How To Become That Girl: Morning Routine And Habits

 

Written by Peter Keszegh

We've all seen the "That Girl" aesthetic all over social media. You know the type: glowing skin, effortlessly chic style, a life that seems perfectly balanced between productivity and wellness. But what if I told you that "That Girl" isn't just about how you look? It's about cultivating a set of habits and a morning routine that empowers you to feel your best and achieve your goals.

The key to becoming "That Girl" is to focus on creating a routine that works for you, not chasing someone else's version of perfection. Here, we'll delve into some practical steps to craft a powerful morning routine that sets the tone for a productive, healthy, and empowering day.

Here are some ways on how to become That Girl

The importance of a morning routine

Why is a morning routine so important? Waking up each day and mindlessly rushing into the chaos can leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and behind before your day even really begins. A well-crafted morning routine, on the other hand,allows you to take control of your day and sets you up for success. Here's a deeper look at why a morning routine is essential for becoming "That Girl":

Sets the tone for the day

The way you start your day has a powerful ripple effect on your emotional state, mindset, and ability to handle what the day throws at you. Think of it as setting the emotional and mental soundtrack for your day:

  • The power of a positive start: A morning routine that centers around positive activities like gratitude practice, affirmations, light movement, or even savoring a cup of tea sends a signal to your brain that this day is going to be a good one. This positivity builds momentum and can make you more resilient to challenges.

  • The pitfalls of a chaotic start: If you start your day with hitting snooze repeatedly, rushing through basic hygiene, or scrolling through negativity on social media, you're essentially telling your brain that this day is about stress, overwhelm, and reactivity. This often translates into feeling frazzled and less proactive throughout the day.

  • The importance of intentionality: Imagine two scenarios. Scenario 1: you stumble out of bed, reactively check your phone, and rush through the day feeling like you're always one step behind. Scenario 2: You wake up, intentionally move your body, listen to some mood-boosting music, and read a few pages of an inspiring book. Which scenario do you think would lead to a more productive and enjoyable day? The key difference is the intentionality you bring to the start of your day.

  • Long-term effects: The way you start your day isn't just about that specific day. Consistent positive mornings create lasting patterns that shape your overall outlook. On the other hand, consistently chaotic mornings reinforce feelings of stress and inadequacy.

Remember: Your morning routine is a powerful tool to influence the trajectory of your day. A little mindful planning can make a world of difference in your productivity, happiness, and overall sense of well-being.

Reduces decision fatigue

Decision fatigue is a very real and insidious phenomenon that affects everyone. Here's how it works:

  • Your willpower is a finite resource: While it might feel like you can make an unlimited number of choices, the truth is that your decision-making power has limits. Just like a muscle, your willpower and ability to make sound decisions gets tired over the course of the day.

  • The onslaught of choices: Our modern world bombards us with choices, from the most trivial (what to wear, what to eat, which emails to answer first) to very important ones (work strategies, life decisions). Each choice, even a small one, chips away at your willpower and cognitive resources.

  • The quality of your decisions suffers: As you face more and more decisions throughout the day, your brain starts taking shortcuts. You might choose the easiest option, not the best option. You might procrastinate on important decisions because they seem too overwhelming, or you might become impulsive, making choices you later regret.

How your morning routine helps:

  • Automating the mundane: By creating a morning routine that includes some basic choices (laying out your clothes the night before, having a go-to healthy breakfast option), you're automating those decisions. This frees up your precious willpower for more important choices later.

  • Preserves mental energy: When you don't have to agonize over small choices and have the mental energy to tackle bigger decisions with focus and clarity, you're naturally less likely to succumb to decision fatigue and its negative repercussions.

  • Builds a habit of smart decision-making: The more your morning routine trains you to make good choices for yourself upfront, the more that habit of "choosing wisely" spills over into other areas of your day.

Think of your morning routine as your armor against decision fatigue. It preserves your mental stamina for those decisions that truly matter.

Being that girls: having a morning routine

Boosts productivity

A morning routine that incorporates healthy habits like exercise, hydration, and nourishing your mind can significantly improve your focus, energy levels, and overall productivity. When you feel energized and focused, you're naturally more efficient and capable.

  • Improved Focus: Activities like meditation, journaling, or even spending a few minutes in nature can help clear your mind, improve concentration, and enhance your ability to focus on the tasks at hand. A scattered mind leads to scattered work; a focused mind translates directly to productivity.

