This topic seems to be all the craze lately — what it should entail, why it’s important, how it’s most effective, yada yada yada. But honestly, the hype across social media in my opinion is well warranted. I wish I could say I was the type of person that easily popped out of bed in the morning and didn’t need an alarm clock, but…I’m not. I do know though, that basically as soon as my feet hit the floor I’m so grateful I didn’t hit snooze and I really enjoy that early morning time to myself.
They say how you live your day is how you live your life. Pretty accurate. Pretty powerful. You can’t tell me that it feels good to rush around in a frenzy each morning, feeling as if there isn’t enough time in the world that would equate to a calm and peaceful start. But you know what, there is — and it is possible to get a grip on and utilize this time to your advantage each day. You deserve it and the benefits you’ll reap not only that day but in life will soon make your morning routine a non-negotiable. Think about it— I bet you can’t recall one person who has a set morning routine that isn’t successful (and happy!) in life.
The key factors in turning this from a good idea into a daily habit, is making it your own. Grab a pen and paper and take the next 2 minutes to quick take action — starting tomorrow morning you’ll be on your way.
1. Start small. Allocating 30 minutes to a workout, meditating, or journaling most likely is not in the cards for you. Most of us don’t have a spare 30 minutes to get ready or make breakfast, let alone dedicate to a ‘new’ fun activity. Therefore, be realistic with yourself and pick a set time you can commit to. When I first started, I promised seven minutes to myself. Why seven? It’s my favorite number. No set science-based reason for that length of time, but I knew it was short enough that seven minutes out of my morning was doable regardless of what I had going on. Sometimes I exceed the time I had set aside without hardly realizing it, while other days a short and sweet seven minutes is it.
2. Get up earlier. #sorry-not-sorry. there’s no way around it. I wish I could play God and add in more time to your day, but it’s not happening. Only way to make your day & ultimately YOU more productive, effective, & inspired is to get at it a few minutes earlier. This is where starting small really comes in to play, as setting your alarm for even earlier than you have been is often where many people find failure. But getting up seven minutes earlier was doable for me — waking up at 5:07am instead of 5:15am, especially if it meant starting my day off on a positive note was doable. Setting the alarm for 5:00am was (sadly) a bit too tough mentally to do, so a happy ‘compromise’ was 5:07am– ha! You laugh, but I know I’m not alone in this thinking though. How many times have you had great intentions to wake up earlier and have failed? By starting small, maybe even just three minutes, making that subtle shift in your alarm clock setting should be nearly not even noticeable. Let’s be real— you wouldn’t even notice the difference if slept those extra 3-5 minutes.
3. Tap into your senses. I’ve realized over the years that lighting, smells, & sounds have a pretty significant impact on my surroundings and how happy and productive I am. My work space always includes a lamp & plants, essential oil diffusing or a few drops applied to my wrists, and music (changes on my mood). When I first tried tackling a morning routine I groggily made my way to the couch after flipping on a light and attempted to pray and read the Bible. Needless to say, although it felt good to dedicate some time to grow in my faith and start my day intentionally, it wasn’t exactly a routine that made me excited the following morning to keep it up.
I read in one of my favorite author’s (Sally Clarkson) books that she always lit a candle during her morning routine–genius! The next day I did just that and decided to also pick an essential oil to diffuse to awaken my senses a bit. Two super easy additions that made such a positive impact on the ‘setting’. Now after my alarm goes off and before I get out of bed, those things serve as mood-lifting reminders and make getting up easier. It seems this is often the case for many people, and changing the location, lighting, etc. suddenly creates a more personalized atmosphere. Give it a try! What do you think is one thing you could add to your morning routine to make you more likely to dedicate this time to yourself each day?
If you haven’t experienced already, everyone’s morning ritual is a bit different. You may be the type that loves to get up and workout first thing in the morning, or maybe you get your juices flowing by meditating using a favorite app for a few minutes. To be honest, I have a favorite morning ritual, but after getting interrupted about every third morning, I’ve developed a couple options based on the day. My three year old has a pretty consistent wake-up time, but my 10-month old on the other hand varies by the day what time he wants to get up. Therefore, on days that I’m up with the baby and a bit more distracted, I’ve found that my journaling time isn’t as effective as a 15-20 minute workout or morning walk with baby in the stroller.
The main thing is that it happens. Mornings are tough for everyone — it takes practice and persistence and won’t happen over night, but there’s a reason why the early bird gets the worm. Excuses will always be an option, but you’re better than that. And I’d be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t drive home just how good it feels to set aside just a few minutes to start owning your life.