Do you ever feel like all you do is give yourself away all day every day? Diapers, snacks, cleaning, bath time, bedtime, repeat. It’s a constant cycle of taking care of those beautiful little munchkins who require you all day long. By the time they’re in bed, you’re exhausted and totally uninterested in pursuing something for yourself. The idea of starting your morning even earlier sounds terrible.
I hear ya. I felt that way too.
After I had my second little girl, I felt like I had no time for me. No time to read or shower, much less learn, grow, or workout.
And that’s when it smacked me in the face.
If you’re not happy with something in your life, change it.
This is something I’ve said so many times, and it’s a phrase my husband and I try to live by. We are not victims of circumstance. We are creators of our reality based on the choices we make.
My problem was having no time for me, BUT what could I accomplish with an entire day to myself? What would I do with the time? Rest? Read? Grow?
So I started doing the math.
The girls wake up around 8 each day. If I were to get up at 5, that gives me an extra 3 hours a day, which gives me an extra 21 hours a week.
And that was it. I knew that’s what I needed to do in order to start the domino effect of change in my day so that I could feel more productive, fulfilled, and in control.
The problem I struggled with the most in justifying waking up early was what’s the point? Why on earth would I want to wake up early, sit around for an hour or two (wishing I was still asleep), just to start my day even more tired?
I realized my days were becoming reactive instead of proactive. My life was a series of responding to other people, which made me feel like I had no control.
Waking up early:
Gives you a sense of control over your day
Allows you to have a proactive day instead of reactive day
Creates opportunity to become more organized
Enhances sense of fulfillment
Sets a great example for your kids
But most of all…
YOU’LL HAVE MORE TIME.
More time to take care of you – whether that looks like a nice, long, kid-free shower, getting a work out in, or spending some time in quiet prayer.
More time to prepare for your day – prioritizing what needs to get done, prepping for the day, or simply mentally preparing for a long day of toys, snacks, and diapers.
More time to pursue something new – start a side hustle, pick up a new hobby, learn something new, begin a new habit.
Being intentional about what you want out of your mornings gives you control over the areas you cultivate in your life.
Next, you need to figure out what those areas are, and how you’ll choose to nourish them each and every day.
There are 5 areas that need to be nourished each day in order to thrive. Choose one or a few things from each category that line up with your goals, and try them out for a few days. Adjust what you do as you figure out what works for you and what you need.
I know this doesn’t sound like the most enjoyable way to start your day, but it doesn’t take much to start giving yourself a tiny dose of daily discipline every morning. When you cultivate a little discipline each morning, you’ll give yourself the gift of pride.
Think of your self-control as a muscle. You have to exercise it in order to make it stronger. The more you use it throughout the day, the more fatigued it gets. Thus, use your morning to your advantage. Your “self-control muscle” is at its strongest early in the day, so utilize it! Do the hard stuff first before your mind catches up and fills you with excuses and doubt.
Set ONE alarm – Use only one alarm to get yourself up each day. Pressing snooze will only make you feel groggier, so muster your will and get yourself out of that bed!
Make Your Bed – This starts your day with a task completed, and will give you a small sense of accomplishment. You’ll also be able to end your day by returning to a made bed which feels SO much better than returning to a mess of sheets.
Brush your teeth – Much like the Pavlovian effect, this will start to signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up. Not to mention, no one likes morning breath.
Eat That Frog – Figure out your priorities for the day and tackle the biggest task first. It’s much easier to enjoy your day and tackle the little things when you’ve already accomplished the biggest item on your list.
Set your intention for the day- What do you need to get done to feel you’ve moved a positive direction? Again, prioritize and get something checked off your list.
Take a cold shower – Hot showers are good for relaxing your body before bed. A cold shower will wake up your body and mind in order to help you start your day alert.
Wash your face & get dressed – Even if you stay home, being clean and in “real” clothes can make all the difference in how you approach the rest of your day.
Nourish Your Body
Your body needs fuel after a good night of rest, so be sure to fill it with worthy ingredients such as protein, fruits, and veggies. Try to avoid sugars, as it won’t keep you full as long and you may experience a crash by mid-morning
Drink something cold (sorry coffee lovers!) – Personally, I love nothing more than to drink something ice cold first thing in the morning. It wakes up your senses and gets your metabolism going. My drink of choice is 20 oz. of ice water with one serving of Advocare’s Rehydrate in Mango Pineapple and one serving of Advocare’s Spark in Fruit Punch.
Hot water with lemon – This duo will help kick-start your daily hydration in a delicious way, as well as improve digestion and regulate your appetite.
Protein breakfast – Think eggs, meat, omelets, and protein shakes. You can also look into homemade oatmeal recipes or chia pudding if you’re not a fan of eggs or meat in the morning.
