Welcome to the 8th habit in the #GiveMe30HabitProject!!
See this post for all the details and backstory!
This month’s habit is to implement a morning routine!
Do me a favor and watch this video! Seriously. Even if you have to watch it in chunks, because I know it is long. So many nuggets of wisdom in this speech!! The truth is that the habit of a powerful morning routine is what creates an effective, joyful, and meaningful life.
One of the biggest components to the success that I’ve had stems from my morning (and evening routines). Both are important, but my morning routine was (and still is) probably the biggest dial mover for me on my healthy habit journey! It has been the habit that feeds all other habits and had made me more productive, closer to the Lord, and able to take consistent action on my big goals and dreams.
I’ve mentioned several times that weight training was the catalyst for my healthy habit journey, but I consider exercise to be part of my morning routine, so this is why I’m able to say that my morning routine is the biggest dial mover by far.
Lifting is now technically part of my afternoon routine. Before I started coaching and was still working in clinic, I lifted before work and walked at the end of my day. Now that I work from home, I walk in the mornings (and throughout the day) and lift in the afternoon most days now, but that is subject to change as my new schedule evolves 😉
Don’t let your day just happen by default! Be intentional and you’ll get specific outcomes.
Just as a note before I share the things I currently do as part of my daily morning routine on most days, I have slowly added to my morning routine over the years. I’m not suggesting you try to add #AllTheThings all at once! The more focused, the better they will stick (assuming they are serving you well and you want to keep them after you try them).
A few ways to add new habits to a busy time frame and/or help you remember to do them until they become automatic:
- Habit stacking: Add a new habit before or after an old, well-established habit. You something is a trigger to remind you to do it. This is helpful so that you don’t forget your new habit until it becomes automatic.
- Habit pairing: Do two things at the same time using a well-established habit as your reminder to do the less well-established habit. For example, set your brush for dry brushing next to that lotion you put on every day. When you reach for the lotion, you see the brush and a reminded to do the dry brushing before you put on your lotion. Something else you can do is do two things at once in order to save time. For example, our use my light therapy lamp while I am doing my Bible reading so that it does not get perform separately and take more time out of my morning. (Note: separate from the morning routine habits—in which all of the habits that you enjoy should be positive or neutral, rather than including ones you don’t enjoy—this habit forming strategy can also serve as motivation for a habit that you don’t particularly enjoy because you only perform a habit which you do enjoy along with the one that you don’t. For example, you only listen to podcasts while you fold laundry).
- Start small: Do not try to do something extremely lofty or lengthy at first. For example, if you want to start walking in the morning, perhaps start with 5 or 10 minutes. Once the habit is automatic, you can always increase it.
- Use cues: Sent out physical reminders, set alerts on your phone, put sticky notes around the home, etc. Anything you can think of to help you remember the new habit until it becomes automatic. For example, I keep my gratitude journal on top of my Bible so that I don’t forget to practice my gratitude habit. When I go to get my Bible, my journal is right there and I never forget.
Things that I do every morning to get my mind and body right for the day:
- Greet my spouse warmly: I make sure to hug him and say good morning (not just grunt despite the lack of caffeine at this point 😂) if he’s still home when I wake.
- #WaterBeforeCoffee: Drink a full bottle of water with my morning thyroid / adrenal medication and supplements and then get my tea (my favorites are this one, this one, this one and this one) and / or coffee.
- Introspective time: Head to a quiet location and use my light therapy lamp while I do my gratitude journal and quiet time.
- Gratitude journal: I list 3 new things I am grateful for each day.
- Quiet time: During this time I read a chapter in my bible, read devotions including Proverbs 31 and She Works His Way (new posts are on weekdays only), read the verse of the day on Bible Gateway, watch 1 Minute Motivation (if there is one that day; they send one about 2-3 times a week), and read The Daily Blessing (new emails are sent on weekdays only), read the day’s entry in Human 365 (not a faith-based book, but it is more personal development and about how to be a better human). On weekends, I replace the time I usually spend reading the things that are only published M-F with reading in a devotional book. Right now I’m reading a book called Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul by Melissa Michaels.
- Spend time in prayer: I keep a running list and go over this every day which has been a game changer for my prayer life when compared to just praying what came to mind. I pray specific prayers over my clients, family, friends, those who have reached out on socail media, and myself. For more, see this post I did for Dashing Dish on how to transform your prayer life and / or read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson!
- Daily declarations: I keep these on the same note as my prayers and say them OUT LOUD at the end of my prayer time. I used the declarations for women from this list to start, plus have added some of my own. Like my prayer list, it is an ongoing and evolving collection.
- Listen to worship music: I love the Elevation Worship station on Pandora and play it while I put on makeup.
- Learning: Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, sermons, Ted video, etc. while I take a bath.
