I’ve Tried 9 Different Wake-Up Routines — This Is the Only Way I Truly Enjoy My Morning Coffee

published May 23, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Young black woman enjoying her morning coffee by the kitchen window
Credit: Viktorcvetkovic/Getty Images

I have a tendency to make things more complicated than they have to be. The first cake I ever made contained 13 eggs, to give you an idea of the scope of my overconfidence. So, when it comes to morning routines, I have historically erred on the side of trying to do way too much. 

Take fitness goals, for example. I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. to practice yoga for a half-hour every weekday morning. The trouble is, the snooze button is just so attractive at that hour. I make it to the mat about once a week, and almost never at 4:30 a.m. After muddling through an inconsistent yoga habit for months, I thought maybe I just needed a more mindless activity to start my day. Yoga required too much of me — that was the issue. So, I bought a used stationary bike, as one does, because on the heels of such success with yoga, what I really needed was a greater investment. I planned to do a ride every morning, and I managed that for exactly one week. Now, I only hop on the bike when I have a virtual meeting, and never first thing in the morning.

So then, naturally, I downloaded the Calm app, because meditating when barely awake at 4:30 a.m. sounded perfectly reasonable. Other morning attempts included deep-cleaning while listening to an audiobook, doing The New York Times crossword, creating photo books for my children, learning a new language on Duolingo, and practicing the piano — as an adult beginner — while my family slept. I clearly didn’t think that last one through. 

So, when I say I’ve finally found my essential morning routine, the habit that makes my mornings begin in bliss, I mean it sincerely. And, like the best of new habits, it’s both easy and satisfying: I drink a cup of coffee in perfect silence, cocooned in a hammock chair.

I realize it doesn’t sound like much at first blush, but it’s not an overstatement to say it has revolutionized my mornings. Am I making myself better, smarter, or stronger with this morning routine? On the surface, maybe not. But I am making myself happier. And that feels worth my time. 

To make this moment happen, I really only need to wake up 15 minutes before the rest of my family. And I’ve found that when my alarm goes off, I am motivated to get up because I’m actually looking forward to what comes next — not a task, but a moment of peace

I would love to be the sort of person who has a daily yoga practice, or is secretly a daybreak cleaning elf, but I’ve proven that those goals are too lofty for my current reality. But spending the first 10 minutes of my day in caffeinated bliss? That I can manage every single day.   

What makes your mornings happier?