A consistent morning routine has been the single most important strategy that has helped me reach goals since 2014. I wouldn’t have done any of the cool stuff I have post-college had I not enlisted it as a big part of my life. Actually, this blog would cease to exist without my morning routine. The simple act of waking up early has become my biggest advantage.
Here are some tips to help you start your own college morning routine to get more done before 7am.
How I Started My College Morning Routine
I started waking up early in 2011. Every morning at 5am, I’d get up and study for an hour before classes. This became a sacred time for me, one where I’d drink a cup of coffee and collect my thoughts before the day really started. I liked it so much that I kept up the routine after college. From 2014 to 2018, I got up at either 4 or 5am to write (which helped me finish two books, build this blog, and develop a following on Medium).
Today, I wake up at 5:30, practice the Transcendental Meditation technique for twenty minutes, then write for two hours or work on my business.
Creating Your Own College Morning Routine
Here’s how to put your college morning routine together, step-by-step.
1. Identify a Goal
You have to have a good reason to get up early if you want it to stick. At the start, mine was to get better grades. Then I got a job as a teacher, and my goal became to give myself time to work on writing projects I cared about before school started. Now, I use my morning routine for two separate reasons. Each day looks a little different, but the point is that I know why I’m getting out of bed and not hitting snooze. That’s probably the most important part.
So, what do you plan to do with your time? Why does getting up early appeal to you or seem like a good idea?
Here are some ways college students can benefit from their own morning routine:
- You could use the time to exercise, meal prep, or enlist other healthy habits
- You could get extra school work done, or get a head start projects that aren’t due right away
- You could use this time for your own creativity, to explore interests, draw, write, paint, etc.
- You could learn a new skill (maybe a new language for your semester abroad?)
- You could use this time to make extra money online
Any of these activities fit the bill for an effective morning routine. Pick one or more that align with your goals.
2. Be Okay With Being Selfish
There’s a weird mentality that sometimes develops when you start getting up early. You feel a little…selfish.
Why? I think it’s because many of us are raised to give and not take. Building your morning around your needs and goals feels a little gluttonous, especially if you’re shunning things like late night hangs with friends or social events on campus. Not everyone will understand what you’re doing or why, and you have to be okay with that.
In fact, if this (or any other) feeling crops up, it might be a good topic to write or journal about one morning. See if you can uncover the underlying reasons and set a goal around personal growth in this area.
3. Don’t Let Guilt Change Your Routine
College students have hundreds of things they need to do: email professors, respond to classmates, finish that project, hit the grocery store, go to the gym, etc.
Don’t let your morning block get eaten up by these tasks. These things can be handled later if they still matter. Your morning routine will stop feeling enjoyable if it just becomes another hour of the day that you give to other people. Feed yourself and your interests and goals first.
4. Get One or Two “Wins” Under Your Belt
There’s something magical about starting your day off with a few “wins”, which could be as simple as doing a checking off a few healthy or productive habits before you leave for class. You will feel much better and less stressed out if you set your intentions around things that benefit your mind and body.
My advice is to start the day with both habits and action. Maybe you meditate, then catch up on some coursework. Maybe you do fifty air squats or twenty five burpees to get your heart pumping, then work on building a little side hustle online business to help pay for school. This combination will set the tone for the rest of your day, and over the course of the week, leave you feeling fulfilled that you’re taking a holistic approach to your life and goals.
Here are a few of my favorite healthy habits:
- Meditation- see suggestions below.
- Journaling- I use the Day One App, but good ol’ pen and paper never goes out of style.
- Goal Review- a quick, informal glance at your goals to clarify where you’d like to head that day.
- Reading- for all of you that say you never have time to read…found some!
- Work- college classes, graduation tracking, etc.
- Hydrating- you’ll be surprised by how much energy you have throughout the day if you intentionally hydrate when you wake up.
5. Don’t Sacrifice Your Health With Your College Morning Routine
Sleep is very important. We’re more likely to gain weight, get sick, and feel off when quality sleep isn’t a priority. If you’re getting up early, aim to get at least seven (if not eight) hours of sleep each night.
It will take your body some time to get used to getting up early. You might feel like you got hit by a bus on days one through four. That’s normal. Eventually you’ll adjust. In the mean time, regular exercise can help regulate your sleep schedule.