Morning Makeover: The Importance of Habits and Routines

 

With your new morning game plan figured out, it’s time to not only put it into action, but make it your new morning routine. Why is this important? Because you want to make sure your new plan happens every morning without fail and turning it into a routine is the best way to make sure that happens.

Before something becomes a habit or a routine, it takes a lot of willpower to make things happen. That’s energy that you will need for other things throughout your morning and busy rest of the day. Yes, it will take some willpower, mental energy, and drive at first to create the new morning habits, but once they are set, they will become automatic like brushing your teeth before bed. Give it time. Conventional wisdom says it takes 21 days to make a new habit–which is why I started this challenge about a month before school starts for the year in most of the country!

Once you come up with a good working morning routine, stick to it for a few weeks. That’s the best way to turn it into a strong habit. Before long, it will feel like the new normal and you will  no longer have to remind yourself to do each thing along the way. It will have become a habit and a routine you’ll follow automatically. It will take a lot less effort and mental pep-talk to get things done… even if your new routine includes a 30 minute run, or getting up at the crack of down to work on your most important business task for an hour.

Watch out for the moments when you slip back into your old habits and routines. It’s going to happen. The key is to catch it early and get back on track as quickly as possible. For example, let’s say you’ve been doing well with waking up 30 minutes earlier and going for a run before you start your day. Then, one day, you oversleep and can’t fit your run in. Or, the weather turns too bad, you get sick or hurt, or something else pops up that keeps you from going on that run. That’s life. It happens. What’s important is what you decide to do the next morning.

Your most important job when life gets in the way of your new morning routine is to get back on track as quickly as possible. Do what you can as soon as you notice the disruption. If the weather is bad, do a quick workout at home, or head to the gym to run on the treadmill. If you overslept, try to squeeze in a few minutes of devotions or doing something to grow your business before you get back to the rest of your day. Most importantly, get back on track with your regular morning routine as soon as possible. Get back into your new habits the next morning if possible. Actively remind yourself to get back on track for a few days until it routine is firmly back in place. You’ll be glad you did when you start to see the results you’ve been hoping for.

Morning Challenge Task #6:  Did you try out your new morning routine today? How did it work? Take a few minutes to check what worked and what didn’t and anticipate some of the roadblocks you may face in creating this new habit. Then plan a few tactics to overcome those roadblocks. Once you complete these tasks, head over to the Facebook page to share your progress with the group!

Morning Makeover: Your New Morning Gameplan

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do in the morning, what you don’t want to or need to do, and where to find the extra time needed, it’s time to put it all together in a new morning game plan.

The best place to start is with the new set of tasks that are most important to you. Figure out a preliminary time during which you want to get them accomplished. If your goal is to go for a run in the morning, you may decide to do that first thing before getting a shower and having breakfast. If your goal is to have a devotional time  each morning, you may decide it would work best after you’ve had a cup of coffee, or maybe even with it. If your goal is to find some time for reading or your favorite hobby in the morning, you could carve out some time before everyone else gets up. The same goes for wanting time in the morning to work on your business or learn something new. I know that I get the bulk of my blog and social media work done first ting in the morning.

Then, work the rest of your morning chores around these new plans. It may take some shuffling around and mixing up of your current routine, but with a little creative thinking and a bit of flexibility, I’m sure you can come up with a working plan!

Making over your morning and turning it into a new routine isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us. It takes a little while to get into the groove of things.

We’ll look at this in a little more detail next week. For now, my suggestion is that you write your new morning game plan down.  Devote some space to it in your planner or bullet journal. It’s easy to forget what you’re planning to do. Writing it down will not only give you a reference to refer back to, but also solidify your new plan in your mind.

Put the note, or notebook where you jotted down your new plan on your night table or somewhere else where you’ll see it first thing in the morning. It will serve as a reminder of what you’re intending to do and do differently in the mornings.

Even though you’ve written your plan down, it’s important to realize it’s not written in stone. These well-laid out plans don’t always work when put into action. Adjust it and make changes as needed until you come up with a new morning game plan that works well for you and the rest of your family. Once you have that it’s time to make it the new routine… something we’ll talk more about next week!

Whew! We made it through 5 days of our 7 day challenge! It is time to relax and recharge for the weekend, but I will see you back here first thing Monday morning!

