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.