7 Ways to Upgrade Your Morning Routine–and Instantly Improve Your Everyday

If getting up in the morning is getting you down, it may be time for a change. The main difference between morning people and everyone else is a healthy morning routine. People who love daybreak tend to be those who have established satisfying rituals that make mornings the highlight of the day. Regardless of what speed you move at in the ante meridium — Latin for “before midday” — here are seven morning-routine tips that will upgrade your a.m.–and inspire you to change the way you start your day.

1. Put It on Paper

Begin your day with a pen and paper, writing down your to-do list, your goals, and your thoughts. Using a journal can help you make this a standard feature of each morning. Once you make it a habit, your day will feel incomplete without it. This simple but profound act also has the potential to change your life: Writing down your goals and objectives each morning helps you focus your day around what is most vital to your success and wellbeing.

2. Drink Lemon Water

Before you reach for the coffee pot, pour yourself a glass of water (preferably hot or warm) and squeeze half a lemon into it. Lemon water is a great way to give your body a boost instead of bombarding it with caffeine first thing. Drinking lemon water every day will improve your immune function, give you clearer skin, and reduce inflammation. An added bonus? It also helps freshen your breath. Added hydration means your body will thank you all day long.

3. Listen to Uplifting Music

Whether you’re blasting Beyoncé or rocking the Rachmaninoff, listening to music is a fantastic way to set the tone for your day. Combined with some physical activity (tip No. 4), your day will kick off with you as an unstoppable force.

4. Get Your Body Moving

A mere 15 minutes of yoga or qi-gong is enough to get your joints lubricated, increase your body’s limberness, and charge up your energy levels before breakfast. Use an online tutorial to help get started, but once you’ve made movement a part of your morning, you’ll be able to get your groove on anywhere, from memory.

5. Get a Dose of Knowledge

Instead of scrolling on social media, start your day with some serious knowledge. Listening to audiobooks on topics that interest you can help you learn as you go through your morning routine. Apps like Blinkist help you absorb the key highlights from educational books in short snippets. You can also listen to podcasts that you’ve selected in advance to help you learn something new while you get your day started.

6. Plan Your Wardrobe in Advance

Remember when Mom laid your outfits for tomorrow out the night before? Well, she was onto something: You can save a lot of time with this one simple morning hack. Rather than going through the hassle of assembling the perfect look, have it waiting when you wake up. You know if you have an important meeting or a casual work lunch scheduled, so you can determine the best look the night before–and wake up ready.

7. Simplify Your Makeup Routine

No matter what your morning makeup routine is, you can always streamline it a little. Start with expiration dates and downsize your stash: Mascara and liquid eyeliner are good for three months, cream eyeshadow for six months. Lipsticks and lipgloss will last up to two years. Separate your daily-use cosmetics from your ‘special occasion’ ones, so you have just the basics at your disposal each morning. If you find yourself using more than one product to do the same thing (like using a lipstick seal), chances are you’re not using high-quality products. Better makeup products cost more, but they pay off by saving you time.

If you can implement even one little change to improve your morning routine, you will change the flow of your day for the better. Why not? You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

What’s your tip for a healthy morning routine?