by | Feb 21, 2023 | 2 comments

I recently asked my Revitalize Accelerator members what habit most changed their life and health, and some were surprised by my answer.  Undoubtedly, the one health habit that has changed my life most dramatically is my morning routine.

My morning routine has evolved from committing to a gratitude practice in 2013 (and never missing a day since!) to a full-blown, 70-90 minute chunk of my day that sets me up to FEEL the way I want to feel, ACT in a way that will get me closer to my goals, SERVE in a way that deeply impacts others, and PRIORITIZE MYSELF in a way that I never managed to do prior.  In short, my morning routine makes me … well, me … and it all starts with the 8 habits I’ll discuss today.  These 8 habits, in the acronym WAKEUP+GO, can serve as your morning routine checklist.  If you have as little as 8 minutes per day, you can feel amazing, too!  And, truthfully, I know we can all (yes, all!) find 8 minutes per day.  So let’s dive in!

WAKEUP+GO Morning Routine Checklist

Which habits are most effective in a morning routine?  Well, it depends on YOU and what YOU need, so feel free to customize to suit your own goals.  However, I have put so many hours of research into finding the most effective habits that are replicated by the world’s most successful (in all senses of the word) people, have the best science backing them up, and feel the best to myself and my clients … that I’m confident this WAKEUP+GO checklist is a great place to start.

Here’s my WAKEUP+GO Morning Routine Checklist:

  • W for Water: Starting your day with water leads to more energy, fewer cravings, better digestion, and SO much more. I recommend water before coffee, which I know is tough for many, but is so effective at helping your kidneys and liver detoxify, and helping you feel more natural energy through the day!  Plain water is just fine, but if you’d like to mix with a pinch of sea salt, clean electrolyte powder, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar, that’s fine!
  • A for Affirmations: I have a brand new YouTube video all about the power of affirmations, and how to write affirmations that actually work to create positive change in your life! Check it out here!

  • K for Knowledge: Learning something new each day engages your brain and gets it ready for a productive day. I like reading for 10 minutes (here’s my most recent book recommendation list!), but you could also use this time to journal (learning about yourself!), listen to a podcast, or read a newsletter (I recommend The Daily Stoic!)
  • E for Exercise: I believe that exercise is best done whenever you’ll consistently do it, so if you’re an afternoon or evening exerciser, stick to it! That said, moving our body in some form in the morning is great for detoxification, energy, and metabolism.  Even if that means 5 minutes of stretching, a walk around the block, or a few jumping jacks, getting the blood flowing first thing is a great idea!

  • U for Unwind: I like to use my unwind time for meditation, and in fact, despite the acronym, I do this one first!  It helps me calm down (I wake up with my mind racing) and prepare to enjoy the rest of my morning routine. The benefits of meditation range from anxiety and stress management to clearer thinking to increased longevity, and SO much more; you can read about more of them here.  If meditation isn’t for you, try setting a timer and simply breathing during this time, or using it for prayer, religious text reading, or whatever makes you feel calm and connected.
  • P for Positivity: I have several positive quote calendars (I recommend this one!) scattered throughout my house, so I read one while brushing my teeth, one while getting my dogs settled for my morning routine, and one before starting work for the day. I also have a positive playlist on Spotify (here it is!) that I play while taking my dogs in the backyard first thing in the morning.  Filling our brain with positive inputs helps us notice all the positive things that happen the rest of the day!
  • G for Gratitude: The benefits of gratitude are nearly infinite. Focusing on just a few things that we’re grateful for each morning has been shown to promote longevity, reduce signs of aging, improve heart health, improve interpersonal connection, enhance mood, reduce anxiety, and SO much more!  Plus, it’s super simple.  If writing 3 things you’re grateful for each day can lead to all of those outcomes, why wouldn’t we do it?

  • O for One Goal: I love setting just ONE goal for each day and writing it down so I can hold myself to it. Of course, I have a million things on my to-do list, just like you, and I hope I get a whole lot more than this one thing done.  But writing just one thing helps me focus on what’s most important (instead of doing 12 things that aren’t important as I procrastinate!), and leads me to feel much more accomplished at the end of the day than I otherwise would have.

There you have it!  My 8-step morning routine checklist!  Feel free to customize as you see fit, but before you do, just give these habits a try.  I am so confident they’ll improve the course of your day and even your life!

An 8-minute morning routine

If you’re pinched for time, or not quite sure you want to commit to a full-blown 90-minute session, let me offer you the simplest time-saving secret … do each WAKEUP+GO for ONE minute.  Yes, I said it.  ONE minute.

  • Drink a glass of water for 1 minute
  • Repeat 1-2 affirmations for 1 minute
  • Enhance your knowledge for 1 minute, by listening to a podcast, reading one page of a book (it adds up!), or even journaling for 1 minute to learn more about yourself
  • Do 1 minute of jumping jacks, stretching, push-ups, or squats for a quick burst of exercise
  • Simply breathe for 1 minute to unwind
  • Get a positive quote calendar (I love this one) and read it for 1 minute
  • Write 3 things you’re grateful for in 1 minute
  • Set one goal for today in 1 minute

It might seem overly simplistic, but I am incredibly confident that these 8 minutes, when repeated regularly, can revolutionize your life!

Finding time vs. having time

A quick note that very few of us just “have” time to do a morning routine.  Trust me, I’m with you – I could fill 99 hours in each day and still not “have” enough time.  That said, we all have 168 hours in the week, and we choose what we prioritize.  I truly believe that everyone (even my busiest clients, who are CEOs AND Moms AND community activists AND… you get the point) can find 8 minutes per day if we prioritize it.  So, do yourself the favor of no longer saying you don’t “have” time, and just telling yourself you haven’t prioritized something yet.  I’m not trying to be a meanie; I’m trying to empower you! 😊

A Physical WAKEUP+GO Morning Routine Checklist and Planner

Need a physical way to check off each of these 8 habits each morning?  My PEPPER Planner has a page for each day, with checkboxes for each WAKEUP habit, a positive quote to check off your “P,” and boxes to write in your gratitude and #1 goal for the day.  The PEPPER Planner makes it SO easy for me to stick to my morning routine habit, and if you’re looking for some accountability for your morning routine, I couldn’t recommend it more highly!  Get your own copy of the PEPPER Planner with free shipping here!


Want to hear this information in audio format, with a bunch of extra health tips, stats, and tactics? 

Head over to the podcast episode on the same topic! Enjoy!Listen Here!


Now it’s your turn … Which WAKEUP+GO habit sounds most powerful to you?  Any others you’d like to add to your morning routine?


  1. sarahcolemanfletcher

    Will you please share your 2022 reading list / book recommendations? I loved your list for 2021! Thanks, Megan!

    • Megan Lyons

      I was hoping people wouldn’t ask (kidding ;)), but since several have, it’s on the schedule for 1/25! Thanks, Sarah!


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Megan Lyons Headshot

Hi! I'm Megan Lyons,

the voice behind The Lyons’ Share. I love all things health, wellness, and fitness-related, and I hope to share some of my passion with you. Thanks for stopping by!
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