  • Increased Energy Levels: Incorporating exercise into your morning routine gets your blood flowing, increases oxygen levels in your body, and releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals). All this translates to increased energy and stamina to tackle your workload without feeling sluggish. Additionally, starting your day with a nourishing breakfast gives your body and mind the long-lasting fuel they need to operate at peak performance.

  • Reduced Stress and Burnout Prevention: When you incorporate self-care into your morning, you naturally feel calmer and more centered. This resilience in the face of stress makes you less prone to overwhelm and the productivity-killing effects of burnout.

  • Enhanced Motivation and Self-Confidence: When your morning routine includes activities that make you feel good about yourself (like exercise, personal development, or creative pursuits), you naturally feel more capable and motivated. This positive self-image and "can-do" attitude propels you toward greater productivity.

  • Improved Time Management: A consistent morning routine eliminates that panicked feeling of wondering where the time went. The structure and predictability help you make the most of your day and stay on track with your priorities.

  • The Compound Effect Matters: Remember that it's not just about any individual day. When you consistently start your day with habits that optimize your well-being, this has a compound effect. You're not only more productive today, but weeks and months from now.

Promotes self-care

Mornings can be a sacred time to prioritize your well-being before the demands of the day set in. Whether it's through exercise, meditation, journaling, or simply savoring a nutritious breakfast, a morning routine allows you to invest in your physical, mental, and emotional health. This self-care translates into better resilience, self-confidence, and the ability to show up as your best self.

  • Creating Dedicated Time: Many of us struggle with saying "no" to external demands and finding time for ourselves. A morning routine carves out a sacred space within your day where your primary focus is on you. You're making a statement to yourself that your well-being matters.

  • Fostering a Holistic Approach: True self-care isn't just about pampering. A well-crafted morning routine allows you to address multiple dimensions of well-being:

    • Physical: Through exercise, healthy nourishment, and proper hydration.

    • Mental: With mindfulness practices, personal development, or creative pursuits.

    • Emotional: Through journaling, gratitude practices, or simply time for reflection.

  • Building Sustainable Habits: Consistency is key when it comes to self-care. By turning those self-care activities into morning habits, you're less likely to skip them in favor of other tasks and obligations.

Why Prioritizing Self-care Matters

Self-care isn't an indulgence; it's a necessity. Here's how it translates into real-life benefits:

  • Increased Resilience: Taking care of yourself builds emotional resilience, making you better equipped to handle stress, setbacks, and challenges. You have a well to draw from instead of always running on empty.

  • Improved Self-Confidence: When you consistently invest in your well-being, you send a message to yourself that you're worthy of care and attention. Over time, this translates into greater self-confidence and a stronger sense of self-worth.

  • Enhanced Ability to Show Up As Your Best Self: When you're well-rested, nourished, and emotionally balanced, you have more energy, focus, and positivity to pour into your relationships, your work, and your passions. Self-care isn't selfish – it directly benefits everyone around you.

  • Prevents Burnout: It's a common misconception that the most successful people work themselves to exhaustion. The truth is, taking care of yourself is essential for avoiding burnout and sustaining long-term success.

How to be that girl: Having discipline

Increases self-discipline

Sticking to a consistent morning routine requires discipline. The more you practice this discipline, the stronger those "self-regulation muscles" become. This increased self-discipline doesn't just apply to your mornings – it spills over into other areas of your life, helping you stay on track with your goals and commitments.

Small Wins Create Momentum

It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing on creating a disciplined morning routine can actually make it easier to be disciplined in other areas of your life. Every time you wake up on time, resist hitting snooze, and stick to your planned activities, you're essentially exercising your "self-regulation muscles." These small wins create a positive feedback loop, strengthening your belief in your ability to make and keep commitments to yourself.

Willpower as a Muscle

Think of your willpower as a muscle that gets stronger or weaker depending on how you use it. When you indulge in snoozing, procrastinating, or starting your day in a chaotic way, it's like letting that muscle atrophy. On the other hand, consistently sticking to your morning routine exercises your self-control and makes it stronger over time.

The Spillover Effect

The self-discipline you cultivate in your morning routine doesn't stay compartmentalized. It naturally spills over into other areas of your life. You're more likely to follow through on workout commitments, resist the temptation of unhealthy snacks, and stick to challenging work projects because you've built that habit of doing what you said you would do, even when it's not easy.

Overcoming instant gratification

We live in a world that caters to instant gratification – one-click shopping, endless social media scrolling, and tempting treats on every corner. Your morning routine is a way to train yourself to delay gratification and prioritize long-term goals over short-term impulses. This is an essential component of self-discipline in any area of life.

Reduces stress and anxiety

A morning routine can provide a much-needed sense of structure and predictability in your day. This helps lower stress and anxiety levels, particularly if you tend to feel overwhelmed by the vastness of the day ahead.

  • Creating Predictability: When you have a morning routine you follow, you introduce a sense of structure and predictability to your day. Even before the rest of your day unfolds, you've already completed a series of actions that you're in control of. This predictability can be incredibly soothing, especially if you're someone who tends to feel overwhelmed.

  • Building a Sense of Control: Mornings can sometimes feel like the most chaotic time of day, especially if you're prone to rushing or feeling reactive. A morning routine empowers you to take control of at least the first part of your day. This feeling of agency can greatly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that come from feeling like you're being swept along by external circumstances.

  • Incorporating Stress-Reducing Activities: If your morning routine includes activities scientifically known to reduce stress and anxiety, the benefits are amplified. Things like exercise, meditation, mindfulness practices, spending time in nature, or listening to calming music can all have a significant impact on your overall stress levels throughout the day.

  • Reducing Anticipatory Anxiety: Ever find yourself lying awake at night with racing thoughts about all the things you need to do the next day? This anticipatory anxiety is common. When you have a morning routine in place, you can rest easier knowing you have a set plan for tackling the day ahead, which can greatly calm those frantic late-night thoughts.

Remember: Stress and anxiety are often amplified by a feeling of losing control over our lives. A morning routine is a way to reclaim some of that control and create a sense of calm within yourself, even amidst a busy world.

how to be that girl: sleeping regularly

Improves sleep quality

It's important to understand that quality sleep isn't just about how many hours you spend in bed – it's about how well-rested you feel and the consistency of your sleep patterns. Here's how your morning routine plays a crucial role:

  • Your circadian rhythm is an internal biological clock that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle, among other important bodily functions. It's heavily influenced by light and consistency.

  • One of the most influential things you can do for your circadian rhythm is to wake up at the same time every day – even on weekends! This sends a strong signal to your body that it's time to start the day, anchoring your sleep-wake cycle.

  • Exposure to sunlight in the morning, especially within the first hour of waking, is incredibly beneficial for your circadian rhythm. It helps suppress the production of melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone) and signals to your body that it's time to be awake and alert.

  • When you have a morning routine you stick to, you naturally start winding down earlier in the evening to accommodate an earlier wake-up time. This consistency creates a positive feedback loop with your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

Why improved sleep matters

Improved sleep isn't just about feeling less tired. It has far-reaching effects on your well-being, including:

  • When you're well-rested, you have more emotional resilience. You're less prone to irritability, mood swings, and feeling overwhelmed.

  • Quality sleep restores your body's energy levels allowing you to feel more focused and alert throughout the day.

  • Good sleep is essential for a healthy immune system, weight management, and reducing your risk of chronic diseases.

How to craft your "that girl" morning routine

Now that you understand the power of a morning routine, let's get started on crafting your own! Here are some steps to follow:

Identify your goals

What do you want to achieve with your morning routine? Do you want to feel more energized? Improve your focus? Have more time for self-care? Once you know your goals, you can create a routine with habits that support them.

Why this step is crucial:

  • Clarity creates direction: Without knowing what you want to achieve, your morning routine is just a collection of random activities. Goals give you a clear target so you can be intentional about choosing habits to support those goals.

  • Keeps you motivated: It's a lot easier to wake up early or squeeze in a workout on busy mornings when you have a clear "why" driving you. Reconnecting with your goals serves as a reminder of what you're working towards.

  • Prevents overwhelm: There are endless ways you could spend your mornings. Goals help you narrow the options and focus on the habits that will truly move the needle for you.

How to uncover your goals:

  • The "I want to feel..." approach: Start by asking yourself "how do I want to feel during my day?" Energized? Focused? Calm? Centered? Let these feelings guide your goal-setting. For example, if you want to feel more energized, a morning routine with exercise and hydration would be a good fit.

  • Consider your pain points: What frustrates you most about your current mornings or your days in general? Do you feel frazzled and reactive? Drained with low energy? Aim to craft a morning routine that addresses these issues head-on.

  • Align with your values: Think about what's most important to you. If personal growth is a value, your morning routine could include reading or journaling. If community and relationships are important, perhaps you prioritize a morning walk with a friend.

