My Morning Routine – Here’s the routine that helps me start the day with positivity, gratitude, and energy. (Plus the books, apps, and tools I use to keep me going!)
I’m a creature of habit, something I got teased about by my family growing up. It may or may not have involved a tear-filled outburst of “WE HAVE NO TRADITIONS!” at age 7 when my family gently suggested they may want to *slightly* alter ONE of our Christmas traditions. (I will never be allowed to live it down, thanks for asking.)
I’ve relaxed (what I think is) a lot about traditions, but Gretchen Rubin would classify me as an Upholder. I’m a person who thrives on habits and routine. (You can find out your type here–then tell me what it is!!!). I’m also an introvert, so I get my energy from having some alone time.
My morning routine has varied a LOT over the years, but one thing has stayed the same: I like to get up before everyone else. Having a bit of time to myself before everyone needs me and I need to be “on” for the day is one of the best things I do for myself.
Sometimes, that’s meant dragging my bleary-eyed self out of bed 5 minutes before I think the baby will get up, just so I’m not awakened by crying. Other times, it’s meant going for a walk/run or doing an exercise video on mute in the living room while I try not to wake up my still-allergic-to-sleep children.
In the last 2 years, I’ve gotten into a new phase. My kids still wake up REALLY early no matter when they go to bed. (5-5:30am is still the norm for Milo, for instance.) But everyone is old enough that I don’t have to spend all that time shoo-ing them back to their rooms, calming a crying baby, or trying to coax someone back to sleep.
Here’s the morning routine that makes a HUGE difference in how I start and feel about the day. (Plus, the book that got me started + some helpful apps and tools that keep me going!)
The Book That Started it All
I love reading self-improvement books, and a friend recommended The Miracle Morning to me a little over 2 years ago. The title sounded a little hokey, but just a few pages in, I LOVED the book.
In it, author Hal Elrod describes how he developed his morning routine to help him recover after a tragic accident. His routine helped bring back the joy and spark to his life and “claim the day” by starting each morning with gratitude, optimism, and a sense of purpose. In the many years since his book became a phenomenon, he’s developed versions for all sorts of different lines of business (writers, real estate agents, salespeople, networkers, etc.), as well as families and couples.
SAVERS – The Acronym For an Awesome Morning Routine
His Miracle Morning routine uses the acronym SAVERS to help you remember it. It stands for:
- S – Silence. (Meditation, prayer, deep breathing, a gratitude practice, etc.)
- A – Affirmations (Positive statements that reaffirm the things you want to feel, do, achieve, or be as though you already are/have/feel/are doing those things in present tense. More on that in a bit.)
- V – Visualization (Taking the affirmations a step further and visualizing them in as much detail as possible. This can include a vision board, written descriptions, mental visualization, etc.)
- E – Exercise (Moving your body in some way–yoga, stretches, running, HIIT workouts, walking, etc.)
- R – Reading (Something uplifting. Could be a fun novel, self-improvement books, business books, scripture or sacred texts, etc.)
- S – Scribing (Writing in some way – journaling, gratitude practice, writing a book, writing thank you cards/emails, writing down intentions, etc.)
The whole routine doesn’t have to be done in order (you can mix and match however you like). It also doesn’t have to take long (He even outlines a 6 minute version!). Whether I have 6 minutes or 60 minutes, I’ve found it’s a great way for me to start the day on a positive, uplifting note. I LOVE it.
How I Structure My Mornings (My Morning Routine):
Here’s my SAVERS order and timing for my morning routine. For the specifics on how I do each part, go to the next section, where I outline each in more detail.
- SILENCE (5-15 min.) – I start my morning with prayer and meditation, which takes 5-15 minutes, depending on what meditation I’m doing that day.
- SCRIBING/WRITING (5-10 min) I write down gratitude, intentions for the day, and I hand-write my affirmations most mornings if I have time. If I’m short on time, I write down 3 things I’m grateful for and call it good.
- AFFIRMATIONS & VISUALIZATION (5-10 min) I mentally or verbally recite my affirmations & take some time to visualize each one in as much specific detail as possible as though it’s already part of my life.
- READING (10-30 min). If I’m reading a hard copy of a book, I allot myself about 10 minutes to read before moving on to exercise. If I’m doing audiobooks, I typically do most of my reading time while I’m exercising. Lately, I’ve been reading 10 min of a hard copy book (usually business or self-improvement), then listening to an audiobook (something fun) while I exercise.
