Challenge of the Week: Establish a Morning Routine
Every week in 2019 I am taking on a new challenge and posting about it on social media. I’m pushing myself to try new things and create better habits. From planning my workday the night before to establishing a morning routine, I’m taking you through it all each week. Follow along with me on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #challengeoftheweek if you are doing the challenge with me!
YOU VOTED. I CRIED. (jk)
Last week’s challenge was to Establish a Morning Routine. You guys selected this challenge in a poll on Instagram, and while I was really REALLY hoping you would pick the other option (Meditate Each Morning), I am actually glad I was forced to tackle this challenge. Mornings have always been hard for me. It’s not that I’m a total zombie or super grumpy (though some might beg to differ)… it’s just that I don’t like being rushed or having to stick to a schedule right when I’ve woken up.
Can you relate?
I think a lot of us are like this, which is probably why so many of you voted for me to do this challenge. Mornings are hard, and we are all looking for ways to make them better. (Spoiler: I did find a way to make mornings better. Stick to the end, and I’ll show you my full morning routine.)
GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS
Well, after doing this challenge, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you CAN be a morning person. You can wake up earlier, you can get things done, and you can feel productive before you head to work.
The bad news is that you have to make some changes and put it some effort. The other bad news is that you probably won’t be able to do it ALL in the morning. You will have to choose which things you want to accomplish, and which things just aren’t a priority right now.
Let me show you what I mean.
DETERMINE YOUR PRIORITIES.
I’ve decided that I want my work day to begin around 9:00am. I also know that I need about 8 hours of sleep each night, and because of my lifestyle, I usually won’t go to bed until about 11:30 each night. So that means that I can wake up around 7:30 each day and have about an hour and half for a morning routine.
Now I just have to decide what my morning priorities are and how long it would take me to do them all. For me they are: drinking water, stretching, meditating, making coffee, eating breakfast, a gratitude practice, daily affirmations, brushing my teeth, skincare/hair, and planning my day. That entire routine will take about an hour (I’ll break it down in more detail at the end).
Now, if I wanted to prioritize exercise, I could add an hour at the beginning of my routine to go on a run or do yoga and then shower, but that means I’d have to wake up at 6:30am, which means I’d have to go to bed at 10:30pm the night before. That’s doable, but I know that I often go to events that have me back home no earlier than 10 or 11 some nights. So that just doesn’t fit into my schedule. Instead I can exercise in the afternoon, or I can do some small things like stretch or do squats in the morning.
My point is this. There are a lot of factors that go in to determining what kind of morning routine you can have, just based on your lifestyle alone. If you can go to bed at 9:30pm and wake up at 5:30am, then YES you can absolutely be a morning exercise person. If you don’t have to be at work until 10, and you’re okay with 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, then you can probably even have a whole side hustle that you work on in the mornings.
Here are some questions to help you figure out your morning routine:
When do you need to be ready for work? 7am? 10am?
How much sleep do you need? 6 hours? 9 hours?
What are your morning priorities and how long will they all take? Exercise for an hour? Meditating for 30 min? Reading for 15 min? Write it all down and come up with a total amount of time for the whole morning routine. Could be 30 min or 3 hours.
What’s the earliest you can go to bed?
Once you figure out your priorities, then you know long your routine needs to be. If you know what time you can go to bed, how much sleep you need, and what time you need to be ready for work, then you know how much time you have available for a morning routine. If those two line up, then you’re golden! If not, then you have to figure out what you’re willing to sacrifice. Is it sleep? Is it part of your routine? It’s up to you to determine.
MY MORNING ROUTINE
Two things that have drastically changed my mornings are:
An Alarm Clock. I got an alarm clock and started sleeping with my phone in another room at night. This way, I wake up and don’t get caught in the scroll black hole.
Morning Routine app. I started using an app called Morning Routine that has been a game changer. It let’s you customize your morning routine with tasks/items and how long each one will take.
Some other suggestions I got from you guys were to do yoga, read for 15 minutes, put my shoes on (oddly this does help me feel ready for the day), get a circadian rhythm light (need to look into that still), and do my gratitude practice before getting out of bed.
Here’s the morning routine I decided on:
Drink water (5 min)
Stretch (5 min)
Meditate (5 min)
Put on music & Make coffee (5 min)
Make breakfast (5-10 min)
Gratitude practice while I eat (5 min)
Daily affirmations (5 min)
Brush teeth & do squats (5 min)
Floss (3 min)
Get dressed (5 min - I lay out my clothes the night before)
Skincare, hair, makeup (10-20 min)
Plan my day (5-10 min)
Total time: 1 - 1.5 hours
Having a routine keeps me going and helps me from getting stuck looking at my phone or staring off into space. I feel good that I am taking care of myself and spending time on things that I really want to do, like meditating or saying my affirmations. So, thank you if you voted for me to do this challenge! I definitely was dreading it, but I am really proud that have created this habit for myself.
Now, I want to know YOUR morning priorities. What would you include that I didn’t? And do you have any ideas for future challenges that you’d like to see me try? Leave a comment, and let me know!