4 Super Small Changes That Refreshed My Morning Routine

I’m the type of person that never really understood the idea of a morning routine. For most years, my morning routine consisted of a few basic necessarily steps that got me from my bed to the bus stop:

  1. Wake Up (to some social media scrolling)
  2. Shower
  3. Get Dressed (whilst procrastinating and watching YouTube videos)
  4. Pack Lunch/Make Breakfast
  5. Run For the Bus Stop To Get To Work

However, this year, I wanted to take more control of my mornings. I’ve watched Youtube videos and read articles about many morning routines before but I never found them realistic for my circumstances. I work a regular 8-5 job; I don’t really have time/motivation to complete an exhaustive list of activities before I can catch my bus. In a perfect world, I would be the person that wakes up at 5am to complete the perfect morning routine, but I don’t expect myself to wake up tomorrow with that type of mind-set and motivation. So I found little ways to refresh my morning routine instead of revamping it into a list of activities that I know I will not be able to complete.


1. Drink More Water

I find drinking water in the morning and at night the easiest. I keep a big glass of water on my night stand to remind myself to drink water the second I wake up. I know that drinking water is important but I soooooo much rather have coffee lol

However, I’ve learned to defer my coffee intake to later in the morning. Drinking water right away in the morning hydrates me so that I’m not drinking more coffee in an effort to subsidize my fluid intake (because lets be real, coffee does not count as fluid intake, it actually dehydrates you).


2. Limiting Breakfast

Chelsea Fagan from the Financial Diet talks a lot about intermittent fasting and there are a lot of articles on the benefits including one by Scientific American.

Basically intermittent fasting is when you do not eat breakfast and restrict your meals to a certain time frame to maximize your energy.

I know this is an incredibly personal decision that everyone needs to make based on their own lifestyle and body. I can say this because I used to be a big fan of breakfast; I could not fathom starting a day without a hearty breakfast because I could not function without it.

But this changed as I moved into my late twenties. Foods that used to boost my energy in the morning such as carbs, actually started to weigh me down. This is a challenge I really faced at work because eating too many heavy foods makes me feel heavy and unproductive. That’s why I’ve come up with an in-between solution. I do not eat breakfast, but I also do not wait until lunch to consume something. I wake up around 6:30am and have my lunch usually around 1pm. So for about 6-7 hours in the morning I do not eat breakfast but I do allow myself very specific snacks, and this is exclusively fruits or vegetables. I find that fruits and vegetables never truly fill me up but they do keep me going throughout the day. The added benefit of this also ensures that I’m eating as many fruits and veggies as possible. When I’m starving and have nothing to eat but carrots, all of a sudden, they are the best tasting thing in the word.

I still try not to eat anything too high in sugar as it might crash so I usually eat bananas, oranges, or carrots and celery with homemade hummus. This system has been working super great for me and then because I take a late lunch, I finish work before I have time to feel too sluggish after a big meal.


3. Limiting My Social Media

I haven’t perfected this one quite yet to no social media altogether but I have improved on it. I now do not sleep next to my phone. I’ve learned that not only is it really bad for me mentally to be in such constant close-proximity to a stimulant, but also that it’s bad for me physically. Phones emit and lot of radiation and it’s already next to me all day, I do not need it emitting extra radiation to me for the 7 hours that I am unconscious.

I still watch YouTube videos in the morning, but I’ve limited to only watching it while I’m getting ready in the bathroom. That way if I see a YouTube video that I’m really interested in, it motivates me to get out of bed as quickly as possible to watch it while showering and getting ready for work.

Next, I limit my ability to scroll by reminding myself I can do this on the bus. I bus every day to work and it’s about 20 mins away. I have plenty of time to scroll aimlessly there. Most importantly, unless it’s an emergency, I do not respond to any texts or messages from the night before until I am out the door and on the bus. Unless it’s something incredibly important (most of the time it’s not), I do not need to get myself engulfed in a conversation at that time. I like being able to have some me time in the morning. Because I work with people all day, I’ve learned it’s so important to have time the morning to not talk to anyone and just have time to be with my own thoughts.


4. A Unique Way To Exercise

Now, most people will tell you they go to the gym in the morning and seriously, bless them. I don’t know how people do it. I used to work with a co-worker that would go to the gym for an hour in the morning and then take a spin class at night. That’s not me.

However, exercise is an important thing to incorporate in a morning routine because it helps keep your body and mind healthy. Nevertheless I’ve come to the conclusion: I’m just not a gym person. I hate the gym. I like to exercise but I hate being cooped up inside in a sweaty, hot room with other sweaty, hot people judging you will you try to get fit. I much prefer running, hiking, and playing sports outdoors.

Side note: I realize I do like one type of indoor exercise and that’s classes like dance or Zumba.

Because I know I’m not going to drag my butt into a gym in the morning, I opt for a walk or run. I live about 1km away from my bus stop and most mornings (who am I kidding, it’s every morning) I usually cut it kind of close so either power walking or full on running to my bus stop every morning. According to Google, this walk should take about 13 minutes but I think my record is like 8 minutes. It may not sound like a lot, but it gets me moving in the morning, instead of getting into a car and driving straight to work. I find that incorporating exercise as a necessary component in my mornings, instead of an option, makes it easier for me to make it a habit.

It also helps me meet my step goal on the Carrot App. When you get to know me, you’ll learn that I’m very competitive when it comes to trivial competitions (even if it’s against myself). Carrot is an app that’s supported by the BC government and gives incentives for people to make their step goals. Everyone’s goals are individually calculated after they track your walking patterns for one week so my daily step goal is 5,900 steps.


Ideally, I would love to add more things to be my morning routine. A couple of things I’m really hoping to incorporate more of are meditation, journaling, reading and having more time to tidy up around my apartment. I feel like I would achieve the ultimate #adulting goal if I could be one of those people who do laundry before going to work. One day.

I hope these were helpful tips and even if you don’t incorporate them all specifically, let me know the small changes that you making in your morning routine. They don’t have to be ground-breaking! It’s the small things that snowball into the big things, like laundry.

Cheers, to happy (or just functional) mornings!

Kimberly Sparkles on Apple iOS 11.3


Author: Kimberly

Hi there! My name is Kimberly and I created MLA as a personal development, career, and finance resource for millennials. MLA focuses on helping career-driven millennials create the personal development habits to achieve work-life balance and manage their money. Throughout this blog, you’ll find articles that give specific and detailed advice because I’m not into the fluffy advice. There’s plenty of that on the internet. Here you will find tangible advice on how to find a rewarding career (that you love!), where you can help others, and learn how to save and invest your money for the future. I hope you’ll follow along!

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