Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. The successful people don’t always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them. – William Makepeace Thackeray
For as long as I can remember, people are always asking me how I’m able to do everything I do- I work full time, run a blog on the side, maintain relationships with friends and family, eat a healthy diet, read, listen to podcasts, journal, practice my faith.
I am not perfect, and I make a lot of mistakes, but I have managed to master my days so that I’m living intentionally and designing a life I love.
The way I have managed to do this is in large part by having a plan for my mornings. My morning routine – the time before my work day starts – is my secret sauce.
I highly recommend using a morning routine to change your life or accomplish any goal you want.
The reason the morning is the best time for designing your dream life is because the busyness and interruptions of the day haven’t started yet. You are in control and acting instead of reacting to the day.
Here’s what I recommend and think can help you maximize your mornings so you can get results you actually want in your life.
1. Plan time for your morning routine
The first step to remaking your mornings to design a life you love is to plan time in the morning for it.
I know that it feels like you don’t have time for it and it may even be exhausting. But isn’t it exhausting living how you’re living now?
You deserve better.
By getting up an hour or two before your workday starts, you are making a conscious choice to start your day investing in yourself. This choice alone can affect your outlook on life and increase your happiness because you will feel like you’re making the choice to live your dream life (compared to rolling out of bed after you hit snooze four times and are running late for work).
I get up at 4:30am every day. I go to bed around 9pm-10pm every night. Sleep is important to me, so really my morning routine starts the night before.
If 4:30am sounds crazy to you and you think you’ll be exhausted, start smaller. Get up just 30 minutes earlier every day. Then adjust to 45 minutes. You don’t have to start big. You can start small. Making a small change over time can have a huge impact on your life.
2. Decide what you want to do with that time (set goals)
During your morning routine, you need to have a specific plan. It’s too dang early to wake up and have to make decisions about how to spend that time! Instead, plan it out ahead of time (at least the day before).
To get started maximizing this time, decide what it is you want. I like to use what I call the 8 life categories to decide where to start. Here they are:
- Personal and spiritual development
- Environment (organization)
- Recreation or fun
It’s up to you to decide what you want to use this time for. It should be spent doing something that helps you design your dream life.
A few common themes I hear from readers that may help are:
- How To Make More Money
- 100 Self Improvement Tips
- How To Start A Blog
- Books You Need To Read
- How To Start Budgeting
My morning routine involves journaling (personal development), listening to podcasts (personal development and spiritual development), and blogging (career and finance). In a perfect world it would involve reading, too, but right now, I save that for either lunch or at night.
There is a certain formula you can use from The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod called The Life S.A.V.E.R.S. This will give you a plan for how to design a personal development plan during the morning that helps you live intentionally and lead your dream life. You will learn how to meditate or pray, give daily affirmations, read, create visualizations, journal, and exercise – all in one morning routine.
If you’re still not sure where to start for deciding what you want to use your morning routine for, here are a few resources:
- Dream Year (my goal setting workbook)
- How To Plan Your Best Year Ever (blog post)
- How To Set Goals (blog post)
Deciding and prioritizing what your dream life looks like is important. Otherwise, you’ll just waste the extra time on things that don’t matter. You won’t progress toward what you want. You’ll just be tired! 🙂 Instead, plan, plan, plan!
3. Schedule tasks for each time period
Once you have decided what you want to accomplish during your morning routine, you need to set a specific schedule for it.
The more detailed your schedule for the morning, the better. This takes all decision-making out of the equation, which is important because you will be more likely to do it if you don’t have to think about it.
Examples of how to do this are:
- 4:30am-5:15am – Work out
- 5:15-5:45am – Shower, get dressed and ready for the day
- 5:45am-6:30am – Read
- 6:30am-7:30am – Pray or meditate
- 7:30am-8:30am Work on #1 goal
This is just an example. The point is to schedule down to the minute so you don’t have to spend time deciding how to use your time in the morning.
I use gCalendar for scheduling down to the minute like in the example above. I use The Productivity Planner for setting my highest priorities and goals for the week. Here’s a free PDF to get started with the Productivity Planner. It’s amazing. I also use Dream Year for my yearly and monthly planning.
4. Evaluate Your Progress
Once you implement your morning routine, you need to take time to evaluate how it’s going. You need to know if it’s actually working for you. There’s no sense in continuing something if you’re not seeing the results you want.
Every week, I recommend reviewing how the week went. If you don’t like the results you’re seeing, make changes.
A Final Note!
To get an actual plan that shows you how to do master your mornings, read Miracle Morning: The Not-So Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life By 8AM by Hal Elrod.
This book comes with everything you need to get started remaking your morning routine into a personal development plan where you create your dream life.
It’s absolutely worth the time it takes to maximize your mornings to create your dream life.