The Morning Routine Checklist That Will Change Your Life

Morning Routine Checklist

Looking to get your life on track? Don’t worry! I’ve created an effective morning routine checklist that will set you up for success every single day. My morning routine checklist takes the guesswork out of crafting an achievable daily plan so you can start creating the life of your dreams!

Because everybody’s lives are so different, my morning routine checklist covers general “must-do” items that I believe are important to building successful morning habits. You can even customize the blank checklist according to your lifestyle and interests, so it fits perfectly into your daily life.

Download my morning routine checklist or the customizable version and watch as your habits compound quickly to get you on track to crushing your goals!

My Pre-Filled Checklist

Use my pre-filled checklist template if my morning routine is something you’d like to try.

My Blank Checklist

Use my blank checklist template if you’d like to customize your own checklist.

Why Is A Morning Routine Checklist Important?

Starting your mornings with a routine is the best way to set yourself up for success and to keep you focused throughout your day. For example, let’s say you wake up at 6 am, snooze your alarm twice, check your phone for the latest social media news (which sets the tone for the rest of your day), then you realize you’ve been scrolling too long and need to rush to take a shower before you get the kids ready/go to work, etc… You’ve just put yourself in a hole you need to get out of before anything else can happen.

On the flip side, if you set your alarm for two hours earlier than you normally would, get out of bed right away, and start your day by setting your intentions and getting into a positive head space; you’ve just started down the path of improving your mood, reducing your stress, and setting yourself up for success.

It’s hard to get where you want to go without a map, and using a morning routine checklist is exactly the map you need.

Let’s take a look at how I set my mornings up so you can pick out the parts that you like and disregard the ones that don’t fit you.

My Morning Routine Checklist

This is my checklist in its entirety. After this list, I will break it down step by step explaining why each step is important.

  • 4 am – Wake up, NO PHONE, drink fresh water, go to a designated spot, journal.
  • 4:30 am – Meditate OR listen to an audiobook (only if it’s about learning something new).
  • 5 am – Exercise, drink another glass of water and eat a high protein, high fiber breakfast immediately after.
  • 6 am – Get the kid ready for school.
  • 7 am – Take a cold shower OR ice bath.
  • 7:30 am – Work on the most important item on my to-do list, AND COFFEE!
  • 10:30 am – Movement/snack break.
  • 11 am – Continue to-do list.

My Morning Routine Checklist Explained

4 am – Wake up

DO NOT START SCROLLING THROUGH YOUR PHONE! Immediately drink a fresh glass of water. Go to my designated writing spot (sitting cross-legged on the living room floor looking out of my bay window to watch the sunrise) and start journaling.

Morning Routine Checklist Wake Up

Why this is important

Getting up at 4 am might seem like it’s too early, but there is magic in the morning. It’s best to take advantage of the quiet stillness before everybody else wakes up. This allows you to collect your thoughts and get them down in your journal without interruptions.

Starting your morning with a tall glass of water is a great way to rehydrate your body and kick-start your metabolism (bonus points if you take the time to make lemon or cucumber water the night before).

Journaling is super important because it gets all of your jumbled-up thoughts down and out of your head. It’s a great life hack to get you focused in the morning. Don’t overthink when journaling. It will most likely look messy and barely make any sense, the goal here is to clear your mind. Got a song stuck in your head? Write it down. Did you suddenly remember that one time in 2nd grade when you did something embarrassing? Write it down.

4:30 am – Meditate OR listen to audiobooks

I prefer meditation over audiobooks unless it’s an audiobook about something new I’m learning. I highly recommend using the Insight Timer app for meditation.

Why this is important

Meditating is a great way to improve your mind, especially if you suffer from anxiety. It is a great tool for dealing with stress. Learning how to meditate can be difficult at first, but trust me, if you stick with it you’ll start to see some really amazing changes.

Audiobooks are one of my favorite tools for learning new things. It’s way faster than reading (I still recommend reading at night) and if you do it first thing in the morning it allows you to implement whatever you’re learning right away.

5 am – Exercise

I always start by stretching first and then doing short quick exercises. This does not have to be an intense workout, it’s just something to get your blood flowing. I usually do one round of as many pushups as I can until failure, situps until failure, and squats until failure. Drink another glass of water and a high protein, high fiber breakfast (organic plain Greek yogurt with thawed mixed berries, a protein shake, and an avocado) immediately after.

Morning Routine Checklist Exercise

Why this is important

Starting off by stretching is the secret to sticking with any workout routine. Doing something that feels good first, like stretching, eases you into exercise mode. If you try to start off cold turkey by going straight into a hard workout that you don’t enjoy, you’re setting yourself up for quitting.

Doing a quick workout right away in the morning gets your body moving and your heart pumping, boosting your metabolism and feeding your brain. Getting your high protein, high fiber breakfast in immediately will help build muscle and aid in digestion.

