For the next 26 weeks I will be sharing a different way you can become healthier in your daily life. Some of these suggestions have to do with food or exercise, others have to do with lifestyle changes, but all of them are practical and relatively easy to execute. You may already be practicing some of these habits, but hopefully you’ll be inspired by at least one or two new ideas you can begin to implement.
Develop a Morning Routine
EARLY RISERS ARE HEALTHIER
Brigham Young University found that women who had less than 60 minutes of variation in their wake-up routine had less body fat than those whose routine varied 90 minutes or more during the week. In another study a survey was taken by more than 700 men and women between the ages of 17 and 79. It showed that early risers were found to be happier overall than night owls.
Perhaps you’re like me and mornings are not your strong suit. That’s okay! Even if you’re not naturally a morning person, a morning routine can greatly benefit you as it has me. Money Saving Mom has a great course that can help you to “make over your mornings.” Her book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode also really helped me to refine my own morning routine.
My current morning routine:
Wake up, make bed, put on workout clothes, & drink a glass of water
Stretch, run 2 miles, & drink another glass of water
Shower, get dressed, brush teeth
Read Bible, pray
Recently one morning I was feeling motivated to clean, so I disregarded my usual schedule and did some of my normal morning activities later in the day. Developing a routine is supposed to help you, not constrain you. Sometimes on laundry day I throw in a load of laundry in between drinking water and strength training. Sometimes I skip exercise or showering. The point is not to get bogged down with details, but to encourage you to start off your day by being productive. A good morning usually leads to a good day. And even if you get nothing else accomplished, if you keep your morning routine you won’t feel like you wasted the day.
HOW TO DEVELOP A ROUTINE
1. ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
Here are some questions to consider as you formulate your own morning routine:
*What are my top 3 priorities in life?
*What morning activities line up with my stated priorities?
*What helps to energize me in the morning?
*What are the most important tasks of my day? (Things I MUST do daily).
*How much time do I need for each task?
*How much sleep do I need per night to function well?
*What 5 things do I need and want to accomplish every single morning?
2. CHOOSE YOUR MORNING ACTIVITIES
Here are some morning activity ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. Start a load of laundry.
2. Make & Pack lunches.
4. Read a book.
6. Check email.
7. Sweep the floors.
8. Clean the bathroom.
9. Listen to music.
10. Drink a cup of coffee.
11. Go for a walk.
12. Listen to a podcast.
13. Invest in a creative hobby.
14. Make a to-do list.
15. Sip lemon water.
16. Memorize a Scripture verse.
17. Drink tea.
18. Play a “brain game.”
19. Do dishes/unload dishwasher.
20. Open the window curtains.
21. Take your vitamins.
22. Cuddle with your spouse.
23. Take a shower.
24. Do jumping jacks.
26. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
27. Apply essential oils to bottoms of feet.
28. Brush your teeth.
29. Make your bed.
30. Eat a healthy breakfast.
31. Go for a jog.
32. Get dressed.
33. One-on-one time with children.
34. Tidy up a room.
35. Do hair.
36. Do makeup.
37. Prep food for evening meal.
38. Check calendar/schedule.
3. ORDER YOUR TASKS
Did you choose 5 habits you would like to do every single day? Now, put them in the order you would like to do them. Remember, you don’t have to keep this to the letter every single morning, but it’s good to shoot for an ideal.
4. GIVE EACH TASK A TIME ALLOTMENT
Once you have determined your top 3 life priorities and 5 important, energizing, and/or necessary morning tasks that correlate with one another, you need to determine how much time is needed to accomplish each task. Be realistic. It’s better to err on the side of too much time than not enough. Here is the time allotment for my own routine:
Wake up, make bed, put on workout clothes, & drink a glass of water (15 minutes)
Strength training (15 minutes)
Stretch, run 2 miles, & drink another glass of water (30 minutes)
Eat breakfast (10 minutes)
Shower, get dressed, brush teeth (20 minutes)
Practice piano (30 minutes)
Read Bible, pray (1 hour)
Obviously my time allotment will be very different from your own. I am at a unique stage of my life where I only work part-time and have no children. Instead of guessing how much time each task takes, time yourself a couple mornings to get an accurate picture of the time you need.
5. DETERMINE WHAT TIME YOU SHOULD WAKE UP
Since you now know how much total time your ideal morning routine will take, work backward to figure out what time you need to wake up. Since my routine typically takes 3 hours, I need to know what time I would like to be done with everything in my routine each morning. If I want to be done by 9am, then I need to wake up by 6am. If I don’t mind finishing a little later in the morning (or if I don’t have to work that day), I can sleep in a little bit later until 8am and finish my morning routine by 11am. Lately my schedule has looked like this:
7:30am- Wake up, make bed, put on workout clothes, & drink a glass of water
7:45am- Strength training
8:00am- Stretch, run 2 miles, & drink another glass of water
8:30am- Eat breakfast
8:40am- Shower, get dressed, brush teeth
9:00am- Practice piano
9:30am- Read Bible, pray
5. DETERMINE YOUR IDEAL BEDTIME
Since my routine will take 3 hours, I must take this into account when I decide what time to go to bed in addition to what time I should wake up. Skimping on sleep is NOT an option, so I must be sure to go to bed by 11:30am in order to ensure 8 hours of sleep each night. If you missed my post on the importance of sleep, check it out. Personally, I need more like 9 hours of sleep to feel rested, so I try to go to bed no later than 10:30pm. You know your body and what time you need to be awake. Just be sure not to get any less than 7 hours of sleep each night if you can help it.
Hopefully this has been helpful. Try following your new morning routine consistently for 3 weeks. If there are things that need to be tweeked, do so. Remember, this is to empower and encourage you to be more productive, not keep you contained in a nice and tidy box. Happy mornings!