Tips to Establish a Healthy Morning Routine

By Dana Bender

As we approach the arrival of Fall it is often a time to start, or reinvigorate, a healthy morning routine as summer activities end and school routines start back up for families. Often, it is an ideal time to create a morning routine that supports wellbeing. It is important to note that a healthy morning routine can look different for everyone. It can include going for a morning walk or run before work, starting the day with a nutritious breakfast for yourself and your family, spending some quality time with kids before they go to school, thinking more positively, or not pressing snooze too often to be less groggy for the day ahead. Regardless of the specific morning goal, the tips listed below can help you get started and set yourself up for success.

Listed below are a few tips to help establish a morning routine that supports your goal:

1. Establish a SMART goal – The most successful goals are those that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-specific. This often means that we need to establish a goal that is attainable to where we are currently and is not overly ambitious. For example, it is recommended to start with one or two small changes rather than a bunch of large changes all at once. Once we are successful with that small step, we can build over time. It also means being clear about what we will do. When this is specifically identified in a measurable way, it can help in accomplishing the goal. For example, if your goal is to press the snooze button less often, perhaps the goal is to limit snoozing to just once compared to the five times currently happening, or it is starting with 15 minutes of exercise versus the one hour of exercise we would like to work towards. Achieving that small step forward will often help propel future success and continued momentum over time.

2. Create a plan and set up your environment– Once your goal is established, decide on a plan of when you will start (this relates to the time-specific component of SMART goals), what you will do, how you will reward yourself if that is applicable, andconsider what environmental support you might need to be successful. For example, if you want to start exercising in the morning, use cues in your environment that help support your plan. For example, put your yoga mat in your bedroom so you see it when you wake up, or place your walking shoes near the front door so there are no barriers to getting started.

3. Leverage the power of social support – Helping relationships are an important tool used to progress with a new habit especially when you start and maintain a new morning routine.Consider leveraging the power of social support with your morning goal by talking about your new routine plan with loved ones. This will invite encouragement and accountability from those around you.Also, consider establishing the new habit with your social support system. For example, make the morning walk a family walk, go for a run with a neighbor, or have all family members decide that they will focus on eating healthier for breakfast.

4. Recognize and celebrate small successes along the way – When new routines and habits are built, it takes time and commitment. To help facilitate progress, take time to recognize and celebrate small successes along the way. Incorporate positive affirmations andacknowledge your progress even if there are moments of challenge or relapse along the way. When we reframe our understanding that relapses are in fact part of the journey of establishing a new habit, it invites less self-criticism and an opportunity for more positive self-encouragement.

We wish you look on your journey toward a healthy morning routine!

Dana Bender is a Wellness Strategy Manager with Vitality Group with over a decade of experience in managing employee wellness and fitness programs. Dana is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga to both groups and individuals since 2006.

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