I want to start by giving you full permission. Permission to let go of all the “shoulds” all the “rules” and all of the pre conceived notions about what a morning routine needs to look like. Go ahead, take a deep breath and let it go! But seriously. Think about all of the information, suggestions and opinions out there addressing morning routines. It is A LOT!
This is going to be a much different approach, because to be honest, the Simply Big Life is all about designing and creating YOUR most valuable days, weeks, years etc. YOURS, not your neighbor’s most valuable day, but yours. I think this is a really important place to start and for me to remind you that you are a unique individual with unique needs, wants, passions, energy levels and circumstances.
Most things in life are not one-size fits all and that includes your morning routine. Heck, you don’t even HAVE to have a morning routine to be a happy, healthy individual. But I am guessing that since you are reading this, you have some desire on some level to learn more about how creating one can help you.
That brings me to a bit of my story. I have been on a personal development journey for a few years now and it really started to take shape in my life when I read the Miracle Morning. I LOVE this book and it helped so much to experience the power of setting aside time first thing in the morning for me, and it kicked off the journey of me discovering my own flow in the mornings.
Over the past few years, designing and sticking to my morning routine has been instrumental in my journey to personal growth and peaceful productivity. The more consistent I am with the routine (even when its not “perfect”), the more intentional I am about all the rest of the hours in my day. Being intentional with my time helps me to be IN and ENJOY the present moment. It is truly a ripple effect!
The flip side is that there is a specific formula to follow, with specific and predetermined activities and time frames. This is what worked for him. And on some level that is helpful to learn what is working or not working for others, but inevitably it leads to overwhelm and frustration if we are not able to do it exactly the way that it is laid out.
That’s when I decided to take what was working from the book and I began experimenting with all the different components of a morning routine. Eventually I got to a place where I was eager to jump out of bed because I had my routine to look forward to! If this sounds crazy to you, just hear me out.
Check out the 5 steps I took to ultimately get to a place where I am happy and comfortable while still challenged and living with a growth mindset. Again, let me remind you to give yourself full permission to take what works and leave the rest!
Here we go:
- Start with self awareness and being honest with where you are currently and what you need to nourish yourself: mentally, emotionally and physically. Pay attention to things like: your energy levels in the morning, are you hungry first thing, do you need a giant cup of coffee before anything good or bad or indifferent can occur(raising my hand!).
Then look at your season in life- did you just have a baby? Do you have 4 little kids who wake up at 5 am? These are all REAL and super important factors to take into consideration before you can even think about designing your ideal morning routine. The goal is to keep it realistic. The more honest you are with yourself, the more consistent your routine will be once you create it. Because it will be authentically you.
- Identify the feeling you are after. What is it that made you want to read this article? Why do you think it might be helpful for you to have a morning routine? Think about how you are currently feeling. Are you rushed, frustrated and on edge when your feet hit the floor because you know you are diving into the day without any life vest?
Then, think about how you want to feel. Calm, prepared, peaceful, excited to start the day?!
- Determine what activities you will include in your routine. This might be where some people could get caught up. Maybe you haven’t ever liked to write in a journal, but “everyone” says how great it is to clear your mind. Or maybe you are intimidated by the idea of meditating (it can definitely be overwhelming when you’re getting started). All these things are legitimate, but my hope is that it wont deter you from identifying what you DO enjoy and how you would want to spend your time. This may take some time to figure out. And this is also where looking at other people’s routines could be helpful, as long as you are mindful and staying true to who you are and what you need.
- Write out an ideal routine. Now its time to take all of the information from above and start designing your personalized, most valuable morning routine. Include: When, How long, and What you will do. If you want to get even more specific, go ahead and think through the details like: where you will be and will you still be in your pjs or dressed for the day? Thinking through these details will help to eliminate any possible lingering excuses or mental blocks when it comes to just starting somewhere.
I suggest creating a routine and committing to it for 7 days. This is long enough for you to see if its working for you, or determine what tweaks need to be made. After the 7 days, go ahead and make a second draft of your ideal morning routine.
Honestly, I am probably on draft #50 or something crazy like that. The amount of times that I have adapted and adjusted are a lot, and it has brought me to a place where I feel confident in how I want to spend my time in the morning. I am also confident in the fact that my routine will continue to evolve right along with me.
- Set yourself up for Success. This is a big one! Like I said before about eliminating the excuses, this is where it becomes helpful to think through the elements of your routine and pin point specific areas that you can set up(preferably the night before) to be successful. Some examples would be setting the coffee maker!!!!!! Putting out books, notebooks etc. in your spot with a blanket- all ready to go. Reset the house- dishes away/ toys picked up -the night before so that you know you are waking up to a clean slate. That helps so much to have a clear mind and not feeling like you need to be doing something else besides investing in yourself!
Another aspect of setting yourself up to win, is to eliminate any possible distractions. For me- having my phone or computer with me is not helpful in the morning. Unless I am doing some work intentionally at that time, I don’t need to be connected to anything or anyone other than me.
So, those are the 5 steps that I went through and still move through when I’m in a new season or feeling the need to change things up! I waited until the end to give you a rundown of what my personal routine looks like- for all the reasons that I mentioned, and because ultimately this is about you. How you want to design your morning, your day and your life! It’s exciting stuff!
My Morning Routine:
- Wake up: 6-630/water/robe
- Write in my journal to clear the cobwebs: 5-10 min
- Read: 5-10 min
- PLAN my Most Valuable day, using the Simply Big Life Planner– of course 😉 but for real!
- Pray/ meditate/ breathe…get ready for the footsteps coming down the stairs to let mom know that its time to start the day!
These are my basics and I have learned to be less and less rigid as time goes on. The more flexible I am, the more likely I am to stick to it. I have found that the days I am able to do most of these things, those are the days that I am more patient with my family, more focused with work, and overall more present as I move through the day.
I encourage you to give it a go! Start small and allow so much room for experimenting and grace! There has never been a better time to say- focus on progress, not perfection. If you do that, you will be golden. You will feel for yourself the benefits of carving out sacred time for you to reconnect to what is most important. It truly is only when we take care of ourselves that we can be who we need and want to be for those we love.