A woman waking up in the morning, stretching in the bed with the sun shining on her from a window

Rise, Shine, Sweat: How to Build Healthy Habits

What does your morning routine look like? Hands up if you hit snooze several times, doomscroll, stay in bed until the last possible minute, down a coffee and race straight out the door to run to school or work. We get it. In a world where hustle culture glorifies fast living, it’s hard to carve out moments of self-care and prioritize our well-being – especially first thing. 

But what if we told you that being a “morning person” could actually improve your health, productivity and energy levels? We don’t mean going full Mark Wahlberg or Victoria Beckham. Yes, these people are highly successful, glossy and charismatic, but not all of us want to rise at 2a.m. to work out or are able to drink vinegar on an empty stomach first thing. 

It’s all about creating habits that are tailored to your body and lifestyle, and make you feel grounded, calm and ready to face the day. Here, we explore some simple but powerful strategies and tips that set a positive tone for the day and night ahead.  


How to start a daily routine

A Man Raising Both Hands to the morning sun


Starting a morning routine is all about helping you feel more organized, focused, and productive. Writer and speaker James Clear recommends starting small, and gradually adding more activities as you find what works best for you. ‘Small habits, when repeated consistently, lead to remarkable results,’ he says in Atomic Habits – his transformative guide that unlocks the secrets to harnessing the power of small habits for massive, long-term change. 

Rather than rising at dawn, you could begin your routine by waking up at a consistent time each day to establish a rhythm. Next, you could choose to incorporate activities that energize and center you. It could be as simple as lighting a candle and drinking your morning coffee in silence before the rest of your family wake up. Maybe you could do 15 minutes of stretching. Or perhaps you could get outside and go for a run. Whatever you choose, starting your day intentionally will create a foundation for a productive and fulfilling day ahead.


How to create healthy habits

Close-up of Woman Writing in a Notebook in Bed


Building healthy habits is all about taking small, consistent steps towards a healthier lifestyle without overwhelming yourself. Creating lasting habits takes time, so stay committed and adaptable as you cultivate a healthier lifestyle that feels sustainable and rewarding. 

It’s about the journey, not the destination, so enjoy the process and embrace the positive changes you're making for yourself. Here’s how to do it.

  • Start by choosing habits that align with your values and lifestyle, making them easier to integrate into your daily routine. 
  • Set specific, achievable goals and track your progress to stay motivated. 
  • Focus on one habit at a time, allowing it to become second nature before adding another. 
  • Celebrate small wins and be kind to yourself on days when things don’t go as planned. 


How to make healthy habits stick

An alarm clock on bedside near a sleeping woman


Making healthy morning habits stick requires a combination of consistency, patience and self-awareness. James Clear recommends ‘habit stacking’ – a technique that involves pairing a new habit you want to establish with an existing habit you already do consistently. This strategy leverages the power of routine and association to make it easier to adopt new behaviors. By stacking a new habit onto an existing one, you create a trigger that signals it’s time to perform the new behavior. 

For example, if you want to start meditating daily but struggle to remember, you could stack it onto your morning coffee routine. After you pour your coffee, you sit down to meditate. Over time, this association makes it more automatic and increases the likelihood that the new habit will stick.


Healthy habits to include in your morning routine

A man practicing yoga nidra in the morning


The beauty of a morning routine is that you craft it to suit you. Start by picking one or two things from this list, incorporating it into your routine for a few days. Notice how it makes you feel. If it works – great! Maybe add something else. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. Keep going: pick and mix until you’ve crafted a bespoke plan that sets you up for the day.


1. Set your wake-up time 

Determine what time you need to wake up to allow for a calm and unhurried morning. Aim for consistency by waking up at the same time each day, including weekends.


2. Ditch your phone 

Avoid checking emails or social media immediately upon waking up. Give yourself time to ease into the day without digital distractions.


3. Rest on waking

Practicing yoga nidra in the morning offers deep relaxation, reducing stress and promoting calmness. It boosts energy levels, enhances focus, and sets positive intentions for the day ahead. Regular practice can improve sleep quality and foster a stronger mind-body connection, promoting overall well-being and inner peace.


4. Hydrate

A woman drinking water in the morning


Start your morning with a glass of water to rehydrate your body after a night’s rest. Proper hydration jumpstarts your metabolism and aids in digestion, setting the stage for a productive day ahead. If you prefer warm water, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to kickstart your liver. Read more about how to make detox water

Incorporating a water cooler into your home or workspace can be a game-changer for maintaining hydration first thing and throughout the day. With easy access to clean, refreshing water, you’ll be more likely to meet your daily hydration goals and reap the benefits of improved energy levels, cognitive function, and overall health. Plus, staying hydrated supports your body’s natural detoxification processes and enhances skin health, contributing to your overall well-being.


5. See the light

Exposure to natural light first thing in the morning is essential for our well-being. It helps regulate our body’s internal clock, promoting healthy sleep patterns. It also stimulates the production of serotonin, boosting our mood and energy levels, which can have a positive impact on productivity and overall well-being throughout the day.


6. Stretch it out 

You can stretch while you’re still in bed! Loosen up stiff muscles and improve flexibility with gentle stretching exercises. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles, improves posture, and reduces the risk of injury during physical activity.


7. Breathe it in 

Incorporate deep breathing exercises into your morning routine to oxygenate your body and promote relaxation. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and enhance overall lung function.


8. Move your body

Incorporate physical activity into your morning routine to boost your energy levels and enhance mood. This could be a quick workout, or a brisk walk to get your blood flowing and boost energy levels. 


9. Be mindful 

Take a few moments for quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer to center yourself and cultivate inner peace. This helps clear your mind, reduce stress, and enhance focus. Notice new details; new sensations. This “active noticing” or mindfulness can reduce stress, improve focus, and promote emotional well-being. 


10. Practice gratitude

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by expressing appreciation for the blessings in your life. Practicing gratitude can foster a positive outlook, enhance resilience, and promote mental well-being.


11. Journal it out 

Set aside time each morning to journal your thoughts, goals, and intentions for the day. Journaling can clarify your thoughts, boost creativity, and provide a sense of direction and purpose.


12. Eat a nutritious breakfast 

A nutritious breakfast of yoghurt, Mixed Fruits and Nuts in Ceramic Bowls


Fuel your body with a healthy breakfast that includes protein, fiber, and nutrients. Avoid sugary and processed foods that can lead to energy crashes later in the day. Include high-quality, energy-dense foods like whole grains, chickpeas, lentils and beans as well as whole fruits and veggies. Try kefir, berries and mixed nuts, or a mushroom and spinach omelet with kimchi.


13. Plan your day 

Take a few moments to review your schedule and prioritize tasks for the day ahead. This helps set intentions and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed.


14. Create rituals

Incorporate rituals that bring you joy or inspiration, such as listening to music, reading a book, or enjoying a cup of tea or coffee.


15. Be flexible 

Allow for flexibility in your morning routine to accommodate unexpected events or changes. Strive for consistency, but adapt when needed.

Starting a morning routine requires commitment and consistency, but the benefits in terms of productivity, well-being, and overall satisfaction are well worth the effort. Experiment with different activities and find a routine that resonates with you, and sets the stage for a positive and purposeful day ahead.

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