Do you know that how we start our day usually correlates to how our day will end up going? Does your morning routine set you up for success in mind and body health? How about in achieving your short and long-term goals?
We each have our own distinct set of 'normal' morning routine(s). That's what makes us all unique. But morning routines are not created equal when it comes to mind and body health. Some routines can actually be detriment to our goals, mindset and physical health.
Most morning routines usually fit into one of three categories, Frazzled, Slow and Steady and Magical. (Disclaimer: this is my personal observation and not from any reliable source).
Some of us consistently operate from one category most of our lives. Others, will waffle back and forth between all or two of the categories. Where we are in our life's journey and what day of the week it is seems to affect our 'normal' morning routine.
Here is my take on the three types.
Those who fit into the Frazzled category tend to start their morning in a rush. Hitting the snooze button over and over again, just to sleep in those extra 15-30 minutes, is common place. Jumping out of bed and rushing around to get ready for work, your kids off to school or to some activity is part of your daily routine. Starting your day this way can be extremely hard on your mindset for the day and can ultimately impact you're mental and physical health.
Do you know that hitting your snooze button sends a signal to the brain that the day ahead is not worth getting up for? That you lack the passion for your job, your daily activities, your life and so on?
Once you hit the snooze button your mind starts sending thoughts into your head about your upcoming day. Most are not helpful and can lead us to hitting the snooze button over and over again. Guess what happens next? We berate ourselves for oversleeping. So why do we do that to ourselves, just for an extra 5-20 minutes of extra sleep? And in most cases we don't fall back to sleep, do we? Instead we are spending that time thinking negative thoughts and agonizing over getting up. Why not use that energy for good instead, like just getting up without the drama? When you think about it, what we do to ourselves by pressing the snooze button is actually quite comical.
Slow and Steady
If you tend to get up in morning without having to set an alarm (or without hitting the snooze), and leave yourself plenty enough time to get ready in the morning then you are a Slow and Steady morning person. Your morning routine is reflected in your relaxed and methodical way of going through the motions, showering, dressing, eating breakfast, reading the paper (or social media posts), walking the dog, and gathering your stuff to walk out the door. Your morning routine is stressless which is good for mind and body health but it is lacking the positive, inspiring and energetic start to your day.
If you get up earlier in the morning then necessary just to have time for yourself and to make sure you can start the day mentally and physically prepared, then you fall into the Magical category. It's called the Magical category because this extra TLC time creates magic in your day. The magic happens when you engage in activities that prepare your mind and body for a positive, energetic and productive day. Activities like, reading a personal development book, meditating, journaling, exercising and determining what your top priorities are for the day are great examples of a magical morning.
Is it time for a change?
Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or bad. Make it a good one.
If you fall into the Frazzled or even the Slow and Steady category, how about changing up your morning? Why not schedule some time for YOU in the morning. We always say we are going to find time to read that book, exercise, get organized or get that ONE thing done we never have time to do. But by the end of the day we put it off again because we are too tired or we've run out of time.
It's amazing how a feel-good, invigorating, and peaceful morning can really transform your day. It not only sets the tone for your day but it's been proven that it's good for your mental and physical health. And yes that means waking up early, setting your alarm for at least 15 minutes earlier than normal. For the Frazzled folks I recommend you slowly transition into the Slow and Steady category before trying the Magical morning routine. Baby steps are important here.
How do I add magic to my morning?
There are so many ways to start your morning on the right foot. All you need is some extra time and a plan. Make sure it's not overwhelming to begin with or your less likely to stick with it. This is a morning habit you are trying to implement so it takes time for it to come naturally. Be consistent and intentional.
Add time to your morning
Go ahead and set your alarm a little earlier than normal. Push back your alarm 15 minutes or as much as an hour before you would normally get up. Choose the extra time carefully. Make sure it is doable for your current situation. The time allotted can vary between weekdays and weekends since most people have more time on the weekends.
Choose Your Activities
For choosing your magical morning activities, figure out what inspires you, brings you energy and a little bit of happiness.
So that you have an idea of what I'm talking about, below is my normal morning routine. It is 60 minutes in length, on average, but sometimes it’s as little as 15 minutes if I have a time conflict for that day.
Meditation - 20-25 minutes with guided meditations or Primordial Sound Meditation
Reading - 10 minutes reading on personal development, yoga, meditation and health
Journaling - 10 minutes reflecting on what I just read or just random thoughts
Exercise - 5 minutes of stretching and a little yoga
Affirmations - 5 minutes of positive affirmations
List 3 goals for the day - 5 minutes to list the 3 most important to-do's for the day
Feel free to choose some of mine or if none of these speak to you, come up with your own. YOU get to choose. This is your magical morning. Maybe knitting is your jam or working on photo albums. The possibilities are endless. The key here is to find your mojo. Implement what speaks to you.
Just stay away from social media during your Magical morning time. It’s addicting, not productive and can negatively affect your mindset.
As of today, I am on my 325th day of magical mornings. I have accumulated 6,500 (est.) minutes of meditation, read 10 yoga, meditation, health and self development books, written and gone through 2 journals, and accomplished 1,625 (est.) minutes of stretching/yoga. So you can see how much you can accomplish by adding some TLC time in the morning.
So give it a whirl, who knows, you may find some magic in your morning.
Credit: Thanks to Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod for inspiring me and this blog.