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THE POWER OF A MORNING ROUTINE



Soooo..... last week, after my post, "A Typical Day", where I talked about what a typical day of eating looks like for me, I got more comments on my 3am wake-up time than I did on the food (though many people were surprised by HOW MUCH food I eat in a day - and how I "find" the time to eat it)! So, I thought it would be a good time to talk about my Morning Routine....


HIGH ACHIEVERS VS. AVERAGE PEOPLE

Someone once said, “If you want what I have, you have to do what I do.” There are far more average / mediocre people in the world than there are successful people. Am I right? I came to realize that to reach my goals and be successful in any area of my life I needed to learn the difference between the highly successful people and the average or mediocre people. I needed to study the high achievers – their daily habits, practices, and routines – and do what they were doing.


Habits are formed based upon needs, wants, and desires. Whatever you truly want out of life (a.k.a. your “Why”) is what shapes the behavior that directs your everyday actions. If you get up every day and just coast wherever events and situations take you, you’re going to end up somewhere other than the ideal place.


In my research, I discovered one major thing which separates high achievers from average people: Intention. Successful people understand that their lifestyle is dependent upon their actions. Therefore, they only implement habits that help them work towards bettering themselves. They understand that to become the best version of themselves, they need to live in alignment with their truth and steer their own path via daily habits and practices which prime them for success. In short, everything they think, say, and do is intentional and aligned with their purpose, their values, and their goals. Anything that hurts their ability to acquire success or derails their ability to remain successful is swiftly casted away.


THE POWER OF A MORNING ROUTINE

A Morning Routine is a powerful way to kick start the day. Many successful people have clearly structured morning routines which are stacked with positive habits for their body, mind, and spirit / personal growth. Successful people are accustomed to rising early, and that habit appears repeatedly among those who do well in life. The more time one can devote to being successful, the more likely success will result.


Having such a routine has always been a way for me to start my day with purpose, filling me with a sense of accomplishment and control right from the moment I get up... and ensuring that I set a positive tone and productive mindset for the rest of my day.


When Moxie Boutique Fitness Studio opened its doors in June 2021 (right when things were starting to open up again after the pandemic), the demand for one-on-one personal training was overwhelming and unexpected, and business exploded almost immediately!


My schedule filled up quickly and for the majority of the past 21 months I have literally been booked to the point where I physically cannot add another client. I am currently averaging 40-43 one-on-one sessions per week (8-9 sessions per day between the hours of 6:30am and 2:30pm). And I still have other "behind-the-scenes" work to do when I'm finished training. (Of course these are good "problems" and I am extremely grateful... )


For the first 12 months or so after Moxie opened, with my schedule the way it was, my structured morning routine fell by the wayside. I had been neglecting all of the morning habits and practices that I needed for my own physical, mental, and emotional wellness. In other words, I was not practicing what I preach, and that is NOT how I operate. I knew if I didn't make a change, my clients (not to mention my friends and family) would get the exhausted, depleted, burned out, grumpy version of me... and that isn't fair to anyone.


For my own physical and mental health, I knew I needed to intentionally carve out time for self-care and create space for balance in my life. So, as much as I truly care about (and love working with) each and every one of my clients, I had to let a couple of early morning clients go. This was an extremely difficult (and risky) decision for me but, as the saying goes, "You cannot pour from an empty cup."


In order to complete my structured morning routine and still be at the studio by 6am, I had to start waking up at 3am.Though my Morning Routine is constantly evolving, here is what a typical morning looks like for me these days:


3:00am

Wake up.


3:00am - 3:15am

(In this order)

Drink 16 oz of water.

Brush my teeth.

Wash my face.

Put my contacts in.

Make my bed.

Make coffee!!


3:15am - 4:00am

(In this order)

Meditate for 5-10 minutes**

Pray**

Recite Affirmations / Identity Statements** (I'll talk about this more in detail in a later post)

Journaling - I write down the following:

  • My "Most Impactful Goal"

  • 3 things I'm grateful for

  • My chosen Identity Statement to focus on for the day

  • Tasks (My Priority Task / #1 Goal for the day, Important Tasks, "Nice to Get Done" Tasks, my Not To Do List" for the day)

  • A bullet plan of my schedule

4:00am - 4:45am

Workout**


4:45am-5:00am

Prepare and eat breakfast**


5:00am - 5:45am

Shower, get ready, pack my food for the day, etc**


5:45am

Drive to Moxie.


**These are the big ones. If I do nothing else, I at least do these!


DEVELOPING YOUR MORNING ROUTINE

I want to start by saying that your morning routine certainly does not have to be as elaborate as mine, and you don't have to wake up at 3am (though you may need to wake up a little earlier). This is just what works for me.


