RISE and Shine with a Morning Routine

Truly, the early bird gets the worm. When I think of mornings during my 20s and 30s the words rushed, stressed and perpetually late come to mind. Although I considered myself a morning person, my mornings were more of a just-in-time operating system. In those days, on a good day, I’d have five minutes for coffee and a moment to myself, which felt like a luxury with small children and a 40-hrs a week office job.

My how things have changed. My kids are now 16 and 14. For seven years, I’ve ran my own business with a flexible schedule. My mornings now in my mid-forties are drastically different. I wake up two hours before I start work at 7:45a (a self-imposed start time). Exercise, meditation and coffee are all part of my cherished morning routine. And building this routine certainly didn’t happen overnight.

Over the course of two years, I started small and consistent to gradually build the two-hour routine I now RISE to daily. My morning routine includes:

  • 25-40 min (avg 35) of exercise 5-7 days a week, usually an at-home workout (cardio, weightlifting, pilates, yoga)

  • 20 min of daily meditation
    (thanks to Betsy Weiner of Amrita Wellness, I’m on Day 23 of a 40 day practice)

  • 5 min of journaling

  • 20 min of coffee (breakfast is more like 9a), social media scrolling, news

  • 30 min of selfcare and leave-the-house prep
    (shower, dress, makeup, making the bed, packing a lunch, making a nutrient-dense shake, etc)

  • 10 min of transition time, hydration
    (options I mix with my water: lemon essential oil (PURE Essential Oil); Access (a fat-burning lactic-acid reducing formula), AminoBoost (amino acids on a weightlifting day), and Fiberwise (a source of seven types of fiber that is pre and probiotic rich)

This routine takes plus or minus 120 minutes daily.


I’m still working on adding things to it like more journaling, more thoughtful nutrition for the family and me, personal development and business tasks/goals. … All in due time because holy! I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever dreamed possible. I’d suggest that you start wherever you are today and make SURE to build in time to celebrate and reflect.


Throughout the creation of this morning routine, one significant take away I keep coming back to is the real time and process it takes to engrain a habit.  We commonly hear it takes 21 days to form a habit. But what happens on day 22? Many take a bit of a breather because forming habits is hard work. And that’s okay and realistic. But don’t just leave it at that and strike it up to task completed or a failure to make the habit stick.

When I reach the goal I’ve set for practicing a new habit, what I now do is allow myself the grace to take a break and then come back to it. I practice more and incorporate what I’ve learned. That’s the beauty of GRACE and GRIT.

The holy grail for me right now is to meditate daily. I have a 40-day practice set out for me and I’m on day 23. I’ve attempted this four times now in 2019, each time growing and learning more. This time, I set aside my workouts for a week and made morning meditation a priority every day. After I achieved this mini-goal only then did I dive back into daily workouts — which are very much a habit — and layered in the meditation. …so far it’s sticking!

What’s your morning routine like and what’s one thing you’d do to change it for the better?

* The mentions of RISE in this post are connected to Rachel Hollis’ RISE live events and the learning and takeaways from the RISExMinn Wellness Day I attended in Minneapolis on June 13, 2019. For the event recap, read up here: RISE Because You’re Made For More.

Look for continued posts and accountability based on the RISExMinn Revisited (#RISExMinnRevisited) gathering I’m co-hosting with Stephanie May Potter on 7.31 at ModernWell.

Cheers to brighter mornings! — Jen Gilhoi