Guys, when did rolling out of bed 40 minutes late, pulling your hair back into a messy bun and doing your makeup at the traffic lights because #late fall out of vogue, exactly? And can we go back to the 90’s when it was totes acceptable because Kate Moss told us so?
Ok. Group share time. Put your hand up if you have a morning routine? (I won’t actually wave mine, because typing, but I’ll just assume that y’all know I’m virtually waving mine because this piece is actually where I’m planning on sharing some advice, not begging the world for help please, which is a refreshing change, I must say.)
Morning Routines are kind of the new boring black. They’re trendy, having their moment in the social media sun, but let’s be real, yeah – they’re kinda like accountants. We know we should have one, we know they’ll enrich our lives, but it seems like effort and not particularly exciting effort at that. I myself spent my twenties with zero thought expelled on making my mornings something valuable, instead becoming a master of Exactly How Many Times Can I Push Snooze and Still Make It To Work Roughly On Time roulette – while wondering why life was hard, and I didn’t feel great and I was so stressed and I just don’t feel like I have my shit together, y’know??
It’s seventeen types of embarrassing to admit that at no point – despite declaring myself a rather intelligent individual, please look at my university degrees and academic achievements – that I couldn’t see a connection between the two. Like, please sit down, Em you fool. There’s a reason why the majority of the most successful folk in the universe swear by the rhythm of their morning jam and don’t even be so arrogant to think that you’re gonna be the exception to the rule. I have no idea why I thought hastily applied mascara at the traffic lights was a recipe for success – or even worth the nine extra minutes of crappy sleep. (Snoozing makes you feel worse, true story.)
Here’s the red hot facts. A morning routine is one of the very best ways you can set yourself up for success – early bird getting the worm aside, because I’m still not a super early riser, and that’s ok. Even something as simple as making your bed before you dash out the door gives you a win on the ledger before you’ve sipped your first coffee – and that kind of positivity can’t be found in a morning latte. (Trust me, I looked.) But it’s not just about making achievements, it’s about gently easing your brain into the day – with familarity, and a sense of knowing what’s ahead. Even on your roughest day – the sense that you’ve got control over even just a little bit – is a great way to calm our overstimulated, stressed nervous systems. Oh, and the whole Getting More Shit Done is kinda cool, too…
I touched on some of this a few weeks ago – and truthfully – while I’ve been kinda nutting out a morning routine over the past 12 months or so (while stubbornly refusing to admit that I needed one, DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT TO DO UNIVERSE), it’s not been until the start of this year that I’ve actually cracked the code, found one that works and reluctantly accepted that yes – these morning routine folks may have a point. (And super straight eyeliner that wasn’t applied in the rear vision mirror in the work car park…)
Convinced? Not convinced but figure you’ve got nothing to lose anyway?! That’s the spirit! Come join me, friends. Here’s how to get started with a routine so slick, you’ll be brimming with achievement smugness every damn morning…
(or, like, a person with half their life together, but who doesn’t want an opportunity to be smug, amiright??)
One | Figure out what the heck you want to achieve.
Here’s the hard part. Exactly what do you want to do in the mornings? Some people have practically taken over the world by lunchtime, but it’s not a one size fits all approach. For me, I moved my exercise portion of the day into the mornings – because my sleep addled brain can’t come up with a convincing enough reason to skip it – I make my bed, I get in a proper breakfast, get dressed and made up in my actual real bathroom like an adult, and I try to get on the road before the most rage-y traffic hits. But that’s it. I know that I think better, am more creative and can actually piece together coherent sentences in the evenings – so I don’t try and force my blogging into the AM – despite the fact that other online famous folk swear by it. I take the pieces that work, build a routine and follow that daily. If something feels like it’s being forced, I pull it out. Simple. A great place to start is by being utterly inspired by the Morning Glory pieces in Harpers Bazaar and deciding which of those you think you can handle.
Two | Beyonce wasn’t built in a day – so start small.
If you’re a bona fide night owl, who can barely shove half a banana down before she needs to run out the door and still be late for work, it’s uh – a tad insane – to build out a list of 783 things you’ll achieve before you step into the office lobby each AM. Oh, and you’ll fail, which will set up the whole spiral into ‘Morning Routines are Bullshit!’ land and we’ll need to have this exact same pep talk next year. Don’t be an overachiever. Pick one thing at a time and gradually try it on for size.
I started with making my bed – which embarrassingly, is not something that I did regularly until about the age of 30. For serial. Coming home to a clean, made bedroom was such a lovely way to end a day that I started looking for other little things I could slot in. And then adding a few more. And this year, I’ve moved my F45 and pilates sessions to the morning time. Piece by piece it all came together slowly, so I wasn’t overwhelmed by all this shit I now had to somehow magic together before I started my day.
Oh – and don’t be discouraged if you miss a day. You will. Sometimes I regress back to Queen of Snooze Mountain and find myself eating toast in the car while I battle to get in the work door on time, and that’s ok. Just reset and try again tomorrow. (But don’t let it become habit.)
Three | Write a list. Put it somewhere you’ll see it all the time and be shamed into actually doing it. (Mine’s on the fridge.)
Speaking of habits – they take awhile, y’know? And it’ll be a little bit of time before the whole morning part becomes something you can do on auto-pilot, but I promise you, you’ll get there! (case in point, it wasn’t until my trainer reminded us that there was no evening classes on that day, did I realise that I’d actually kept up my routine on the Labour Day public holiday.) Just make a list – yeah, it’s daggy, but it works. Stick it to a place where you’ll see it regularly (so, the fridge, yeah??) and you can be reminded regularly of what happens when. As above, don’t beat yourself up if you (accidentally or, with a serious case of the CBF’s, deliberately) forget something. Not. The. End. Of. The. World. No lynch mob will show up at your door, promise – take it from someone who’s done extensive testing in the whole ‘accidentally on purpose forgotten to do something in my routine, because tired’ area.
Four | Tweak! Measure! Write posts about how you’re feeling!
At the moment, the single most motivating factor that gets me out of bed in the morning when I know that I could actually stay here for another 90 minutes if I really wanted is this simple truth. Getting through my morning routine makes me feel better than the sluggish ‘gonna need a concrete truck full of coffee’ Em who shows up when I’m lazy. But sometimes it’s really hard to remind yourself of this when it’s 6am and cold and rainy. So write it down. Help yourself, because that bleary eyed ‘I just wanna stay in my doona burrito’ person at early-o-clock isn’t going to.
And don’t forget to evaluate what’s going on. The trick is not to force anything that really doesn’t fit – because believe me when I say that somedays, even just a minor inconvenience is gonna be enough of an excuse. If you’re constantly finding that you’re skipping something – or heck – even dreading it, then it’s in the wrong place. Morning Routines are a little hard (read: sometime the Worst Thing Ever) at the start, but as habit kicks in you should find a smoother sail. If it’s still creating waves a few months in – ditch the dead weight.
Alright kids, lesson time is over. Out into the field to test for your very own selves. Report back. And good luck!
Oh, and if you’ve got a kick ass Morning Routine already sorted, do share with the rest of us, you smug successful bastard.
Image via Unsplash.com