21 Morning Routine Habits For Happy and Successful People

The good news is that the perfect morning routine does exist, the bad news is that it’s not a universal one that fits for everyone. People who have an established morning routine have claimed that it is life-changing, and that they can’t start their morning any other way.

I have personally benefitted from creating my morning routine and have first-hand experienced all the positive things people have claimed. It was frustrating in the beginning because as usual I overcomplicated everything and tried to cram in as many morning tasks as possible to experience the maximum amount of benefits. That created the opposite effect because it stressed me out more trying to check things off than calming me down.

After much trial and error, which admittedly you will have to experience a little bit yourself, I was able to see the bigger picture of a morning routine and understand the concept to really reap the rewards. On the positive side, you will have this guide to help you so you don’t have to go through all the trouble like I did to create an effective morning routine.

A morning routine is broken down into three categories, which will be discussed below. Keep reading to learn what they are, how they improve your morning, and the importance and everything it takes to keep a morning routine efficient, effective, and long-lasting.

How to build a morning routine

Three categories make up a morning routine and each will have a list of morning tasks you can consider implementing. Every task is beneficial in some way, identify what is feasible for you and what would fit your desired routine.

Calculate how much time you have in the morning and how much time you are willing to make, then start with a few manageable tasks that you want to do.

Keep track of how long you do them, decide if they are a right fit, and if they start improving or benefitting you in any way.

Essential Parts of a morning routine

Essential parts of a morning routine, environment, body, mind

Three essential categories make up a morning routine, they are the environment, the body, and the mind. The purpose of a morning routine is to create healthy habits, streamline your morning tasks, reduce stress, keep calm, and put yourself in a good mindset to start the day off on the right foot. Your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. A good mindful and intentional morning will prepare you to take on the day.


The first step to creating a morning routine is how you set up and organize your environment. If you wake up having to scramble to look for something because you don’t know where it is or you misplaced it, it causes panic, unnecessary stress, and wastes time.

If you have a cluttered space, it will start to clutter your mind. Keep your room and bathroom tidy so that your mornings are more enjoyable and you get to focus on the routine instead of focusing on the mess.

1. Start the night before

Prep your space as much as you can so you don’t have a lot to think about when you wake up. Lay out everything you will wear the next day so you don’t spend any time picking out clothes. Prep your lunches, fill up your water bottle, prep your coffee machine, and anything you can prepare ahead of time so you can wake up, grab, and go.

Doing this will lessen the decisions you have to make in a day, which will prevent decision fatigue. Making decisions all day takes time and energy, the average person makes about 35,000 decisions by the time they go to bed, and that can be draining and cause fatigue.

2. Don’t press snooze

If you’re the kind of person that presses the snooze button at least eight times before you get up, it might be time to consider stopping that habit. It’s disrupting your sleep cycle and killing your productivity. Watch the quick video below explained by Mel Robbins.

3. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is not only about feeling refreshed and awake for the next day, but it can affect our overall health, mentally and physically. This study, shows sleep deprivation can cause disorders such as hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and many more. Additionally, this article from a Columbia psychologist explains poor sleep can also make it more difficult to cope with stress and regulate emotions.

4. Give yourself enough buffer time

Running late and rushing out the door is never a good feeling. It leaves room for making mistakes, either leaving something behind or driving a little faster to get to where you need to be. Plan efficiently and give yourself enough time so you don’t have to rush. The purpose of the routine is keeping you calm and relaxed.

5. Get exposed to sunlight

Find a way to get sunlight exposure when you wake up. When we are exposed to light in the morning, it helps balance our circadian rhythm, which means falling asleep faster at night and waking up refreshed in the morning. Check out this article here for 5 scientifically proven benefits of morning sunlight.

If you live somewhere with limited sunlight exposure, or you work a different shift for your job, an option to consider is this Philip Wake Up Light. They mimic a sunrise and sunset and can also be used as an alarm. They have soothing sound options to wake up to instead of blaring alarms.

If you like using black out curtains for the darkness, you can try out these automatic curtain openers that can be controlled by your phone and set timers to open up in the morning to let sunlight in.

6. Do a quick-win chore

The best quick-win chore is to make your bed, but anything else small you can think of will work too. Examples are unloading the dishwasher, washing any dirty dishes in the sink, vacuuming a room, dusting a certain area, etc.

A Quick-win chore might sound insignificant, but it can give you a small boost of dopamine which will start the momentum for the rest of your day. Let’s use making the bed for example, this is something I have implemented, and I’ll be honest, I still don’t like doing it. It’s uncomfortable and feels inconvenient, and many days I still try to convince myself not to do it, however, I always do it anyway, and I feel amazing afterward.

Our day is filled with things we don’t want to do, but learning to push past that feeling and doing it anyway, is what it takes to succeed. We always want to give up when it gets hard because that’s how we’re wired, but learning to ignore that thought is how you achieve anything you want. So a small chore to overcome leads to bigger things you can overcome.


Our body is our health, so it’s important to prioritize moving and nourishing it. A great way to stay consistent is to do it first thing in the morning.

