This is the second post in a two post sequence describing my morning routine. The first post describes 6 ways that adding a morning routine to my life has changed it for the better. This current post breaks down my personal morning routine into manageable action steps that you can add all at once or start with one at a time.
Have you ever considered adding a morning routine to your schedule? A time before the kids wake up and start the endless cycle of need? (Oh, is that just my kids?) A time for you to connect with your true self. A time to organize all those things you want to accomplish in your day. A time to simply be. Sounds amazing, right?
It can be yours, too. Promise. I do want to say straight away, that this is NOT an easy habit to form. I started small. My routine didn’t begin with waking up at 4:45. It has been an evolution. I started with a 6am wake up and 15 minutes of yoga. That was it. It was much easier for me to wrap my mind around getting up 30 minutes early so that I can do just 15 minutes of yoga. No big deal. These small, incremental changes are what helped create some sticking power.
So, let me ask: What are you usually doing at 5 am?
What would you like to be doing?
Sleeping, you say?
Yeah, that used to be my answer, too. I used to be that mama who would stay up way too late because it was my ONLY time that I had to myself. To veg out. My only time to watch some TV drama (because I didn’t have enough drama in my life?!) or to flick through my Facebook feed. Or, most importantly, the only time my husband and I had to connect.
There came a point when I finally connected that staying up late and then sleeping in until the last possible minute left me cranky and listless. I lacked connection with my thoughts and dreams and, therefore, felt constantly FRUSTRATED.
Frustrated with me.
Frustrated with my kids – who I was beginning to resent for all the time I had to spend on THEIR dreams and desires.
Frustrated with the anxiety I was feeling due to the lack of focus and creativity I was finding in my life.
So, this January, I tried an experiment. I started getting up at 5 am. When my children are in school they have to get up at 6:30 – so this usually gives me 1 and ½ hours of time to myself (of course, my 2-year-old can often find a way to thwart this time, but, there’s usually some time.)
Now that it’s summer there’s often a bit more time for me. I had until 7 am this morning. It was glorious!
HERE’S MY CURRENT MORNING ROUTINE:
My alarm goes off at 4:45. I’m not one of those people who can just jump right out of bed. I hit snooze, once or twice, so I usually get up around 5 or 5:10.
I go to the kitchen and drink a cup of water. I’m usually pretty dehydrated after sleeping and want to hydrate before beginning a strenuous workout.
Next, I start the day with 30-40 minutes of Yoga with my hubby. We use YouTube for this. We are currently going through Fightmaster Yoga – Hatha Yoga Happiness – it’s a 30-day program that we’ve enjoyed. If you’re new and want to try yoga for the first time I recommend Yoga with Adrienne. She’s quirky, fun and will teach you the basics in short, easy to follow videos.
(I know I talked about the benefits of my morning routine in the last post, but let me just reiterate: The physical strength that I’ve gained from a daily yoga practice has led to an improved outlook on myself and life in general. They say exercise increases endorphins – yoga is more than that, though. It has helped me to improve my self-worth which leads to an ability to take risks and be vulnerable – and that leads to a life more aligned with who I want to be!)
I made a printable just for these next few steps. Check it out below. Download your FREE Morning Routine Printable now!
After Yoga, I make a cup of green tea and then “Brain Dump” for about 15 minutes. Sometimes I’ll be guided by a prompt I’ve created for myself. Maybe there’s something occupying my thoughts or an intention I would like to ponder. Often I’ll just want to dump everything that’s in my brain onto paper. Ahhhh. It feels so good.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Just write. Journal like you’re 16 years old again. You can say what you want. Be mad at whoever you’re mad at. Feel insecure. Just keep writing until those emotions aren’t stuck anymore and you can breathe a little bit deeper.
I find this is a really good time to write down some affirmations for yourself and to let them really soak in. Here are some I’ve written recently:
Go against the flow.
Only you can decide your attitude.
You are beautiful.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
Maybe those affirmations don’t feel quite right. Take a look at your journal page and I think you’ll see pretty quickly what affirming statements you need to say to yourself right now. Meet yourself where you are RIGHT now.