- Contrast shower: For me, it is more just a 20-30 second cold blast in the shower after my bath the a true contrast (back and forth with hot and cold).
- Dry brush: I use one like this handheld brush.
- Mobility: I stretch and foam roll while muscles are still warm from the shower.
- Walk: I usually walk in the mornings in various chunks while I pray, do client check-ins, and do my writing for the day. As I mentioned above, I do lifting in the afternoons now that I work from home.
- Nourish my body: I make sure to eat something that makes me feel my best and sets me up for success for the rest of the day. For me, that’s high protein and lots of veggies usually a #MacroMicroBowl) and at the present, usually later in the morning rather than first thing. It kind of wraps up my morning routine since I’m currently feeling my best when I eat my first meal between 11-2ish. I actually began to intermittent fast by accident at first, but then continued it because I noticed I’m not hungry until later now. Something else I have struggled with is energy and I have noticed that with IF, I have great energy and better mental clarity / focus. Also, I have noted an improvement in my GI system by giving my gut a break (it’s still finicky on occasion related to my hypothyroid). On days when I leave home early I typically do eat breakfast.
Equally as important are the things I don’t do first thing. I have learned that distractions come in all kinds of forms, even good things, but if I don’t put priority on what matters most, I am less focused, less effective, less productive, and less positive throughout my day as a result.
Things I have eliminated from my morning in order to be more focused and productive:
- No screens: I don’t get on my phone until after my physical Bible and book reading. When I do, it is to do the quiet tine readings as outlined above. I also don’t check email or social media until after I am done with all quiet time activities.
- No notifications: I don’t have any social media notifications tired on. I have to physically open the app to see them.
- No distractions: I put my phone on silent mode and I don’t turn sound on until my time with the Lord is done. I go beyond just vibrate and have it set on silent mode. I actually just keep it set in my iPhone settings to be in silent mode from 7:30 pm to 11:00 am. If I am ready to turn it on before 11, I go ahead and do so, and if I need to keep it on for some reason in the evening I can always adjust it.
OK, so now that you have an idea of what the habit looks in practice and the benefits of practicing it, it’s your turn! You don’t have to do every single one of these, but these are some ideas for you to implement.
For the next 30 days:
- Think of one thing to start doing in the morning that would help to make the rest of your day a little bit better—it could be something that keeps you on track with your health, something that gets you in a better frame of mind, something that sets you up to serve others, something that helps you improve your quality of life, makes you more productive, etc.
- Practical Tips: Add it in right before or right after something you already do daily so you remember to do it.
- Make a list of other habits to add to your morning routine down the road.
- Practical tips: Add a new habit any time you feel your current routine is solid and streamlined.
- Ask a friend or your spouse to join you in this habit.
- Practical tips: Check in with one another and share your struggles so that you can help each other troubleshoot ways to overcome them.
- Make a mental note of how you feel after the habit and any improvements you notice throughout your day after you have practiced this habit for several days.
- Practical tips: Call these benefits to mind whenever you don’t feel like following through on your habit.
- Bonus: Watch the video above something during this month! Read this blog post.
🚨 Don’t forget to share this project with others! You can share the link to this blog post as a status/post on Facebook. Feel free to save and use the image from this post, or use the ones I’ll have on my Instagram page. Whatever other means you have to get more involvement will make this project more fruitful! Tweet, email, pin on Pinterest, etc.
Also, I encourage you to keep track of your journey and use the hashtag #GiveMe30HabitProject on social media. Please tag me in your habit progress and insights! I’ll also be glad to troubleshoot sticking points. I’m Kaci M Byrd Cheeseman on Facebook and @CheeseGirlPA on Instagram.
If you want to check in daily for accountability, you can post either a photo and/or status and use #GiveMe30HabitProject #Day1, #GiveMe30HabitProject #Day2, so on and so forth. I’d love to see how it goes and repost—only if you give me permission, of course! I’ll be searching the hashtag to see who is joining in.
Remember: What is it you want to achieve? Who do you want to become? How do you want to serve others? You may not know how to get there, or even how to get started. I just ask that you trust me and help spread the message to others so they can become involved. Keep showing up, and together we will get you there, one 30 day habit at a time!
Are you ready? Let’s get growing!!
1/ What something you already do as part of your morning routine that serves you well?
2/ What is something you think you would like to add?
P.S. If you are interested in working on a specific habit and need someone to help you troubleshoot, keep you motivated, and hold you accountable, I offer coaching a variety of ways, which you can learn more about here.
My specialty is habit change and my approach is to work on mindset alongside the habit, so that it is healthy and sustainable, and this is best done via 1:1 Coaching which you can learn about here. Whether it involves your health, finances, nutrition, exercise, relationships, or personal growth, habits are the key to success. We are the outcome of what we repeatedly do. Without addressing that, there can be no change. Learn more here!