5 Tips for Establishing a Morning Routine from a Self-Proclaimed Night Owl

Mar 09, 2022

What’s the deal with morning routines? People swear by them and  all the gurus and “successful” people claim you have to have a morning routine.  

I’ll be honest, I’ve tried establishing a morning routine several times, without much success. Waking up at 6am or some other ungodly hour just did not work for this night owl. I need my sleep. I like my sleep. As someone who goes to bed at 2 or 3am, on average, it simply could not work for me.

So here I go again, another attempt. One thing is different. My attitude.

My word of the year is “Experiment”, so that is the energy I am bringing into this. I refuse to allow guilt to overcome me if I don’t complete a task in my morning routine. Not this time!

In order to achieve the goals and dreams we have in life, we  must identify the action steps, tasks, and habits we have to create. The key to our success lies in   committing and implementing these actions to achieve the vision we have.  

For example, this year I have set a goal to expand my outreach and grow my audience. This is important to me because I’m ready to take some serious leaps in my business. An action item I have identified to help me with this goal is to post a blog twice a month. Now, all the gurus say, weekly posting is what is needed. But remember my word of the year is “experiment”. I’m testing things out and doing what feels right for me.

If the plan is to post a blog twice a month, then the question I must ask myself is: “What do I need to do to make that goal happen?”

To ensure I have content twice a month, I have committed to writing for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Nothing too crazy, something that is manageable, but still challenges me. 

So let me open the window into my first week in establishing my morning routine.

My first attempt at creating my morning routine started with waking up at 8am.  Did I mention that I’m a night owl?  It also included the following.

  •         Wake-up at 8am (no snoozing allowed)
  •         Do leg stretches (15 minutes)
  •         Morning hygiene (10 minutes)
  •         Move 30 minutes (35 minutes), 3X per week (I was being realistic)
  •         Read (30 minutes)
  •         Journal (15 minutes)
  •         Meditate (15 minutes)
  •         Write (30 minutes)
  •         Review daily calendar (15 minutes)

Yeah, you did the math correctly, that’s 2 hours and 45 minutes. After Day 1, I learned to stop with the 8am foolishness. I mean, when you go to bed at 2-3am, waking up at 8am just hurts at my age. Truly, it hurts.

Second, there was way too much stuff packed in this morning routine. So, I had to ask myself, given my goals and the future vision I have for my life, which tasks are most essential to helping me accomplish these goals. The answer: daily review of my calendar, journaling, writing for 30 minutes, and exercising.

I block these tasks in my calendar weekly. My intent is always to complete these tasks in the morning and check them off my list. But life doesn’t always allow that to happen. Over the week, I had to move things to later times in the day (even now, I am doing my writing at 7pm). But I’m writing because this was a task that I deemed critical to my future success.  

When it came to exercising, I sometimes switched days, and guess what? It was okay. I completed my workouts and I met my goal of 3 times a week! I call that a win! 

For me, the morning routine is simply a way to start my day with intention.

If you begin your day by being cognizant of your intent and purpose, you will be amazed with how your day flows and how you deal with those daily little hiccups life throws your way.  

 To summarize, here are my lessons learned. 

  • Know your why. 

Why is this morning routine important to you? How might your life be different if you were to implement a morning routine? Who or what benefits as a result of you having a morning routine? How does this morning routine align with my life vision and goals?

  • Start small, think in terms of increments.

If you currently wake-up at 8am, setting a goal to start your morning routine at 7am may be too big a stretch. For the first week, you can adjust your wake-up time to 7:45am, and gradually decrease your wake-up time by 15 minutes each week until you land on your ideal wake-up time. 

  • Be strategic and keep it simple.

This is not a sprint. The mission is not to make all the changes at once. Include only those elements that will assist you in achieving your goals. You can build and make adjustments over time. Remember, you are establishing a routine that can be incorporated into your life, long-term, and one that will support your personal and professional growth. 

  • Block your calendar but don’t get hung up on the time of day. 

Block the time on your calendar and protect it. This is your personal  time, and you deserve it. Remember that when life happens and throws a curveball at your routine, it is okay. If you need to move something to later in the day or defer to another, it is all good. The morning routine police will not come after you.

  • Know yourself and what works best for you and your lifestyle.

This means giving yourself the grace and freedom to experiment and try things out. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else, add a task, take away a task, tweak a task, etc. The choice is yours. Trust yourself in that you know what is best for you. 

What about you? I’d love to hear about your morning routine.

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