Mornings can be tough. You rub the sleep out of your eyes, punch the alarm on your phone, and enter a silent debate on whether you're going to escape those warm covers, or drift back into that dream about robbing the candy store with your childhood teddybear as the getaway driver.
I honestly believe though, that mornings, and the habits we have in the morning, are the foundation of healthy living. This is backed up by a lot of data, literature, and even spiritual writings. The morning is a super important time that we should NOT waste.
I’ve found the more efficiently I spend my time in the morning, the more prepared, productive, and positive I am going forward in my actions, mindset, and overall being. As I’ve researched other successful people who I respect in my field and otherwise, I've found that most of them agree that success in any area is highly correlated with how we start our day. Now, I'm not gonna act like I am "all that" or have 100% figured life out, but I would love to share the routines and rituals I've developed as a part of my journey in growing to live life as fully as possible. The following is sort of a "Morning in the life of Carly Cooley" and is an example of a typical day for me. Hope this gives you some ideas to start with if you don't already have a set routine. In the next few months, I'm going to continue this conversation and will be sharing more about how and why I came to these particular habits. Enjoy!
1. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Regardless of whether or not I have an appointment or some place to be, I set my alarm for the same time each day. I am typically up by 5:45 a.m. and out of the house by 6! The consistency of waking up at the same time every day really helps keep my body stay in a rhythm of feeling ready to get going at the same time every day. Otherwise, you may feel like you’re experiencing jet lag on a Monday morning!
I recently started using the Fitness Buddy app to track my sleep - it wakes you up when your body is most ready to be awake. I also keep a glass of water by my bed, so when I wake up I drink water first thing!
2. Make coffee.
If you’re like me, the first thing you want when you wake up is coffee. I drink it black with a little bit of agave nectar, but I usually can’t handle a full cup on an empty stomach. Once my coffee is made, I’ll reach for a pre-workout snack such as yogurt and granola, a protein bar or something with both carbs and protein as well as a little pre-workout for help with some increased focus and intensity in the gym on lifting days.
My husband and I leave the house around 6 to start our workout by 6:30 at our local gym. This part of my routine differs depending on my season, area of focus or training partner. I typically spend an hour at the gym doing strength training and add on 15-45 minutes of cardio about 3 days per week. Most days I'll carry around a bottle of water and some branched chain amino acids. If you’d like to see some sample workouts, follow me on Instagram or like my Facebook page. And if you are looking for a playlist to pump you up first thing, check out the "Pop Workout" playlist on Apple Music.
4. Eat a post workout snack bar or shake.
My drive to the gym takes me about 20-30 minutes, so to replenish my glycogen stores and feed my recovering muscles, I usually take a protein bar or shake in the car with me to eat after my workout. I like to buy protein bars and shakes with at least 20 grams of protein to help fuel my muscles after a good workout.
5. Eat a full breakfast.
On Sunday nights, I meal plan and batch cook for the week, so oftentimes I’ll grab some egg muffins I pre-made or whip up some quick scrambled eggs with plenty of veggies. Breakfast is more often than not my biggest meal of the day... Recently I have been typically consuming 400-600 calories in total each morning in order to reach my current intake goals. This obviously changes based on whether I'm trying to build muscle, get a little more lean, or maintain. This isn't a recommendation! If you'd like to find out more about your daily caloric needs, contact me with an email or DM on Instagram!
6. Shower and get ready.
After eating breakfast with my husband, I’ll take a break to go shower and get ready for the day. I rarely spend longer than 30 minutes getting ready, often less. I do whatever is quick and easy; however, even on days I don’t wear makeup, I usually use my Bare Minerals Well Rested eye-brightener and an eyelash curler. A few of my other go-to makeup products include Bare Minerals powder foundation and bronzer with my elf kabuki face brush.
7. Quiet time.
This time may look different for each person, but it’s become a way to quiet my heart before God and mentally prepare for my day. I have been using a simple template using the acronym ACTS to guide my prayer throughout this time. First I start by Adoring God and praising Him for who He is. Next I ask Him to join me and speak as I open His Word. I just finished reading Hebrews and have started the book of Psalms since being in Hawaii! After this I spend some praying for myself and others: Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. To end, I practice the discipline of listening. I set my timer for ten minutes and wait and listen. For me, relationship is a two-way street - the same way I can speak to Him, he speaks to me.
One note here: I keep a journal / notebook on the table next to me in case a thought enters my mind and I need to remember it while staying focused and engaged during this time.
8. Day planning.
After my quiet time, I spend time planning my day. I use a task tracking system to prioritize my daily tasks and schedule. Stay tuned for another post with tips to track your day. As soon as I sit down to track my day I clock in on my phone using an hours tracker app so I can keep track of how I’m spending my time... this is especially crucial since I do a lot of work from home and have to be on top of my client schedule.
SO! There are some snapshots of my morning routines! After I've done all these, I then go back to sleep.
Just kidding! But I hope this was helpful to get those routine building thoughts flowing!
Comment below about YOUR morning routines and favorite A.M. habits! If you’re looking to develop your own morning routine, check back in the coming posts for my tips and strategies for how!