This article first appeared on Antwerp Avenue.

Someone famous once said that the key to happiness is having three things: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

Well, we’ve adapted this quote a little bit. All you need for a perfect, easy morning routine is: movement, brain boosting, and yes, something to look forward to. We get it – mornings can be tough. But with a little bit of planning the night before, you can cultivate a morning routine that sets you up to power through your day, and might just make breaking up with your bed a little easier when that 7am alarm starts buzzing. 

Step 1: Movement

Okay, this might be the last thing you want to hear. But getting moving first thing is good for both your body and your mind. Some simple exercises, whether that’s going crazy to your favourite playlist or enjoying some soothing stretches help get the blood pumping round your body, making you feel energised and ready to tackle the day head-on. The key to a perfect morning routine is to do what feels right to you. Some people would fall asleep if they started their day with some gentle yoga, while for others, the idea of hitting the gym for some pre-breakfast cardio is horrifying. Discover what type of exercise you enjoy, and schedule it in every morning – even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Brain Boosting

You’ve successfully made it through your morning exercises, and you’re ready for step 2. The next part of your morning routine is about waking up your brain. Again, it’s so important to pick something that you enjoy doing, so that you actually stick to it. Spend 10 minutes doing something that eases your brain into the day. That could be catching up on the news as you get dressed, listening to your favourite podcast,  reading a few pages of your book, or working through a task on a language-learning app. You could also try meditation to prime your brain for the challenges of the day ahead – spend a few days trying out different options, and you’ll soon find the formula that works for you.

Step 3: Something to look forward to

Too often, we wake up late and rush through our mornings, doing everything we can to arrive at work on time, without actually slowing down to enjoy the start of our day. Remember – your morning is your personal time, and you can choose to spend it how you like. It’s always tempting to sneak in an extra 15 minutes of precious sleep, but trust us when we say you’ll feel so much better if you force yourself up and spend those minutes actually enjoying your morning. Try painting your nails or slapping on a face-mask as you prepare your bag for the day, or spend a little extra time making yourself some breakfast pancakes to start your day off on a positive note. Having something to look forward to, even if it’s as small as wearing a new outfit combo to work, can help you drag yourself away from your blankets and start your day in an optimistic frame of mind. After all, a day that starts well usually ends well too, so it’s worth taking a little bit of time to work out your own killer morning routine. Get ready to start loving your morning alarm!