Designing a Morning Routine that Sticks

by Savannah Wishart


sanctuary; an invisible circle of protection, drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved, even in the darkest times.

Life is the ultimate creative project. There’s a reason why I’ve always referred to my life coaching practice as something else: executive lifestyle design.

As an artist of multiple disciplines, I’ve always believed the way you shape life to be synonymous with creating art. It’s all we have – why not make sure it’s steeped in beauty and meaning?

It’s not just about doing work you love, getting in shape, or how you spend your leisure time.

It’s the 24/7 experience.

As of this writing, it’s the beginning of autumn and life is leaning into a naturally slower rhythm. (Yes, I’m slow to hit publish on this one). With darker nights, darker mornings, and cooler temperatures, it’s time to turn our attention inward. Autumn and winter have always been my favorite – perhaps at least partly because the pace of the world encourages more time spent reading, writing, and invested in self-reflection.

After a summer of insanity, I am in the process of refocusing my attention on routines that nourish me – an especially important practice when I am coaching clients with more frequency. As an introvert, my social battery drains quickly and it takes a hefty dosage of alone time to restore myself.

One area I’m re-focusing my attention has been on coaching Mark Divine’s Unbeatable Mind program to clients. I chose this program in 2020 because I was already following many of the practices being taught – I just needed to understand how to turn my personal lifestyle practices into coachable action steps for others. I wanted to become a resource to support people along their unique journey – not just a source of inspiration to live a life that might have seemed unattainable.

Why? Because I truly believe with every fiber of my being that our lives are meant to be filled with joy, purpose, meaning, and work that you love. I believe we all have a unique gift in the way we show up. There is something within each of us that no one else can bring to the table. Learning to harness those gifts alchemizes into magic when you commit to walking your path from a place of non-negotiable authenticity.

More on that later. You’re here for the morning ritual!

There are a handful of powerful tools within the Unbeatable Mind program, and two of them are daily practices that serve as bookends to live the ethos of “One Day, One Life.” They are, simply: the morning ritual and evening ritual. Simple, yes – but not necessarily synonymous with easy.

The morning ritual has always been my bread and butter, despite not ever being what people would see as a morning person. When I began my #MorningCoffee practice in 2017, I shared the thought that I might actually be the ultimate morning person. (This insight was the first time my dear friend Griffin reached out to me, and our long-distance friendship is now well into 6 years, after finally meeting in Morocco in 2022). 

My reasoning? I may not be ready to jump into social interactions or busy commutes, but I’m ready to sit with myself in quiet contemplation. Instead of immediately pouring myself into an external world, I gravitate to a potent internal experience with the most important person in my life: my Self.

As I’ve shifted in and out of routine, often discombobulated by moving countries, states, houses – the importance of routine has been highlighted for me. How you start your morning sets the foundation for how the rest of your day unfolds. It’s common knowledge with (paleo) nutrition that starting your day with a protein-packed breakfast empowers you to make healthy food choices through the entire day; whereas beginning with sweets will often lead to temptation later on. The same is echoed in your digital habits (think of it as an information diet), stress management (breathwork and meditation), and focus (in the age when goldfish have greater attention spans than most humans).

Times of discombobulation serve as a reminder of how hard it can be to get started moving habits in a healthier direction. They humble me, returning me to a beginner’s mindset. I like to think it brings me back to fine-tuning the foundation, so I can better serve clients who are starting fresh from the beginning.

Re-igniting my morning routine, I’ve made a few notes about what’s been helping kickstart good habits again.

How to Design a Morning Routine that Feels Good (and Sustainable)


Make a delicious superfood coffee for yourself.

I recently reinvested in some of the supplements that I used to be non-negotiably committed to blending into my coffee every morning. After taking a supplement detox, I’ve reintegrated the ones that are the most supportive for what I want. I’ve been slowly detoxing myself off caffeine, so adding in some stimulating adaptogens have been my priority. My current morning coffee potion includes:

Caramel MCT oil from Natural Force, rhodiola powder, collagen peptides from BUBS, honey, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Set the mood and create a magnetic environment to marinate in.

I like to take the “one day, one life” motto and apply it to my day on a micro level. This means creating bookends around each of my activities: a ritual both to open and to close. Not only does it infuse the activity with more meaning, it lets me fully integrate whatever it is I’m doing. With the opening, I set an intention to go into the next moment with more focus and less distraction. When closing, I make that time to reach a place of completion – I can move onto the next part of my day without it straggling behind.

When choosing these bookends for your morning routine, this can look like a multitude of things. Light a candle to create a cozy environment, ignite incense to activate your sense of smell. Perhaps you have some flowers to invite colours into the room.

If you love candles, not only do they make the space cozy, but you can explore the meditation of Tratak. Candle gazing is a practice in which you focus your eyes on a small point, inviting a greater feeling of clarity – perfect for starting your writing practice.

Have specific questions to guide your morning writing… Or, don’t.

I can go either way, depending what space I’m in. If you’re familiar with Julia Cameron, you’re familiar with Morning Pages. The intention behind her guidance is to dive into your journaling 100% freestyle. Without prompts, you’re encouraged to step fully into your stream of consciousness, even if that means writing several sentences about how much you don’t want to do laundry… until some kind of wisdom eventually appears on the page. Or, if it doesn’t. But – sometimes a blank page feels intimidating. Especially if you’re unaccustomed to a journal practice, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Some of my favourite journal prompts can be explored at the AllSwell Creative instagram page, Beth Kempton’s writing courses, and the Moon Lists.

Meal prep.

I admit that this isn’t an obvious way to enhance your morning routine, but it really helps. When you start your nutrition off strong, your eating habits remain healthier throughout the day. And, it saves you time. For those with busy schedules, an in-depth morning routine practice sounds like a luxury. Having food ready to throw in the microwave gives you more space to focus on your routine, and your mind stays focused. When we make the decision not to decide, we free up brain space to apply our thoughts to more significant matters: instead of wondering what we’re going to put in our mouth.

And… that’s a wrap! There are plenty of other things to add into your morning routine, but we all just new a few steps to get started. If you’ve already set up a morning routine for yourself, I would love to hear – What does the first hour of your day look like? And equally important, what does it feel like? I would love to hear your favourite ways to start your day off strong.

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