41 Morning Routine Ideas (& How to Journal Your Way to a Morning Routine that Sticks)

Feeling overwhelmed and at a loss in creating the perfect morning routine?

You’re not alone.

There are hundreds of beautiful images on Pinterest, blog posts from people who have 3 hours to spare in the morning, the idea of a Billionaire Morning Routine for financial freedom, and not to mention a mountain of self-help books that all claim their daily morning routine is the best.

In my experience, however, the best morning routine is the one that works for you.

If you find your brain is buzzing with a thousand choices about the first thing to do every morning, a solid morning routine could help, even if you only have a few minutes each day.

So grab your journal, and get ready to plan. By the end of this article, you’ll have a great list of morning routine ideas, a rough plan for your new routine, and ideas on how to track these habits to establish long term success. You’ll also be ready to move to the next step: creating a morning routine checklist!

A Good Morning Routine? It’s a Good Thing

Why bother with finding a good morning routine that works for you? Here are just some of the benefits:

Morning routines are great for anyone, but they’re particularly beneficial if you’re someone who becomes easily anxious or has a lot on their plate.

A morning routine helps focus your mind and energy, so your brain feels less scattered. It often incorporates things such as yoga and meditation to reduce stress.

It also eliminates decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is when your brain has so many choices to make that it becomes exhausted and eventually can’t make any more, a symptom of anxiety.

41 Morning Routine Ideas for a Great Day Ahead

There are so many suggestions about morning routines it’s enough to make anyone crawl back into bed and pull the covers over their head.

I’m trying to reduce decision fatigue for you by making a list of ideas and categorizing them into different morning scenarios.

Easy Daily Routine Ideas For Busy Days

  • Listen to positive affirmations while you brush your teeth, or stick them to your bathroom mirror and read them!
  • Drink a glass of water as soon as your alarm clock goes off
  • One yoga pose
  • One page of a book
  • One-minute meditation
  • Reduce everything to one minute or even 10-30 seconds

Morning Routine Ideas for Lazy Days

  • Read a fiction book or magazine
  • Watch a YouTube video on health and wellbeing
  • Have fruit for breakfast
  • Only do one habit instead of your entire morning routine
  • Sip tea while gazing aimlessly out of the window
  • Lie on the sofa and think about life

Morning Routine Ideas for Weekends

  • Watch a rom-com or Disney film
  • Make pancakes
  • Go for a walk while listening to a podcast
  • Have a coffee with a loved one
  • Catch up with a friend
  • Spend more time on skincare and getting ready for the week ahead

Great Morning Routine for Financial Abundance

  • Listen to finance affirmations
  • Read about accumulating money
  • Update your budget tracker
  • Visualize how you will make money
  • Picture a specific amount of money in your bank account

Morning Routine Ideas for Productivity

  • Drink green tea
  • Do 10-star jumps (or jumping jacks)
  • Plan your day
  • Prioritize your to-do list with most important tasks
  • Set up your workspace
  • Listen to productivity affirmations

Healthy Morning Routine Ideas to Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Morning Routine Ideas for Spirituality and Relieve Stress

  • Meditation or prayer
  • Breathing exercises
  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Herbal Cleansing (lighting a bundle of herbs and moving it across your body to induce relaxation)

How to start the perfect morning routine for you

When figuring out a morning routine, the most challenging thing is knowing where to start.

I’ve given you a great list of ideas above. If you like some ideas from one category and others from another, that’s okay. Choosing a few ideas is the first step.

The next step is to narrow it down to get a clearer picture.

If you’re a fan of journaling, you likely already know you can use your journal to transform your habits and your life.

Below, I’ll show you how to do it with your morning routine!

Set the Intention for Your Morning Routine

What does intention mean? Well, it means what do you want your morning routine to achieve? Or another way of looking at it is, why do you want a morning routine in the first place?

Is it to feel calm, have a more productive day, create some ‘you’ time, or get in shape? 

