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The Only 3 Elements You Need for a Perfect Morning Routine

My bullet-proof hack that’s worked 365 days without fail

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

How you start your day, offers a glimpse into how the rest of your day unfolds.

I used to think that a morning routine had to be an elaborate, perfectly timed set of activities that involved everything those self-help books told me to.

Meditation, affirmations, journaling, stretching, lemon water, running, taking a cold shower and drinking organic coffee to the backdrop of beautiful classical music.

I can bet you’ve likely tried at least one of the activities I just listed. Maybe it stuck for a few days or a couple of weeks.

But eventually, life always gets in the way, and you start coming up with excuses. A single missed day turns into weeks and months until eventually, you give it up altogether.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Don’t worry — I’ve been there. After many years of repeating that cycle, I’ve discovered that you really only need 3 things to guarantee a good morning routine that sticks.

It works because of two factors: it’s simple enough that you can choose to spend 10 minutes on it or, up to an hour if that’s your thing. It’s also flexible so that you can adapt it depending on where you are, how you feel, and how much time you have (you know, in case you sleep in).

So below are what I like to call the 3 Morning M’s that I have been incorporating into my mornings over the last few years. They’ve helped me tremendously in building solid habits, and I hope it might do the same for you.


The first M is movement. One of the biggest reason people fail to keep up their morning runs or gym sessions is that they put way more pressure on themselves than they can handle.

I used to be like that. In fact, I realised that the word exercise was enough to intimidate me. You might be facing the same roadblock too.

The solution? Just change the wording to movement.

It’s a simple trick but one that can significantly lower the emotional resistance towards exercising in the morning.

Anything counts — Stretching is movement. Just doing a couple of squats whilst brushing your teeth is movement. A ten-minute walk with your dog is movement.

I know you’re thinking that these activities sound insignificant. But as Jeffrey Fry said,

“It’s always the little things that make the big things happen.”

Who knows, with time, you might just become one of those people who can smash a morning run every day.


Don’t worry — I’m not going to preach to you the benefits of meditation. I understand that it’s not for everyone and that like the word exercise, it can often come attached with preconceived perceptions.

But what should be a part of everyone’s morning routine is to find a moment for mindfulness. You don’t even need to set any additional time aside because mindfulness can be applied to anything you do.

The important thing is that you decide on an activity for which you’ll devote your full attention and be present. For example, you could choose to stop scrolling on your phone whilst you wait for the kettle to boil, and instead take a few deep breaths. Or you might choose to take the first few sips of your coffee without any distraction so you can actually taste it properly. Just pick whatever floats your boat.

You’ll find that once you have even a short burst of mindfulness in your morning, it has a ripple effect on the rest of your day. It’ll be easier for you to be present in everything you do, from the big to the small.

“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.”
James Baldwin


The final M of your morning is setting a mindset for the day ahead.

As with the previous 2 parts to your morning, there is a lot of room for flexibility with this one. You might want to get really specific and write down an hourly schedule for your day, along with an elaborate to-do list.

But you could also choose to do something as simple as setting an intention for how you want the day to go. If you’re feeling a bit low on energy, you could say ‘my intention for the day is to just be kind to myself and rest’. Or if you’re feeling motivated, you might choose something along the lines of ‘my goal today is to make at least 5 business calls’.

The power of setting an intention is profound. Even if you end up carrying out the same activities, simply knowing why you’re doing it will empower and enable you to get more out of your day. So make sure that every morning, you set your mindset right.

When it comes to self-improvement and routine development, freedom is one of the most underestimated but crucial element. In order for it to work, you want to feel like you have autonomy.

This simple and flexible 3M approach to your morning routines provides just that.

How will you start your day tomorrow?

The Only 3 Elements You Need for a Perfect Morning Routine was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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