6 am – Get the kid ready for school

This includes waking him up, getting breakfast ready, getting dressed, teeth brushed, and out the door to make it to the bus by 6:44.

7 am – Take a shower, preferably cold

This is the last thing on the list that wakes your mind and body up.

Why this is important

There is a ton of scientifically backed research showing how cold exposure improves your health and well-being, including increased production of brown fat, increases in cold shock proteins, and stress reduction. If you’re on the fence about taking a cold shower, start with a regular hot shower and turn it as cold as it will go for the last 20 seconds. Your mind may initially fight you, but once you get past that mental barrier and do it, you’ll feel amazing. Trust me on this one.

If you’re looking to get the absolute best cold exposure therapy available check out my article on the best cold plunge tubs.

7:30 am – Review my to-do list and pick one thing to complete, also coffee!

This list is written the night before, right before I go to sleep. It is important to have at least 3 things written down that you’d like to accomplish the following day and stick to the most important one until it’s finished. My to-do list is written in a regular old college-ruled notebook, nothing special. This is also the time I allow myself to have coffee (usually mushroom coffee), but only after I’ve already eaten.

Morning Routine Checklist To-do list and coffee

Why this is important

Writing down your to-do items right before bed gets the ideas out of your head so you don’t stay up all night thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow. This was a massive reason for my insomnia until I started using this hack.

Now that your body and mind are fully awake, you may find that you have a ton of motivation to crush your goals for the day. Working on one specific goal until it’s finished will start compounding your motivation. Slay your day queen!

10:30 am – Take a break

I usually work for 3 hours straight and then take a break. This break should involve movement, especially if you’re like me and you sit behind a computer for a long period of time. If it’s nice out I opt to take the dog for a walk, if it’s not so nice I’ll get up and do another round of the exercises mentioned above. The important thing is to take your mind off of the tasks at hand.

Why this is important

Giving yourself a movement break and taking your mind off of what you’re working on gives you a chance to reset. You can take this time to review the progress you’ve made, get a quick workout in, grab a healthy snack, etc… We want to avoid burnout here.

11 am – Continue your to-do list

The end time for you may differ from mine, but I like to work from 11 am to 2:30 pm when my son gets off the bus. Once he’s home I dedicate as much time as I can to hanging out with him until his friends are home or getting the house cleaned up before my wife gets home from work.

Why this is important

This next solid chunk of work time will sometimes be the most productive, or it can be the least productive depending on your energy levels and motivation. I find that when I take a break from 10:30 am – 11 am I can’t wait to get back to working on my to-do list again, especially if it’s something I’m passionate about. If you find yourself struggling to get back on task, it usually means you’re not really into what you’re working on. If this is the case, you might want to switch to the second or third thing on your list if they seem like they’re more exciting to you.


What is the most important thing to do in the morning?

By far the most important things to make sure you do every morning are to drink a tall glass of water, journal to get your thoughts out, and review your to-do list. These are what I would consider to be the key elements of every good morning.

By writing your list of things to do the night before, you can give yourself a better chance at getting a good night’s sleep, which is super important, and not having to waste time in the morning creating your list.

What if I can’t do everything on the morning routine checklist?

No worries, this checklist is meant to be a rough guide for you to use and tweak to your own lifestyle.

If you’re looking for the less important things on this list that you can replace, I would suggest trading out the cold shower for splashing cold water on your face or submerging your face in a bowl of cold water. This will give you close to the same effects as an actual cold shower and save you time.

How do I stay consistent with my own morning routine?

If you miss a day or two or don’t follow the morning ritual to a “T” it is not the end of the world. You can always try again tomorrow or next week.

Things happen, life isn’t always perfect. Sometimes the kids are sick, or you have an emergency appliance repair that will totally ruin your perfect morning routine. Don’t get discouraged. Once you get everything handled you can always pivot back to your daily morning routine.

What if I’m not a morning person?

As I said before, there is magic in the morning. If you’re a night owl or don’t consider yourself a morning person just because the thought of getting up early seems terrible to you, all I can say is try it for a week or two. You might be surprised how a great morning routine can really change your mental health.

You can also ease into a new wake-up time by progressively setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than normal. This way you’re not jumping in with both feet which can feel like a difficult task.

Obviously, if you work late nights then there’s nothing much you can do about a morning routine, so instead you can take the same checklist and create a great evening routine.


Your morning routine may look way different than mine. Once you find out the perfect morning routine that works for your lifestyle you’ll be on track to a productive morning.

Checklists like these are used by some of the most successful people. They provide a structure to your life, get your morning started off on the right foot, promote inner peace, reduce stress, improve your physical health, and give you more energy so you can have an awesome morning!

Start your morning routine checklist now and watch your life take off!

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