I love the mornings. Each new day seems to bring about new opportunities. It’s a chance to start new and do better than the day before. How you start your day, or more specifically how you spend those first few morning hours, has a big impact on how the remainder of your day will go. Your morning routine sets the tone for your entire day and that is why making over your morning is so important. It’s about much more than those first few hours.
In this post, I want to guide you through the process of changing your current morning routine to one that is more beneficial to you. Not only will you enjoy your mornings more, but it will help to make the rest of your day become much more productive.
The Impact of Your Morning Routine
Does this sound familiar to you? You set an alarm to wake up early in order to make sure you have time to have breakfast or coffee, get dressed or maybe just simply enjoy some much needed “me time”. You have every intention of getting up and doing whatever you are setting out to do when you set the alarm. Some mornings you get up right when the alarm goes off. You jump right into whatever it is you need to do. But then there are mornings when you just can’t get out of the bed. You hit the snooze button multiple times, or even turn the alarm off. Then you go back to sleep only to wake up late, rushed and frustrated.
On the days you woke up late, how did the rest of the day go for you? Did you notice that you felt tired, stressed and in general, just had a bad day?
Now, how about those mornings when you woke up to the alarm and got right out of bed? Were you able to do more of the tasks throughout the day you had planned?
I’m pretty sure in saying those days you woke right up were more productive. I bet you got a lot more accomplished, too. You see, sleeping through the snooze button does not just affect your morning routine, but the remainder of your day. It sets the tone for how the rest of your day is going to go. Have you heard of the old saying about getting up on the wrong side of the bed? Bingo!
Defining What’s Important to You
I want you to think about what it is that is most important to you. What is that one thing you really want to do each day that would make the biggest difference in your life right now?
What is a habit you want to create for yourself that would have an impact on your life the most? Think about this honestly.
Some suggestions to include are:
- Exercise and healthy eating
- Gaining advancement in your career
- Building better relationships
- Creative pursuits
- Reading more
Imagining Your Perfect Morning Routine
Now that you are aware of what is most important to you, you can add it to your morning routine. First, sit back and imagine what your perfect morning routine looks like to you. There isn’t any stress in a perfect morning routine. It may include having the time for a long hot shower or being able to exercise or meditate before breakfast. It may include time to review your planner for the day. Maybe it includes listening to a podcast or a positive affirmation.
With all of those “maybes”, you may feel overwhelmed, but try to start with what is most important to you. Then think about how you can fit what is most important into your morning routine. Remember, you are just dreaming and imagining right now. You can find the time and pinpoint the details later.
Writing it Down
You need to be super clear on what you want your perfect morning to become. Imagine it in as much detail as you possibly can. Now find a journal and write it down. You can always refer back to it later. By writing it on paper you have defined your perfect morning routine.
Be super clear on what you want your perfect morning to become.
Now that you have your ideal morning routine written down on paper, you can start to make the important changes because you know what your goals are. This is like taking a trip. You need to know where it is you are going before you can decide how to get there.
Finding the Time for Your Morning Routine
Mornings are busy times for most people. It does not have to be that way. As I said earlier, the first few hours in the morning can set the tone for the remainder of your day. You want it to be calm, and yet productive. You should feel like you are in control. To do this you should learn two simple concepts.
You Must Get Up Early
I know how tempting it is to hit the snooze button. Some mornings I yearn for just 10 more minutes of sleep. I get it. I was never a morning person before, so at first, the idea of setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier than I needed to was really tough for me. But trust me when I say that after the first few mornings it is not nearly as hard as you might think it will be.
You must avoid hitting the snooze button at all costs. By hitting that snooze button you will be cutting your calm morning time short.
This will put you behind from the getgo and will start your day on a downward spiral. Remember that your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
By getting up early, you are ahead of the game and in complete control. You will be able to complete everything you want to do in the morning in a calm manner. As you should be able to see by now, getting up early provides for an amazing and productive day.
Restructure Your Routine
At this point, you need to spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine. Where are you spending your time? What can you change to make time for the things you really want to do? A great way to start is to look at what you can take care of ahead of time, eliminate, or delegate to make time for other things you want.
Examples of making time include:
- Set the breakfast table the night before.
- Prepare the coffee pot before bed.
- Let your children make their own breakfast and clean up afterward.
- Set out your clothes the night before.
- Place book bags, purses, briefcases, and car keys by the front door.
Making these changes to your nighttime routine can make for a smoother morning routine. Try to come up with a few things you can do in advance to save time in the morning.
Determine What You Should and Shouldn’t Be Doing
Now that we discussed how to find the time in your busy morning to do the things that are important to you, I want you to think about what you should and what you shouldn’t be doing. All too often we get stuck in a routine and do things because it is a habit. We do it without really thinking about it and it isn’t always putting our time to its best use.
Don’t Cram More Things In
Please try to change your thinking and try not to add to what you already do in the morning. If you need 15 minutes for a morning task, just think about getting up 15 minutes earlier. Don’t add to your already lengthy list of things that need to get done because this will lead you to feel more rushed and stressed.
It’s About Making Smart Choices About Using Your Time
Instead, think about what the best use of your time in the morning would be. Compare your perfect morning routine with your current morning routine. What aren’t you able to do right now for your ideal morning? Start by cutting things out that don’t need to happen or be done in the morning. Then, finding the time to do what is important will become easier.
How to Find The Things to Stop Doing
There are two easy ways to find out which things you can stop doing. The first is to look for the things or tasks you do completely as a habit that really aren’t necessary. A great example is checking your e-mail. Does it really need to be checked in the morning?
The second way is to stop doing things for others that they can do themselves. Let the kids and spouse do their own thing if they are capable and concentrate on you. These small changes may be all it takes to make the time for what is important to you.
Create Your Game Plan
It is time to create a new morning game plan. Start with the new set of tasks that are most important to you. Figure out a rough time during which you want to get them accomplished. If your goal is to run in the morning, you may decide to do that before getting a shower. If your goal is to meditate, you may decide it would be best after you have had a cup of coffee.
Now work in the rest of your morning tasks around these. You may have to play around a bit to get the perfect routine for you, but with some creative thinking and a bit of flexibility, you will come up with a plan that works for you.
Keep Notes on Your Morning Routine
Creating any new routine can be difficult because it does not usually come naturally to us. It may take a bit to get used to it. Write your new morning routine in a journal. Writing it down will allow you to solidify your new routine in your mind.
Put your notes about your new morning routine near your bed where you will see it first thing in the morning. It will serve as a reminder.
Please keep in mind that even though your routine is written down, it is not written in stone. You will tweak it as often as needed until it becomes the perfect routine for you.
The Importance Of Habits And Routines
Now that your new morning routine is figured out, it is time to put it into action and make it a habit. Why does this matter? Because your new routine should happen every morning without fail and turning into a routine into a habit is how that happens.
Once you come up with a morning routine that works well for you, stick to it for a few weeks. That is the best way to turn it into a strong habit that you will eventually follow automatically.
Pay attention to those times when you are feeling like you are slipping back into your old habits. It happens to us all. If you catch it early, you can get back on track easily. People get sick, emergencies happen. That’s life. What is important is that you return to your morning routine the next morning.
Review Your Morning Routine Regularly
Creating routines and habits are one of the best things you can do to have a productive morning, and therefore, day. They allow you to do what you need to do without spending a lot of energy and time having to think about it.
When you get into a routine, it is hard to stop and check if it is still working well. It is important to take some time every now and again to review your routine and habits. That includes your new morning routine.
Set aside some time on a regular basis to review your routine. Put it on the calendar or in your planner as a reminder. Our lives and circumstances change and so our routines should change with it. Just because something worked for you over the past few weeks and months, doesn’t mean it will always continue to do so.
When you sit down to review your morning routine ask yourself, “Is it working? Is it working really well? “
If it is, then change nothing. However, if it isn’t, it may be time to make some changes. Remember, your morning routine will change over time as circumstances and people in your life change and evolve. Embrace the changes and look at them as an indication that you are making progress.