The Easiest Way To Use a Morning Routine To Get Ahead of Your Busy Days (And How To Stick To It)
Ever have days (weeks, months) that slip by and you feel like you didn't do anything for yourself?
The hamster wheel keeps turning and your life is trucking along smoothly, but...it feels like you're just simply getting through your work/errands/commitments? Like you're not fully living?
Enter: a quick and efficient morning routine
Before you call me crazy from telling you to add yet another thing to you daily to-do list, let me explain. :)
Back when I lived in Arizona and worked an 8-5 office job, I began to dream of what my life would look like if I worked for myself - and had as many vacation days a year as I wanted! (I've always had the travel bug).
I was tired and overworked from long commutes days and side hustling with this blog in the evenings.
While I've always been a reader, I started gravitating toward business and marketing books as I knew I needed to self-teach all the advancements that were happening since graduating college with a PR/marketing degree in 2013.
Naturally, self-development books started working their way into the mix - because you can't grow a business without growing as a person first.
Multiple people I followed online recommended The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and I was hooked. You could follow all six suggested morning rituals in just six minutes! Hal suggests doing meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and journaling every morning to start the day off right.
I started following this routine and was hooked. While I didn't do all six every day, doing at least 1-3 for a few minutes put me in a better mood - even if I had to wake up earlier to do it.
Now that I work for myself and have a flexible schedule, I Still do something for myself in the morning before starting work.
Even if my days are task after task, meeting after meeting, errands, laundry, cleaning, OrangeTheory Fitness classes...I feel like I still did something for me if I did my morning routine.
Don't get discouraged if you have long days - this is when you need this the most!
Case in point: When I was teaching at Yale for the business conferences this summer, I worked for a month straight with only two full days off. (And I used those days to take day trips to New York City, haha). We worked for 15-18 hours a day with little to no breaks. I knew that being "on" teaching and facilitating lessons for 25-100 students at a time every day would wear me out. Even if I loved it.
I made a point to at least do my 5-Minute Journal every morning and evening. It was a bonus if I did a short yoga routine on YouTube (yes, I brought my yoga mat with me to Connecticut!) or listen to a podcast while getting ready.
If you don’t do something for YOU every day, it can feel like time slips away from you. And when life gets busy, it's important to find something enjoyable every day.
12 Easy Ritual Suggestions For Your Morning Routine
- Meditation (new to meditation? Learn how to meditate for free on Insight Timer app, or check out videos on YouTube!)
- 5-Minute Journal
- Stream of consciousness journaling - start writing and see where your thoughts go
- Coloring or drawing - I got a blank page journal recently and started drawing with colored pencils. This evokes a childlike sense of creativity and fun!
- Schedule a fitness class in the morning or evening to keep you accountable for working out
- Plan out your day - schedule everything, both work and non-work related, in your calendar. Bonus points if you color code your calendar for an easy visual of what you have to do each day.
- Read a few pages of a book
- Cook and eat a real breakfast at home instead of grabbing something fast as you run out the door
- Take a walk outside
- Listen to a podcast or audiobook while getting ready
- Read a blog post or take a small step toward planning a trip or creating your work + travel lifestyle
5 Tips For Sticking to a Morning Routine
1. Start with Small Wins
I believe Tim Ferriss is the one who introduced me to the concept of "small wins."
Basically what this means is that you don't choose a huge, overwhelming goal when you're getting started. You start with something small and attainable that you know you can do, so it feels like a small "win." Having small wins to start motivates you to keep going.
2. Make It Hard to Avoid
Make it easy to do your morning ritual.
For example - trying to floss every day, even when you don't fee like it? One of my mentors says he puts a piece of floss on top of his toothbrush every day. You really can't avoid that as you have to physically pick up the floss to get to your toothbrush.
Laying out your gym clothes or regular outfit the night before is helpful, too.
I keep my 5-minute Journal, pen, and my book right next to my bed. Since I do the 5-minute Journal in the morning and at night, I don't turn off my lights and get into bed without writing it. Having the journal sit next to bed is a physical reminder every day.
3. Make it a "Must"
Commit! By committing to adding something for you every morning, you are making a commitment to yourself out of self-respect. Tell your partner, roommate, or a friend to help keep yourself accountable.
4. If you skip a day or two, simply add it back
Okay, so you know how when women take birth control pills, you're supposed to take one at the same time every day? And what happens if you forget? Doctors suggest simply taking it when you remember, or taking two the next day.
Maybe that's an odd analogy, but think of this like your morning ritual. If you skip a day by accident, simply do it later when you remember or continue on the next day as normal. Don't let skipping a day discourage you from doing it at all.
5. Enjoy it!
Choose the morning ritual(s) that you know you would enjoy or that would add value to your day. Hate drawing? Don't feel like you need to go out and buy and adult coloring book to feel "happy."
Maybe it's getting to the gym in the morning or reading a chapter of your favorite book that lights you up.
The purpose of this is to make you feel like you did something for YOU.