When I first started college 4 years ago, I became absolutely obsessed with finding the perfect morning routine.

While I now know that perfect is an impossible standard to live by, I've still managed to learn a lot and create a great morning routine that works for me.

So, to help you on your journey to finding the morning routine that's right for you, I've created a list of 17 different ways you can make the most of your mornings. Not every tip will work for you — and that's okay! — but if you take the tips you like and put them into action, I know that you can create a morning routine that you'll love!

Let's get started!

17 Ways to Make the Most of Your Morning

1. Start the Night Before

The key to the most productive and motivating mornings is all in the planning.

Before Bed

  • Program your coffee maker to turn on 10 minutes before you wake
  • Pick out your clothes for the next day
  • Write up a list of goals for tomorrow and leave them where you'll see them (taped to the bathroom mirror, on the kitchen table, etc.)
  • Open your shades to let the morning light in as the sun rises
  • Set your alarm and leave it a few steps away from the bed (so you're forced to get up to turn it off)

Before Sleep

  • Imagine your perfect morning (what would you like to accomplish in the morning, and how will it make you feel?)
  • Practice your breathing (taking the extra 5 or 10 minutes to wind down before sleep will clear your mind and set you up for a more restful night's sleep)
  • Make a mental note of five things you're most grateful for today

2. Wake Up 20 Minutes Earlier

You can't plan for everything, so it's a good idea to give yourself some leeway. That way, in case something comes up, you're less likely to stress.

3. Take the Time to Stretch

Upon waking, even before stepping out of bed, take a moment to stretch out and get your joints and muscles warmed up.

Slowly clench and unclench your fingers and palms, and then rotate your wrists in one direction, and then the other. Give your elbows a good stretch, and gently roll your shoulders forwards, and then backwards.

Gradually twist your waist in either direction, and then move onto your hips, knees, ankles, feet, and toes, slowly bending, flexing, and stretching.

Finally, sit upright and roll your head gently from one side to the other.

4. Get a Morning Dose of Motivation

Could there possibly be any better way to start off your day than by reading a motivating quote, listening to a motivating podcast, or looking at a motivating image?

My personal favorite motivational books (in no particular order):

  1. Each New Day by Corrie ten Boom
  2. Courage to Change* by Al-Anon Family Groups
  3. The Language of Letting Go* by Melody Beattie

NOTE: These are NOT affiliate links.

*The second and third books mentioned were written with codependents and family members of alcoholics in mind, HOWEVER, they're a great read for everyone and offer lots of useful, everyday advice and wisdom.

Want even MORE inspiration? Download the FREE desktop wallpaper I've created for you here!

5. Work on Building a Habit

If you're working on building a new habit (and remember, habits require consistency), why not add it to your morning routine? This is beneficial for two main reasons:

  1. Getting it out of the way first thing in the morning means there's less chance of you putting it off.
  2. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you work your new habit into your day, and that feeling will last all day.

6. Re-hydrate Your Body

After 8+ hours of no food or drink, your body is in need of some fuel.

For a bit of an energy power-up, drink an 8-ounce glass of water in the morning before doing anything else.

Why before? First, because it's easy to remember a habit when it's done at the same time every day, and second, because it'll start your day off on the right foot.

Want to make this even more effective? Add a few drops of lemon, lime, orange, or mint to your water for a flavor boost that'll leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

7. Know Your Plans for the Day

I know that nothing sends me into a tailspin faster than having no solid plans for the day. So, each morning, I take 5 minutes to go over my daily plans and take mental note of them.

Where do these plans come from? My master to-do list, of course!

This is a great way to mentally prepare for the day ahead, and it only takes a few moments of your time.

8. Skip the Screens

When you use your cell phone, computer, or TV before your day has even begun, you're opening yourself up to endless distractions.

Avoid the distractions — and the stress they bring — by doing away with screen time for as long as possible in the morning.

Your boss's email from last night can wait, and so can that recording of last night's new episode of Law and Order: SVU.

9. Get a Bit of Exercise

It's never too early to get your heart pumping!

Whether you go for a jog on the treadmill, take a walk around the neighborhood, or lift some weights at the gym, as long as you get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, you'll already be off to a great start for the day!

10. Give Yourself a Treat

Early mornings aren't for everyone, but planning a treat for yourself can give you the extra motivation you need to get out of bed and face the day.

You can cook your favorite breakfast, read another chapter of your current favorite book, or even squeeze in a quick jam session before work or school.

Whatever you choose, make it worthwhile.

11. Recite Affirmations

Is there a particular challenge you're currently facing? Maybe you're facing a rival at work, or perhaps you're feeling unlucky in your love life.

Whatever the challenge, affirmations can help to lift your spirits and (because they motivate you to take action) get the results you desire.

The affirmations you repeat can be as simple as, “I will reach my goals today,” or “I am a kind and caring person.”

What's the key to affirmations? Believing them.

So take 5 minutes every morning to stand in front of the mirror, put on your best smile, and repeat the affirmations that will help you to achieve your dreams.

12. Automate What You Can

Adding a bit of extra time to your morning routine is a great way to cut down on stress.

Program your coffee machine, purchase and set up an automatic pet feeder, and set out your day's clothes the night before.

While these may seem like small changes, every minute counts.

13. Work on a Passion Project

Why wait until the evening to do something you love, especially when you're likely to be exhausted after school or work?

Even if you don't think mornings are your most creative time, planning to work on a passion project before the events of the day get in the way is a great way to ensure that you get time to pursue your passions.

14. Write in Your Journal

Perhaps you've heard that daily journaling is beneficial for your mental health but have struggled to fit it into your daily routine.

For the sake of habit building, why not add it to your mornings?

Taking 10 minutes to write down your thoughts, last night's dreams, and goals for the day can keep you mentally focused, grounded, and can even increase feelings of gratitude.

15. Spread a Little Love

If you want to put a smile on the face of a loved one, send them a quick text or email letting them know you're thinking of them and love them. Do you leave the house in the mornings before your partner or children? Leave a short note on the counter that'll greet them as they awake or pop one into their lunchboxes to find at lunch.

16. Write Down Your Goals

There's something about putting your goals into writing that makes them more effective.

What goals would you like to achieve today? What chores or errands need to be taken care of?

Whatever they are, write them down on a to-do list, a post-it, or in your journal.

17. Do the Hardest Thing First

There's always that one task or chore that you absolutely, positively do NOT want to do.

You know it needs to get done, but you put it off and put it off until the very last second. This leads to unnecessary stress and avoidable pressure.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution for the above mentioned scenario, and that's to do the hardest thing on your to-do list FIRST. Just get it out of the way and, relatively speaking, the rest of your day will be smooth sailing.

How do you make the most of your mornings? Share in the comments below!

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