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How To Start Your Day: The Morning Routine That Rocks My World

One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?” Here’s the thing: I used to hate routines, and I rebelled against them. I mean, one of the joys of being an entrepreneur is not having to abide by a regular routine right?! While I do appreciate the freedom of entrepreneurship, I now value the morning routine I’ve developed to stay in a work-life flow.

I believe that how you start your day determines how the rest of your day will go, and ultimately, it determines whether that day will contribute to your overall vision and mission. I often start the day by asking myself, “What will I do today that will matter a year from now?”

I also have five daily business mantras for success, and a morning meditation practice. You’ll see how the rest unfolds in this episode of She Takes on the World TV, where I give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I start my day, and spend my time:

Now I want to hear from you: How do you spend your day to maximize productivity, and get the results you want in your business and life?

35 thoughts on How To Start Your Day: The Morning Routine That Rocks My World Leave a reply

  1. Claire

    I loved this insight. I’m a teacher, but write and blog on the side, so scheduling and juggling are part and parcel of what I do. Thank you for reminding me to take time to prioritise health and wellbeing.

    Reply
  2. Caroline Frenette Master Intuitive Leadership Coach

    Yoga EVERY morning? Really? Never cheat? 😉

    I agree with you that starting the day the “right” way is crucial and definitely sets the tone for the rest of the day.

    My day starts the night before… If I don’t eat well (or eat too late) I won’t sleep well and then my morning is tough + I’ll feel sluggish… Jumping in the pool first thing helps me wake up though!

    I don’t necessarily do my yoga/pilates first thing in the morning although I will do some pranayama + meditation to get clear & focused. Sometimes the best yoga for me is mid day so that I take a break from the computer & coaching clients.

    I alway make sure (and my dogs also make sure :) that I take a break every hour and a half to refresh & rejuvenate (with green juice or a walk bare feet on the grass or cranking up a tune and dancing wildly :)

    Best thing of my morning though is time with my man, my 3 schnoodles + 2 furry cats ALL snuggled together in bed!
    Feeling the LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!
    LOL

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      I RARELY cheat Caroline. The reason why I don’t cheat is because when I do mess up this morning routine if I have a super early flight to catch or meeting to go to, I feel crappy for the rest of the day! I’m also a runner, so I need that stretching… if you look closely, you can see my hamstrings are very tight in that downward dog 😉 I wish I had a pool to jump into first thing in the morning, that’s awesome!!!

      Reply
  3. Sage Grayson

    I love getting a behind-the-scenes peek at your day. I plan my day the night before too, and it makes all the difference in the morning when I know exactly what I need to get done. You’re inspiring me to add yoga to my morning routine.

    Reply
  4. Lizzy

    I envy your routine! I would LOVE to be a morning person and start each day consistently and healthfully. Maybe the key is starting small?

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      Don’t envy it, it’s totally do-able to start your own with one baby step. To get started, I recommend actually scheduling it in your calendar for right after your alarm clock goes off so you get that reminder first thing. It takes 30 days to make it a habit, and then it will feel like it’s “what you do” in the morning, like going to the bathroom and brushing your teeth and hair. You can start small with some basic stretching and my five daily mantras: http://www.shetakesontheworld.com/2013/01/business-affirmations-for-success/

      Reply
  5. Patti

    Natalie!
    I new you had to be a raw foodie with that gorgeous, glowing skin of yours. I do have a morning routine of prayer, journaling, and a 5-minute visualization. I also find that inspirational reading at the beginning of the day (and right before bed) keeps me feeling alive. To that end, I keep a few books that inspire me by my bedside along with my bible. I find there is nothing more inspirational than reading God’s words of love for me. Thank you for being so generous with your tips! BTW, your video quality is very nice. Have a wonderfully blissful day! Patti Rose

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      Hi Patti, thank you for your comment and sharing your routine! I’m a part-time raw foodie 😉 I’m about 80% vegan, I have eggs and some cheese on the weekend from local farmers.

      Reply
  6. Kara

    Thank you so much for this peek into your day! As for me, I’ve discovered a love for jogging over the last year or so, and now I get up early three times a week to go for a jog around the beautiful park near where I live here in Lyon. I was never one to jog before, in fact I “hated” it (I don’t like using that word, but that’s how much I didn’t like it). Now I can’t go without it and if I miss a jogging session, my body and my motivation levels tell me. It has certainly helped me to stay motivated and on top of things with my business. Thanks for sharing Natalie.

