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15 Things You Can Do Each Morning to Make Your Day More Successful

We’re talking a lot about getting up early here on this month. And it’s not necessarily because I think it’s cool or fun to get up before the sun.

Quite the contrary! In fact, as I confessed this morning, I often come up with excuses for staying in bed longer.

The real reason I want to encourage you to become more of an early riser is because I want you to reap the fruit that comes from starting your day off on the right foot. By getting out of bed and approaching your day with energy, enthusiasm, and a plan, you’re setting yourself up for success from the get-go. And a successful life happens by stringing together successful day after successful day.

Truly, how you approach your day when you get up each morning can have an affect on not just your entire day — but your entire life. That’s powerful!

So, with this in mind, here are 15 things you can do each morning to set your day up for success (you don’t have to do all of them every morning — but pick a few and do them consistently and see if they make a difference!:

1. Make Your Bed.

It’s a little thing, but making your bed not only makes you feel accomplished as soon as you get out of your bed, it also makes it harder to get back in your bed.

2. Pray/Read the Bible.

My favorite time of day is my early morning quiet time when I read a few chapters from the Bible and pray.

3. Count Your Blessings.

I also take a few moments every morning to write down a few things I’m thankful for in my Gratitude Journal. It’s amazing how focusing on my blessings gives me renewed energy and excitement for the day.

4. Breathe & Spend a Few Moments in Quiet.

You need margin. Every single day. Take time to be still and quiet… don’t just wake up and rush right into your long to do list without so much as taking a breath!

5. Read a Chapter From a Good Book.

I love to read a short chapter or two from a good book every morning. Not only does this help me guarantee that I fit in a little reading every day, but it gives me some inspiring thoughts to consider as I go about my morning.

6. Exercise.

Even if you only have time to do some stretches, sit-ups, and jumping jacks, do something every day to get your heart pumping. If possible spend 10-30 minutes exercising each morning. I promise you’ll feel better!

7. Shower & Get Dressed For The Day You Want To Have.

I’m not sure where I first heard of the concept of dressing for the day you want to have, but I love it — and it’s something I need to work on implementing more.

8. Make a Plan.

Write down at least three to five things you plan to accomplish today. Even if you don’t get them all done, the very act of writing down your plan will give you more momentum for your day.

9. Turn On Some Music.

Good music always improves my mood and energy for the day.

10. Hydrate.

Do yourself a favor and start your day off by hydrating… and then keep hydrating throughout the day. You’ll feel so much better!

11. Eat a Healthy Breakfast.

Don’t skip breakfast! Even if you just eat some yogurt and fruit, get something healthful in your stomach soon after you wake up.

12. Smile.

Need I say more? A smile is one of the best gifts you can give others — and yourself!

13. Do Something For Someone Else.

Speaking of giving, beginning your day with outstretched arms is a surefire way to kickstart a great day.

14. Sing.

Need to boost your spirits? Try singing. It never fails to lift one’s mood.

15. Tackle the Hardest Thing First.

Instead of spending all day avoiding those one or two things that you dread the most, just get ’em done first thing so you can enjoy the rest of your day.

Bonus idea: Expect the Unexpected

Always expect interruptions and delays in your day. This is not being negative; this is being realistic. Then, if they don’t happen as often as you thought they would, you’ve been given the gift of more time and less frustration!

Bonus idea: Give Yourself Grace

Your day won’t go exactly as planned. You will make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up or wallow in guilt. Heap on the grace and remember that tomorrow is a new day!

Related: Check out Ann Voskamp’s amazing Sanity Manifesto.

What do you do each morning to set yourself up for success?


Want some practical help with setting up your day for success? Be sure to grab a copy of my brand-new online course, Make Over Your Mornings.

This 14-day online course includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects and is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process.

If you’ve ever wished that you could figure out how to get more done, have more organization in your life, and find time to spend on things you love, the Make Over Your Mornings Course is for you. Find out more about it here.

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  • These are all great tips! I’m trying to make #2 a part of my morning. It’s a great way of setting my mind for the day.

  • chariy says:

    I absolutely loved this article and thank u so much for the encouragement. You have been such a big encouragement to me since you started the early to rise challenge and I pray God blesses you as much as you are a blessing in other peoples lives. Keep up the great work.

  • Anna Ruth says:

    Oh wow. I mentally declined participating in the “Early to Rise” challenge, but you just convinced me! Although I am a night owl who stays up late to work online, the sweetness of this type of morning resonates with me. Tomorrow I will try getting up 20 minutes earlier and adding some of these suggestions into my rather barebones routine. I plan to print and keep this list for further inspiration!

