It’s 7:45 am. You open your eyes and try to blink the sleep out of them. In an attempt to get to the bathroom, you try to roll over, but can’t. There are kids piled on your bed, blocking you in.
Irritated, you lie there, thinking about how you really need to pee. But you don’t want to get up because it will awaken the children, tantamount to poking a busy beehive. You know the only reason they’re all still sleeping is because they’re snuggled up nice and cozy next to you.
But you can’t hold it any longer (all those pregnancies have made your bladder so unreliable) and you get out of bed.
The kids stir, one begins crying, another yells that they want to snuggle with you more. They’re all hungry. You sigh and use the potty as quickly as you can. So begins another day.
Once upon a time, my days began this way. Over and over and over again, my little Groundhog Day prison. I tried to be intentional about the day – spending time with the kids, reading, being productive – but the bad start to my morning put a serious damper on my mood.
So, true to form, I got sick of it and decided to change.
Inspired by Tonya Leigh, whose personal mission is to help women live more elegantly and French Kiss Life (if that resonates with you, check out her new free video series that just released), I decided that the problem was that I started my day with dread, rather than with joy, gratitude and intention. And I knew that creating a morning routine that I look forward to each morning would help shift my approach.
Make a list, check it twice
First, I wrote out what I wanted my mornings to look like (I love my lists). I took inspiration from people I admire who’ve shared their morning routines.
Once I had that list, I looked it over to see if it was simple enough. I wanted a sustainable morning ritual – one that would actually become, well, routine. And I know if something like that is too complicated or doesn’t flow well, I’ll sabotage it by sleeping through my alarm or doing other tasks instead.
Once I decided it was simple enough, I put it into practice:
Wake up earlier. But I knew that if I were to just start getting up at 5:30 I wouldn’t follow through. So I started with 7:30. Baby steps. Now I’m waking up before my 6:15 alarm, closer to my ideal time.
Yoga. I’ve had a pretty consistent yoga practice for almost a year now (what!?) and I usually follow a video. Yoga with Adriene is my favorite.
Drink tea. I’m quite the coffee lover, but tea is my early morning beverage of choice. I love the simple ritual of getting up and putting on the tea kettle, then slowly pouring the hot water in my favorite mug. This is my tea of choice, but I also love loose leaf Earl Grey with a pinch of lavender buds added.
Devotional. I love She Reads Truth and use the app on my phone.
Time to practice
All was well for the first few weeks. I was getting up early (even at 5:30 on some days) and dutifully doing yoga before drinking my tea and settling in with my devotional. And then, true to form, I started sabotaging.
Instead of waking with my alarm, I’d turn it off and then sleep until 8 (the kids no longer crowd around me – they know how to put on Penguins of Madagascar in the morning if I’m asleep). I’d forego the devotional in favor of Facebook. I’d get in my yoga clothes but skip the practice.
I got frustrated with myself because I’d been doing so well. Truth be told, I moped for quite a while.
Eventually, though, I found myself longing for that morning routine, so I decided it was time to reevaluate the whole thing and see why I’d strayed.
I realized there were a few things in my routine I just didn’t want to do. They were things I thought I should do as a good yogi/Jesus follower/human being. As my friend Shelley says, “Don’t should on yourself.”
So I cut them out.
My current morning routine
- Wake up earlier
- Oil pull (most days)
- Drink tea
- Write or read something interesting
That’s it. My morning routine is really quite simple. And I love it. Frankly, if all I have is my tea ritual, I’m pretty happy.
Once I’m getting up at 5:30, I may add the morning yoga back in. I’ll give it a try for a few weeks and see if it’ll stay.
5 simple steps for creating a morning routine
If you’re trying to put together your morning routine, here are the 5 steps I recommend:
- Make a list of what you’d like your morning routine to look like. Cut out what doesn’t feel simple.
- Put it into practice. For at least a few weeks.
- Reevaluate: Once you decide on a routine, it doesn’t have to be set in stone. Consider the first month an experiment so you can see what works and what doesn’t.
- Make changes: Don’t be afraid to change your mind. There, you have permission. If something’s not working for me, I don’t hesitate to change it, but I know that’s very uncomfortable for some. But it’s ok to make changes when you need to. Really.
- Be patient: This takes time. Creating habits takes at least six weeks, longer if you’re like me and like to change things.
Now I have a challenge for you. Start your own morning routine. And do it every day for the next 3 weeks. Let me know in the comments if you’re up for it. But don’t stop there.
If you have a blog, tell your audience. Let your facebook and twitter friends know, too. Accountability is the key to building new habits. It’s hard to quit when a lot of people are asking about your progress.
Are you in?
p.s. My morning routine is an integral part of how I live with intention, joy and elegance. Check out The 3 Truths of Elegant Woman and get some great tips from my mentor Tonya Leigh on how to create more joy in your life.