Minimalist Morning Routine: 10 Rituals to Transform Your Day (2023)
In this post, you'll discover 10 minimalist morning routine rituals to start your day with. This routine will set you up for a day of calm, focus, and positive energy.
It is designed to reduce decision-making in the morning, enhance your thoughts and mood, and utilize your body's natural clock—the circadian rhythm—to optimize your energy levels.
In fact, this is an adaptation of a morning routine I taught to nearly 12,000 students on Udemy.
Let's dive right in.
Table of content
What is a minimalist morning routine?
A minimalist morning routine prepares you to live the day ahead with intention and clarity.
It should prepare you to make choices that will bring joy and create possibility in your day. It's a routine that will ground you in your values and will help you distinguish signal from noise throughout the day.
Down below, you'll discover a minimalist morning routine made of 10 simple rituals.
Pick and choose what works for you. Experiment with each individual habit and ask: "Does this bring me value? Does this bring me joy?". If the answer is no, eliminate it.
10 minimalist morning rituals for your routine
Scrape your tongue and brush your teeth
Start your day with oral care. Yes, before breakfast. Doing so will protect your enamel and prevent bacteria accumulated on your teeth and tongue to fall back into your digestive tract.
Use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from your tongue, then brush your teeth. You can also experiment with oil pulling, though this will add an additional 10-20 minutes to your routine.
Worried about bad breath? Flossing and flushing your mouth with water or a fluoride solution after breakfast will help get rid of food residue between your teeth and keep a clean mouth.
Drink a large glass of water
Your body sheds water at night through sweating and breathing.
Drinking a large glass of water (2 to 4 glasses) on an empty stomach will jump-start your metabolism, strengthen your immune system, and help proper cell and brain function.
You can also add electrolytes and vitamins to your water.
My favorite morning cocktail has a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt in it. Sometimes, I'll throw in a bit of honey, ginger, and turmeric as well and drink it warm.
Make Your Bed
Making your bed is a simple yet effective way to prime your brain for achievement. The small win is going to give you a small dose of dopamine which effects are going to ripple throughout your day.
If you work from home, you'll also be giving your mind a tidy and organized environment to operate in.
Big achievements are often preceded by humbler ones. By making your bed, you're starting the momentum that will lead you to conquer bigger tasks throughout the day.
"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed." - Admiral McRaven (full speech)
And if your day doesn't go well, you'll at least have the satisfaction of coming home to a bed well-made.
Energize your body and get your blood flowing with a bit of exercise. Not a full-on workout—just a bit of motion.
Depending on the amount of time you have and your level of fitness, consider the following options:
- Stretching: Roll your head, shoulders, and hips a few times in each direction.
- Yoga: Pop a downward-facing dog, an upward-facing dog, a child's pose, a shoulder bridge, and a warrior pose, for example.
- Bodyweight exercises: A dozen of jump-and-jacks, squats, pushups, crunches, or burpees should do the trick.
- Cardio: If you have the time, go out for a brisk walk, a jog, or go up and down the staircase a few times.
Get direct sunlight
Ever heard of the circadian rhythm? It's your body's internal clock. And it's regulated in big part by light.
In other words, your body knows whether to be awake or sleep based on how much light hits your eye at any point in time.
Light (particularly blue light) triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol helps your body be alert (read: awake). Exposing yourself to enough light in the morning is going to help you feel energized and ready to conquer the world.
If it feels like you can't function unless you have a cup of coffee in the morning, it may be because you're not getting enough light early in the day.
"Getting sunlight in your eyes first thing in the morning [...] is perhaps the most important thing that any and all of us can and should do in order to promote metabolic well-being, promote the positive function of your hormone system, get your mental health steering in the right direction." - Dr. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D.
Light coming from a screen or through a window doesn't work as well. So step outside, even if it's just for a couple of minutes (ideally 5 or more).
Do not wear sunglasses. They block light and prevent it from working its magic.
