Your alarm rings at 5:45 a.m. and you've successfully pulled yourself up sitting at the edge of the mattress after only one snooze. Awesome. Now you sit on the edge of the bed, teetering between standing up and crashing back into soft, warm oblivion.
What happens next may not be super impactful on one day. Whether you get snuggled back in or get going may not make a huge difference to your life on this single morning. But 3 weeks in a row, 3 months in a row, 3 years in a row, what impact would it have?
In all honesty, I can tell you it would make an enormous difference. The time quickly adds up and the momentum builds. But still, getting up early in the morning and spending it well can be hard! We need a good plan to help inspire us to stick with it until it becomes a natural pattern, a habit. So, today I’m giving you some tips to create great morning habits that can help refresh your daily routine.
The first critical key to creating a successful morning routine is to identify what’s most important to you. What are the core things you are trying to add to or foster in your life?
These are your “non-negotiables”, your core routines. They take top priority. I shared parts of my personal morning routine and non-negotiables in the previous "My Morning Routine" post, check that out whenever you want, but today, we're focusing on you!
Maybe you want to enhance your fitness, so you have to get in a morning workout due to long days at work or demanding evenings. Maybe fostering your spiritual growth is top priority, so spending time in prayer is how your day needs to start. Whatever the case, identify your top 3-5 core routines to set the building blocks of your morning routine. What are they? Write them down. If you’re having trouble coming up with what you need, I recommend some examination of your goals, specifically deducing what type of habits will help push you toward those goals.
And ask! Find others who you respect and find out what they do to stimulate some ideas! Who is living with the ambition and success you dream of and are working toward... Can you find out what they do to prepare for their day?
With these core ideas in place, the next step is looking ahead and prepping for your day. Prioritize: "What needs to get done today and how can I best prepare?" I like to use a task tracking system to help myself stay on top of what needs to get done and when. There are plenty of ways to track priorities and tasks, and next month's "Morning Routines 3 of 3" I’ll share the system I use in case you’d like to use it as a template for your own system. Whatever actions you set up here are now your building blocks.
Once your building blocks are in place you can determine what time to wake up. Identify your first scheduled "start time" for the day, or create one if it helps, and build backwards from there. Do you need to be at work by 8 a.m.? Then think about how long each of your blocks will take and plan accordingly. This should affect your wake-up time. (Too early, you think? Work up to it and make sure you get sufficient sleep. Start by getting to bed earlier, then start waking up earlier each day by increments of only 5-10 minutes until you get there).
You can utilize this Morning Routine Planner as a sort of worksheet for refreshing your routine!
My last piece of advice is to reiterate the importance of finding others who inspire you and can hold you accountable. Accountability is great because it helps keep us on track. And if you are honest with your accountability partner, you can often times work through roadblocks you’re having and really figure out the core of whats holding you back.
Now, you should have a solid morning routine you can start practicing! Do it for three weeks. Yes, I challenge you to follow your plan for three weeks to start! Let me know how it goes and what positive difference you already see it making your life. I truly hope your mornings set you up for effective, productive and joyful days!
CHALLENGE: Write down what your 3-5 non-negotiable morning tasks are. Share them with your accountability partner! Share them with me too - e-mail me or tag me when you share any of them on social media (links at the bottom of the page).