“I’ve found that the first thirty minutes of my day have the biggest impact on how I feel for the rest of my waking hours.” – Molli Sullivan Share this quote on Twitter

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Molli Sullivan

What is your morning routine?

After years of trial and error, I’ve found that the first thirty minutes of my day have the biggest impact on how I feel for the rest of my waking hours. My morning routine gives me such a sense of gratitude and groundedness, that I actually start looking forward to it the night before!

Immediately upon waking up I say thank you. I open my eyes and take a moment to thank The Universe for another opportunity to live and breathe.

This doesn’t mean that every day I pretend life is perfect, or that there aren’t challenges, but I believe that no matter what is going on in life — be it a busy day ahead, or an unexpected life stressor — starting my day with gratitude immediately puts me in a frame of mind to embrace anything that lies ahead!

Next, I head to the kitchen, fill up a glass with warm water, and squeeze in half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. This helps rev up my digestive system, detoxify my liver, and offers a boost of vitamin C first thing in the morning!

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Afterwards, I caffeinate. Beyond a little “pick me up,” I simply love the taste of fresh brewed coffee. I drink 1-2 cups with unsweetened vanilla almond milk every morning. This is followed by a no-distraction dose of endorphins! Since my mid-twenties I’ve always enjoyed morning workouts, but they were often with a phone in my hand, answering email or texting. Removing distractions from your workout really helps us practice being present, and gives us a much deserved break from our sometimes seemingly endless connection to technology.

When I Rooster (meaning when I teach classes first thing in the morning), I eat after class, but I never skip breakfast! It’s an act of self-care to fuel your body with delicious and healthy nutrients! Green smoothies with rice protein and overnight oats are my favorite go-tos.

When I’m not teaching Roosters, I’ll journal first thing or meditate. When I Rooster, I still meditate, but it might be a moving meditation or a quick five minutes to clear my head and prepare for the day. When I journal, it’s a stream-of-consciousness mind dump that usually leads me to an intention for the day, rids my mind of any funk I need to process, or ends up being a spree in creativity.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I’ve been on this routine for the past three years, but it’s been refined over time.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

It started with just working out in the morning, and I’ve added elements that really make me feel even more awesome (coffee with unsweetened milk, journalising, meditating, adding a healthy breakfast, etc).

In general, I believe everything is always in a state of progress and iteration — we refine as we learn more about ourselves and what makes us feel our best!

What time do you go to sleep?

Sleep is the most important ingredient when it comes to our wellness. We could have the best nutrition, the best job, a great workout routine, but without proper sleep we simply aren’t able to tap into our greatest potential.

When I was working in tech, I liked to think I could get by with about five, sometimes six hours of sleep per night. Now I aim for 7-8, and I do things like shut down my technology at 8:00pm, reach for a book instead of social media, and give my mind and body time to disconnect from a busy day.

Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

Yes, I’m a huge fan of streamlining my morning — making it both enjoyable and efficient!

I make breakfast the night before (often my overnight oats), prep ingredients for my smoothie, and lay out my clothes for teaching or another fitness class I plan on attending.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

I do use an alarm!

I hit snooze once to give myself a chance to wake up peacefully and with grace. In those first few moments I thank The Universe for another day, and ask for guidance. I turn to my husband to say “Good morning, I love you,” and then I’m up and at ‘em!

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

If I am teaching, I don’t eat before — but I do have a few sips of my green smoothie and some coffee with almond milk.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I’m a SoulCycle (indoor cycling) instructor teaching morning classes (6, 7, or 8:00am) four times a week, with some late morning classes as well. If I’m not teaching, I will do some kind of strength training, stretching, yoga, or whatever my body is in need of that day!

Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?

Meditation, in it’s essence, for me, is practising giving our full attention. In the morning, it’s about connecting with my body, clearing my mind, and focusing on the very act that keeps us alive: our breathing. In practising giving our full attention to our breath, we’re able to get out of our heads and be more present for our day and our loved ones.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

I don’t answer any email until I’ve gotten through my morning routine! It wasn’t always like that for me, though.

For years, my eyes would open, and I’d grab my phone. Email. Social media. Texts. Maybe some coffee, a distracted workout (exercising while answering email). Likely skipping breakfast. I always felt like my mind was on a speed train, with no clear direction where it was going. I often felt anxious, overwhelmed, disorganized, and lost under an endless pile of “to-dos.”

Now I focus on a morning I love: gratitude, hydration, exercise, and breath. Creating a morning routine I love has changed my days, and ultimately, my quality of life. It’s something I try to not compromise on, even when traveling, because the impact is just that huge.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

The only app I try to allow myself to use is the Spirit Junkie app for when I’m in need of a little spiritual inspiration.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

I use my phone as an alarm, but I’ve made it a habit that I don’t allow myself to use any apps in the morning other than the aforementioned Spirit Junkie app, and the Notes app (for making a gratitude list or a quick reminder for my day).

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

First drink of the day is warm water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper!

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

I keep to this routine at home, on weekends, and when I’m traveling.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

Absolutely! I will take lemons and cayenne with me when I travel, I have a Nike Training Club app I love when I am away from SoulCycle, and I’m even known to bring my blender with me on vacation ;)

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

When I deviate greatly from my routine, I feel “off” — I don’t feel the same sense of peace and flow, and it impacts my ability to be present and my best self.

When this happens, I make a note of it and do my best to get back on track! Sometimes deviating from the plan, or having moments of “backtracking” and “stumbling” end up being the best reinforcers for developing better habits. We take a setback, learn from it, and then use it to refocus, realign, and reconnect with what makes us feel our best.

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Book Cover of My Morning Routine

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