4 Ways to Develop a Kick-ass Morning Routine
Updated: May 28, 2019
Mornings can be tough. For most of my life, mornings were made up of waking up as late as possible, immediately jumping on social media, hardly eating or not at all, wildly unfocused, with a heavy dose of caffeine to help me rush off wherever I had to go that day. For more days than I would have liked, I ended up becoming overly anxious, stressed out, and feeling overwhelmed. I also made up tons of excuses and often caught myself, saying, "F*ck, there just isn't enough time in the day!" Sound familiar? I know that I am not the only one
As a parent of two teenagers and the head of a regional non-profit, life can get rather hectic at times. Throughout the past, I was continuously running late, missing meetings, and falling behind professionally. On the home-front, I was also 'dropping the ball' more often than I was willing to admit; losing out on precious time with my family. Being late or stressed out seemed to become part of my M.O., and besides, it was always easier to place the blame on someone or something else instead of taking responsibility for my actions. I knew things had to change.
Fortunately, there are great articles, books, and magazines that discuss the best ways to create a daily morning routine and healthy habits. For the past two years, I have researched and worked hard to intentionally set up my day in a way that allows me to thrive more often than not.
Don't get me wrong, I still drop the ball, but if you are ready to take control of your day, here are four tips that have helped me create a kick-ass morning routine.
1. Eliminate Distractions:
One of the things that constantly disrupted my morning was my phone. Often, I would immediately turn it on only to be bombarded by emails, text messages, and social media notifications. Having kids and running a business, I felt like my phone always needed to be turned on. I would often worry that if I wasn't connected, I would miss out on important messages or even worse something would happen to my children without me knowing it.
The reality is, reaching for our phones first thing in the morning and the last thing at night is not healthy. Research (as shown), proves that phones cause us to be overly distracted and bad for our mental health. This causes us to lose focus, increases our stress, become easily overwhelmed, and in some cases create emotional strain or even worse. Unplugging can be a great way to eliminate those decision-making tasks right away in the morning, helping us stay on duty in the long-run. Temporarily leaving our phone off, even if it's just our notifications at first, helps us to create space, stay focused, and decrease stress. When we focus our mind in this way, we can accomplish more things of importance, and this gives us more freedom to do what we want. I believe that is the goal for most of us; more freedom to do the things we want to do, when we want to it, and with who we want to experience that freedom with.
There have been many mornings that I would immediately slam some coffee before anything else. Unfortunately, this would do more harm than good. For me, it would eliminate my appetite, and this eventually would make me feel like shit; increasing irritability and decreasing motivation. It's no secret that we should stay hydrated. There is plenty of (research) backing that up. For many, though, it is often forgotten. Many quickly get sucked up by the fast-paced world; leaving their busy lives to take precedence over their health and wellness. Every morning, one of the first things that I do is drink a glass of water and take my morning multi-vitamin. Then I follow that up by making a (light & healthy breakfast), typically eggs or fruit, alongside a single 16 oz Cafe Au Lait with half and half. I usually have a water bottle and healthy snacks nearby to help cure my cravings throughout the day. Recently, I have found there are plenty of ideas that make breakfast, lunch, and dinner fast and easy. Getting the right nutrition is essential and something that our family is continuing to work on.
3. Write it Down:
Practicing gratitude, reflective journaling, and planning-to-do.
Science (has proven) that gratitude is the key to well-being. By focusing on our blessings, things that we are grateful for, there are significant emotional and interpersonal benefits. Not only does this practice help to elevate our moods, but it can also make a positive impact on those around you.
Over two years ago, I started using the (5 Minute Journal). This practice has helped me to break free from negative habit loops from hell, feel less busy, and live in the moment more often. Proven from positive psychology research, journaling like this for just five minutes a day can train the mind to focus more on the good in life. Alongside my EVO Planner, a personalized flow system, I start my day with practices that help raise awareness, increase gratitude, and prioritize my day through intentional actions that enhance my life. Each day, this has helped me to have a more purpose driven focus; creating more space for essential tasks, wellness, fun, and daily adventure. Having a monthly, weekly, and daily plan doesn't only allow me to accomplish necessary tasks, projects, and goals, but more importantly, has given me the freedom to spend time with my children, friends, family, and doing things that bring value, happiness, and joy to my life.
4. Get Active:
At the beginning of this year, like many others, I made a resolution to get in the best shape of my life. Honestly, it was more of a declaration to increase the health of my mind, body, and spirit; to resolve to take care of myself. By being active daily, I have experienced significant benefits to my overall health and wellness. I started slow, ten push-ups a day, and gradually worked my way up. Now, I am hitting the gym or home workout 2-3 times a week alongside weekly martial arts; self-defense and fitness focused. These workouts not only strengthen my body but also help to strengthen my mind. The natural benefits of physical self-care & exercise can help:
Boost your immune system.
Increase resistance to disease.
Prevent physical, mental, and emotional pain.
Enhance self-esteem and confidence.
Enhance the value people hold for themselves.
There is a great app called The NX, that I have been testing and enjoying over the past few months. There are new daily workouts that you can simply do in the comfort of your own home or even on the road. For me, it has introduced me to new routines and techniques that are exciting and keep me active.
There are all kinds of self-care: physical, psychological, spiritual, social, emotional, financial, environmental, and professional. Subscribe to make sure you don't miss upcoming articles around these topics*
For the next thirty days, I encourage you to practice these four tips daily and over time you will develop healthy habits and routines that will serve you for many years to come. Don't be afraid to make changes to the routine so it best serves you and your lifestyle. Just remember, the best way to create a new habit is by accomplishing small achievable goals, one at a time. For me, I have seen how these small changes have made a HUGE impact on my life and those around me.