But first:

Morning Challenge Task #5:  Determine what new tasks you are going to add into your routine, and write down the timeline or workflow of your routine in your planner or bullet journal. Once you complete these tasks, head over to the Facebook page to share your progress with the group!

 

Morning Makeover: What SHOULD You Be Doing?

Welcome! This is  Day 4 of our 7 Day Morning Makeover! You can find Day 1 here ,Day 2 here, and Day 3 here. Want to make sure you don’t miss a thing? Sign up for the series here.

Yesterday we talked about finding the time in your busy morning to do the things that are important to you. Today I want you to think about what you should and what you shouldn’t be doing in those first few hours of the day.

That’s an important idea to ponder.

So often we get stuck in a rut or a routine and do things because that’s what we’ve always done. We do it without really thinking about whether it’s the best use of our time.

It’s Not About Cramming More Things Into Less Time

Making over your morning isn’t about figuring out how to cram more tasks into fewer hours. When you read books and articles on productivity and time management, that’s often the main message and gist of it. While it can help in the short-term, it isn’t a good long-term strategy for meaningful change. Very soon you’ll hit the limit of how much faster and how much more efficient you can get.

Shift your thinking and don’t try to add to what you do in the morning. If you want 15 minutes for Bible study, or exercise, don’t just think about getting up 15 minutes earlier, or shaving 15 minutes off your morning routine by showering faster, getting dressed in record time, and rushing through breakfast.

In other words, don’t add to your already long list of things that need to get done. You’ll only feel more rushed and stressed if you do.

It’s About Making Smart Choices About Using Your Time

Instead, what you should be thinking about is the best use of your time in the morning.

Compare your perfect morning with your current morning routine. What aren’t you doing on your ideal morning? If you can start by cutting things out, finding time to do what’s important to you becomes much easier.

There are two great ways to find things you can stop doing:

  • The first is to look for busy work. This is something you do out of habit that doesn’t necessarily need to be done every day. Maybe it’s checking your email first thing in the morning or playing around on Facebook for half an hour while you drink your coffee. If that’s how you choose to spend your time, that’s perfectly fine, but if you’re doing it out of habit it may be time to reconsider it.
  • The second way to quickly earn back time is to see if you’re doing things or others that they can do themselves. Kids are the perfect example. We start fixing their breakfast, making their lunch, cleaning up after them, picking out their clothes, and making sure their backpack is packed and ready to do. When they are very small, we have to do these things, but all too often we continue to do them long after they’re capable of doing things on their own.  (Here is a quick plug for my Printable Bedtime checklist for kids!) The same goes for things we do for our spouse. Maybe there was a time when you had less to do in the morning and it made sense to take on the majority of morning chores. I know this was the case for us when I was a stay at home mom, but now that I work full-time outside the home, more of a teamwork approach makes sense. Did things change and if so, is it time to lighten your load and get help from your partner? A few small changes may be all it takes to make the time in your busy morning for what’s important to you.

Morning Challenge Task #4: What is some morning “busy work” that you can cut? What are some tasks that you can delegate? Make a list!  Once you complete these tasks, head over to the Facebook page to share your progress with the group!

Morning Makeover: Find Time in Your Busy Morning

Welcome! This is the Day 3 of our 7 Day Morning Makeover! You can find Day 1 here and Day 2 here. Want to make sure you don’t miss a thing? Sign up for the series here.

Mornings are busy and they can be quite chaotic. In our house we have two working parents, two college kids, a high schooler, a middle schooler and twin second graders. Our mornings are LOUD!  If you have a young family and plenty of people to get ready and out the door, you know this first hand. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way, no matter how busy you think you are the first thing in the day.

The other day I shared with you how the first few hours in the morning set the tone for the entire rest of the day. Do you want that to be rushed, frantic, and feeling like you’re constantly running and trying to catch up? Or do you want it to be calm, collected, productive, and with a feeling that you’re in control? It is all up to you and it’s all about embracing two simple concepts:

Get Up Early Enough

It’s tempting to hit the snooze button and catch a few more minutes of sleep, isn’t it? It’s even hard to set the alarm early enough that you have plenty of time for everything you want and need to get done.

I get it. If you’re not a morning person, moving up the alarm by 30 minutes to carve out a little extra time can be tough. Trust me though, after the first few mornings it’s not nearly as hard as you think and something you’ll quickly get used to.

