At the beginning of 2018 I made a new goal for myself on my <2018 New Year Resolutions,> I made a pact for myself that I would begin writing more, not necessarily ‘blogging more’ although that inevitably became a part of it. It wasn’t about ‘blogging more’ or ‘expanding my blog’ or anything to that effect – more than anything it was about my mental health and getting everything down on paper so that I could ‘let things go,’ work through whatever struggle I may be facing in that very moment, or even possibly ‘whatever good thing I’ve got going for me at that very moment.
So every working morning, which by the way begins at 5:00 a.m. I do my usual – wake up, stumble into the shower and get ready for work. Once I get settled in I grab my cup of coffee (or usually water these days due to Whole 30) and I start to write.
I wanted to learn how to create my own practice and to understand why it mattered. Even though my practice developed over time – it literally took me three years to get into this whole ‘groove of blogging thing,’ the morning routine effect was almost immediate. Taking notes on different posts I want to write, vent about whatever is circling through my mind, and I guess that’s why I have 37 drafts saved to my email right now.
I know, I know.. WAIT 5 AM?! It was the only time I could make it work with my crazy-busy schedule between work life and the kiddos being at home – this is what I’ve got to make work. By the way, have you ever tried to write (or do anything) with two kiddos running rapid around your house? I tried that earlier this week – not even worth going into, I’ll just leave it at ‘not gonna happen.’
Those 5:00 a.m. sessions have quickly turned into a meaningful morning routine including not just writing but meditation putting my head on paper – not literally, although sometimes…. (HA!) Some days my practice is hours long, and other days only minutes. I know that consistency is more important than intensity and jot a few thoughts down even when I only have a few minutes.
The Morning Routine Effect (what to expect)
When you become more intentional about how you start your day, things begin to shift on the inside and the outside. This is the morning routine effect. I started all of this in search of less stress – I got that and so much more. Here’s what you can expect from a consistent morning routine. (Note: your morning routine doesn’t have to include writing, or running, or yoga – it just has to be meaningful to you.)
You’ll feel less scattered and more focused all day long when you give yourself time first thing to settle into the day. While it all contributes, the meditation component of my morning routine helps me come back more quickly when I do get distracted. It’s crazy how much ‘open mind’ you’re left with when you choose to ‘leave it all on the paper.’
Not only will you be more creative throughout the day, when you are practicing your morning routine with an open heart and mind, creative ideas seem to drop out of the sky. So much of blog writing starts by a jotted down thought while I’m driving, taking a walk, or something laying in bed trying to fall asleep.
Learning to under-react is one of the best parts of the morning routine effect. You’ll learn to pause, to consider your words and to remember not to believe everything you think. This helps in my personal life, my work life, my mom life. You’d be surprised how helpful it is to not have all of these ‘built up thoughts’ weighing on your mind.
A morning routine will help you understand what matters and just as important, what doesn’t. You can apply what you are learning to your to-do list, your day and your life.
A meaningful morning routine can fuel your heart, soul, body and brain depending on the activities you choose.
Your morning routine will help you become more of the real you. The connection you are making with your own heart will encourage connections with the people you are meant to be with. The more you that you are, the more likely you are to attract the right people for you.
Morning Routine (How to Get Started)
1. Stop saying you aren’t a morning person.
This is me. 110% me every single day. It’s a great excuse but it doesn’t matter. Start your morning routine whenever your morning starts, even if it’s in the afternoon.
2. Be grateful.
Each morning to start I try to jot down three things that I am grateful for. If I can’t think of anything, I think back to things like what made me smile yesterday, the first person I thought of when I woke up, or the last thing that made me laugh.
3. Hide your phone.
Do whatever it takes to be digital free until you’ve enjoyed your morning routine. Lucky for me, I don’t have my phone with me at work so this isn’t difficult and usually when I’m home for my ‘morning routine’ I leave my phone in the bedroom on the charger and go to the couch or the dining room table for my session. Eventually you may want to use a meditation app or other tool on your phone during your morning routine, but start without it so you aren’t tempted to check email, news, texts, or other social media apps.
5. Make a list of morning routine activities.
Eliminate the painful process of making decisions when you first wake up. Instead, make a list of what you’d like to include in your morning routine and choose two or three to start with.
6. Create a morning not to-do list.
You may have more clarity on how you want to spend your morning minutes after clearly identifying what you don’t want to do. Make a list of the things that don’t add value to your mornings.
7. Turn on the music.
Quiet background music can help to keep you engaged and present in your morning routine. Create a 5 minute playlist and practice your morning routine for as long as the music lasts for the first week. Add a minute or two to your playlist and routine each week.
8. Show up.
Even if you don’t do anything during your morning routine, show up for it every morning for a week. Dedicate five minutes to getting on your yoga mat, sitting at your kitchen table with a pen and paper, at the park for your morning run, or wherever you’d like to be. Just show up.