The 7 Worst Morning Habits (and how to turn them around)

Bored with the morning routine lecture? Here’s an alternative view. If you want to have a better day (and life), start by eliminating your worst habits. Then bask in the difference it makes.

Karen Nimmo
Jun 4 · 5 min read

You’ve heard all the advice: you know what to do.

You know having a sound morning routine is helpful and healthy. That it can anchor your day when you’re feeling low, settle your angst, spark your creative juices and send you out into the world wearing the golden glow of productivity.

But — for some reason — you can’t get it together. You wake up groggy. You can’t get up. When you finally roll out of bed, the day comes at you like a train. Everything turns into a manic rush which turns into a “damn, why have I done this to I myself — again?”

Psychology insists that the best way to get rid of a bad habit it to replace it with a healthy one. That’s true, but sometimes — especially in the brain fog of morning — getting out your gratitude journal or taking an online yoga class — can feel like climbing a mountain.

So let’s make it easier. Start by documenting the worst of what you do — then systematically knocking each of them on the head.

The 7 Worst Morning Habits (and how to turn them around)

#1. Hitting the snooze button.

The snooze button always seemed like a cool invention but it works against us. If you are going to sleep late, preplan it. Strike a deal with yourself. Then when morning comes you can enjoy your extra hour or two in bed knowing you’ve planned it. The rest of the time, get up when the alarm sounds. If you can’t, put your wake-up device in a place you have to get up to turn it off.

#2. Flooding yourself with information.

At least wait until you’re upright, with both feet on the floor, before reaching for your phone and facing the flood of whatever’s come into your inbox, news feeds or social media overnight. Feeling overwhelmed is a killer start to your day and technology is the fastest way to get there. Set a regular time and place for delving into devices.

#3. Body or face shaming.

No, no, no! Your inner critic is often at his or her vindictive best in the mornings — when you are, ah, at your worst. Don’t let them send you out the door feeling horrible about yourself. When they start up their chant, say NO firmly, turn the shower spray in their face and focus on the very next thing you have to do to get ready for your day.

#4. Trying on multiple outfits.

We all have days when NOTHING looks right, so we get changed, try on something else, repeat, and — suddenly — we’re standing naked amidst a pile of discarded clothes. Getting dressed can be a nightmare for some, and it’s worse when you’re off your game or lacking confidence. If getting dressed to your satisfaction is difficult for you, lay your clothes out the night before (go with something you’ve felt good in before) so you can go into auto mode in the morning. If this sounds like something you might do for your five-year-old to make life easier to deal with, you’re right — so do it for yourself.

#5. Getting into a fight.

Conflict sets you up badly for the day — it will also ruin the mood of your household. If you can’t function, or speak civilly in the morning, remind yourself this is not the fault of your partner or kids. Tell them you need (insert the time you need here) to come to the surface. Agree that if they leave you alone for this period, you will be able to be present and pleasant (or at least to the best of your morning ability). If you are happily going about your morning and someone tries to pick a fight with you, rule in favour of your own sanity and ignore them.

#6. Filling up on sugar.

In a perfect world, we’d have time for an uber-healthy poached egg on dry, wholemeal toast while browsing lazily through our news feeds and chatting happily to our loved ones. It’s not a perfect world though, is it? Often we scream through the house and eat on the run, with no thought to the quality of fuel we’re pouring into our tank. Sugar won’t fill you up. It will make you jittery, it won’t help your weight or skin and it will increase your risk of a raft of health issues. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat — but don’t let that be a leave pass for buying a big, buttery cheese scone on the way to work. Whatever you do, don’t leave the house with food hanging from your mouth. It’s bad for you. It’s also terribly unattractive.

#7. Letting the day just happen.

You might get away with this one if it’s a weekend and you need a day just to unwind. But on weekdays (or your working days) beware of starting without a plan. If you struggle with your mood or anxiety, especially in the mornings, make sure you lay down a plan for the next day. Just write down five things you want to achieve that day then, when you wake up, just go ahead and do them. Don’t ask yourself how you feel because it will take you down a rabbit hole and — once you’re there — it can be hard to climb back out.


Enjoyed this? Check out my new book Busy as F*ck , a DIY approach to therapy in a stressed-out world. Available as an ebook or in paperback at Australian and New Zealand bookstores. Other territories coming soon.

Join my email list here for and receive a free gift: Seeing Someone: a brief guide to psychology, therapy and coaching. Enjoy!

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

Karen Nimmo

Written by

Clinical psychologist, writer, still learning how to live. Author of 3 books, including Busy As F*ck: 10 on-the-couch sessions for busy people everywhere.

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

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