  • Starting a load of laundryfirst thing each morning really helps my mornings. Even better is if I program my machine to start the load a couple of hours before I wake; then I can put the load in the dryer the first thing and put another in the wash right after (my loads get sorted into baskets each day in my closet; the children sort their clothes in each morning). It really helps me with my minimum 4 loads a day.

    • Becky says:

      I love your idea of having a timer on the washer. So that it can run & be done right before you wake up. It is brilliant! I wish my machine had that option.

      I also follow your blog, have been for several months & I have learned some great ideas on stocking my pantry & you have some wonderful recipes too. I made your jalapeño jelly, and French bread. Both wonderful!

      • Ellen says:

        Becky, I have no timer, but I often start to wash a load at night and then it is ready to transfer in the morning. Works very well.

        • angie says:

          I will start a load right before I go to bed at night and then switch it out first thing in the morning. And this may be a bad habit, but if I am super busy during the day, I switch out the laundry but I don’t fold it. Then when I need to take a break I bring all my clean laundry out and fold it all.

  • Shelly says:

    In the past few mornings since I have been getting up a little earlier I have been getting my exercise out do the way right away. Exercise is one of my hard things to do each day so I like to get out of the way as early as I can.

  • karissa sjaarda says:

    I like these. None of them are overwhelming. And i don’t need a treadmill I’m my apartment to get exercise in. Thanks for this.

  • C says:

    I love getting up early, having some quiet time then exercising. All before waking my children for school. I feel as though I am in control instead of ‘chasing the day’. I hope this series is inspiring you. Trust me, some days are difficult, but it is always worth it.

  • Alison Wood says:

    This is so encouraging and needed. I always feel better when I wake up and do those things you listed. Thanks for the healthy reminder:)

    Visiting from Pint-sized Treasures

  • Victoria says:

    I giggled over the make the bed suggestion. I am sure it would work for most people, but for me my hubby is still in bed for a few more hours, I couldn’t help but think of what he would think of me making the bed with him still in it! LOL.The one reason I sometimes take 20 minutes to get out of bed some mornings is we turn down the heat significantly at night and it is so warm in that bed and so cold in the rest of the house, I lie there way longer than I should convincing myself that it won’t be that bad, get up and get dressed.

    • J in VA says:

      Do you have teh option of a programable thermostat so it could start to warm up about 15 minutes before you need to get up?

    • Nicole says:

      Could you try running to turn the heat up, and then getting back under the blankets for a few minutes? Maybe you could use that time to read a book or something, and give the house a chance to warm up. I think that is what I would do in your case! Just make sure once you climb back in bed, to stay somewhat vertical. 😉

  • Loved these tips about making a successful morning routine. I had been working on a couple of these things earlier this year, but I crashed & burned at one point; enjoying the jump start I’m getting from participating in the #EarlyToRise challenge!

  • Sarah says:

    What a great list! I will be printing this out and making a serious effort to implement more of the ones that I don’t already do. Thanks so much, Crystal. You have made such an impact on my life in just the short time I have been following your blog. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • saverchic says:

      I make fill up all of our sippy cups for the day. That way, I’m ready for sudden emergency sippy cup needs, and I know if we need to go out and buy more milk. @Victoria – I thought the same thing about making the bed! 🙂 I do try to pull up the covers on my side, though.

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you so much for your kind encouragement! I’m grateful to have you here as a reader.

  • Becky says:

    Good tips! I’m afraid I can not accomplish the first one “Make your Bed”, since my husband is usually still in it 😀

  • Mary says:

    Remember how inspiring certain scriptures can be when read alone as a quote?

    I’ve started compiling a list of those scriptures to mentally review when I wake. Mine starts with Romans 8:31,32 “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did spare even His own son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” From there I go straight to John 15 and so on. If you decide to do this, you can memorize them or type them up on a list to pick up and read every morning.

    Look for scriptures that motivate and inspire you. As you keep reading your Bible, you’ll find more “treasures” to add to your list.

    Now even sad days take on a different note as I change the channel in my mind and start thinking about this very personal list of scriptures that make my heart sing.

