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Five Ways Your Morning Routine Can Fail You

As much as I’d like to take credit for inventing the morning routine, they’ve actually been around for ages. It’s possible even cavemen felt more prepared for the day’s hunt after making their beds. Okay, okay, I’m not sure exactly when they were invented, but I do know this: as long as I’ve been interested in morning routines, I’ve also been kind of repelled by them, at least in their most popular form.

There’s something about the morning routines being served up to the masses these days that feels a lot like performing perfectionism. (Hello, “That Girl”, I’m looking at you.) And, because perfectionism is IMPOSSIBLE, these routines are doomed to fail. So, when I started creating my own morning routine, I first wanted to understand why I had failed at this practice in the past. I did some digging, and here’s what I found.

Let’s Get Into It!

In this frenzied world where self-improvement is the religion du jour, morning routines are often prescribed as an antidote for all life’s woes. But let’s cut through the noise for a moment. Not everyone’s rhythm syncs with these cookie-cutter prescriptions. Here’s an unvarnished look at why these one-size-fits-all morning routines might not just miss the mark, but could actually be setting you up for a spectacular nosedive.

1. The Tyranny of the Early Bird

The cultural obsession with early rising is relentless. We hear tales of high-fliers who’ve jogged two miles, meditated, and conquered their inbox before the sun peeks over the horizon. But this script discounts individual sleep rhythms and chronotypes. Consider the night owls, those creative mavericks whose brains light up when the rest of the world sleeps. For them, the early hours are akin to slogging through molasses. It’s time to acknowledge that waking up at an ungodly hour isn’t necessarily the golden ticket to success. Embracing our unique sleep patterns and ditching the guilt of not catching the proverbial worm can be liberating and, ironically, more productive.

2. The Cult of Morning Productivity

Our society is smitten with the idea of hyper-productive mornings. It’s as if every dawn brings a fresh battle to conquer: meditate like a monk, sweat like an athlete, plan like a CEO. But here’s a counterpoint: what if the best thing you can do in the morning is to simply be? Yes, sometimes the most revolutionary act is to enjoy your coffee in peace, to gaze out the window, to let the morning unfold in unstructured splendor. This isn’t an ode to laziness; it’s an invitation to savor calmness in a world that’s spinning dizzyingly fast.

3. Breakfast: The Most Negotiable Meal of the Day

Then, there’s the dogma of breakfast being the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. But who decided that our day is doomed if it doesn’t start with a hearty meal? Appetites and dietary needs vary wildly. Some might find solace in a sunrise feast; others feel their best with a minimalist approach. (Coffee, holla at your girl!) Our bodies are not monolithic entities operating on a universal schedule. They’re intricate, often unpredictable systems with unique needs and whims. Listening to and respecting these needs, rather than force-feeding ourselves the latest superfood, might just be the real superpower.

4. Exercise: Not a Morning Mandate

The modern narrative also mandates a morning workout as the epitome of self-discipline. But what if the prospect of a pre-dawn gym session fills you with dread? Perhaps your energy soars as the sun sets, or maybe your version of exercise is a gentle stretch or a leisurely walk with your dog. Fitness, contrary to popular belief, is not a one-time slot in the day. It’s a fluid, personal journey that can ebb and flow with your daily rhythms and preferences. By uncoupling exercise from the tyranny of time, we might just find joy in movement on our own terms.

5. Rigid Routines: The Straitjacket of the Soul

And finally, let’s talk about the rigid morning routine. Life, in all its chaotic beauty, rarely adheres to a script. A routine that doesn’t bend and flex with life’s unpredictability is like a straitjacket for the soul. Some mornings might be perfect for yoga and journaling, while others call for an impromptu dance in the kitchen or an extra hour under the covers. Flexibility in our routines allows us to respond to our changing needs, moods, and circumstances. It acknowledges that we are not machines programmed to perform tasks at a set time. Instead, we are beautifully complex beings deserving of grace and space to navigate each day anew.

So, how do we fix this morning mess? 

morning routine morning ritual failure

The idea of a perfect morning routine is an alluring one. It suggests control, discipline, and order in a world that often feels anything but. But it’s crucial to remember that our individual needs, rhythms, and lifestyles are diverse. The most effective morning routine isn’t the one that’s been Instagram-approved or guru-sanctioned; it’s the one that resonates with your inner rhythm. 

When I gave myself permission to redefine what a morning looks like, it became so much easier to stick to. I learned that the secret to a fulfilling day lies not in the rigid adherence to a prescribed set of actions but in embracing my own authentic self and leaning into the practices that make me feel more human. 

Now, I’m committed to mornings that feel right, not just those that look right. I hope to inspire others to do the same. After all, the true measure of a day well-started is not in the tasks accomplished but in the peace and satisfaction found within.

Are you finding ways to embrace imperfections in your morning routine? Share in the comments below so we can all be reminded that nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay.

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