☕️ Pro tip: Delay caffeine intake
The moment light hits your eye in the morning, your body starts releasing cortisol. Because caffeine interferes with the production of said cortisol, it is best to delay caffeine intake to about 60 minutes after waking up so you enjoy the energizing effects of not only coffee, but also your body's natural clock.
As minimalists, we want to be able to make conscious decisions throughout the day and not react to negative or impulsive thoughts.
Meet meditation - a powerful way to quiet your mind and see past the thoughts that clutter it.
Meditation is a difficult practice. A guided practice like Sam Harriss' Waking Up course is a great way to get started.
If you haven't had much success with meditation, try breathing exercises instead. They have the similar - though not as profound - effect of grounding and pausing your stream of thoughts.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion. You can't be angry (or sad or anxious) and grateful at the same time.
A gratitude practice is an important ritual to include in your minimalist morning routine for it will clear negative thoughts and help you gain perspective on what matters in your life.
Moreover, if you believe in the law of attraction, you know that focusing on what you're grateful for is likely to bring more of those things into your life.
"Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have." - Rabbi Hyman Schachtel
Take 2 minutes each morning to give thanks for things you have—healthy family members, a roof to sleep under, or access to potable water, for example.
To intensify the feeling, you can train "negative visualization", a Stoic practice that involves imagining what it'd like living without the things you care most about.
Use journaling to offload mental clutter and capture your most creative thoughts.
There are two common ways to journal.
The first is to write down all of your thoughts on the page as they come until you reach a mental "inbox zero".
The second is to journal about a specific topic.
"Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious." - Thomas Edison
The morning is the ideal time to resolve problems from the day before. During the night, your subconscious untagles the soup of thoughts, experiences, and feelings you had during the day. Which is why "sleeping on an issue" can be so effective.
Ask something of your subconscious the night before, like "should I take the job offer?". Then let it go. Do not think or try to solve it at night. Let it simmer overnight.
First thing when you wake up, pull out your journal and write down all the thoughts about the issue that come to mind.
🙉 Pro tip: Journal pre-input
Access your deepest, most creative thoughts pre-input.
External stimuli like the news, the weather, or social media updates clutter your mind and make it difficult to retrieve ideas and concepts your subconscious distilled during the night.
So journal as early as in the morning as possible. Before you turn on your phone. Before you turn on the TV. Before you talk to anyone.
Set your intentions
Conclude your journal entry with your intentions for the day. Write down what you plan on accomplishing, but also how you plan on showing up as a person.
This is a great time to remind and keep yourself accountable for your values as a minimalist.
At the end of your day, you have the possibility to look back at your intentions and evaluate how well you've done. And if you fell short, use that insight to shape the next day's morning routine.
Do you feel different when you go about your day looking sharp as a tack than when you run out the door wearing your "I woke up like this" look?
Grooming in the morning can help you feel more attractive and confident. Ultimately, it affects how you show up in your interactions with others.
Take some time in the morning to take care of yourself.
🚿 Pro tip: Cold showers
If you like to shower in the morning, try turning the shower knob all the way to cold for at least 30 seconds either at the beginning or end of your wash.
Cold exposure will improve your mood, boost your immune system, and train you to remain calm in situations of stress. This is a great way to practice keeping a cool head when external circumstances get tough.
Breathe deeply and resist the urge to quit.
Why is a morning routine important?
The way you spend the first 60 minutes of your day can have a dramatic impact on the unfolding of the remaining 23 hours. Having a well-established routine is a key differentiator between people who react to life and those who design it.
If morning routines are a new concept to you, I will guess with 99% confidence that this morning, you grabbed your phone before you even had eaten breakfast. You probably checked your messages, caught up on the news, and/or checked in to see what your friends had been up to on social media... Fair assumption?
The best morning routines are about intentionally preparing your body and mind for the day ahead. They're about protecting your focus and feeding your brain with empowering emotions that will ripple throughout the day and empower you to embrace simple living.