If you’re like most people (or most college students, to be more exact), your mornings probably go something like this: you set at least five alarms, roll out of bed after multiple snoozes, and head to class without much thought. You probably don’t eat breakfast and probably think that those ten extra minutes of sleep made all the difference in the world.

While this can work for a lot of people, it’s not ideal and it’s not the key to a successful, meaningful day. 

What if you woke up an hour earlier and took that extra time before the world wakes up to reflect, feel, and be grateful? Imagine adding an extra thirty minutes to your day to exercise, read, or do whatever else your heart may desire. Rather than running through your day like a chicken with its head cut off, you could be productive, you could be happy, and perhaps most importantly, you could be intentional

So, you may ask, what exactly is a morning ritual? Put simply, it is a morning routine that you cultivate to fit your own personal needs. It can be a time for work or a time for rest. It’s whatever you make of it; the important part is that it’s yours. 

My morning ritual goes like this:

My alarm goes off (yes, I only need one), I wake up, and I immediately think of at least five things I am grateful for. Some days it’s harder than others to find gratitude, but by practicing this rather than immediately reaching for my phone, I demonstrate that my priorities lie first in myself, then in what others need from me.

Next, I’ll go downstairs and make a french press coffee and whip up some breakfast. I’ll return upstairs, burn some incense, and meditate for anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on how much time I have. Time permitted, I’ll put a record on and read until I have to get ready for class or my workout. And voila! Morning ritual complete. 

Now, this may look worlds different from what you may find fulfilling, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s yours. So you’re wondering: why should you sacrifice your sleep for this? Let me elaborate for ya. 

You may be under the impression that you’re “not a morning person,” or that you work better at night. And for all I know, you may be 100% right. While my morning rituals start at 6, yours could begin at 10 and they wouldn’t be any less productive.

  • What you do when you wake up sets your tone for the entire day so if you do it right, you’ll be better able to do everything else right.
  • Knowing exactly what will happen for the first 90 minutes of your day is incredibly refreshing, and it helps you feel in control.
  • There are many, many things throughout your day that will be out of your reach, but the way you spend your morning is entirely up to you.

Set goals, reflect on what is going right (or wrong) in your life, and determine what needs to be done to accomplish what you desire. Focus on yourself before turning this focus towards external things. Make a to-do list, write out your feelings, or simply sit still and be. I encourage you to refrain from checking your phone for at least the first hour of your day; texts and emails all symbolize what the world needs from you rather than what you need from the world. Prioritize yourself and the rest will fall into place. 

If you look at any greatly successful AND fulfilled person, their day will start the same each time. By taking an hour or so for yourself and committing to introspection rather than focusing on what others want or need from you, you are cultivating a practice of self love and care that will be returned to you greatly. Successful days make for successful lives, and living with intention makes room for more meaning and happiness. 

Start your day with love and intention, and it will come back to you. Express gratitude and positivity and watch it grow before your eyes. Control what you can, and relinquish what you cannot. Drink that coffee, take that time, and maximize your day for the rest of your life. You got this!

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About The Author

Hannah is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Health Science and English with hopes to become your go-to trainer, dietitian, and wellness expert! When she's not planning her next four meals you can find her at a music festival, a yoga class, or the cutest coffee shop in proximity.

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