7. Wash your face

This isn’t necessarily a vital routine, but I wanted to include it here to remind people because I was shocked when I found out not everyone washes their face in the morning. I thought this was common sense like using the bathroom and brushing your teeth. Anyway, it’s a great way to wake up and feel refreshed. Bonus points if you have a morning skincare routine that includes putting on sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. This applies to both women and men! A great option that works for everyone is this CeraVe lotion with 30 SPF. SPF is important not only for preventing wrinkles but also for skin cancer.

8. Move your body

This is the most important task you can include every morning: moving your body in some way. You’ve been asleep for hopefully at least eight hours, which means you’ve laid partially still for that amount of time. Anything will be beneficial to you, as long as you enjoy it and you can stick to it. It can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as one hour. Here are some ideas:

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Bicycle
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Boxing
  • Jump Rope
  • Cardio Machines
  • Go to the Gym
  • Workout classes

Moving your body in the morning doesn’t have to be an intense workout. You can use the morning time to do your workouts, but the purpose is to get your body moving in some way. However, if morning time exercise doesn’t work for you, make sure you are still incorporating some kind of workout at a time that works better. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities.

9. Drink water

Water is essential to our health and it keeps us hydrated, a survey showed 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Being asleep for a long amount of time, you will need water when you wake up. Drinking water can increase your metabolic rate by 30%. Try to make it a habit to drink water before you drink your tea or coffee.

This is something you can prep by filling up your water bottle ahead of time, these simple modern ones are a great sturdy option that come in many colors, and they don’t leak like others do. You can also use water bottles with time tracking on them to remind yourself to stay hydrated throughout the day.

10. Eat a healthy breakfast

I used to never eat breakfast until I tried it for one week and then I finally understood the hype. My problem was that I never made good decisions when it came to lunch time because I was ravenously hungry. I found that breakfast helped me stay focused because I wasn’t thinking about food or what to eat for lunch, and when you’re hungry all you think about his high calorie-satiating foods that are probably not good for you.

A good filling and nutritious breakfast kept me full, and by lunchtime, I was able to make better choices. When you start the day with a healthy option it makes you want to keep the momentum and continue making healthy choices for the rest of the day. You can read additional health benefits of eating breakfast here by Better Health Channel.

To make the process easier I meal prep breakfast so it’s ready for me in the morning. I love using meal prep containers and have breakfast ready, or I use jars with spoons attached if I want to make overnight oats or something with yogurt. You can browse through this article for more breakfast meal prep ideas.

Bonus points if you include a lot of fruits and vegetables!

11. Take a cold shower

Cold water therapy has been around for a long time and is used by a lot of athletes for its benefits. You can read a few of them here from UCLA Health, but some examples are combatting depression and improving circulation. The good news is that you don’t have to be an athlete to experience it for yourself, and you don’t even have to go full-blown ice plunge, you can simply use your shower.


The mindset list is the longest one because it is the most important. If you decide to not incorporate anything else, at the very least, try to incorporate one thing for the mind. Our mind controls our lives, the way we perceive things, how we feel, etc. Mental health is so important, so if you don’t prioritize anything else from this list, at least prioritize one mind habit.

12. Don’t get on social media

When you wake up, don’t immediately get on social media, check your email, or watch the news. The purpose of a morning routine is to keep your mind calm and stress-free, opening these devices will do the exact opposite and fill your mind with stress and negativity. Then you’ll start thinking about things that you shouldn’t be, or something will put you in a sad or bad mood for the rest of the day.

13. Meditate

Meditation is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years and there’s a reason it’s still talked about and practiced by many today. Meditation can do many wonderful things for you including reducing stress, improving memory, and lessening anxiety, click here for additional benefits. You can start as little as 5 minutes and work your way up.

Meditation will feel frustrating in the beginning but don’t overthink it (literally), over time with practice it will get easier, just don’t give up. Even the most advanced meditators can still feel unfocused. Your goal is not to clear your mind but to acknowledge the thoughts you have and slowly let them go. Another thing you can do is focus on your breath, if you want assistance, check out this Breathing Buddha.

14. Express gratitude

Tony Robbins said, “The life you experience is the life you focus on. If you focus on what’s screwed up in your life, you have a screwed-up life. If you focus on stuff that you’re grateful for, you have an extraordinary life”.

Comparison is the thief of joy, and we live in a world where it’s hard not to compare what you have to others. But if you take the time every day to find the good, appreciate everything you already have, and write what you are grateful for, you’ll live a happier life. It’s all about perspective and how you choose to feel.

15. Journal

I have tried journaling so many times and gave up because it was either getting too depressing, or I was journaling wrong. There’s no right or wrong way to journal, but there is a way to journal for what you want to get out of it. For example, if I’m sad and I keep journaling sad things, it only makes me sadder. Now when I journal, I keep it positive and uplifting, which helps me keep a positive and uplifting mindset for the rest of the day. Sometimes I’ll journal if I feel like I have too many racing thoughts and I just want to jot them down to get them out of my head.

So figure out why you want to journal, and then begin journaling. You can watch this helpful video for ideas to get started journaling on your own, or to make it easier, get a journal with prompts like this Five Minute Journal that already has questions so you can get started right away.

