Creating A Morning Routine Changed My Life For The Better

A purposeful morning routine truly separates the basics from someone with a boss mentality.


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When I think about successful people, all roads seem to point back to the effectiveness of having a proper morning routine in place. And why shouldn't it? Our mornings literally set the tone for the kind of days we intend to have -- "intend" being the operative word. If you look into any CEO, entrepreneur or business owner, the intention they pour into creating a purposeful morning routine truly seems to be what separates the basics from someone with a boss mentality.

For those of you who aren't familiar with what a morning routine is, it is a set of actions you perform in the morning before you start your day. For those of us with success on the brain, it has become increasingly popular to finetune your mornings in a way that starts you on the right foot, cultivates mindfulness, and helps you to maximize productivity to ensure you are ready to conquer your to-do list when it's officially grind time.

I don't always do my morning routine, however I do notice a distinct difference in my day when I am intentional about completing my routine versus when I'm flying by the seat of my pants and just trying to get things done. During the former, I am at ease, I am happier, there is more of a flow and a sense of effortlessness as I move throughout my day. But the latter? I feel overwhelmed, tense, short with people around me, and chaotic energy charges everything I do or don't get around to doing for that day (or days if slacking off on my mornings is a pattern for a few days at a time).

If you want a glimpse into what a perfect morning looks like for me, routine included, read on below.

Wake Up

Photography by Taylor S. Hunter

An integral part of beginning your day on the right note is waking up well-rested. In a generation that proudly touts how grind season involves "no sleep", let me just say, I'm proud to be a contrarian. Sleep is important for memory, learning, stress relief, immunity, improved mood, better interpersonal relations, and more. While a lack of sleep could potentially prove detrimental to your overall health and well-being. Operating at E isn't a vibe, and certainly shouldn't be a wave for anyone.

Any given night, I aim to sleep for 7-8 hours. As of late, my quality of sleep has been just as important as the quantity of sleep I get. And lately, I have been achieving incredible restful nights of sleep thanks to my new Tuft & Needle mattress (read more about that here). Creating a space that invites sleep is a great foundation for achieving a lot of it. So, if you don't love sleeping, think of ways to make your bedroom more inviting -- be it removing technology, changing your bed frame or buying a new bed, or investing in a new mattress. Your peace of mind will love you for it.

Sidebar: Secure the bag and the mattress by using this link when you purchase your very on Tuft & Needle Mattress. In honor of Cyber Monday, T&N is offering $300 Off T&N Hybrid Mattress, $200 Off Mint Mattress, and 15% Off Furniture & Accessories.


After drinking a glass of room temperature water, because hydration is key, I really like to force myself awake once my alarm does its thing. One of the best ways to facilitate that is to go to the bathroom, wash my face, and brush my teeth. There's nothing quite like the wakeup call of a cool splash of water to your skin. And ever since Evelyn From The Internet put me on to the fact that you should wash your face for 60 seconds to allow products to truly do their thing, I've been humming The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song as my official time clock.

I bounce between two cleansers depending on what I feel like any given morning, so sometimes it's Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser and other times it's Mario Badescu's Glycolic Foaming Cleanser. Then, I use Mario Badescu's Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, followed by Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 and then some tea tree oil (diluted, of course) if I have any blemishes I want to go away.


Writing is an important part of my day-to-day but as the managing editor of xoNecole, I don't often get as much time to write personally or creatively. Journaling has become an intersection where my purpose and my passion can meet, and it's great to just write and the only intention being to get closer to self. Admittedly though, I used to have a tricky relationship with journaling. I'd only journal if I had something I was upset about or needed to vent over. In making it a daily practice, I've found it beneficial to do morning pages where I allow streams of consciousness to flow, spill out, and fill three pages at the top of my morning. I learn a lot about myself in those moments and find some of my best ideas.

If morning pages aren't your thing, you can definitely get reflection time in through a gratitude list, writing down your intentions, or just gathering your thoughts for what your to-do list might look like for the day ahead.


I think it was Stephen King who said, "Read a lot, write a lot" and it's a definitely a quote to live by, especially if you're a writer. The writers I respect most tend to have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books and are constantly consuming other people's words to ignite sparks that will allow them to more strongly create their own. I've been on a self-help wave for the past year and have recently peeled open Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life by Ruby Warrington. We're all about the vibes outchea. I try to read at least 1-2 chapters every morning. One of the most satisfying parts of reading for me is being able to highlight the things that resonate with me the most. I find this habit to be incredibly therapeutic.

Set The Vibe

Let me tell you something about aromatherapy, it works. The role that our noses play in terms of scent and which smells trigger and settle which emotions will never be something that ceases to amaze me. Whether it's with my oil diffuser (and some grapefruit oil or lavender oil on deck) or a good-old fashioned candle, the vibe is set by the scent you choose as its signature. Some mornings, I'm known to light some palo santo or sage but most mornings (and days if I'm being perfectly honest), a soy candle stays lit for hours. My most recent favorites have been "Blush Orchid" (pictured above) and "Tea Leaves" by Chesapeake Bay Candle as well as "Calm Down" by Ryan Porter Candle.


I typically start checking the site (xoNecole.com) around this time to make sure everything is running as it should. Are there any posts that I need to update and republish? Are there any new articles that trickled overnight that can get the greenlight to fast-track to being a post set to publish that day? Are there daily news articles that our fabulous Senior Editor Taylor Honore has waiting in the cut for me to review? Are there urgent emails that need returning? So, I spend 15-30 minutes addressing those things before making my way to having my first meal of the day. My favorite breakfast of the moment is either overnight oats with dried cranberries and apple slices, or eggs, spinach, and some sausage. I then prioritize drinking my remainder 1.5 liters of water before noon, as well as consuming my daily supplements by Binto which is a packet of two multivitamins and one probiotic.

After I've done these things, I feel ready to officially start my day and face the whirlwind of my day, well-rested and well-armored by intention and self-care. Now that I've shown you mine, what does your morning routine look like? Share with me in the comments down below.

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Featured image by Taylor S. Hunter

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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