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This is a guest post from Nicole of Greatest Worth. She radiates positivity in her writing and seeks to share her wealth of knowledge generously with her readers to help them live a purpose-filled life. You can find out more about her by visiting greatestworth.com.
First, a little context (after all, back-story is always fun): we paid off $100,000 in debt in 26 months and learned to live with purpose and from our values in the process. I also, 6 years later (June 2017) decided to start a business guiding women to live intentionally, starting with their finances.
Mary and I were drawn like flies to each other. She’s working through her own debt payoff story and she’s a super intentional goal getter mama . I love so much about her and we connected right away. We’ve also connected over our routines.
Routines that have changed our lives and helped us to find the truth of who we are.
Back in July, I wrote a post about my morning routine. It touched on why, after a lifetime of really, really enjoying lazy mornings and sleeping in, I created a habit in January 2017 and started getting up at 5 am. Beyond the WHY, I also wrote about HOW I went about the process of creating my routine.
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, my morning routine has become a life-changing positive force in my life since I started a practice.
A disciplined commitment to preserving those quiet, early hours, before the hum (or, are those screams?) of the house and the whirlwind of my days set in, has provided me space to focus my life on gratitude and the abundance that surrounds me.
Even while you may be swamped with the holidays, trying to hold it together through all the parties and cookie swaps, I think today is the perfect chance to get a jump on your New Year’s visions and goals.
I’m living proof that a morning routine provides the precious time, space and mindset to make this critical visioning process not only possible but meaningful.
It gives your goals lasting power.
And it preserves those goals during the more desperate seasons of February and March when your January mojo is fading.
First, though, I know what you’re thinking. I remember saying it, too:
I am NOT a morning person.
4:45 am is not a wake up time that normal people do. This is crazytown.
I’m just not able to make this happen.
Before we get to the nuts and bolts, let’s address the more fundamental aspect of the power of language.
It’s tempting, easy and common to focus on what we are not and what we don’t have. It’s easy to focus on the negative. It’s even socially applauded in many instances, seen as a badge of humility.
We are not here to be socially applauded, though…
…we’re here to be changed.
The first step, always, is to question the limiting beliefs that may be shaping and directing your choices.
A negative, after all, always has a corresponding positive. “I am not a morning person” becomes “I am choosing to do something difficult in order to make a change in my life. I am worth it.”
Flip the script you’ve been told and tell yourself, and you’ll be amazed at how waking up even 30 minutes earlier suddenly becomes something not only possible but probable.
Then, brace yourself for what happens not only in those minutes, but in the trajectory of the rest of your day.
It’s yours for the taking, and it’s AHHHHmazing. Here’s why:
1) A morning routine establishes how you spend your day.
Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” It’s time we start, and spend, our days with intention.
If you spend your days in overwhelm, grumpy and just surviving – then, ultimately, that’s what the sum total of your years will end up being: SURVIVING.
I want you to THRIVE, lady… THRIVE!
In order to thrive, you must have a plan. A morning routine helps you map that out for each day. It helps you identify the essential tasks to focus on and the courage to ignore the rest. This allows you to be more present with your kids, with your spouse and for yourself.
2) A morning routine helps you attain your goals by creating a day by day mindset.
By taking your big goals and breaking them down into small, actionable day by day tasks, you have a higher level of clarity on your direction.
As your dreams become more specific, the specificity helps you move toward your goals with focus, intent and stamina.
Without this day by day presence that flows from a morning routine, big goals can be paralyzing, carrying a burden (and ultimately overwhelm) rather than the inspiration they deserve.
3) A morning routine makes you more intentional with your time.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s not like Oprah has more hours in a day than the rest of us. Yes, she may have some help, but she’s still working within the same time confines.
I know what it’s like to have kids swarming all around you. I know how tricky it can be to go to bed early enough so that you can pull yourself out of bed at 5 am the next morning. I know you need to clean and cook and carpool and cook some more.
I totally get it.
What I also get, though, is that everything is a choice. While I would LOVE to sit on my couch and binge watch “This is Us” while eating popcorn and simultaneously scroll through Facebook on my phone, I’ve made a choice.
I just don’t have time right now to be watching TV or scrolling social media for that matter. It’s OK. I’ll catch up later. Or maybe I won’t. Right now, though, I choose my morning routine.
After all, “This is Us” and Facebook haven’t transformed my work, my family, my friendships – my life, really – like my morning routine.
Every day gives you another opportunity to choose. The good news is you only have to choose for today. Don’t worry about tomorrow. You can figure that out, well, tomorrow. Don’t, though, let yourself believe you don’t have a choice.
“The ability to choose,” Greg McKeown writes, “cannot be taken away or even given away – it can only be forgotten.”
Make a choice for yourself.
4) A morning routine gives you space to exercise (remember that word?)
My morning routine is a way I brought exercise back into my daily practice. I started really small. Like 10 minute yoga routines small. The key is, I chose to start.
Now, a year later, I’ve worked in a MUCH longer routine into my days. I feel strong and am proud of my body and what we’ve done together.
My exercise sets the tone for the rest of my day. Starting with exercise helps me feel clear and strong. I’ll be honest, it’s a rad way to go through my day.
A morning routine is a way to begin to care for yourself again. Even if it’s something super small – like the seven minute workout – just start, friend.
5) A morning routine keeps you in tune with your values and vision.
Setting aside space for just YOU is crucial to finding yourself again.
We are surrounded by noise.
News feeds and family needs and work projects and political instability and obligations and friends in crisis.
It all creates a swarm of noise that makes it a challenge, if not impossible, to hear the small whispers that rise from our deepest, truest places.
A morning routine is built on quiet. It unfolds before the comparisons and anxieties and needs begin. In the quiet, you can live into questions that will change your life, because they are the questions that rise from your life rather than the life you’ve been told or sold.
Like I said… AHHHHmazing!
My routine has evolved dramatically in even the five months since I wrote that first post. It should evolve. I am – and you are – an ever evolving and learning being. Your routines should change and grow and evolve with you. (Just like I believe your budget should evolve every month as well, but that’s a whole other topic!)
I believe a morning routine is the answer to your deeper thoughts; the thoughts that keep you up at night; the destructive and pervasive thoughts we all have as women in this society. Thoughts of:
Who am I? I’ve been in this mama role for so long I can’t remember who I am.
I can’t ever seem to get a step ahead. What am I doing wrong?
I want to feel sexy and strong again.
I want to learn something new. But, there are too many other things going on with my family I just don’t have time.
I want to stop doubting who I am.
Why can’t I calm down? I feel anxious, like I’m not doing enough.
It would feel SO good and empowering to have those thoughts GONE, #amiright?! A morning routine is a place to start, and tomorrow is the day to start one.
I hope you feel ready and inspired to get up 20 minutes earlier tomorrow. If you do, I made a little FREEBIE for you to use. It’s based on my own personal morning routine. One that has completely transformed my purpose, my self-love and my healthy habits.
Please don’t feel confined by the handout. Instead choose to be inspired and ready to create something true to you. To create a routine based on who you are right now and your unique needs.
I look forward to connecting with you more. Please come visit me at Greatest Worth.
Oh, and if you’re feeling really inspired, check out my “Defining Your Values” Workbook. It will change your life. For reals.
I’m rooting for you!