Yeah, that's right, I said it. I made a huge promise in the title of my blog. Trust me when I say, I would not be giving it that title if I didn't absolutely believe it without a shadow of a doubt. A morning routine will change your life. I'm not talking about a morning routine for your kids. They matter, but you haven't been putting yourself first and my girl, you must. You matter, you beautiful soul. This morning routine is for YOU. Say it with me girls: SELF CARE! I have learned over and over again (and btw God is still not done with me yet) that whenever I am feeling out of sorts and overwhelmed, it is almost always because I am not living by my calendar and morning routine. I need me time and so do you.
In the Bible, there is this guy named Paul who totally feels my vibe. He writes about how he repeatedly does the things that he doesn't want to do, and simultaneously doesn't do the things that he does want to do. He talks about how frustrating that is. He's like, "WHYYYYYY AM I THE WAY I AMMMM, GOD?? WHY??" You feel him too, right? Yeah, don't worry me too. We're going to get deeper into the why, when I blog about the enneagram, but for now, know that I know you start habits and don't finish them. Welcome to the club. People have been talking about their struggle with that, since at LEAST 2020 years ago and probably far beyond that.
Here's what I do know: When I stick to my morning routine, I see benefits that far outweigh any other "life changing" personal growth strategies I've learned about up until this point in my life. I'm not saying there isn't anything more powerful out there. I'm just saying that I have been committed to personal and spiritual growth since I was 18 and I have consumed a ton of advice and info from books, blogs, podcasts, locally, nationally and world renown speakers and teachers, courses, etc. I am a learner. I love to learn and I love growing out of the shi...things... that hold me back from being the best version of myself. This is it.
Why is it so powerful you ask? I'll list the benefits I've personally experienced since beginning my morning routine circa 2015. This is in no way an exhaustive list. By the way, each bullet point has about 27,000 benefits that branch off of it. So notice the point and think of what other changes you might see in yourself if you were to experience that.
Increased mental clarity
Less stress & anxiety
Increased health and wellness (and all the benefits that go with that)
Increased sense of calm
Increased productivity at work
Less flipping out on my kids for my own sh...issues...
A new found sense of inner harmony
A huge increase in my own personal and spiritual growth
The 5 step formula
Okay, the time has come. We are going to jump into the 5 step formula that will change your life. You don't have to necessarily do these in order. Find a flow that works best for your lifestyle and commit to it. It just has to encompass these 5 things.
Quiet your mind
Hydrate your cells
Move Your Body
Feed your mind & soul
Fill your heart with snugs and mugs
BONUS: do it all before the sun comes up.
1. Quiet your mind
You may or may not know this, but your brain is firing off thoughts and judgements constantly. It is wired to do that, so that it can process what it learns and protect you from danger. It's when these thoughts begin to tell us things that aren't true or kind that they become detrimental to our lives. Meditation teaches us to slow down, quiet the mind, and notice the thoughts that consume us and the rate at which they appear, morph, and disappear. Meditation isn't hard, but it does require some understanding. I recommend giving my favorite app, Headspace a try! This app teaches you how to meditate, using fun videos and guided meditations. It is perfect for meditation beginners and also comes with all kinds of added features!
2. Hydrate your cells
Your body needs water. You already know this. When we sleep, we breathe deeply for hours with no replenishment, which dehydrates us. Hydrating when we wake up makes our dehydrated cells come alive, causing us to wake up and feel more energized. Not only that, we set ourselves up for more consistent water drinking throughout the day, which will improve our energy levels as well as a host of other awesome benefits. Want to know what kind of benefits? Check out this article from Harvard health! (And no coffee doesn't count as water. It actually DEhydrates you more. I know, I feel you. It just ain't right.) A pro tip is to grab a mason jar, fill 'er up, and commit to drinking the entire thing by... (whatever time you enter here). Add hydration to your morning routine & you will set your day up for success!
3. Move Your Body
Yeah I know, we don't want to go here. Hear me out. It's hard to commit to exercising AND it is totally worth it. Now I am not the kind of person who is going to tell you that it needs to be a specific type or intensity of movement. If you are trying to lose weight or build muscle, you may want to dial up the intensity and focus on specific types of exercise. That's not what I want to focus on. This part isn't about losing weight or health or any of that. Those are absolutely additional benefits that will follow, but it's not the most life changing thing about adding it to your morning routine. It is so much more simple. Simply move your body. Go for a walk or do 20 minutes of stretching or yoga or run or lift or get on the Peleton or WHATEVER motivates you. But find something that motivates you and do that thing! When we move intentionally, we boost mental and physical energy, blood flow, mental clarity, serotonin, lower blood pressure, cultivate flexibility or strength or both (yoga!!), but that's not even the best part. Morning exercise makes us FEEL accomplished. That simple "attagirl" that we give ourselves can and will work wonders on its own. You tell yourself what to think. When you are proud of yourself, you can do anything. It is self love. YES, you are cultivating healthy habits and your mind knows that. The negative self talk that we hear in our minds is crushed when we actually show up and tell it to pound sand, as we pound pavement or iron or the yoga mat. Move. However you are motivated to move, just move.
