This morning my watch alarm went off at 6:30 and I laid in bed for a few minutes preparing my mind for the day until I heard the alarm on my cell phone (which sleeps in my office) go off at 6:40. I let my dog out and got coffee, per the usual. By the time I made it downstairs to my bathroom it was nearing 7:10… what was I doing for thirty minutes?! As I aimlessly reached for my toothbrush it took me two tries to pick it up. Was I having some sort of an episode you ask? Nope. I was watching a video on Facebook of a woman who made decorative candy canes out of PVC pipe. I gave myself a big eye roll and turned the phone off. I went back to my usual routine and was out the door within 10 minutes. This entire interaction got me thinking… how long had I been scrolling on the phone? Did I spend the majority of that lost thirty minutes looking at my phone? The most apparent thing that stuck out to me was not that I wasted time scrolling on my phone but that I, a person who has never made it further than putting a wreath on my door, watched an entire video of a person who makes large, decorative candy canes out of PVC pipe. I assure you I will never even attempt this project. I could have done, read or watched SO many other things in that amount of time that would have got my day off to a much better start than me wondering what in the world was taking me so long. I’ll admit this doesn’t happen to me as often as it used to; I really enjoy my morning routine and I usually avoid my phone for the first hour I’m up. Just last night I pinned two, maybe three articles on creating a morning routine to my Life Betterment Projects board on Pinterest. The irony is not lost on me. I’m a firm believer in ‘I’m always exactly where I need to be’ so I know my morning struggle was meant to be shared and to provoke some sort of action.
So how do you create a solid morning routine designed to get your day off to a good start? If you know me at all you know I’m about to say: by adding small, lasting habits. And then I’ll explain that the best way to create a new habit is by attaching it to an existing habit (a reminder). I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. So here are five tips for a simple but effective morning routine to start your day off right.
- Ditch the snooze button. You might be screaming ‘YOU SAID SIMPLE’. It really is simple when you don’t give yourself another option. The good news here is, if you are hitting the snooze button five times and still making it where you need to go on time then you need to set your alarm for LATER. Yea, I said it. Don’t disturb your sleep unnecessarily. Get some rest, friend.
- Ditch the cell phone. There is probably a simple existing habit (like turning the alarm off) to remind you not to start scrolling. So instead of saying “I will not waste time on my cell phone in the morning”, say “I will not use my phone for at least (X amount of time you need to get ready) after I turn the alarm off.” This tip is trifold because “ditching the phone” also means plugging it in to charge in another room so that you have to physically get out of bed to turn your alarm off. AND plugging your phone in away from your bed gives you an opportunity to power down and get a more restful sleep.
- Do something you like. Didn’t think that would make the list did you? For me, this could be as simple as coffee or as complex as meditation. The key is to start with something and build from there. It used to just be a simple cup of coffee. I set my coffee pot (am I the only one still using a regular old coffee pot?) brew time for the same time as my alarm. It’s like a little added bonus for getting out of bed! Now I’ve added dry brushing to my morning routine, it takes me about two minutes and just taking that short amount of time to do something nice for myself has given me a huge boost for the day.
- Commit to things you’re comfortable with. I have a small child so saying I’m going to go workout every morning only sets me up for failure. I also don’t particularly LIKE getting up super early every day, so I commit myself to three mornings a week. This means if I do nothing else I’ll at least have gotten in adequate workout time for the week. This also gives me four other days a week that I can try something new, go run outside with the stroller, get to workout with friends who have different schedules, break up a workout throughout the day, or take a day off (gasp).
- Try different things. Don’t get so stuck on your very first idea, or even on a specific time you feel seems more “respectable”. Go into this with the intention of finding what works best for you and keep trying until you’ve found the best fit. It doesn't have to be a 45 minute power packed routine that involves you standing on your head, drinking a green smoothie and meditating for 20 minutes; it could be as simple as saying I just want to relax a little bit more and spend less time getting ready and finding ways to make that happen.
Here’s to better mornings and better days.
Sweat & Smiles,