- EXERCISE (20-30 min). I do some form of exercise at home or in my neighborhood (yoga, walking/jogging, HIIT workouts or strength training). If I can, I love listening to audiobooks while I do this because it’s more enjoyable for me. If I’m doing a yoga practice, I typically just follow the practice/focus on breathing.
TOTAL TIME: Usually around 45-50 min.
Again, this timing is totally flexible, and some mornings I only have time for a quick version of each (prayer & deep breathing, a quick gratitude list, affirmations, and some calisthenics). But, I love when I get to spend that 45 min-1 hour to myself before anyone really needs me. (That means I go to bed early and wake up early.)
If my kids wake up early, I send them back in their rooms until our agreed upon time, or give them the choice to sit and read quietly or get ready for the day.
What My SAVERS Look Like (+Tools & Apps That Help Me):
I’ve been meditating for about 4 years now, and it’s a regular part of the day, even if it’s just some mindful breathing for a few minutes. The Headspace and Calm apps are two of my favorites. Each has a free and paid version, but both are great places to start.
- Headspace – Overall, I’d say Headspace is the winner in my book for meditation (they’ll literally teach you how to do it + have LOTS of different sequences you can do to focus on specific areas of your life. They even have mediation options for kids! I’ve had a paid membership for the last 3 years and really like it.
- Calm – I really like the mindful breathing tool in the Calm app, and the nature scenes with calming music I can pull out and use whenever I want. (I’ve only used the free version of Calm.)
If you prefer an app, the 5-Minute Journal app is a great one. It’s about $5 and provides inspirational quotes, daily prompts to write down things you’re grateful for, and ways you’ll make the day great. It’s easy to use and even has a place where you can insert a picture for each day.
AFFIRMATIONS & VISUALIZATION
This can sound a bit woo-woo if you’re new to it, but I think it’s a powerful practice. It helps me cultivate positivity and to be intentional about the way I live my life. If you’re new to affirmations and visualization, the Miracle Morning book gives a great primer and lots of examples to get you started.
I use the free Notes app on my phone or a blank notebook to write down (in as much detail as possible) the affirmations, goals, and dreams I have for my life. I also have secret boards on Pinterest I use for visualization if I’m feeling distracted.
Basically, you want to visualize the things you want to feel, do and be (intentions, affirmations, goals, dreams, etc.) in as much detail as possible. You visualize them positively in present tense (rather than some point in the future), as if they’re already or actively part of your life.
So, instead of something like, “I will save $1000 for an emergency fund” or “I will lose 10 pounds” or “I will train for a marathon” you would treat it as though it was actively, presently part of your life (the affirmation might be “I am easily saving $1000 for an emergency fund.”) and you’d visualize what that would feel like (the happy feeling you have knowing it’s all saved, the sacrifice being worth it, the comfort you feel that it’s done, etc.).
Or, if your affirmation was something less tangible, it might be something like, “I am exactly the mother my children need. I speak to them in love and kindness, and I am always a safe place for them to land.” Then, you could visualize what that looks like and how you’d feel if that were true right now. When you recite affirmations and visualize them regularly, your subconscious believes them and you literally re-wire your brain! (You can Google research about it!)
If you’ve been here a minute, you know I’m a MAJOR book lover. I read almost 60 books last year, and this morning routine is partly how I make time to do that. Sometimes, I work through hard copies of books so I can highlight and write notes (I’m looking at you, Rachel Hollis!).
But, most of the time, I also (or only) use audiobooks to help me get through more books. I almost exclusively use the Libby app, which is free through my public library system. Or, you can also go through Audible, which Michael LOVES, and we share. You can get up to 5 free books and a free 30-day trial here.
PS – If you like tracking what you read, you can use the Goodreads site or app (free), which will let you set a reading goal, track books you’ve read, and read or write reviews, etc.
Probably one of the most important parts of my morning routine for getting energy. As paradoxical as it sounds, spending energy can often help you get more energy! (Even if it’s just a walk!) That boost of endorphins and the awake feeling I get are worth the effort for my mental and physical health.
I cycle through different kinds of exercise (usually walking/jogging, yoga, or HIIT workouts). I’m a huge fan of walking. I shoot for 10,000-12,000 steps or so a day, and love listening to audiobooks or podcasts along the way. I use the free Podcast app on my iPhone or the Libby app to borrow audiobooks from my public library.
As for actual workouts, I like the (free!) Yoga with Adrienne YouTube channel, Lindsay Brin DVDS, and the 7-Minute Workout App for a quick HIIT workout. (I’ve tried BBG too, but I just hate almost every second of it.)