Establishing a morning routine

Attitude does make a big difference. After having experienced a large range of emotions over the last few years, I have chosen a life philosophy of attempting to be positive, proactive, and healthy.

Even though I’ve posted a great deal about my weight loss, what actually has made the biggest difference in my life is the establishment of a purposeful morning routine. I encourage you to reflect on how you can incorporate one into your life.

It’s not easy. It’s taken me 44 years to land on something that makes me happy, plus I know that many of you have different circumstances than I do (for instance, getting young kids ready in the mornings). But once I figured it out last fall, I believe it’s led to me having my best school year ever!

I’ve always been an early riser (again, that’s something else many of you may have to overcome), so getting out of bed isn’t the problem for me. It’s how I structure the time between waking up and heading to school that’s always been the issue.

I know that’s my only consistently daily quiet time, so it’s critical that I get everything in during that time that will set the table for me to have a successful day. Once school hits, it’s usually a whirlwind until bedtime. Even after school is extremely inconsistent between my events and my son’s events, so there no set timetable for myself like there is in the mornings.

I have tried a smorgasbord of random routines that really were never routine. Ideally, I want to read, have a cup of coffee, workout, look at the newspaper, check email, plan out my day, and think about and evaluate long term goals in the mornings, but I was unable to get to all of those things done on a consistent daily basis. I’ve joined a gym and taken a workout class at 5am before, which was great, but it’s a pain to change clothes, get in the car, go someplace, workout, come home and shower before school. Some mornings could start that way, but other mornings, I could read instead and plan long term. But, it wasn’t consistent or routine. I’m a creature of habit, and I need to be able to do the same thing every morning instead of working out three times a week and doing something different the other four days.

So, thanks to Jeff Green and Sarah Susan Green, who sold me their old ellipsis machine last summer and got it set up in my garage, I now have the morning routine I’ve always wanted. I fall out of bed at 5:00am, let my dogs outside, change into workout clothes, let the dogs back in, and head right downstairs to get on the machine by 5:10am.

I use the ellipsis for only 15 minutes, but I do it daily. That’s my key…it has to be something I can consistently do every single day–even on the weekends. 15 minutes is doable. In the beginning, I tried longer and shorter lengths of time, but 15 minutes seems to be exactly right. I lather up a pretty good sweat and feel good after an intense 15 minutes. Then, I do 30 sit-ups and 15 push-ups to complete a 20-minute workout. On the surface, it doesn’t seem rigorous, but those 20 minutes are what get my body and brain going every day, and over time, my fitness level has dramatically increased.

After working out, I’ll head to my kitchen by 5:40am, and I’ll feed my dogs, make one cup of coffee, sit down to read the newspaper online, check email and social media, think about longer term plans, and let the dogs out one last time. By 6:15am, I’m in the shower and off to school by 6:40am.

So, having that morning routine gets my day started the right way so the foundation is set to have a great day. Not to say that unexpected things don’t come up during the day, but I feel I’m better equipped mentally to handle those situations if I’ve had the time to center myself before school each morning.

As I’ve said, my routine won’t work for everybody, but I encourage you to think about how you could incorporate some sort of morning routine into your life, even if it’s just five minutes long of Zen amidst the chaos of getting your family ready for their days. If you need some other ideas on what you can do, there’s actually a website (www.mymorningroutine.com) where people ranging from CEO’s and entrepreneurs to other part-time and full-time employees share their routines.

A morning routine has greatly shaped my daily positive attitude this school year and has been a huge plus in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, it can for you as well.

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