Examples of common morning routine goals:

  • Increased energy levels

  • Improved mental focus and clarity

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • More time for self-care activities

  • Enhanced productivity at work or school

  • Cultivating a more positive mindset

  • Building healthy habits (like exercise, meditation)

How to be that girl: being happy

Consider your chronotype

Your chronotype refers to your body's natural inclination towards certain sleep-wake patterns. It's influenced by genetics and determines whether you're naturally wired to feel most alert and energized earlier in the day (early bird) or later at night (night owl).

Fighting against your natural chronotype is an uphill battle and often leads to burnout and a feeling that you're not "good" at morning routines. For example, forcing yourself to wake up at 5 a.m. for a workout when you're naturally a night owl is more likely to make you exhausted and resentful than energized and productive.

Knowing your chronotype allows you to design a morning routine that aligns with your body's natural rhythms, not against them. This makes it much easier to stick to your routine consistently and reap its benefits.

Tailoring your routine to your chronotype

Here are some examples of how early birds and night owls might approach their routines differently:

  • Early Bird:

    • Can naturally wake up earlier and may have more energy in the morning hours.

    • Morning workouts can be a great fit, leaving evenings for relaxation or less energy-intensive activities.

    • May need to wind down earlier in the evenings to maintain an early wake-up time.

  • Night Owl:

    • May struggle with early wake-ups and feel sluggish in the mornings.

    • Might benefit from a slower, gentler morning routine with time for quiet reflection or gradually increasing light exposure.

    • Peak mental alertness and energy levels may happen later in the day, so scheduling focused work sessions in the afternoon/evening hours can be advantageous.

Tips for determining your chronotype

  • Track your natural sleep patterns: For a week or two, go to bed when you feel tired and wake up without an alarm clock. Keep track of your typical sleep and wake times.

  • Pay attention to energy fluctuations: When do you naturally feel most alert and focused? When do you experience an afternoon slump or a late-night surge of energy?

Start small and be consistent

The dangers of trying to overhaul your mornings overnight are significant. It's a recipe for feeling overwhelmed, leading to burnout and abandoning your routine before it has a chance to become a way of life. Starting with small, manageable changes allows you to build success upon success, creating a sense of empowerment that fuels motivation.

Consistency is more potent than intensity. It's more important to do a 5-minute meditation every single day than to attempt a 30-minute session once a week and then give up. Consistent, smaller actions rewire your brain more effectively than sporadic bursts of effort. This consistency is what builds true habits - behaviors that become almost automatic and effortless.

Remember, a "That Girl" morning routine is about progress, not perfection. On some days, you might be able to complete every single thing on your routine checklist. Other days, life happens. The important thing is not to let setbacks derail you. Showing up consistently, even in an imperfect way, is what leads to lasting positive change.

How to be that girl: having fun

Make it enjoyable

  • Sustainability: A morning routine you dread is one you won't stick with. Incorporating activities you genuinely enjoy makes waking up and sticking to your routine something to look forward to rather than something to endure.

  • Motivation and Positivity: When your morning routine incorporates activities that make you feel good, it sets a positive tone for the entire day. You're more likely to approach tasks with a positive mindset and feel more motivated to tackle even the challenging parts of your day.

  • Stress Reduction: Doing things you enjoy helps to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and boosts feel-good chemicals like dopamine. Starting your day with these positive effects can significantly improve your overall stress management throughout the day.

  • Discovering Your Passions: Your morning routine can be a dedicated time for pursuing hobbies or interests you don't always have time for during your busy day. Whether it's drawing, learning a language, or playing an instrument, these pockets of joyful activities can reignite passions and add a sense of fulfillment to your life.

  • Personalization: A one-size-fits-all morning routine doesn't exist. Injecting your unique preferences makes your routine feel like it was designed specifically for you, not some social media ideal. This sense of ownership increases motivation and a desire to stick with it.

Tips for adding enjoyment

  • Experiment: Don't be afraid to try different activities and discard those that don't spark joy for you.

  • Small pleasures matter: It could be the taste of your favorite coffee, a 5-minute dance party while you get dressed, or a beautiful sunrise on your morning walk.

  • Change it up: To avoid boredom, try rotating activities, or switch things around seasonally.

"That girl" morning routine ideas

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Wake up early (but not too early!)

Early rising allows you to start your day proactively instead of feeling rushed and reactive to everyone else's demands. The world is often quieter in the early morning, making it perfect for focused work, reflection, or activities without external distractions. 

Many people find that their mental clarity and focus are sharpest in the morning hours, maximizing productivity. Getting up earlier may offer you the only uninterrupted time you have in your day for activities that nourish you.

