It is easy for time to float along where weeks and months have went by and you feel like you haven't gotten anything done. One way to take control in any given situation is to decide you want a different result rather than just continue to let life happen. This article explores creating a morning routine to take control of your life, set boundaries, and meet your goals.
We may take our routines for granted or think we don’t have any control over them or don't even need them. With this article, I want to give you a new perspective to look at routines as a way to move from a place of intention in how you start your day instead of just reacting to what comes to us in our lives.
Why do this?
Why would we want to create a morning routine? Think about how most of us start our day. We wake up, we immediately check our phone to see what we missed the night before. We check our emails, our texts, social media, maybe the news or similar websites, all without thinking about what we are doing. It’s like we are on auto pilot. And from all that behavior, the tone for our day is set.
Maybe we’ve laid around too long looking at all of that and now we are late. Or maybe we don’t like we what see and now we are upset, anxious our unsettled in some way that has now put us in a bad mood. So, we drag out of bed, thinking about what we just read and we are irritated, mad we have to do this or that, mad we are going to work and just generally mad that the sun is up and it's time to start a new day!
What about at the end of the day? Maybe you’ve had a long stressful day, full of things you feel like you can’t control. When you finally get to lay your head down on the pillow, you still feel so amped up because your mind is moving a 100 mph and you just can’t seem to slow down the anxious, fearful and negative thoughts going on in your head. As a result of that, you have a hard time falling asleep and you stare at the clock thinking "well now I’m only going to get 5 hours of sleep" then an hour later "now I'm only going to get 4 hours of sleep" and so on.
Have you ever done that? I know I have, and it sucks. And then you wake up the next morning, tired and the whole thing starts all over again with picking up your phone, checking email, social media and so on.
That is reactionary living. And actually, quite lazy on our part because we gave no thought to our actions from when we woke up and when we went to bed and how they would control our day. We just robotically went through some motions that caused us to feel bad, feel behind or otherwise hopeless as we start our day. And at the end of the day, we didn’t give ourselves a chance to decompress, to let all that stuff go so we could give our mind a break and the ability to slow down so we could actually get a good night’s sleep.
What if we changed that reactionary living and instead created a simple morning routine that let us take charge of our day? What would that look like? And no, I’m not talking about some hour long routine that requires you to get up at 4 in the morning to be able to finish it. I'm talking about something you choose, something that works for YOU and only you, in the amount of time that YOU want to take to do it. Maybe its 5-10 minutes in the morning and a little longer at night because you have more time. The point of this is to make it simple and easy for you to do so you can start your day feeling good. Because when you feel good, life is easier, you are happier and this is a totally better way to live!
Before we get into the “how” of how to develop your morning routine, I want to mention one thing. I want you to think about creating this morning routine for yourself. I want you to think about doing this because you love, value and respect yourself. That should be foremost in anything you do. You may find that creating a morning routine, especially if you have never had one before, can seem pointless and like a waste of time. There may be all kinds of excuses that come up for why you don't want to do something like this. Take the time now to set the intention to do this because you love, value and respect yourself. That’s it!
When you do this, you are putting parameters around what you let in from the rest of the world so you can start and end your day from a place of control rather than a place of out-of-control energy and being so reactionary. Once you can get a hold of how you start your day, you will start to see that things in your life really do start to change for the better and it all begins with that intention of loving, valuing and respecting yourself!
How do we do this?
How do we create a morning routine? Let me remind you there is no right or perfect way to do this. What I’m going to do is give you some ideas and suggestions and I want you to take a few and see what works for you, adjust what doesn’t until you can find what feels good to you. There is no perfect amount of time to do this, it’s whatever feels right for you. A journal might also help you with this process so you can sort out your thoughts and get it all out of your head. Again, all of these things are done before you pick up your phone, turn on the TV, or let the world in!
- Decide who you are going to be for the day. How are you going to show up to yourself? To the world? Set your intention for how you wish to be. I like doing this when I first wake up because it helps set my mind right for the day. Some examples are: Today my intention is to BE loving towards myself. Or to BE in a state of openness to receive what is meant for me. Or to BE clear in my communication about what I want and need.
- Write morning pages. This is where when you first wake up, you do a brain dump of what is going on in your head. It’s a way to let all those thoughts out on paper so you don’t carry them with you throughout the day. The suggestion for this is 3 pages but do what works for you. Some days I do 1 page, some days more. Again, there is no right or wrong here.
- Read or listen to something uplifting. I don’t recommend looking for inspiration on social media first thing in the morning because too many other things can get in the way and you can get distracted. So if you decide to use your phone to listen to something, make sure you don’t get sucked into something else. But the idea here is that you listen to or read something that motivates you for the day and makes you feel good. Maybe this is a podcast you love, a daily inspirational calendar, book or inspirational talk. Maybe it’s music, whatever it is for you, it should feel good!
- Write appreciation statements. Yes, you can call them gratitude statements but I prefer the word appreciation. Whether you write them or think them, the point is to focus on what you are appreciating in your life and write it down! Once you get going with this you can see how much good you have in your life and bring that focus into your day.
- Meditation to clear your mind. This isn’t for everyone in the morning because it can be easy to fall back asleep! If that isn't a concern, meditation can be a great way to set your intention and start your day. This doesn't have to be a formal or elaborate practice. It can be as simple as a breathing exercise a few minutes before you leave the house to quiet your mind before you enter your day. You can also use meditation to visualize how you want your day to go.
- Exercise/Stretching. Exercising or doing some sort of stretching in the morning can help wake you up and move you from that sleepy & lethargic state into more energy to start your day. Not only that, it feels good to get your exercise out of the way and complete first thing in the morning!
- Taking time to eat. Remember we are creating these routines because we love, value and respect ourselves and what we put in our bodies (or don’t if we skip eating all together) can impact our day. Plan some time to make sure you can eat to fuel your body in healthy and nourishing ways.
- Doing something nice for yourself just because you like it. Maybe that is wearing the perfume you love, using the products you save for 'special' occasions or only choosing to wear clothes that feel good on your body. Just do something simple and nice for yourself to start your day and see how that makes you feel!
Those are some ideas to get you started on your morning routine. Decide how much time you have and pick 1-3 things you want to start with and adjust accordingly. Remember there is no right or wrong here. Do what works for you with the intention of loving, valuing and respecting yourself!
I recommend starting your new morning routine on a Saturday morning, or when you have a day off if you are not off on the weekends. It makes it much less stressful than trying to start it on a Monday morning.
Some of these things can be done simultaneously too. I recently started working out in the morning. As I’m doing my workout, I’m thinking about and deciding how I want my day to go, what kind of energy I'm going to bring and how I'm going to show up. I’m also thinking about what I’m grateful for! If there are areas you can pair some things up, by all means go for it! Customize this for you.
One last note on morning routines, if you get off track one or two days because life got crazy, don’t sweat it. Just jump in the next day when you are able. You are doing this for you, no one else, so you must make it for you!
This post first appeared on Sloane Freemont: https://sloanefreemont.com/creating-a-morning-routine/
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