4. Feed Your Mind & Grow
Do you believe that you just are the way you are and that you cannot change? Okay well that's bullshit. I probably could've said that another way, but I wanted to heavily drive home the point that it just isn't the truth. It doesn't matter where you came from, where you're at or where you are heading, you are capable of growth. Stop thinking about the mistakes you made yesterday and last year and ten years ago and allowing your mind to judge you and tell you lies about yourself, based upon failure. Stop it right now. You are NOT those things. Every single morning is full of NEW grace and NEW mercies and that, my girl, means that you can learn from them and grow forth. Books are gold. Learn to love learning and growth as painful as it may be. If you have never picked up a personal growth book, do it. I would encourage you to grab a Tony Robbins book. Here is a great one on amazon! He can ignite the fire in any human, in my opinion. His work is pure goodness and magic.
Whether you are a reader or a podcast listener, or both, taking time out of your morning to feed your mind or soul is essential in a life changing morning routine. Cultivate a habit of growth in your personal life. Learn about how you tick, why you do what you do, the habits of people you hope to model, how to get out of your own way, all the things. There is so much to learn and the thing about taking time to learn personal growth is that it actually can change the course of your life and family dramatically and forever.
If you are a Christian and you don't read your bible, this is your time to dig in. Learn how to do better. It doesn't matter what better is. It just matters that you commit to growing in SOME area. Get inspired and challenged and watch what happens!
5. Fill your heart & soul with snugs and mugs
Most of the things in your morning routine are dedicated to self care. They are for you, precious Mama, and you alone. This one is a bit different. This has life changing powers for you and for your littles. The last part of my morning routine is what I refer to as "snugs and mugs". Brew a pot of coffee or tea and set time aside to sip some coffee and snuggle.
We tend to spend parts of our day (some of us more than others) trying to avoid the snuggles from the little ones in an effort to stay in motion. We don't always have the time to carry them all over the house or give them undivided attention that they and we so badly want to. Sometimes if we're being honest, we go through the motions, but we're not fully present. We're on our phones or lost in thought or judgement or emotion or boredom or discontentment.
Not anymore. During this time in your morning routine, you are intentionally getting and giving the love you and your family need. When you don't, you know what happens: they act out. Do you realize that you may also act out too if you're not getting the love YOU need? It's true. You might not realize it, but that Mom guilt sneaks up and bites us in the butt in ways we may never even realize are related. You need love and so do they.
If you love a snuggle, let them climb up on your lap and read you a book or play with your hair or tell you a story or the latest classroom drama or ask 100 annoying questions. Have a set time for this, so that you know that during this time, nothing else matters. The dishes will get done, the dogs will get fed, but this is the stuff that deep, powerful memories are made of. Presence. Be present. Engage. Put your phone away. Challenge yourself to notice things about your kids that you hadn't noticed before. Appreciate them. Laugh.
If you are not a snuggler, spend time reading The 5 Love Languages during Step 4 and figure out how you and your family give and receive love. Then put it into practice. Maybe your language is words of affirmation, quality time, etc. This isn't just for you, it's for them too. We do not fully understand the power behind sheer presence. Opening ourselves up to being present in the moment with our families is deeply transformational. Make the time for these golden nuggets to form in your life it by adding it to your morning routine!
BONUS: DO IT ALL BEFORE THE SUN COMES UP
Don't shoot the messenger! 5am wake ups are not easy. Nothing worth it is. If you are struggling to find time for yourself, go to bed at 9PM and wake up at 5AM. It's not what you want to hear. I know it, girl. I didn't want to hear it either, but the change in my productivity, clarity, energy, mood, and health was enough to change my mind. My assistant, Shauna actually wakes up at 4AM! She is a very busy work-from-home, homeschooling mom of 2 boys, and she needs her quiet time. She says that she does this, so that when the kids are awake, she can fully focus on them. Thats so boss, in my opinion. She carves out her own time, so that she can be fully present for the rest of the day with the kids. Rockstar Mom Status all day long! It is only hard at first, because every major change throws us for a loop. Commit anyway and see for yourself. I will unpack this more next week!
How long should your morning routine be? Eh, you can decide. Do some research if you need specifics, but ultimately I've learned that it doesn't matter how much time I spend necessarily. Sometimes, I need 3 straight hours or more, if I'm being honest. When I am feeling down, I take as much time as I need, because I know that this is the one thing that will charge me up and keep me moving. Sometimes, I wake up so excited for a project I am working on, that my morning routine gets done in an hour. Can it be done in 30? Probably yes, although that's a little rushed. You matter, Mom. You do. I know self care isn't at the top of your list, but damn, it should be. When you're at 100%, your Family feels it. When you're running on empty, they feel that too. Can you find at least an hour? 2? I learned from Dianna Kokozka, former CEO of Keller Williams and MAPS Business Coaching some words of truth: If it's not in your calendar, it doesn't exist. If you don't set the intention and put it in your calendar, it won't happen. Carve out time for YOU. You are SO worthy of it.
Next week, I am going to dive into more on the topic of morning routines. Not everyone is able to establish a morning routine, I get that. If you are able to incorporate this into your morning, you will see transformational benefits that you will not even believe. I also want to say this... don't form an opinion on it if you only try it for a week or two. You didn't commit, you dabbled and dabbling in anything will not produce results. If you want to notice change, commit to 30 days. Then 60 days. If still nothing, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you have been doing, what time you're starting and I will personally help you figure it out. But don't ask for help if you haven't committed to doing it for 30 days every day. Until next time, Rockstar Community, I'm sending you peace, love, and good vibes from my home to your's!