Building a Morning Routine That Matters

Building a Morning Routine That Matters

One of the things that I struggle with as I put together routines to support my life is meaning. It’s one thing to take another person’s routine and adopt it, but for me, this quickly turns sour if it doesn’t matter to my life.

I’m looking at this more closely as I rebuild routines. A few months ago I did a 30 day challenge to get up earlier and do my morning routine. And while I am still struggling with that, part of the reason is that my morning routine has items that don’t matter to me. I am not enthused about doing them because I don’t see the point, and it has a tendency to derail my entire intention.

My Current Morning Routine

This is what is on my routine at the moment:

  1. Meditate for 5 minutes.
  2. Read non-fiction for 20 minutes.
  3. Write for 30 minutes.
  4. Eat breakfast and read the comics.
  5. Write in my journal.
  6. Do yoga stretches.
  7. Get ready for the day.

Most of these items are based on ideas from other people – things that they recommend for their own morning routines. In fact, if you look carefully, you can see the SAVERS framework from Hal Elrod in there. But in order to make the routine stick, it has to matter to me.

Reordering for Effectiveness

I have problems consistently doing the meditation, journaling and stretches.

I am tired when I wake up in the morning…I am not a morning person. Closing my eyes, even for 5 minutes, puts me back in sleeping mode, if not causing me to drift to sleep entirely. And this is after I have gotten out of bed, made the trip downstairs to get the first cup of coffee and visited the bathroom.

I have also noticed that I don’t want to do anything after eating breakfast except get ready. I would rather sit and play on my tablet or phone, looking at Pinterest or reading email or doing just about anything else other than journaling and yoga.

The only thing I can see to get past these sticking points is to move when they happen.

Meditation needs to wait until I am in no danger of falling asleep. This may mean that it comes out of the morning routine altogether.

The journaling and yoga need to be done before I get the reward of breakfast and comics. Once I sit down at the breakfast table, I have to allow myself the reward of the fun thing for all the other things I have done.

Finding the Why

But even with reordering the activities, they are still not getting done. Because somewhere deep down inside, I don’t see the point. For the things on my routine that I do regularly, I see the immediate value in doing them.

Reading non-fiction for 20 minutes allows me to get through the backlog of books and papers I have accumulated, exposing me to new ideas and methods. I like reading more non-fiction, it makes me feel better about my reading choices at other times. I like having the ideas to think about as I go through my day.

Writing for 30 minutes is allowing me to keep up with the blog. Most of my blog writing is done during this time. I am now in a situation where I am so busy at my client site that I don’t have the time to write an article here or there, and the early morning time gives me undisturbed time to do the writing I love.

Doing the yoga stretches helps release the muscles in my body. I’m having issues with a tight hip flexor that is causing me some pain throughout the day. If I do the stretches, I feel less pain. That’s a pretty obvious payback.

But the rest? Meh.

I understand intellectually the benefit of meditation. I just don’t see it in my life. All I see is the struggle to wake up for the second time in the day. I understand the benefit of journaling in my head. But right now there is a lot of negative stuff going down, and writing about it first thing in the morning really doesn’t put me in a positive frame of mind.

So how do I find the why? It’s hard to take a “if you build it they will come” approach. I have to make it so that each of these things is meaningful to me.

Meditation. The point of meditation is to get myself to slow down and be present in my body for a time. I can achieve this by doing some knitting or crocheting that requires little concentration. Luckily, I have a few projects like that in my craft stash.

Journaling. The point of this is to do some reflection; right now I don’t need to wallow in negativity. I need to find a reason to be positive, and this means focusing on being grateful. So instead of my usual application, I can use a guided journal that asks for what I am grateful for.

I’m not sure that either of these things is going to be part of my regular morning routine. I don’t have to do them first thing in the morning in order to get the benefits


It’s hard to stick to a morning routine when the timing isn’t right or the meaning just isn’t there. So I am reordering the important things to make sure it gets done, and changing others so that I get an immediate payback.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash