Do you struggle to make your mornings meaningful? Are you feeling frustrated because you’re not getting enough done early in the day, and you run out of steam by the afternoon? (I relate to that so much!) Do you want to prioritize self-care? Then a morning routine is for you, babe.

We’ve been talking about this process in the Secret Club membership program, but this process is just too good to share only with my members.

My meaningful morning:

To create a more meaningful morning, I first review all the things I would like to do in my morning routine, and I make sure to get clear about WHY they are important to me. Here’s the list I created today during a Facebook Live video:

  • wake up at 5:45 – so I can be sure to accomplish all that I want
  • drink a big glass of water (equivalent to three cups) – hydration helps reduce pain and inflammation, and we wake up dehydrated, so this is the first thing I do
  • heat up my back – I’m always stiff in the morning, so a heating pad helps me get loose
  • work in my planner – I love my daily planner, and I fill my day while I’m on the floor with my heating pad
  • do yoga – a standard 20-minute routine helps me limber up for the day; when I don’t do yoga, I feel awful all day
  • drink tea – my only source of caffeine during the day, a couple cups of black tea
  • have a healthy breakfast – protein is important for powering me up, and I try to sneak in as many fruits and veggies as I can in a big smoothie, so if my diet is not healthy the rest of the day, I know I’ve met my produce needs
  • bathe – this might be washing my face, or taking a shower or bath, depending on how much time I have
  • meditate – I’m trying to build up to 45-60 minutes a day, so incorporating a meditation moment in the morning helps me meet my goal
  • creative time – this feeds my soul, so I try to do some hand sewing or coloring

Whew! That’s a lot, I know. I’ve worked on this routine for years, and I know what I need to start my day right. I try to do most of these every day.

Your first task: Make your own list

Think through your ideal morning. It’s the time to get you pumped for the rest of the day, even if your “rest of the day” is going to be spent on the couch. What do you want? What do you need? What will help you feel your best?

Brainstorm a list, trying to write down everything that comes to mind. Once you’ve got a full list, think carefully: Does each item help you feel better in some way?

Whittle down the list to the highest priority items. You might have three or four things; you might have ten. There’s no wrong answer. These tasks should be for YOU, not what someone else thinks you should be doing.

a list of morning priorities

The second task: Prioritize

I marked up my list so you can see which ones are most important. Here’s how I prioritize:

  1. Mandatory!
  2. Really want to do
  3. Great, but if I don’t do it, I’ll live

I ranked my morning routine items so I’m confident about which are most important. Take your list, and do the same. (You can make your own priority ranking system if you want.)

By ranking our tasks, we are able to get a clear picture of what is most important. Ranking them helps us put them in order for our final list. (You can see from my typed list that I have re-ordered everything by priority.) So if you have a hectic morning, you’ll know which items are most essential—you won’t waste any time fussing over decision-making. Because your time is precious, babe!

The third task: Create a time estimate

You can see from the photo above that I also added a column for time estimates for each part of my morning routine. I wrote down how many minutes each item takes. This might seem a little much, but DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. It’s essential for managing your most-hectic mornings.

Why? Three reasons:

You’ll know how much time you need in the morning to feel good. Understanding your own needs is essential to being a ChronicBabe. Your time, energy, and desires are so valuable—I want you to give yourself the space to accomplish what you most need and desire. Because I know I need a solid two hours to do my morning routine, I have slowly pushed back my wake-up time so I have enough time to do it all before I have to start work.

You’ll be able to see if you’re trying to do too much. It’s great to be ambitious, but sometimes we overdo it. (Especially if we’re new to setting goals like this; we might bite off more than we can chew.) If you’re trying to do too much for the time you realistically have, you’ll disappoint yourself over and over, and that’s a bummer. Scale it back. Start with the most essential items. Keep assessing how much time they take, and adjust your wake-up time accordingly.

You’ll be able to adapt when your morning goes to h-e-double-sticks. Let’s say you’re scheduling with a specialist and they want to see you first thing in the morning. Or you have a rough night of sleep and you wake up late. Because you know which tasks are most important, and why, and how much time they take, you can adjust quickly. It might mean you only do half your routine in the morning, and finish after lunch. Or you might be able to blow off a few tasks altogether. You’ll be able to make a smart decision quickly.

jenni, taking a photo of her list

Your final task: Revise and post your list

In the photo above, you can see that I’ve made both a morning and evening routine list. I typed them up nice and neat, printed them out, and posted them on my bathroom mirror. I also pasted a copy into my daily planner, and I’m putting a copy in the living room, where I do my morning routine.

Overkill? I don’t think so; I need a lot of reminders to do tasks like this, so posting them is essential to my success. Do what works for you…but do something. It’s easy to approach a task like this and get overwhelmed, but that’s why I posted a step-by-step approach for you.

Good luck! Want to share how your list came out? Shoot me an email. I love hearing how you’re doing! XO

P.S. Be gentle with yourself

If you do all this work and then falter… if you’re not perfect… if you have to revise a few times… if you sometimes still skip things… go easy on yourself. Perfection is not the goal here. Progress is our goal.