would do each morning, I just made sure to set time aside for me in the morning. In my case this meant not going online before after a certain time, and not worry about any tasks or external commitments.
When I feel best about my morning practice it contains movement, stillness and expression.
At the moment I have committed to 30 Days of Gratitude, which entails that I spend time each day writing four pages about the things I’m grateful for. Most days I do it in the morning, but not everyday. For movement I practice either yoga or qi qong and sometimes I go for a walk instead. For stillness I meditate. For expression I play the ukulele and sing, read and write, or dance. I normally spend between 30 minutes to one hour on my practices in the morning.
I’m quite disciplined so it’s not a problem for me to do the practices as long as I get to choose them freely. But I know that it’s not the case for everybody.
The key to creating a satisfying morning routine is to know yourself and your intention
To get clear on what works, ask yourself:
- Do you thrive on routine?
- Do you need flexibility?
- Are motivated by goals? (For example meditating everyday for a year or improve your running time)
- Are you disciplined or do you need someone to hold you accountable?
To create the best conditions for your own mornings, ask yourself:
- What is your intention with your morning routine?
- What practices are important for you at the moment?
- What makes you feel energized and light – pursue those practices
- What makes you feel heavy and drained – let go of those practices
- How much time can you and do you want to set aside?
I’d love to hear what morning routine you have, and what works for you.