What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Learn how to design a morning routine that fits your health goals.
Want to create a daily morning routine that will help you feel more energized, more relaxed, and make reaching your weight loss goals a lot easier?
In this article, I’m going to show you exactly how to put that routine together. Plus, I’m also going to take you through my own morning routine as a registered dietitian and dad to a 6-month-old.
But first, a quick introduction if you’re new here — my name is Andres Ayesta and I’m a dietitian who works with career-focused parents, entrepreneurs, and busy professionals who are trying to improve their nutrition, lose weight, and show up as the best version of themselves.
I wanted to write an article on morning routines because creating my personal routine was the beginning of some huge changes in my life. Here’s what happened…
A few years back, there were so many things I wanted to change about myself. I wanted to be in better shape, have a business, make more of an impact on people’s lives, and make more money.
It was frustrating because I knew what I needed to do, but I wasn’t doing it consistently. I’d focus on my goals for a couple weeks before falling off track again.
During this time, there were 2 common ways my mornings started:
Eventually, I realized these habits weren’t working for me, but I didn’t really know how to start changing them.
Around this time, I read about Tony Robbins taking a cold plunge as part of his “morning routine” and that got me thinking that I should start creating a routine of my own. Pretty soon, I realized that my mornings transformed my whole day.
When I started implementing a morning routine every day, I started eating better, because I made time for a healthy breakfast. This had a ripple effect on the rest of the day and pretty soon I started feeling a lot better in my body. I also felt happier and more motivated; by the time I started my work day, I already felt like I’d accomplished so much and I was prioritizing myself. On top of that, I was able to prioritize learning and self-improvement, because reading was part of my routine as well.
I’ve had a morning routine for quite a few years now, but it had to change a bit when I became a dad 6 months ago. Here’s what my routine currently looks like:
Usually I wake up between 5:00 and 6:00 AM. Because of our son, the timing isn’t the same every morning, but I prefer to get up as early as I can. For the first step of the day (and I know all the parents can relate to this one) I make a cup of pour-over coffee.
Next up, I grab my journal, sit down with my coffee, and write some morning pages for 5-10 minutes. Usually this is for writing down anything that’s on my mind to get it out on paper. I’ll also typically write down some things I’m grateful for to start the morning on a positive note.
After journaling, I take some quiet, undistracted time for 5-10 minutes to meditate, pray, and simply bring some peace and stillness to the morning.
After that, I get into some more structured planning, where I write down my top 3 priorities that I want to accomplish for that day. I keep a separate to-do list with everything on it that I have to get done, but I’ve found that choosing 3 top priorities prevents me from getting stressed about my list. I’d rather aim for 3 and find that I can get more done, rather than have an unrealistic list of 10 things I want to do and then feel bad when I don’t accomplish it.
Finally, I finish my routine with a healthy breakfast. Usually, I prep overnight oats, so I have a quick breakfast ready for me in the morning. After that, I’ll get into my day, whether that’s taking care of my son or starting some work.
Now that you’ve seen what my routine looks like, I want to give you the top 5 morning routine tips that I share with all my clients.
Try to stay off your phone, social media, and emails in the morning, because they will automatically distract you and take you out of a peaceful state of mind.
Try to start your morning with 8-16 oz. (250-500mL) of water. You lose water when you sleep, so you’re most likely going to be a bit dehydrated when you wake up.
I like to finish my routine by having my prepped breakfast. I recommend that you come up with some healthy breakfast ideas you can prepare the night before or make easily in the morning. This will put you on track for a day of healthy eating.
Don’t try to add 10 habits to your morning all at once. Start by choosing a wake up time and selecting one morning habit that you will complete. Then, for a week, get up at that time and perform the habit.
For example, maybe you decide to get up at 7:00am and journal for 10 minutes. Do this routine daily, until it feels natural, and then consider adding more habits, one by one. For me, journaling, meditation, and daily planning are my 3 core habits, with coffee and breakfast on either end of that. You can have fewer habits than that or add more, but working up to 3 main habits is a helpful goal for many people.
Maybe you’re not excited to wake up early, but you should enjoy each part of your routine. For example, if you hate yoga, don’t plan to do 10 minutes of yoga in the morning! Just because a routine works for some people doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best routine for you.
The first thing to think about when building your own morning routine is how much time you can realistically spend on your routine and what time you want to wake up. Then, I recommend working to implement 3 habits from the following list:
When you’re building your routine, it’s important to consider what is realistic for you to do EVERY day. That means, don’t design the “perfect” routine that takes you 2 hours to do, if you typically only have 15 minutes in the morning.
This is probably the biggest mistake I see people make; they design an elaborate routine based on what they’ve seen influencers and celebrities doing, but they can never complete it consistently enough to make it a habit.
I work primarily with clients trying to lose weight, and I’ve found that starting a morning routine makes a huge difference in their results. So, why is that?
Of course, having a morning routine doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be in a calorie deficit and lose weight. But when it comes to fat loss, nutrition is only part of the picture. Your morning routine can help you reach your goals through the impacts it has on your eating habits, movement, and mindset.
Establishing a morning routine can set the tone for a day of productivity and a positive mindset. When you’re more productive, you’re able to make time for healthy eating and exercise. Completing your routine can also reduce stress and help you become more mindful, which can help prevent emotional eating habits that keep a lot of people stuck at their current weight.
So, if weight loss is a goal for you right now, I highly recommend looking first at what you’re doing first thing in the morning.
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