When I worked long hours in childcare, my mornings were always super hectic. I would wake up exhausted after hitting snooze too many times, haul myself out of bed and run to the bus stop. Then, if I had time, I would grab a pastry from the local store, shove it in my mouth and wait anxiously for the bus to turn up and deliver me to work on time. It was always late, so I’d sprint into my job sweaty and stressed.

See what I mean? Hectic.

After over a year of living like this, I decided to change my morning routine as an act of self care, and to lower my daily stress.

I need something non-time-consuming because I had to work early, and I struggled with crippling anxiety, so it had to be calming and straightforward. 

One small change I made was making a protein shake the night before and walking to work as I drank it. It eliminated the stress of catching the bus, I got some light exercise, and I nourished my body all at the same time. Far from a whole morning routine that took a lot of time, this was a small change to start the morning on a positive tone, lower stress, and be a bit healthier.

It’s important to set an intention or find your why because it creates the foundation from which to build your ideal morning routine.

Take Action

In your journal or planner, write the prompt: 

I want a morning routine because [I want to feel calm, I need some ‘me’ time, I want to commit to exercising]. Therefore my morning routine needs to be and/or include [productive and include planning my day].

There, you’ve set your intention! Be sure you take the time to write it down, so you remember and commit.

Choose Habits and Morning Routines That Suit You

Make a note of any routine ideas I’ve written above that you like. You can also collate a collection on Pinterest and add your own.

Common ideas include drinking water, meditating, journaling or brain dumping, exercising, regular deep breaths and reading. Although that’s not a HUGE list of things, they are pretty daunting in themselves. What if you don’t like water? Meditation sounds dull, and you’re not a writer. The thought of exercise first thing? Eurgh!

You need to pick ideas that suit you. Make a list in your journal so you have a clear picture.

A list of morning routine ideas written out in a journal
List of morning routine ideas that I like!

Which ideas do you like the look of the most? Are there some habits you’d enjoy more than others? What ones seem like too much effort? Which morning routines will you realistically do?

Select your top three and write them down like below:

My top 3-morning routine habits:

  1. Meditation
  2. Drink green tea
  3. Watch the sunrise

Keep It Simple

A problem many people face is getting overexcited about changing their lives, so they take on too much at once. They feel disheartened and like a failure when they can’t keep everything up for more than a few days.

An easy way to fix the dilemma? 

Choose 1-5 maximum morning routine ideas or habits. I actually think five things is too many when you’re first starting, so I would aim for 1-3. These three things will become your new and positive keystone habits for the morning. 

Another way to keep it nice and simple is to choose something you already do and make a conscious decision that it’s part of your morning routine. What’s something you already do that impacts your morning positively? 

When I wake up, the first thing I do is go into the bathroom and do something I’ve been doing for years -brush my teeth. The night before, I place a cup of water on the sink and my toothbrush and tongue scraper ready for when I get up. 

I already feel accomplished because I’ve removed the difficulty of choice (which can lead to decision-making fatigue), and I’m doing something that slows me down and cares for my body.

What do you already do that’s positive? Is it brushing your teeth, having a coffee, or getting dressed? Start there. 

Use the Power of Habit Stacking

Now you’ve got about three core morning routine habits, start using the power of habit stacking. 

Habit stacking is a term used by James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. When you add another habit on top of the one you already have, your first habit automatically rolls into the second.

For example, I listen to recorded affirmations while brushing my teeth. Why not kill two birds with one stone? It’s easy because brushing my teeth is simple, and it makes sense to turn on the affirmations simultaneously. I finish my affirmations when I finish brushing my teeth. No extra stress with no extra time added, only the positive benefits of someone telling me, I am awesome.

You don’t have to complete two habits at the same time. You can also go automatically into your following routine after you’ve finished the first. For example, when I put my toothbrush down, I sit in the living room. That’s the cue to start meditating. Brushing my teeth has automatically rolled into meditation.

A hand drawn illustration to demonstrate the concept of habit stacking
Habit stacking current routines with new ones

Adapt Your Morning Routine

Now you’ve got the main habits you want to include in your morning routine, you need to adapt them to suit you.

Perhaps you want to do a thirty-minute sweaty workout, but the kids are up by 7am. Or you want to meditate for twenty minutes, but rarely can find 5 minutes in the morning.

Reducing habits down to a few minutes or even one minute is still beneficial.

You may also need to change your routine depending on where you are in your life.

Someone with kids and a full-time job will find it harder to fit in a morning routine than a student during their summer holidays. Or maybe you’re ill or newly pregnant, and your old routine no longer works for you. Be realistic when you choose what you want to incorporate into your routine and how much time you will spend on each activity.

You can also change your morning routine depending on where you’re at each day. For example, completing your entire ritual may feel too much if you’re exhausted, unwell, or generally overwhelmed. As a result, you end up doing nothing and plaguing yourself with guilt.

Having an adapted version of your morning routine (such as shortening everything to one minute) is vital to keep up the habit. Over time, you’ll gain self confidence that you can do it!

Put Some of Your Morning Routine into Your Evening Routine

What? Then it’s not a morning routine, right? 

Technically no, but it can feed into your morning routine. It’s handy if you have lots of things you’d like to do in the morning but don’t currently have the time or you feel overwhelmed.

Write down a complete list of everything you would like to do, then split it into two sections.

Add what you would like to do in the mornings and what you can realistically achieve in one column. E.g., one minute of meditation, reciting an affirmation, or a healthy breakfast.

Anything leftover rolls into the evening when people typically have more time, especially with work and kids—for example, yoga or reading. 

You will need to adapt them slightly to ensure they’re relaxing in the evening and energizing in the morning. Of course, you can choose a relaxing morning and evening routine, but you don’t want to be doing twenty burpees right before bed. In fact, I never want to be doing twenty burpees. 

How to Journal Your Way to Your Best Morning Routine

Tracking your morning routine in your journal is an excellent way to see your progress or the days when you struggle to complete it. You can do this with a habit tracker. Write out your habits over thirty days and then mark off when you’ve done each one. You can use different colored pens, stickers, or a simple check mark. 

A simple hand drawn habit tracker to track whether morning routine was completed
Super simple morning routine habit tracker

If you’re the type of person who has too many things in their journal, add (or habit stack) it onto a spread you already have. For instance, if you have a calendar spread, you can mark when you’ve completed your morning routine in the corner of each day.

Make Tracking Your Morning Routine Part of Your Morning Routine

I said morning routine a lot so let me explain.

If you have trouble tracking your morning routine, make filling in your journal part of your routine. You can make this easier by habit-stacking it onto the end. For instance, flick to your habit tracker and fill it in right after your gratitude list. 

Brush teeth → Meditate → Gratitude → Fill in habit tracker

My 7 Commandments of Building Your Best Morning Routine (a Summary)

1. Set your intention for your morning routine 

(I want a morning routine because…)

2. Choose habits that suit you 

(e.g., listening to a podcast because you enjoy it, watering your plants because it’s important to you, or stretching because it’s feasible in the time you have).

3. Keep it simple

(Choose 1-5 things and start with something positive you already do, like brushing your teeth).

4. Use habit stacking

(Combine a current habit with a new one or go straight into your next practice).

5. Adapt your morning routine

(Tweak the timings to suit you and change it depending on where you are in your life).

6. Add some of your morning routine to your evening routine

(If you don’t have time to do everything in the morning, add some habits to the evening to set yourself up for a more productive and calming morning).

7. Track your habits in your bullet journal 

(Create a habit-tracking spread or add it to a current spread such as your calendar).

I hope you enjoy choosing a list of morning routine ideas to suit your needs and have fun tracking them in your journal. Until next time!

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Emma Carey
Emma Carey
Emma Carey is a freelance blogger. She writes about mental health, personal development, and wellness. Readers relate to her life struggles while being offered practical and compassionate advice to become a better human. Emma has a passion for organization, mainly to tame her chaotic life, but also because she thoroughly enjoys pens.