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Young woman looking out through her bedroom window enjoying benefits of a morning routine

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Do you stick to a consistent morning routine or do you switch things up? Sleeping in a little extra on some days or varying your wake-up time might seem like no big deal, but it could cost you – literally. A poll conducted by The Sleep Judge found that individuals with a strict morning routine earn on average $12,500 more a year than those with less predictable morning routines.

You’ve likely heard the mythology surrounding highly successful individuals – stories about CEOs getting up at 4 am and running a marathon before breakfast. Your morning routine doesn’t have to be quite as intense, but having a predictable set of activities you do in the morning, at a set time, can yield a lot of benefits. Creating a morning routine, if you’re not used to it, can take some time. So, be patient with yourself. Just know, once you have one, your life could improve in several ways. Here are the proven benefits of a morning routine and how to build one that works for you.


The Benefits Of A Morning Routine

Focus and Perform Better

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How you spend those first waking moments sets the tone for the entire day. If you hit snooze, get up late and have a chaotic morning, that frantic energy can follow you throughout the day. On the other hand, sticking to a regular wake up time and allowing for a slow, peaceful morning can boost productivity. In fact, according to Scientific Reports, people who wake up at the same time every morning perform better at their daily tasks than those with an unpredictable wake up time.


Make Time For Something You Love

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Once the day has begun, it’s hard to steal a few moments to do something you love, like meditate, work on a passion project or journal. But, finding the time to do those things isn’t just a pleasure – it can boost your chances of success. The book What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast details the habits of many impressive figures and shows that most make time to do something they love first thing in the morning.


Stick To Healthy Habits

Staying Motivated Together

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If you are trying to integrate a new healthy habit into your life such as exercising or meditating, you’ll be more likely to stick with it if you work it slowly into a daily routine rather than try to do it sporadically in large bursts, says the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The publication reported on a study of physicians who prescribed healthy habits to patients. They discovered that those who found a way to do the habit in an existing daily routine stuck with it longer than those who did it infrequently.


Get More Energy

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness talks about a concept known as “decision fatigue.” It’s what it sounds like: we get tired when we have to make a lot of decisions. If you don’t have a morning routine, then you have to make several decisions first thing, every day, which can leave you tired before you even get to work. Having a set morning routine relieves you of having to make choices early in the day, so you can save your brain power to make more important decisions later.


Reduce Stress

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When you first wake up, your brain isn’t quite ready for surprises. You need time to ease your mind into the day – there will be plenty of time for roadblocks and challenges later. That’s why researchers out of Tel Aviv University found that having a predictable schedule – like a morning routine – reduces stress and anxiety.


How To Build A Morning Routine

It Starts At Night

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A great morning routine starts the night before, because how you spend your night greatly influences your mornings. Consider making night time changes such as going to bed 30 minutes earlier, even if it means shutting off your TV show sooner than you want. Handle some things in advance like picking out your outfit for the next day, preparing your lunch and setting the coffee maker to automatically brew at a set time the next morning. If you plan on exercising in the morning, put your workout clothes and shoes somewhere convenient.


Name Your Problem Areas

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Identifying your roadblocks and removing those will make a morning routine much easier to build. So, what is standing in your way? Do you hit the snooze button multiple times? Keep your alarm on the other side of the room so you’re forced to stand up and walk over to it in the mornings. At that point, you’ll feel awake. Have you struggled to find a breakfast food you love enough to wake up for? Take a day to try several new breakfast items until you find one you love. Is your room too dark? Consider a smart lamp that slowly brightens your room in the morning, like the rising sun.



Have A Glass Of Water

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While you might be tempted to reach for that cup of coffee first thing, down a glass of water instead. The National Library of Medicine says that having a tall glass of water on an empty stomach can boost your metabolic rate, which increases energy.


Identify Your Goal

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Ask yourself why you want a morning routine. Do you want a chance to focus on your priorities before you begin the day? Or, do you want to go into the day feeling calmer? Do you want a moment to yourself before responsibilities take over? Determining what you want out of a morning routine will help you decide what activities to add.


Add An Activity You Love

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Think about a self-care activity you want to do more of. Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, journaling or just reading a book. Simply allowing time for this in your morning routine will help you look forward to your mornings. And that will help you stick to your routine.


Exercise, Even Just A Little

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Fit a little exercise into your morning routine – even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block. Exercising first thing in the morning can improve your attention span and help with decision-making skills, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Exercise also gives you a boost of endorphins, so you start your day with a more positive outlook.


Stack Habits

Smiling black woman using digital tablet during her breakfast at home.

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If you’re struggling to stick to new morning habits, consider habit stacking. This is a proven method for sticking to a habit that involves attaching a new habit to an existing one. So, for example, maybe you want to add the habit of journaling, and you already eat breakfast every morning. Eating breakfast comes naturally to you; now add journaling right after breakfast. Set your journal out on the breakfast table. Now, that moment of finishing breakfast triggers the act of journaling. So, you’ve attached (or “stacked”) the new habit onto an existing one.

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