My husband said to me this morning “If I don’t’ have anything planned for the day, I could definitely sleep until noon”. As his wife, I know he could absolutely do just that. Here’s not to say that some extra sleep sounds amazing, it always does, but getting up and out and doing something with my day is so important to me.
I read the book Atomic Habits back in January and I think it kind of changed my life. I started thinking about my habits and my routines and if they were serving me or not. I started to consider how my daily actions were contributing to my life goals and if I should change anything. I begun to understand that my mornings were the only part of my day I could control, and I needed to make this time work for me.
So back to my husband, bless his soul. I get up early everyday maybe not because I have specific plans, but because I have a morning routine that I’ve been dedicated to and that helps motivate me in the morning and propel the rest of my day. Otherwise, I too could probably sleep until noon.
If you want to start a morning routine, I say absolutely go for it! It can be hard to get started, I know. I have a few tips that helped me get started and maybe they might be helpful for you too!
Decide when you are going to wake up
This is a big one because it sets the precedence of your routine. Doing the following helped me to figure out what time I needed to wake up:
1. Write down all of the things that you would like to accomplish as part of your routine
2. Estimate, or actually time, how long it takes to accomplish each of those goals.
3. If you have a set time you work or a time when you need to be somewhere, count backwards from that time with the time it would take to accomplish your goals.
4. Set your alarm for that time.
5. Now estimate how much time you need to sleep in order to be at your peak performance.
6. Go to bed at a time that will allow you that amount of sleep until your alarm goes off.
Here is how it might look in practice: I have to be at work at 9am. My commute is a half hour, so I have to leave the house by 8:30am. It takes me 2.5 hours to accomplish all of my morning routine goals. Therefore, I have to wake up at 5am if I want to do all the things. I also need 8 hours of sleep to function like a human, so I have to be in bed by 9:30pm. This usually means that I have to start getting ready for bed by 9pm.
You also don’t have to follow the same routine if you ever find yourself short on time, you can skip your workout or skip your smoothie and grab a protein bar to go. Whatever it is to leave by your designated time.
Make your routine enjoyable and meaningful to you
This one is so important because if you do not actually enjoy the activities that you put into your morning routine, you are not going to stick with them. I actually wrote out what activities I wanted to include and why they were important to me when creating my routine. This helped me identify the purpose and the meaning to me why I should care about these goals and how they were going to contribute positively in my life. I would highly recommend you complete this step for your own motivation.
The routine meanings in this phase of my life include:
Meditation – I need to center my mind, relax into my body and provide appreciation for all of the changes going on inside of me that helps to nurture my baby.
Yoga – It is important for me to stretch and strengthen my body as it works daily to grow and develop my baby.
Nature walk – Nature is like my medicine. I have been running up until the 31st week of my pregnancy but it was getting too hard on my body so now I take walks to enjoy the fresh air and increase the endurance I know I am going to need for labor and delivery.
Give yourself a reward for sticking to your routine!
I really believe in the power of rewarding yourself for doing well or accomplishing goals. Find a reward that provides good incentive for you. My reward every morning is my cup of tea, I drink it after meditation and during yoga. This little bit of liquid happiness makes me look forward to yoga and I don’t let myself have a cup until after I do my meditation. Your reward could be anything else that makes you happy, or you could even turn a mundane task into a rewarding experience. Specifically, I’m thinking about how you could turn your daily morning shower into a luxurious spa-like reward with some yummy soap and candles. But only after you complete that workout! Think of your own version of rewards and see if you can include them in your morning routine as well.
Don’t be hard on yourself for skipping a morning
Stuff happens and we don’t always get to enjoy our routines. My husband works nights and those first few transition days for him are rough on me because he wants to stay up later when I’m trying to go to bed at 9pm. If I stay up, I am groggy and tired the next morning and in no mood to do any of my routine, so I skip it. And that’s okay.
Let me know if this was helpful in starting a routine, I would love to hear your comments and experiences!