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CNN: How To Find a Morning Routine That Works for You

From CNN:  On weekdays, my alarm goes off at 4:15 a.m., and my husband and I immediately hop out of bed. I chug a bit of water from the bottle on my nightstand, brush my teeth, put on my workout clothes and make our workout electrolyte drinks while he gets his work bag prepped. We hop in the car to head to the gym for our 5 a.m. weightlifting workout class.

We get back home around 6:15 a.m. and split the mealtime prep: My husband makes our protein-packed breakfast while I pack his lunch for the day and feed our pup. Then we sit down together and eat breakfast, talk about our agenda for the day, and he heads out for work. At 7 a.m., I head upstairs to shower and get dressed for the day. Then I sit down to read, write and/or meditate until heading to my home office to start work around 8:30 a.m.

Just my wake-up time makes me sound like an Instagram influencer or privileged tech bro, right? Yes, I share my advice on Instagram, but no, I promise, I’m not. (I would have to do cold plunges every morning to qualify for that position).

I don’t think my way is the best way, and I don’t believe it’s a universal prescription for the “best” morning routine. My routine has worked well for me over the past few years because it has served as an anchor for my day in this specific season of my life. I figured out what works best for me and took time to figure out what is going to set me up to have a great day. My routine isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy that will make you a success overnight.

And I will have to adapt it as my life changes. I know this because I’m writing this at 38 weeks pregnant, about to give birth to my first child. I fully understand that the routine that has been my anchor is about to be ripped up and torn apart. I’ll have to find a new anchor, eventually. And given the impact that babies have on schedules, I may be sailing without one for a while.

Here are three problems with mimicking other people’s morning routines: First, copying what works for them doesn’t give you the flexibility to figure out what works best for you, the life you have now, and the life you want to live. Second, some of their activities may be insignificant and fail to have an impact on the rest of your day. And finally, you may feel stressed out because you haven’t figured out what’s right for you, and so you may be left with an unsettling feeling that you carry with you through the rest of the day.

Many humans have similar goals and aspirations, but not similar days and responsibilities. I am realizing this more than ever now as my days and responsibilities are about to undergo a massive shift.

I often get asked how I stay consistent with a morning routine. Up until this point, I’ve done it by working through the same exercise that I recommend to others.

• What are three things that help me feel my best in the morning? • How do I rank those three things in order of what brings me the most joy? • How can I implement the top thing on that list tomorrow morning? • If something gets in the way of that top thing, what can I do about it?

I’m going to approach this new chapter of life and redefining my morning routine by answering those same four questions.

After I give birth, I know it will be harder. And while I plan to go through that exercise again, I thought I’d ask for expert advice. I reached out to behavioral scientist Katy Milkman, author of “How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” and the James G. Dinan professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“We know that if you want to build a new routine, you’ll need to plan it out in detail,” Milkman told me. “But research shows that when we make multiple detailed plans to achieve multiple goals, instead of helping us, it hurts us.”

Read more at CNN.