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      Love it Kara, I’m a jogger too! It really calms me and helps me get my head out of work. I’ve been trying to log 25 kilometres a week in the Nike Running app. Have you tried the app? It’s pretty cool because it tells you when you’re ahead of pace, will play a “power song” when you’re going up a hill or getting tired, and cheers you on to break some personal records. I highly recommend it :)

      Reply
  7. Nora

    Lovely to watch! I am a morning person so it makes it a little easier to get going. I either swim, walk or do some yoga stretching or cycle … EVERY day! I decide what form of exercise the day before or on the spot, I just see how I feel. The best feeling is def having been to the pool at 6am in the pitch black of winter before the day starts. It’s energising.

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      The pool at 6 am in pitch black winter?! THAT is dedication! I’m not much of a morning person because I usually stay up a little too late to be up at 5 or 6 😉 Whenever I come back from traveling to Europe or Asia and my body doesn’t know what time it is I tend to wake up super early and I must say, it does feel good!

      Reply
  8. Laura G. Jones

    Love this, Natalie! I work a day job, but I also start my day earlier in order to get some meditation time in. I love that vision board/goal planning binder you have! Where can I learn more about that myself?
    P.S: Speaking about feeling like a fraud… I just finished writing a post about that myself. I guess great minds think alike! 😉

    Reply
  9. Anna

    Natalie, do you have any tips on how to STICK to a morning routine?!
    I have such a hard time sticking to it!
    It goes well for a couple of months with yoga, meditation, green juice, but than I somehow fall off the wagon,
    cause “there’s so much else to do”, and I start rushing the morning and it’s so hard to get back on track, even though I clearly need a routine to stay balanced!

    P.S. Btw., I ordered your book a few days ago and I already love your sheconomy-concept!! I also LOVED your “Quarterlife-Upgrade” interview: such brilliant advice!! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      HA! I JUST recorded an episode of She Takes on the World TV about sticking to a routine. One of the things I do is tick off every day that I do my daily yoga/meditation on a chalk board in my office. When I break the routine I start the tally all over again. It keeps me motivated to stick with it. I have more tips coming soon :) Enjoy the book! Thanks Anna and please comment again soon!

      Reply
      1. Anna

        Natalie, thanks so much for your reply!! I’m definitely looking forward to that episode!! And to the Conquer-Conference – sounds exciting!! Thanks again :)

        Reply
  10. Samantha Cooper

    Hi Natalie! Can you explain a little more about what a Master Action Plan is? I’m looking to make some serious shifts in my morning routine to help me achieve my larger goals. I can easily get caught up in the daily little tasks without remembering the bigger picture. Hoping these shifts will help me take on the world!!

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      Hi Samantha! My Master Action Plan combines goal setting and strategic planning, and I make a vision board and action plan for each of the 5 big goals I set for a 12-month period. On September 17th at my online virtual conference we’ll be creating one of these so you should definitely come. You can grab a free ticket here: http://shetakesontheworld.com/create-connect-conquer/

      Reply
  11. Cassandra

    Natalie,
    Tanks for sharing this great insight into your morning routine. I have been trying to establish one for quite some time now I find it quite difficult to do that as well as an end of the day routine to help me one down and sleep -one of my biggest problems. What do you suggest to a person who has multiple jobs and their schedule varies from day to day? I run volunteer a non-profit, including myself, and also teach self defense in multiple locations…I work from home sometimes the entire day, others I am all over for workshops and meetings and a couple nights a week I’m at the studio and until 10 p.m., which obviously make for a very troubling early start the next morning and trouble winding down as I work out so late. Therefore both my income and my time is limited and I’m often forced to take on other freelance work. At the moment I’m just freed up my schedule even more so I can try and focus more on building my non-profit into a fully funded and started, but at the same time I’m also building up a business as a freelance self defense instructor. I am also a writer however because things have been so stressful for the last few months if I can come drop dramatically I really stopped writing one day at a time and also due to lack of inspiration and motivation. However I would like to have that back and once again right. I know it sounds like I am all over the place, but all of my work is truly connected as I work with survivors of human trafficking and abuse. Therefore any suggestions to the multi-tasker with the ever-changing scheduled on how they can still build a great daily routine would be much appreciated.