Before developing your Morning Routine, it will be especially important to build a consistent routine around what time you go to sleep and what time you wake up the next morning. Then, since you know what time you plan to wake up and you know what time your workday starts, you can play with the time between waking up and beginning work to design a Morning Routine that best suits you. This time in the morning is sacred, and over time, when continuously practiced, it will become the cornerstone of your day.


You can use this protected time to accomplish several key daily habits and disciplines. It is difficult to add multiple new habits to your day. We know this. But what you may not realize is that it is relatively easy to build a single new routine using a strategy called habit stacking.


With habit stacking you simply group together small, positive changes into a simple-to-complete sequence or routine that you follow daily. The key to consistency with habit stacking is to treat each habit stack routine like a single action instead of a series of individual tasks. There are many elements involved in building a new habit such as:

  1. Blocking out time for the activity

  2. Identifying a trigger

  3. Planning how you will complete the action, etc.

Because of all these elements it will be much simpler to treat the entire routine (or “stack”) as just one habit rather than treating each habit in the stack as an individual action.


Another Success Strategy to help you adopt a new habit is to pair or stack it with a habit that is already established. This can be done in two ways:


  1. You identify a current habit you already do each day and then pair or “stack” your new behavior(s) on top. By pairing the new behavior with an existing habit, you are setting the established habit as a Cue for the new behavior. For example, after starting to brew your coffee, you write down three things you are grateful for.

  2. You pair or stack a habit that you want to adopt but which you find difficult with a habit that you enjoy doing. This leads your brain to create a positive “pleasurable” association with the new habit. For example, you decide that you can only watch your favorite TV show if you are walking or running on the treadmill while doing it.

The basic habit stacking formula is:

After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]

where each habit in the sequence triggers the next habit – like dominos.


SOME IDEAS FOR A MORNING ROUTINE

Aim to incorporate one or more of these tasks into your morning routine every day.

  • Do a Brain Dump - Write down everything that bubbles to the surface immediately after you wake up, stream-of-consciousness, longhand in a notebook or journal. Sit down, write for exactly three pages, then get on with your morning. Try it. You will be amazed at what it does for your mental well-being.

  • Practice Gratitude - Implementing a daily gratitude practice re-trains your brain to constantly look for the good in your life, and to notice the simple privileges and pleasures that we so often take for granted. Think of 3 things you are grateful for and write them down. Be as specific as possible. Instead of "my family" think of a specific conversation or special moment shared with a family member.

  • 30-Minute Digital Detox - Wait at least 30 minutes after waking before you check your phone. For most of us, the first thing we do when we wake up is look at our phones. We check our missed calls and texts, scroll through our Facebook or Instagram feed, look at work emails… And before we know it we’re already experiencing feelings of anxiety, jealousy, FOMO, etc. Don’t let someone else decide what kind of morning you are going to have.

  • Start Your Day with Calming Music - Ease into your day with soothing sounds that will put you in a tranquil and productive mood.

  • Make Your Bed - Your physical surroundings have a huge impact on your state of mind. Living or working in a cluttered, unorganized environment increases your stress levels and leads to a cluttered, disorganized mind. In addition to the clarity that comes from living and working in a tidy space, making your bed, a) makes it a lot less likely that you are going to crawl back into it, and b) it’s a small success that allows you to start building some momentum in the morning by crossing a task off your to-do list.

  • Sit in Silence – Find a quiet place, get comfortable, close your eyes, set a timer, and focus on your breath. Start with 10 minutes a day. Even just 10 minutes each morning spent in silence, prayer, meditation, etc. can have a huge impact on your day. Like a digital detox, it allows you to step away from the busyness and complexity of life to tackle your day with much more ease.

  • Consume Motivational Content - Oftentimes we are so focused on our to-do lists that we aren’t focusing on our goals or our future. Spend 10 minutes reading a book on a topic that you find fulfilling or that you are interested in learning more about. Invite abundance into your life by reciting a list of Daily Affirmations. Read 1-2 pages of anything that inspires you. If reading isn’t your jam, consider podcasts, audio books or videos.

  • Exercise – Move your body for 10 minutes (or longer) first thing in the morning. This does not necessarily have to be your workout for the day. Think of it as something you are doing for your mind even more than your muscles. Go for a walk or a jog, stretch, dance, do some yoga… anything. As you move, practice mindfulness. Pay attention to the details of now. Notice the color of a bird, the sound of your breath or your feet on the pavement, the smell of the air. Maybe even literally stop and smell the roses! Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat, even for just 10 minutes in the morning is a sure to leave you feeling energized and motivated. Plus, it will be nice to get it out of the way, so it isn’t hanging over your head all day.


That's it for now. Check back soon...

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