That is some powerful juju right there friends. Get ready to be transformed if you say affirmations to yourself every day!
You know that feeling of having an unwritten to-do list that contains about 40 things? Ugh. I totally do. This is my system for helping decrease that feeling of overwhelm, anxiety and inability to handle it all. Oh, it has helped SO much!
While I’m brain dumping/journaling, I usually jot down tasks that I know I would like to accomplish today or tomorrow or even within the next few weeks. You know, those things that pop into your head at random times. Like, I need to “return those library books” or “prep dinner” or “text so-and-so” or “research vacation spots” or “set up a 5-year plan for my life!”
I like to write these down on the side of my journal – I make a tiny column for them – and the rest of the page is for the “brain dump.”
DO NOT worry about organizing these tasks at this point. We’ll get to that later!
Now, I spend the next few minutes connecting with my spouse on what his day looks like. We take the time to figure out how I need to integrate time in my schedule for things he would like to accomplish and vice versa. This often will revolve around our children’s schedules and who is picking up the kids or shuttling them to their afternoon activity (if there is any).
This has been an amazing conflict reducer for us. I know this isn’t the most romantic way to connect. I get that. But, Sam and I have found it to be a way to reduce assumptions, make our day run much smoother and support each other as needed – and all of those things are VERY connecting 😉
Lastly, create a physical, time-blocked schedule. This can feel a bit daunting. Try it once and see what you think. It might not be for you. I loosely use this to organize my day and it’s helped me to accomplish more with the small amount of alone time I’m finding these days!
Write out a schedule for yourself. Or download my FREE Morning Routine Printable! Start your schedule at 6am or 7am, whatever time you’ll be starting your day, and write down each hour until you get to your desired bedtime.
Before you starting putting those “to-dos” on your Morning Routine schedule, I’ve learned the best thing to do is to rank your tasks in order of importance. Mark a #1 by the one thing you REALLY want to get done today. Even if you only accomplish one thing, if it’s this one thing you’ll feel pretty darn good by the end of the day.
Then, go through the rest of your tasks and rank them in order of importance. Not importance as in “this is an important task,” but importance as in, “it’s important to me that I get this done today.” The task could be “Make a grocery list.” Grocery lists aren’t necessarily life or death but it is the most important task for you today.
Now that you have everything ranked for today, you probably have a few tasks that you just know aren’t going to happen today. But, they need to happen soon! I like to keep those accounted for on my Trello board – which I am usually checking and adding to throughout this morning routine writing process.
Plug in those to-dos (the ones you wrote on the side of your journal while you were brain dumping) on the schedule. Start with your #1 task. Give that task a time estimate that you think it will actually take to accomplish that specific task. Be realistic.
Please, please, please, don’t schedule tasks that you know you don’t have time or space for i.e. because you’ve got a newborn and a toddler at home, etc. This will just leave you feeling defeated. Be true to your phase of life. Start small. Accomplishing anything, if you’re in this newborn phase, will feel incredible! This is also why it’s a good idea to rank tasks – if you only have an hour and you waste that precious hour trying to accomplish 5 different things, likely nothing will get done. Focus and intention will leave you feeling clear the rest of the day!
It probably took a good 2-3 solid months before my morning routine was engrained. Honestly, the benefits I listed last week completely outweighed the extra hour (or two) of sleep that’s possible! And I haven’t looked back.
There you have it. I truly believe this transformation is available to everyone. Please. Don’t get stuck in the narrative that says I’m somehow better than you. It’s not true. I know that we are all able to take control of our life and make changes.
If all of this feels too big – pick one thing on this list, get up 30 minutes before your children and start there. I think once you see the transformation awaiting you from even that one simple movement, you’ll be wanting MORE!
Please share and let me know what you’ve tried, what’s working for you or what you’re struggling with. As Zac Efron says, “we’re all in this together.”
P.S. If you’re confused about how to begin living your life more aligned with your values get my FREE “Defining Your Values” Workbook HERE!