    Thank you again for your video diaries they are part of my coffee and breakfast each Friday! You are the type of woman I aspire to be, but also inspire my survivors to be as well! Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Natalie MacNeil Post author

    Thank you Cassandra for commenting and sharing your story. I did a lot of research for my political science degree on human trafficking and it’s amazing to know there are people like you who are trying to put an end to that as part of your life’s purpose. All that being said, I believe that when you have such an incredible purpose and passion you’re spending your time on it’s even more important to keep your health a priority. You have to put yourself first and stay healthy in order to help others! What I do is schedule it in, and I don’t book other things during this time. I have my morning routine but I also schedule gym time and runs either during the day or evening and I treat them like any other work commitment or meeting. I would give that a try first. At the end of the day, you need to make sure you have time for you so that you can serve the world the best you can.

    Reply
  13. Lara

    Wow… I just came across this blog yesterday, this is the first post I see and the timing couldn´t have been better. After several years of practicing yoga on and off, I started a consistent practice three months ago and god has it changed my life. It has now become a routine I adore to follow. I am not a morning person, I hate to wake up on weekdays and I never have breakfast. I know how that defines my days and that if I took more care in the mornings it would be so much better. Your post has inspired me to work on a morning routine starting now. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  14. Keito

    Hi Natalie! I found this website yesterday, and I am glad I did. I am a jewelry designer and launching the first collection this fall. Sounds fancy but the reality is working in my bedroom (desk work, dusty jewelry making, etc)! Work has been hectic lately, and my room is a mess right now. It depresses me to look at my out of controllably messy desk! I work til late in the evening in my bedroom, pass out, and wake up to the mess. It’s 6:30 in the morning here in Japan where I live. I am going to finish this coffee I’m enjoying while I get inspired by your blog and clean my room! Oh and loved the master action plan! Thank you for the inspiration!

    Reply
  15. Shelley

    Thanks for pulling back the curtains on your empire building techniques! I feel reinvigorated just watching you!!! I will be reworking my morning rituals immediately! Love your new website!

    Reply
  16. Wambui Githire-Mburu

    Hi Natalie, I stumbled on your Youtube channel last week and I must say I am hooked. I love your inspirational messages – the world is better for it. I do similar work – inspiring others to live their best life through my website http://www.thebestlifestyles.com. I am also a guest contributing writer at http://allwomenstalk.com/author/wambui-githire-mburu. I am looking into venturing into Vlogs and like the quality of your videos. Are you using a webcam and if so do you care to share which one. Peace and Blesssings!

    Reply
    1. Natalie MacNeil Post author

      Thank you Wambui! :) Do you mean a webcam for these videos? If so, no, they are professionally recorded by a videographer. I hope to see you around here more often!

      Reply
  17. Carly

    Hi Natalie,

    I am new to your site and loving it! Something that struck me in this video was the BINDER that you showed in your home office! Can you say a little bit more about what this looks like and how it functions for you? Perhaps you have written about this somewhere else on your site and I am just not seeing it.

    I am a psychotherapist (www.drcarlygoldberg.com), founder of a Woman Centered (www.womancentered.org) – an online platform for personal development and social action, academic, and activist. I have my hand in a number of different projects and opportunities that are all related but often feel scattered as to what I should get done first as I start my day! I would love to learn more about a Master Action Plan!

    Thank you and glad to be connected.

    Reply
  18. Sarah Kohl

    Natalie,
    I love your energy and practical tips. I too like to plan the night before…it gives so much structure to the following day and avoids ‘shiny ball’ distractions. I’d love to learn more about your binder, what do you put in it an how often to you update it? I’m a big fan of using checklists to reduce stress. I suspect that your emphasis on mind-body-soul in the morning is probably your biggest stress reducer..or at least it gives you balance to handle the day’s ’emergencies’. Thanks for enncouraging us to take care of health as well as our business.

    Reply
  19. Chrissy

    It would be lovely to start my day off that way but I’m over here in Mommy World and ain’t nobody got time for that!

    Nice video though.

    Reply

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