  • heather says:

    I am a morning person and I often get more done before my kids go to school then most people get done in a day. That being said if I get up early my kids get up early so for me if I got up at 6 so would everyone else. As it is all 3 get up around 6:30 so for me sleeping until they do is the best way for me to start my day off right. Its all about what works for you and makes you happy. To me getting up at 5 just so know when else is up will not make me happy. Plus my husband I don’t go to bed until around 10-10:30 so we can spend some time together after the kids go to bed.

  • Sandra says:

    I begin each day with worship, prayers of thanksgiving and hymns of praise. It’s an amazing way to live! I am a Christian but one day, for the first time, I had the opportunity to listen to a Rabbi speak. Rabbi posed this question: Did you ever notice when you have a long list of things to do for the day, wondering how you will ever get it all done, and you spend part of your day giving of your time to be a blessing to others that some how you manage to complete all which you wanted to complete? I had never given it thought. But when I paid closer attention I found it to be true. I have no doubt Divine Intervention is what makes it all possible!

  • Shu says:

    Love the ideas! I really need more things to keep me going in the morning… Thank you!

  • My toddler starts waking up fairly early (a bit before 6). We’re trying to train her to entertain herself in her crib until after 6. So I’m usually awake in bed thinking (I can’t sleep when she’s making noise) for those minutes of 5:50-6:05-ish. I can’t say I’m having particularly deep thoughts, though!

  • Kathy says:

    These are great tips, thanks! I struggle to get moving in the mornings. My 5 year old wakes up super early and my 2 year old stays up late. So, mornings are just hard. I will try to implement some of your tips!

  • Damaris says:

    Funny your writing about routines in the morning I was just thinking about the same thing
    yesterday morning! Looking at your list gives me some good ideas, thank you for sharing.

  • One of my teenage sons is now working and he doesn’t get home until 10:30 or 11. My husband and I stay up and when he gets home he eats and we “hang out” a little. It’s been a really sweet time but it’s killing my mornings. I really need 7 hours of sleep a night. So for the time being, my mornings are not as productive as I want them to be but I’m so thankful for this time. We’ve always been early to bed early to rise type people and I’m sure one day we’ll go back to it.

  • laurie says:

    While I love all the suggeations to rise early I have never been an earlier riser nor will I ever be. I already work 3 12 hrs shifts a week and rise at 6am. I am so tired every day that I need 12hrs of sleep a night. I nap everyday I am off for 2-3hrs. For some of us getting up at 5am daily sounds exhausting.

    • Crystal says:

      If you’re exhausted all the time, I’d encourage you to try getting more sleep — if at all possible. You’ll end up having a much better morning if you get adequate rest you need at night.

      The wonderful thing about the “Early to Rise” challenge is that you get to define what “early” is for you — be it 5 a.m. or 9 a.m. 🙂

    • Twelve hour shifts are certainly exhausting! My husband worked 12 hour swing shift for 2 years and he was so exhausted all the time. We were so grateful when he switched to a “normal” schedule (or at least mostly normal). Then I worked 12 hour days for the past two years – that changed in September and I’m so glad!

      Can I suggest going in for a complete physical? If you’re that exhausted even after some catch up sleep it might be a sign that something else is wrong. It might not – it could just be your schedule too. Either way, it might not hurt. I’m suggesting that because I had an underlying medical condition that required 12 hours + of sleep each night – it wasn’t from my work shift – and I’d hate to have others go through the same misery I did.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  • Kate says:

    Love the suggestions! I spend time with my prayer journal in the morning. I have yet to eat that frog of exercise in the morning, though it is one of my *future* goals. I like to read in the morning but often I lose track of time..

  • Eva says:

    I love your blog, I’m trying to keep my starter blog going. Anyway, I love this list you have on fifteen things to do to stay your day better. Is it possible if I share it on my blog? If not, no big deal. Thank you in advance, have a blessed day.

    • You’re more than welcome to share part of the post (usually bloggers will share something like 2-3 paragraphs) and then link back to the full posts for people to click through and read the rest. Thanks so much for asking!

  • Anne says:

    I love these tips, thank you for sharing them! I would like to be an early riser kinda gal, but I’m sleep-deprived with the baby waking often, as well as my husband waking me up 3-4 times a week usually between 5:30 and 6:30am. I think I get about 5-6 hours per night of interrupted sleep. I’m not trying to complain, I’m just trying to make my life WORK because I feel like I’m stuck in the lurch. Do you think I should try to tough through it and nix the extra morning sleep and just stay up after the 6am nursing, or should I make sleep my top priority and crawl back under the covers? Thanks for any ideas!

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