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Most people fall into one of two categories; morning person or night owl. I however fall into neither of those categories.
I am a lover of sleep. That means I am usually in bed by 8 PM and when morning rolls around I can happily snuggle deeper into my memory foam mattress while wrapped in the warmth of my down alternative comforter. I neither stay up late, like my husband, nor do I really enjoy rising early, like my toddlers. I’m that in between no one really talks about even though I know I cannot be the only one.
As a lover of sleep it took a lot of discipline for me to develop morning and nightly routines that actually make me more productive not only as a business owner but also as a parent and wife. I’m not saying that my morning routine is the right routine for you. I firmly believe your routines, and you definitely need them, are personal and should reflect that.
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the benefits of having routines.
I have to take a moment to thank Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, for revolutionizing how I see and use my mornings. If you haven’t read this book I HIGHLY recommend it. A lot of my morning routine revolves around the ideas he presents in this book.
Now back to all this talk about routines…
Over the last 5 years, it’s become almost impossible to not find a version of this post on every blog on the interwebs. Why is that? Because they work and the people who have been using them to boost their productivity, reach their goals, and increase their income want to share that knowledge with those who may not be reaping the same rewards.
Before I developed my routines my day typically went like this…
My alarm would go off at 6 AM and I hit the snooze and bury myself in the covers conveniently forgetting that in 9 minutes it would go off again. I would just be getting comfortable and the dang thing with go off again. I’d have to blindly find it on the nightstand, because I wasn’t going to do more than reach my arm outside the covers, and hit the snooze again. I’d repeat this process maybe three times before I just turned the stupid thing off and go back to sleep.
Now, I have two toddlers who are very much morning people. Like all kids under the age of 13, before the need to sleep all day takes over, they wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed and demanding I feed them. So at 8 AM I would begrudgingly drag my rear end up and start my day. The whole time longing for the warmth of bed.
If you have little ones running around your house now or have had in the past, you know that once they wake up all peace and quiet has ended until they go to bed at night. So getting anything productive done has flown out the window.
Let’s just say my mornings were not starting off on the right foot and my entire day quickly followed suit. It was ugly. Really ugly. The kind of ugly that keeps you in your pajamas all day, teeth unbrushed till bed, and hair in messy top knot kind of ugly.
Fast forward to me picking up a copy of The Miracle Morning because a friend recommended. I was reluctant to read it, the way I am with any self-help book, but I dove into it with an open mind because what I was doing was sooo not working anymore.
Now I wake up every single morning with a happy heart and ready to tackle the day ahead. No matter what gets thrown at me I now have the mindset to conquer. I am more productive, happier, more thankful, and I’m seeing it transform my business, my relationships, and my overall health.
I am going to tell you exactly what my mornings look like now that I have decided to build a routine. This routine in a culmination of a lot of trial and error on my part. It took me months to find a routine that worked so don’t be discouraged if you start building your routine and it takes a while to find what works.
One of the concepts in The Miracle Morning that I have adopted is waking up earlier. The 6 AM alarm I hated is now a 4:30 AM wake up I love. I still think about this and I’m amazed, but those few extra hours of time before the little ones wake up means I can really take my time with my routine to get the most out of it.
Now, this change did not happen overnight. This has been the part of my routine that has taken me the longest to develop. But if I can do it, anyone can do it.
If you find yourself struggling to wake up early try setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than normal. Once that becomes easier try another 15 minutes. Do this until you’re giving yourself enough time to really get the most out of your morning routine.
After I wake up the first thing I do, and another Miracle Morning practice is to spend time in silence meditating or in prayer. This practice is crucial to my morning routine. I spend anywhere from 10-15 minutes focused on nothing at all and just let the warmth of God, or the universe if you prefer, surround me.
By allowing my mind to empty I find I am less stressed about work and life in general. After I started doing these exercises I noticed the tension in my shoulders start to dissipate and my frequent headaches started to disappear.
If you find it hard to empty your mind try a guided meditation session till you are comfortable doing it on your own. A Google search can usually find a center near you where they offer group sessions or you can find CD’s like Calming Collection- Goodbye Worries or even download the app Calm
Once I am done mediating I try and get in some light exercise to get the blood flowing to my brain. I find that getting my blood pumping increases my focus and clarity.
I have an autoimmune disorder (Graves Disease) that keeps my heart rate pretty elevated so I do a light routine of stretching and yoga. If you don’t have to worry about your heart beating out of your chest you could step up your game here and do an intense workout. Whatever route you choose to go just make sure it’s something you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.
Because I was in an “ugly” stage in my life I decided that part of my morning routine would include actually taking some time to get myself ready for the day. To make myself feel pretty.
