Changing your morning routine is not just about finding 5 extra minutes to finish your coffee before you rush out the door or to allow yourself a few more moments to enjoy your hot shower (although that’s not a bad way to start the day!).
Rebuilding your daily morning habits is a simple but effective way to change your mindset, focus, body, day – and even your life.
Sure, it sounds lofty and over-exaggerated, but after just a month of changing my morning routine I have seen huge improvements in my productivity, how I manage stress and how I approach my goals.
If you want to learn about some of the practical ways to change up your morning and integrate some great new practices, I recommend The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I mentioned in my blog ‘Tips to Create the ‘Fresh Start’ Feeling at Any Time’ how this book helps, on a daily basis, to keep me motivated and enthusiastic about what I’m trying to achieve with my day. Go into it with an open mind and see what resonates with you!
As I’m welcoming in my second month of my new morning routine, I’d like to share five things I’ve changed and how it’s helped me. Let me know if you have any other recommendations for me to weave into my mornings too.
WAKING UP AN HOUR EARLIER
Towards the end of last year my wake up time was slowly drifting further from 7am and closer to 8am. Although a longer time lazing about in bed sounds like a good idea, in reality I would be getting up stressed and rushing about to get ready to leave for work.
By waking up at 6am, I give myself some much needed quiet time in the morning to come around slowly before carrying on with my other activities. I’m not rushing, I’m not stressed about being late and importantly, I have the time to look forward to the rest of my morning routine and the rest of my day.
I enjoy working out and used to think of ‘after work’ as my workout time. However, I’d regularly come home feeling too cold or tired, lacking motivation, wishing I could just sit with a book and a cup of tea. It’s hard to drag yourself out of that mindset and you end up either putting in less effort, begrudgingly changing into your kit or not bothering at all!
By deciding to make the morning my time for exercise, I don’t have enough time to make excuses. I’ve given myself enough time to enjoy the workout and cool down, as well as giving myself a boost that stays with me the rest of the day. I always feel better after exercising and it’s a great way to help me feel focussed and ready for the day ahead.
I’ve tried meditating before but it’s never really clicked with me. The thing I’m learning now is that meditation is not about blocking everything out and creating internal and external silence; it’s about being able to sit with the noise and emotions and not become overwhelmed.
By taking 5 minutes to sit through a guided meditation, I allow myself time to do nothing. As someone who always needs to be busy and doesn’t do very well with just ‘being’, I think my mind will benefit from being given the space to just stop. Hopefully I’ll be able to carry that with me through each day.
I very much subscribe to the idea of a tidy space, tidy mind. I need to get rid of clutter so I feel calm and ready to face the day. By getting this out of the way in the morning, I don’t have to face it after a long day at work, and start the day feeling like I’ve accomplished something.
It may only be a small task but it makes a big difference to my overall mood for the rest of the day!
CLEAR MIND AND SCHEDULE
One of the best parts of changing my habits in the morning is starting with a clear mind. My old routine of waking up and rushing around meant that a lot of these activities were pushed into the evening, when I definitely couldn’t be bothered to do them after a busy day in work.
By clearing tasks such as exercising, meditating and tidying up from my daily to-do list (and my head!), I am able to plan and look forward to other activities that I usually wouldn’t find the time for in the day such as reading a book, doing some yoga, going for a walk or writing a blog!
Before I challenged myself to waking up earlier, I was definitely sceptical about the bold claims from people about how it ‘changed their life’ – but it’s easy to see now how small, seemingly ‘insignificant’ changes to our habits and routines can have a much bigger and lasting impact day-to-day; and that’s effectively what life is made up of.