16. Positive affirmations

How we talk to ourselves and what we repeat in our head is what becomes our reality. Having positive affirmations ready to repeat daily is a great practice to instill positivity in your head. This will help eliminate negative self-talk and soon you’ll start believing what you say to yourself.

17. Read

Reading helps calm you because it shuts out all the other thoughts you have and forces you to focus on what you are reading. Reading is known to reduce stress, keep your mind sharp, and many others. Fiction books are great for learning and non-fiction is good for the imagination.

18. Work on your hobby

Consider yourself lucky if you have a hobby that you love, because many people struggle to find one. If you have a garden, then tend to it, if you play an instrument then play one song, whatever you love. Doing this in the morning prioritizes time for yourself before you have to commit to other things. Sometimes we get home from work either too late or we run out of energy to do the things that bring us joy and unknowingly get stuck in that cycle for a long time.

19. Call or text someone you love

I want to give you some perspective here, I visit my parents once a week, and for some people that sounds like a lot. If you zoom out and calculate it though, once a week out of 365 days is only about 14% of the year. For me, when you say it like that, it sounds so insignificant.

So, how often do you call or text someone to let them know you care about them? Is it at least once a week? Everyone gets so wrapped up in their lives, that sometimes we unintentionally neglect those who matter. Set reminders on your phone or mark them in your calendars.

20. Play a motivating music playlist

Nothing can pump people up more than a good playlist. Gather all your favorite songs and play them in the morning to put you in the right mood and mindset.

21. Listen to a podcast

Follow people that are positive and that they inspire you, make you laugh, or make you think differently. Listening to good podcasts can spark new ideas or inspiration that you can relay back to your life.

Inspiration is looking forward to the future, motivation is changing the past.

Tips to Building a Morning Routine

  1. Start small, this list has 21 things on there and it’s to give you ideas, it’s not realistic for someone to complete all 21 things every morning. Pick just a few that are feasible and interesting to you from each category and then begin, adjust, and add as you go.
  2. Make it sustainable and long-lasting, and keep it simple to where it doesn’t feel like a chore. This is supposed to improve your morning, not stress you out even more.
  3. When you want to add in a new task, try it for 30 days and note how you feel before and after to see if it works for you or benefitting you in any way.
  4. Time yourself the first couple of weeks to see how long everything takes, so you can plan enough time to do everything you want.

Why is it important to have a morning routine?

Having a morning routine is important because it’s about showing up for yourself every day. A morning routine is there to organize and reduce chaos in our lives, and it’s especially important in the morning because that sets the tone for the rest of the day.

We do these small tedious actions consistently because we know it’s good for us, and we do it regardless of how we feel, which will translate directly to our work and our goals. It teaches us to not give up, especially when it gets hard.

Habits define who you are and they determine the direction of your life. Creating an effective routine eliminates bad habits and creates good habits that help us succeed. Once we know we can hold on to the good habits, it will be easier to form new ones over and over.

How you do one thing is how you do everything. Committing to a morning routine shows that you are disciplined enough to follow through with your words and what you plan to do, which means you’ll also follow through on your other plans and goals too.

How long should a morning routine take?

How long should a morning routine take

A morning routine should take as long as you need, and as long as you have. It will depend on your lifestyle and what’s best for you at that moment in your life. It can be as little as 15 minutes to as long as 2 hours.

How long do you have to stick to a morning routine

Morning routines are personalized and they will change as we grow and enter different stages of life. A routine with kids will look different from someone who doesn’t have kids. A routine for a twenty-year-old will look different from a sixty-year-old, or a routine for someone who works from home versus working in an office versus freelancing.

A routine is lenient and free-flowing, as we learn and grow we have different ideas and change. You can be in the same routine for weeks or even years, as long as it is still benefitting you. As long as the purpose is still adding value to your life, helping you stay calm, reducing your stress and enhancing your happiness, that’s what’s most important.

How do you make your morning routine stick?

Change your habits, change your life

Make your morning routine stick by turning it into a habit. Once you have a solidified plan, do it every day, so routinely that you eventually don’t even have to think twice about doing it.

In Atomic Habits, by James Clear, there is a method called habit stacking. This is where you do one habit right after another one so that it will trigger you to remember. For example, my habit I want to do is meditate, and I know I have to brush my teeth every day, so every time I finish brushing my teeth, I will meditate. One right after the other so I won’t forget.

You can use a habit tracker to track your tasks to make sure you are doing them. A visual one using colors is great so you can see the overall progress within the week, month, or year.

You can also set timers for a task, or make a schedule on your calendar to check off. Whatever you need will help you, but the most important thing is to stay consistent, even on the weekends.

Do you have to be a morning person to have a morning routine?

You do not have to be a morning person to have a morning routine. Some people have jobs that work a second shift or night shift, everyone’s schedule is different.

A morning routine is made to start your day on the right foot, so it begins whenever you wake up to start your day.

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Hong Singer

I'm the creator of Ambition Forward. I keep things simple by focusing on the goal and being consistent in my actions to get the results I want, and I'm here to help you do the same. I encourage you to look for the things that bring you joy and go for it!

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