Consume fruit and veggies – I’m not talking about juice. I’m talking real fruits and veggies. Try making a fruit smoothie, green smoothie, or egg muffins packed with tons of veggies. The sky is the limit on ways to incorporate fruits and veggies, and your body will thank you for it!
Nurture Your Soul
We often overlook this area of our lives when we really should put effort into making sure it doesn’t slip through the cracks. Make time to do something that really feeds your soul each day. We ought to live life abundantly and with joy, and you can’t do that without taking the time to do good for yourself each day. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you can, and should, choose a few of these to practice.
Pray – Reconnect with God every day. Prayer should be an avenue of communication between you and your God. Utilize it.
Meditate – Meditation can be an excellent way to focus on what you want to bring to fruition in your life. Find a quiet place and let your mind rest on your positive word or phrase of choice.
Read your Bible – Let your spirit feast on the Word of God daily. Make it a goal to read at least a chapter a day and think about what you read throughout the day.
Read a book you enjoy – Too many times we don’t take the time to do something we enjoy. Take a few minutes each morning to get through that book you’ve been meaning to read.
Spend a few minutes on something that refreshes you, encourages you, gives you joy – Choose something that gives you life and refreshes your perspective on the day.
Affirmations – You is smart. You is kind. You is important. For real. Write down the truth you need in your life and repeat it every time the day gets hard. More importantly, tell it to yourself each morning when you wake up.
Wake up your house – No, I don’t mean wake every person in your house! Go through and open some windows to let natural light into your home. Exposure to natural light early in the day results in being happier, calmer, and more productive.
Wake before your kids – This is a major lifesaver in our house. Waking before your kids gives you a few quiet minutes before the morning chaos begins. It allows you to get a grip on your morning and yourself, which can lead to gratefulness for those little munchkins. Which leads me to…
Gratitude – Write down or think about what you’re grateful for each and every day. As the list grows, you’ll get to see how blessed you are. Gratitude cultivates a sense of humility and happiness, as well as helps fight off the effects of depression.
Another area often overlooked by moms especially is taking the time to feed our minds, learn something new, and take a daily dose of encouragement or motivation. Staying home with littles all day can turn your brain to mush, so be sure to get your brain out and exercise it a bit each day.
Listen to a motivational podcast – While this isn’t necessarily a part of my morning routine, I like to get this in while I’m doing dishes or picking up. Get the kids busy, throw on something inspirational, and get to work.
Work a puzzle – Pick up the daily crossword and see how much you can do.
Audiobooks – No time to read? Throw on an audiobook while you get ready in the morning or while you’re fixing breakfast.
Read a nonfiction – Learn something! Choose a book that sparks your interest and learn a little bit each day.
Read the newspaper/Watch the news – Stay up to do date on what’s happening in the world.
Move Your Body
While this could easily fall under cultivating discipline, it deserves its own category. Daily morning exercise increases metabolism, builds self-control and discipline, and overall leads to a healthier lifestyle and healthier choices. Win win win.
Take a walk or a jog – Hit the pavement while the sun is rising. You’ll feel empowered before your day even begins.
Exercise – Knock out your 30-minute exercise routine and you won’t have to worry about making time for it later in the day. My favorite work out to do is PiYo.
Stretch – If you’re not into exercise, simply spend a few minutes stretching your muscles to wake them up for the day.
It all starts with a little prep time…
Why do you want to wake up early? More time added to your week? Time for yourself? Your side hustle? To get the house picked up? Work out? Have some quiet? Figure out what you need this time for, create a plan, and get to it!
Create a plan based on who you are and what you want from this time. Base your routine on your personality type. Do you see yourself with a highly structured daily routine? Something with variety and flexibility? Do you need to be around others? Or does it need to be quiet and private?
Commit to it. Make the promise to yourself and keep it. Find an accountability partner – Mine is my husband. If I’m getting up at 5, you better believe he is too! We use the time separately, but it’s always easier to get up when I don’t have to see him snoozing away in those warm blankets.
Start your morning routine the night before with a good evening/bedtime routine. Pick up the night before so you can start your day with a clear home and a clear head. No one likes waking up to a pile of dirty dishes and a maze of toys all over the floor. Pick out what you’ll wear. Write out your list of priorities for the following day. Look at your schedule. Limit screen time. Nourish your heart and mind a little before bed. Do what you need to do to prep for the morning.
Don’t wait to start implementing your new morning routine.
Wake up a few minutes earlier and add a few things to your routine. As you develop your “self-control” muscle and start looking forward to those quiet morning minutes or hours, you can add more items that lend to the life you want for yourself.
Don’t be a victim of your morning. Craft the day you want. And by crafting each morning with intention, you’ll begin creating a life that is aligned with your dreams and goals.