What’s the first item on your morning routine checklist? If you don’t have an answer at all, it’s time to embrace the idea of starting the day with a few to-dos.
From the moment your alarm goes off, you have the opportunity to make your morning as meaningful as you want it to be. While it’s easy to hit the snooze button and try to squeeze out a few extra minutes of sleep, that isn’t a sound strategy for someone who wants to unlock their full potential.
What is smart, though, is to have a specific set of daily tasks you perform after waking up.
While we all have different responsibilities and work schedules, there are some practices that are universally beneficial. So, if you’re committed to making the most out of every waking minute, learn more about how a trainer like myself tackles the day. Then, utilize the easy-to-follow morning routine checklist included below as a guide to navigating that all-important A.M. window.
Why a Morning Routine Matters
Discipline comes through consistency, and starting every day the same way can be an effective way to develop healthy habits that will enhance your physical and mental well-being.
Think about it: Why subject yourself to unnecessary stress by starting the day in an unorganized state? Why create a chaotic headspace when you could take a few moments to meditate and calm any worries?
Just like your gym routine, your morning routine provides both structure and purpose. It takes some of that proverbial weight off your shoulders by giving you peace of mind before you go to sleep that you have a plan for the following day.
But the benefits of following a morning routine checklist extend far beyond teaching you the value of discipline and structure. Some others include:
- Feeling more confident and connected
- Reducing anxiety and overall stress
- Improving your focus and mental clarity
- Increasing productivity
- Setting boundaries
- Gives you control of your schedule
- Improving the quality of your work
Ultimately, a morning routine that allows you to both unwind and lock in mentally can prevent negative or stressful thoughts from distracting you and motivate you to achieve everything on your to-do list. And because our cortisol levels (our body’s stress hormone) are highest in the morning, some self-care can go a long way in alleviating anxiety, brightening your mood, and giving your body a chance to get into fat-burning mode.
Inside my Morning Routine: A YouFit Trainer’s Perspective
Like working out and dieting, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to an A.M. routine. One of the key lessons you’ll learn from creating a morning checklist is that you have to be flexible, as life gets in the way and may force you to deviate from your plan.
As someone who travels quite often, it can be a challenge to stick to a consistent schedule. However, when I’m not abroad, here’s what my morning routine looks like–along with why I make sure to implement certain practices on a daily basis.
1. Take 5-10 minutes for meditation
Once I turn off my alarm, I avoid scrolling through social media feeds and checking e-mails. Instead, I spend between five to 10 minutes meditating.
Sometimes that might mean staying in bed with my eyes closed, focusing on my breathing, and setting my intentions for the day. On other days, I may go into Sukhasana or child’s pose and remain there for several minutes until I’ve reached that feeling of inner peace and tranquility.
2. Drink at least 8 oz. of water with supplements
Hydration is one of the most overlooked and undervalued components of living a healthy lifestyle. Sure, many people talk about the importance of drinking water, but far fewer actually consume optimal levels.
3. Brew my first cup of coffee
In my world, no morning would be complete without a hot, freshly brewed cup of coffee. I keep it quick, easy, and calorie-free by steering clear of sugar, cream, and syrups.
4. Eat a high-protein breakfast on non-fasting days
Although I incorporate intermittent fasting (IF) into my lifestyle, non-fasting days will include a high-protein, low-carb breakfast. From a few sunny-side-up eggs to a simple protein shake, there are many tasty ways to make your morning meal count.
5. Contact clients and check e-mails
Reaching out to clients to book sessions or send reminders about upcoming appointments is the penultimate step in my morning routine. This keeps me organized–and my clients accountable. I’ll also glance through e-mails to see if there’s anything that needs an urgent response.
6. Prioritize daily and weekly tasks
Finally, I will take a few minutes to prioritize my short- and long-term tasks. That way I have a plan of attack that’s organized, strategic, and efficient.
Starting the Day the Same Way Is a Successful Pathway
Everything you do should have a purpose. And when it comes to my morning routine checklist, each item plays an important role in helping me achieve my goals.
Meditation is at the top of the list because it puts me in the optimal mental state to be the best version of myself. Even if there are problems going on, putting out positive affirmations and energy allows me to feel grounded, optimistic, and focused before I dive into anything else.
Taking care of my mental health from the moment I wake up isn’t by accident. I believe that daily check-in can make a major difference in managing your overall stress levels and channeling your focus into the right areas. Combine that with journaling or listening to personal development podcasts and you have a recipe for success.
The next few steps in my morning routine put my body in a position to function at a high level. Drinking water, taking specific supplements, and consuming protein directly support my ability to perform in the gym, teach my HIIT+ class, and recover. By building that foundation of healthy habits in the morning, I’m even more motivated to stick to my eating plan and stay away from the foods I know don’t belong in my body.
Easy Morning Routine Checklist Anyone Can Follow
Level up your morning by using this checklist as a roadmap to maximizing every minute of every day. Feel free to incorporate a few of your own ideas, but don’t forget that putting too much on your plate–especially to start the day–can do the exact opposite of reducing stress.
1. Drink at least 8 oz. of water after waking up
Before you fill up your coffee mug, drink at least one glass of water to help with digestion and overall hydration. You can even add electrolytes for both flavor and function.
2. Practice gratitude via journaling or meditating
Whether you prefer to write things down or just sit in silence, you should spend at least a few minutes giving gratitude for the positive aspects of your life. Whatever method you prefer, journaling or meditating should have a place in your morning routine checklist.
3. Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast
For non-IF followers, consume a nutritious breakfast that’s packed with the most important macronutrient: protein. Keep sugar at a minimum, and opt for complex carbs over simple ones.
4. Go for a 10-15 minute walk
Not only does walking aid digestion, but it’ll also give you a chance to soak up some much-needed vitamin D. Plus, a 2011 study showed going for a walk right after eating can be beneficial for weight loss.
5. Make a to-do list for the day
Get your priorities in order by writing down what you need to accomplish that day. Starting the day in an organized fashion is the best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the time the sun goes down.
6. Use 10-15 minutes for an activity of your choice
Leave a small chunk of time for the most important person in your life: you. Before you dive into work, listen to your favorite playlist, crush a quick workout, or do something that brings you joy.
After all, your morning routine checklist is designed to take stress off your mind and put you on a path to greatness.