When I started the “Follow Your Spark” blog last year, my mission was to write about topics that help women overcome their insecurities so that they can pursue their goals. It still is, but along the way, I continued to follow my own spark. Part of that journey led me to finally! finally! finally! stick to a morning routine and become a before-work exerciser. I’m a reformed “night owl,” but more on that soon.
My overall mission is still to help empower women, but I passionately believe that that empowerment begins with how you start your morning. Sure, we can be successful in some areas of our life without waking up at 5:00 am, but imagine how much more we could do or be if we did. It’s similar to the difference between having a good life and having an f-ing amazing life. Who wouldn’t want the latter?
When I talk to people about their morning routines and share my own, I inevitably hear similar retorts. They aren’t necessarily excuses, per se, but the same myths keeping popping up. Are you a “night owl?” Do you crave variety? Are you afraid of going cold turkey to form a new habit?
Extra! Extra! These are morning routine myths, friend. Read all about ‘em:
“I’m not a morning person” – I am not a morning person. Or, at least, I wasn’t a morning person. You might have heard people say this about themselves, but let me explain to what extent I used to not be a morning person. When I was a little girl, I didn’t picture roses and sunshine as I leapt out of bed each morning. Nope. Not unless a dozen donuts were waiting for me on the kitchen counter. (I’m a reformed sugar addict, too). Rather, I lumbered from sleep on the wrong side of the bed most mornings. So much so, that my mom would tease me and tell my brother, Jake, that I “took crab pills.” Which only made me see red.
I’m not painting the most chipper picture of myself as an eight-year-old, but I’m thinking about you, friend. I’m willing to risk people thinking I’m annoying so that you get an accurate idea of how much I grew up thinking pre-dawn alarm clocks were created by Satan. I used to stay up watching TV until the sun rose. The first summer I had off after becoming a high school counselor, I stayed in bed until 7:00 PM one day. I think I actually turned into a vampire that summer.
Are you seeing yourself in this picture? I’m not surprised. You know why? Because you are normal, that’s why. Normal people don’t rise before dawn. Or at least I didn’t think so. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but, hold onto your LaCroix…My alarm now goes off at 4:50 am every weekday. My evolution only took 43 years.
For years I did that thing many of us do: I would tell myself that I would rise and shine to exercise before work the next morning. Lies. All lies. I knew I had no intention of getting up, but it was as if I was giving myself credit for merely creating the plan. What the what? How is this helping anyone? My brain began to ignore these “plans” and not take them seriously. How many times have you told yourself that you would get up early, only to immediately stifle the alarm clock? I understand. Satan set the alarm clock, after all.
Reality started to set in, though. I knew that with the demands of daily life (work, kids, writing, Follow Your Spark, breathing), a morning exercise routine would be the only way to consistently prioritize my health. Let’s face it, there is 99% chance of us not exercising when we get home at the end of a long day. Hello, Netflix.
I knew so concretely that I had to create a better morning routine, but I fought against it just as hard. And you can fight, too, but it’s not going to change reality: To be a better parent, partner, employee, sibling, or fill in the blank, you must dedicate this time to your well-being. Period. Like I said, you can fight it, but you’re gonna lose.
If you conquer your morning routine, you will likely encounter two things. It’s going to really, really stink at first (hear this in a whiny voice). Second, you are going to feel like a rock star! You will likely be more patient with your kids, feel more flirtatious, have more energy, be more productive, experience better physical and mental health, and most importantly, be proud of yourself.
Have I convinced you yet? If a reformed crab-pill taker can adopt a morning routine, so can you. The “I’m not a morning person” is no longer an acceptable excuse. I have ways to help you conquer this. Are you game?
I can’t do the same thing every day – Um, you don’t have to. Some people thrive on having a set routine, while others flourish with a variety. Still, others are a combination. Let me explain. The beauty of one’s morning routine is that it is specific to you. My morning routine looks like this:
Monday – Friday
4:50 am – alarm goes off
5:15-5:45 – Peloton spin class at home
5:45 – 6:00 arms class
6:00-6:15 – make smoothie, prepare items for work
7:00 – out the door!
However….On days when my husband travels for work, my routine is altered because I must take the kids to school and daycare. Perhaps you want your routine to look the same every day, or maybe you want to schedule exercise, but decide each morning what workout to conquer. Maybe spin one day and Pilates the other. Maybe only yoga on Fridays. Maybe only exercise Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and on the other days you write in your journal for that time.
Much applause is given to rising at 5:00 am and hitting the gym, but your routine doesn’t have to mirror that. To stick to a morning routine, it must incorporate something you enjoy. Some of my students spend time doing a daily devotional, reading the Bible, completing a gratitude practice, walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes, or anything else specific to them. Exercise is encouraged, but it’s not mandatory for a morning ritual. All that matters is that you have guaranteed “me time” at the beginning of your day and begin it in a peaceful manner. Everything else will be icing on the cake.
The bottom line is that it’s YOUR morning. It can be whatever you need it to be.
I can’t go cold turkey – Again, you don’t have to. Also, though, going cold turkey isn’t advised. Some people can suddenly set a goal and stick to it more easily than others, but for most, we need to ease into goal slaying for it to be a lifestyle change. There is no point in beginning a new morning routine if you aren’t going to stick to it. This is about how you live your life. I used to not be a morning person (see above), but now I passionately believe that the only time I’m going to get every day to do what I need to for myself is in the morning. It’s too easy for life to get in the way and give us excuses not to exercise, write, or read after work (whatever your hobby or goal is). By 8:00 pm, decision fatigue has set in, and we are waaaay less likely to reach our potential, regardless of our intentions. Mornings for the win!
Going cold turkey sounds painful and miserable. To create a new habit, many researchers indicate that you should try introducing part of the new habit a little bit at a time. In my digital course “Your Power Hour – Your master plan for creating and conquering your morning routine,” I will teach my students how to adjust to a new morning routine in baby steps.
P.S. Comment below if you want info on my new digital course! The cart opens February 5th!
Getting up earlier is easy, but I’m just not motivated enough. – Whoah, whoah, whoah, wait a minute. If you are used to getting up at 6:30, suddenly waking up at 5:00 won’t be “easy.” If you haven’t had enough sleep, then jumping out of bed at 5 is miserable. Period. But that’s why you must prepare correctly. If you frontload the habit, then it becomes easier. Getting up at 5:00 might never be “easy,” but we can make it easier. Friend, get enough sleep. Go to bed earlier. Set your intentions. Tell your family about the changes. Take baby steps. Stop hitting snooze. Do all the things so that the power of your habit can take over.
And then get your mindset straight. How many times have you said or heard someone say “I’m not motivated” to do something? YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR MOTIVATION. Motivation comes AFTER momentum. Momentum comes after a string of consistent days. Do you ever feel like you know consistency is the secret to success, but you resist it anyway? I get it. Consistency is REQUIRED to implement habits long-term, but we fight it and fight it and fight it.
How about instead of fighting consistency this year, we embrace it? Motivation AFTER momentum. Momentum AFTER consistency, remember? Let’s get our mindset right and do this thing for good. You in?
Comment below if you want info on my new digital course opening on February 5th – “Your Power Hour!” Let’s conquer together!
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