So after I’m done exercising I take a shower, wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on decent clothes that won’t land me on the people of Walmart website. Yes, I even do my makeup. It may seem like a lot of work to do for someone who’s going to be home most of the day, but part of the process of developing this routine was making myself feel better about being me.
One part of the Miracle morning practice is repeating affirmations. When I’m getting ready in the morning I have to look at myself in the mirror and there’s no better time for me to tell myself how freaking awesome I am. I know it sounds cheesy to tell yourself how great of a person you are, how you are going to be the most patient parent in the history of parents, or how you’re going to build an empire from your small business, but it’s important that you start believing these things of yourself. Once you believe these things, everyone else will start to believe them too.
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When deciding on your affirmations think long and hard about the things you don’t believe in yourself. If you find people telling you how beautiful you look but in the back of your mind, you think they must be blind, start telling yourself you are beautiful every time you check your reflection. We all have insecurities about ourselves that are usually based on our own beliefs and not on actual facts.
Another piece of the Miracle Morning routine is daily reading. This was not a part of my routine I struggled with. I am a book lover, and I also happen to love coffee. I love them so much that if anyone wants to make a candle that smells like Barnes & Noble I’ll buy a lifetime supply. Seriously, these are two of my favorite things in the world.
However, my morning routine does not include a good bawdy historical romance, a guilty pleasure for me. My morning routine generally consists of either reading scriptures in my bible or reading a book to boost my business. I save the romance for before bed (see my night routine for more details).
The whole idea behind reading in the morning is to get the gears in your brain to wake up and start turning.
The last step in my morning routine is to spend time reflecting on what I have learned, not just in my reading but about myself. This is my time to write down my thoughts, prayers, and goals for life. I focus on how I can implement what I’ve learned into my life and business to make them better.
One thing you might notice about my morning routine is that I do not look at my phone or touch my computer during this time. My philosophy is… it can wait. The few hours I have before the house wakes up and productivity slows to a crawl are best spent bettering myself and preparing my mind, body, and heart for the day ahead. I find that even though I put off “work” my routine makes more productive than I ever was without it.
Oh, and before you think I skip breakfast I actually wait till I can enjoy it with my kids. And another important thing to note is I do this routine the exact same way every single day of the week. Yes, even on the weekends.
Now that you see how I prepare myself for the day ahead I want to show you my nightly routine that also helps me be more productive.
I firmly believe how you end your day is just as important as how you start it. Starting your day on the right foot would be a waste if you didn’t end it the same way. So here is my routine that guarantees I end my day happy to get up the next morning.
I feel it’s important to mention that my nightly routine begins after the little ones have gone to bed at 8 PM. This allows me a couple of hours to dedicate to this routine.
Once the kids are in bed I start my routine with a nice hot, relaxing shower. I take a shower in the morning to get clean and wake up. My nightly shower is more to help me relax my body and get my skincare routine done. Plus, I like feeling clean and relaxed before I get into bed.
Once I’m clean I hop into a pair of my favorite pajamas. Nothing sexy, to my husband’s chagrin, but they are super comfy.
Experts recommend you unplug from all electronics at least an hour before you go to bed. This will allow you to fall asleep faster and have more restful
Once I am comfortable and in bed, I pick up my nightly journal that I keep on my nightstand and spend a few minutes reflecting on the day.
If I learned a valuable lesson, need to remember to look something up, or anything that it rattling around in my brain gets written down. I want to clean my mind so I’m not up all night thinking about this, that and another thing.
Because I don’t want to fill my mind up again my nightly reading is purely light reading material. I made the mistake a few times of picking up some of my morning reading and I could turn my mind off because of all the new ideas floating around in my head. So, after learning that lesson I stick to reading material that doesn’t kick my brain into overdrive.
I mentioned historical romances at the beginning of this post and they are a regular in my nightly reading routine. Lately, I’ve been loving Turtles All The Way Down by John Green and In The Midst Of Winter by Isabel Alled
The last step in my nightly routine is to spend time in prayer followed my more mediation. This is my chance to thank God for all the blessing I have received and to ask for guidance when I need it, or strength as the case may be.
Once I have finished my prayers I meditate. I focus on relaxing each individual muscle in my body one by one and clearing my mind. I focus on my breathing and before I know it I’m asleep. Works like a charm night after night. And a good night sleep is one reason I am able to have such an amazing day.
Well, that’s my morning and night routines. If you haven’t started a morning or nightly routine I highly recommend you get on the bandwagon. These few simple things done daily have completely changed my life. It hasn’t just boosted my business, even though it truly has, it has also changed my relationships and the way I see myself all for the better.
If you have a morning or nightly routine already what does it look like? If not what parts of my routine do you think you could adopt to get you going? Comment below.