I love getting up early in the morning because it’s peaceful and quiet. That wasn't always true, though. As a teenager, I slept in late. However, when I started college, I began getting up early for work and to study. Rising early became a key part of my daily ritual. After college, I continued getting up early. I didn't have homework, but my work days were full and the mornings were the only time I could exercise. For example, when we lived in Davis, CA—from 2002 to 2008—I belonged to a swim team, and I attended the 6:00 a.m. practice. There is nothing like jumping into a heated outdoor pool to get your body moving.
Things changed when we moved to Sacramento, CA. I didn't have access to a pool, so I started running with my friend, Kai. We would meet at 5:30 a.m. two or three times a week and go for a short or long run. With Kai's encouragement, I completed a few half-marathons and even a full marathon! Sadly, I hurt my knee and had to find another activity to keep my body and mind happy; that's when I discovered yoga and walking. I've been doing both since 2009.
In 2012, my morning routine fell apart. My dad became ill, and for the next five months I split my time between my parents’ home in Northern California and Portland, OR. After my dad died, I felt paralyzed by sadness and started to sleep in late. Plus, we moved back to Northern California in 2012. I don't regret the move, but I wonder if it was the right thing to do. During this time, I felt uprooted, unsettled, and I had trouble getting back into my morning routine.
To counteract these feelings, I decided to create an inspiring morning routine. Starting my daily photography project on January 1, 2013, inspired me to get out of bed and begin the day in a positive way. Over two years later, I'm still taking my daily photo and sharing it online. I've also added new activities to my morning routine. I'm journaling, planning my day, and making additional time for photography. I feel better, more grounded, and inspired to do good work.
With that being said, it isn't easy to leave my warm bed early in the morning. To make sure I get up at 5:15 a.m., I set my phone alarm the night before and leave it in the kitchen. I can't hit the snooze button if my alarm is in the other room.
When my alarm rings in the morning, I do three key things:
- I go into the bathroom and splash cold water on my face, brush my teeth, and drink one glass of water.
- I make coffee, and while the coffee is brewing, I give Elaina a shot of water, feed both cats, and sing to them (yes, they are that spoiled).
Eventually, Logan gets up and we chat about our respective days and get ready for work. My morning routine is a simple way to start my day, and that’s why I love it so much.
If you want to create an inspiring morning routine, try these tips:
- Commit to your new habit. If you want to get up early, try it!
- Make a list of activities that nourish your body and mind. Incorporating your interests into a morning routine is one way to stay inspired and motivated to get out of bed.
- Before you go to bed, leave your alarm in another room; that way you won't be tempted to hit the snooze button.
- Figure out how much sleep you need, and go to bed at an appropriate time. For example, I go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 p.m., otherwise it's difficult for me to get up.
- Find an accountability buddy to keep you motivated.
- Read the "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod and "How to Create a Meaningful Morning Routine" by Courtney Carver. Both books will inspire you to stick with your new habit.
I’d love to hear about your morning routine in the comments section. Please share your story below!