The dangers of "too early"

  • Prioritizing sleep is essential: "That Girl" isn't about unsustainable sleep deprivation. Chronic lack of sleep is detrimental to physical and mental health, sabotaging all your well-intentioned efforts.

  • Listen to your body: If you force yourself to wake up at 5 a.m. and feel terrible all day, that's not successful. Honor your natural rhythms within reason.

  • Gradual adjustments are key: Shifting your wake-up time by small increments (15-30 minutes) is more sustainable than drastically changing overnight.

Tips for finding your optimal wake-up time

  • Observe your natural sleep patterns: For a week, pay attention to your natural inclinations. What time do you get tired at night? Wake up without an alarm? Use this as a baseline.

  • Experiment: Try starting with a 30-minute earlier wake-up for a week, then assess how you feel. Adjust in small increments from there.

  • Focus on sleep quality: Waking up slightly earlier is pointless if you haven't gotten enough restorative sleep. Optimize your sleep environment (dark, cool, quiet) and consider a pre-bed wind-down routine.

Hydrate!

Start your day with a glass of lemon water to rehydrate your body after a night's sleep and kickstart your metabolism. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and fuzzy thinking. Replenishing fluids after hours of sleep is crucial to feeling energized and focused. 

Water is essential for digestion, nutrient transport, waste removal, temperature regulation...basically making your entire body work optimally. There's some evidence that starting your day with water can slightly boost your metabolism, though this effect shouldn't be overstated.

The benefits of lemon water specifically:

  • Vitamin C boost: Lemons are rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant supporting immunity and skin health.

  • Aids digestion: The acidity in lemon juice may stimulate digestive processes, especially when consumed with warm water.

  • Alkalizing effect: While more research is needed, some studies suggest that lemon water may help balance your body's pH, potentially having benefits for overall health.

Flavorful alternative: If you find plain water boring, lemon adds a touch of natural flavor, making it easier to drink your daily recommended amount.
How to be that girl: being healthy

Move your body

Get some exercise in the morning – a quick yoga session, a brisk walk, or a few bodyweight exercises are all great options. Starting your day with movement can set you up for both physical and mental wins. Even short bursts of movement increase blood flow and oxygen levels, combating sluggishness and improving both alertness and energy all day long. 

Exercise is a natural mood booster, releasing endorphins that elevate your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Physical activity can improve concentration, memory, and cognitive function – ideal for tackling demanding work tasks or studies later in the day. 

Additionally, starting your day with exercise can have a positive ripple effect, motivating you to make healthier choices throughout the rest of your day. Regular morning exercise can also contribute to better sleep quality at night, which is essential for overall well-being and maximizing the other benefits of your morning routine.

Remember, "exercise" doesn't have to be a torturous hour at the gym. Focus on movement you enjoy and find sustainable – a brisk walk in nature, a fun dance workout, or a quick bodyweight routine can all be incredibly transformative.

Practice mindfulness

Meditation, journaling, or simply taking a few deep breaths are all great ways to start your day with a clear and focused mind. Here's why these practices are so powerful:

  • Our minds tend to be filled with a whirlwind of thoughts, to-do lists, and worries ,especially first thing in the morning. Mindfulness helps you quiet this mental chatter and cultivate a sense of calm.

  • Mindfulness trains your brain to focus on the present moment. This translates to better attention to detail, less distractibility, and enhanced productivity throughout your day.

  • Mindfulness practices help regulate your stress response, making you more resilient in the face of challenging situations.

  • Journaling and mindful reflection promote insight into your thoughts, emotions, and patterns. This self-awareness empowers you to make intentional choices aligned with your values and goals.

  • Regular mindfulness cultivates a sense of inner peace, promotes positive emotions, and improves your ability to cope with life's ups and downs.

Wrapping up

The "That Girl" morning routine isn't about achieving an unrealistic ideal or forcing yourself to be someone you're not. It's about embracing the power of intentional mornings to create a life that feels authentic, fulfilling, and aligned with your goals and values. 

Prioritizing your well-being, setting a positive tone for your day, and cultivating healthy habits can transform your energy levels, productivity, confidence, and overall sense of joy and purpose.

Remember, start small, focus on consistency, and make it a personalized reflection of what makes you feel good. It's about progress, not perfection! Each step you take toward crafting a morning routine you love is a step closer to becoming the best, most radiant version of yourself. So why not start today? Your best days start with a powerful morning!

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