Before 9

Michelle Madsen on the Beauty of Waking Up at 5am

5 min read

Essential Takeaways

Our series Before 9 explores the early morning routines of inspiring women, in their own words. Follow along for the hacks, habits, and tidbits that set them up for success during the rest of the day.

  • Our partner Michelle Madsen might just be the ultimate example of a morning person: the blogger voluntarily sets her alarm for 5am, every single day.
  • "I started this habit about 6 months ago and it’s changed everything for me," she says.

Hey there—we’re Ritual, a health company on a mission to inspire women to be their best from the inside out. Learn more about our reinvented multivitamin, which we formulated with essential nutrients to help fill the gaps in your diet.

What does it mean to "take aim?" According to Michelle Madsen, it's about pinpointing your goals and then harnessing the power to make them happen—ensuring all the little decisions we make every day are in service of exactly that. It's not just the name of her popular blog, but the ethos of the life she leads. And for Madsen, that M.O. starts from the moment she opens her eyes every morning.

"The first few hours of the morning are my best hours," she says. "It’s the time I commit to myself to move at a slow pace, have quiet moments, invest in my personal growth and plan out the best possible version of my day ahead." Below, she gets specific about how she leverages the morning to make the most out of the rest of her day.


My morning starts early—and I mean early.

"Waking up at 5am is the best ritual I keep. There are definitely mornings when it’s not possible but I started this habit about 6 months ago and it’s changed everything for me. I’m so much more productive and I have a clear mind when the workday begins."

That crack-of-dawn wakeup call means that I can take things nice and slow, and really ease into my day.

"When I get out of bed, my favorite moments are sitting on my velvet chair with a hot cup of coffee as I go through some meditations, read and journal things I’m processing and what I’m grateful for. Our thought-life is so impactful on our lives and I’ve become so much happier throughout the day when I start my morning with a positive perspective and vision. Sometimes I work out in the morning (when I’m doing my routine best!) The mornings are also the best time for me to do face masks, take a walk to a local juice shop or call my mom!"

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"When I have a healthy breakfast, I’m way more likely to be healthy all day long."

Don't forget breakfast.

"First thing first—coffee! And then I like to wait a couple hours before getting a green juice or smoothie. If I don’t have time to run out for a juice, I usually have oatmeal or a healthy bar of some kind. When I have a healthy breakfast, I’m way more likely to be healthy all day long."

This routine doesn't always pan out—especially when I'm on the go—but that's okay.

"I love to travel but between jet lag, late nights and not being in my home, it’s tough to have a consistent morning routine. One of my goals this year is to find a way to keep my morning rhythm when I travel."

When it comes to maintaining good habits, visual reminders are key.

"Morning routines are very important to me so I put a basket on my desk of things I like to incorporate into my day so that I see them first thing when I sit down—of course, my Ritual vitamins are in the basket and I see them first thing!

"I love knowing that I’m doing the best I can for my body, first thing in the morning. Having a healthy morning routine sets me up for success simply because it’s a positive habit I’ve incorporated into my life that inspires me to keep the healthy vibes going."

For more tips on kicking off your morning on a positive note, check out our Before 9 interview with an optimism doctor.