Getting up early enough and avoiding the snooze button at all costs is the key to an unrushed morning. Here’s the problem with cutting time too short, or worse hitting the snooze button a few times: it gets you behind from the very start. You have to rush to make it out the door in time and any little problem or speed bump along the way turns into a huge problem. Not being able to find the car keys is suddenly a major crisis because it could cause you to be late for work and the kids to be tardy at school.

 If you start it chasing down time and things, that’s likely how you’ll spend the rest of your time.

Getting up early enough, however, puts you ahead of the game. You are in control. You can take care of everything that needs to be done in a calm way and still have time for the important things you want to work on.

In short, getting up early enough sets you up for an amazing, productive day.

Restructure Your Routine

Before we wrap this up, let’s spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine and where you’re spending time.

Write down what your current morning routine looks like.

Look for things you can change and tweak to find more time for the things you really want to do.

For example, if you want an extra 20 minutes in the morning for devotions, look at what you could take care ahead of time, cut, or delegate to make that time. If you spend a lot of time getting breakfast for everyone, get in the habit of setting the breakfast table the night before.  You can pick up some of my breakfast tips here–it really IS the most important meal of the day!  Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Set the coffee maker up at night, so all you have to do in the morning is push a button.
  • Teach the kids to make their own breakfast and take the dirty dishes to the sink, rinse them, and put them in the dishwasher.
  • Make sure clothes are set out the night before (including yours), and that book bags, purses, briefcases, and car keys have a designated spot and that they’re where they need to be before you turn in for the night.

Small changes like this to your morning routine can make a big difference. I challenge you to come up with a few small tweaks that will save you at least 30 minutes in the morning.

I am a firm believer that good mornings actually start at night! You can download a FREE printable bedtime checklist for kids here! 

Morning Challenge Task #3:  Brainstorm 3 different ways you can carve out an extra 30 minutes each morning. Brainstorm 3 things you can delegate to family members.  Determine your new wake up time. Once you complete these tasks, head over to the Facebook page to share your progress with the group!

Morning Makeover: Define your Perfect Morning

Welcome to Day 2 of our 7 day Morning Makeover! If you are just joining us, make sure to check out Day 1 here. If you want to make sure to get all the great Morning Makeover content, make sure to sign up here.

Here is my question for you this morning. What’s most important to you?  What is the one thing you really want to do that would make a big difference, but you just can’t seem to find the time for?

In short, what good habit do you want to cultivate that would make a real impact on your life? Think about this for a moment. It could be in any area of your life from exercise and healthy eating to self-improvement or getting ahead in business or at your job. It could be working on your relationship with your kids, finding time for creative pursuits, or getting in the habit of reading every morning. Obviously, I can’t have donuts every day for breakfast, but in an ideal world, I sure would!

Once you’ve figured out what you want to work on, what you want to improve, and what’s important to you, we’ll think about how you can make it part of your morning routine.

Sit back and imagine your perfect morning. It isn’t stressed or rushed. Most importantly, it’s a day when you have time for everything on your list. Maybe it means having time for a long shower. Maybe it means time for quiet devotions. Maybe it’s going for a run before breakfast. Maybe it’s having a few minutes to connect with your spouse over coffee or maybe it’s carving out an hour first thing in the morning to work on your side-business.

That’s a lot of “maybes” but the key is to start with what’s most important to you and think about how you could fit it into your morning routine. Remember, you’re just dreaming and imagining at this point. We’ll work on figuring out where to find the time to fit it in and how to make it all work out later on. For now I simply want you to paint a vivid picture of what your new morning could look like.

I want you to become very clear on what you want that perfect morning to look like. Imagine it in as much detail as you possibly can. Write it down in a journal or on a piece of paper that you can refer back to as needed. In short, define your perfect morning.

Why is this so important? Because You can’t start to make any meaningful changes until you know what your goals are. 

 You need to know your destination before you can start to pick a route and figure out how you’ll get there. That’s what today’s task is all about. It’s figuring out where you want to get to. Don’t stop until you have it figured out and firmly pictured in your mind.

Morning Challenge Task #2: Write down what your ideal morning will look like. If you use a planner or bullet journal, give your ideal morning some space in your book.  Artistic? Draw a picture. Or, search for images on Pinterest that show what your ideal morning will look like. Start a Pinterest board for your Morning Makeover. Then, hop on over to the Facebook page and let the rest of us know what your ideal morning looks like!