Last time, we discussed the power of time chunking in order to reach your goals. Today, we’ll talk about the power of mornings. Let me begin by saying that I am not a natural morning person. Unlike my hubby, who easily arises without an alarm each day to work out before heading off to work, I pretty much always need an alarm (and am not sending it loving thoughts when it goes off each day). For many years, I was a self-professed night owl but now find that after a long day of work, exercise, dog walking, and kid activities, all my brain can handle at the end of the day is a good Netflix show with my hubby. I often hear this same sentiment from my coaching clients so know that I’m not alone. From firsthand experience, I also know that harnessing the power of mornings doesn’t come as naturally to some as for others. This will hopefully give you the motivation you need to try getting up a little earlier so you can use the magic of those early morning hours before the rest of the world awakens.
Ways you can use early morning time:
1) Start your day with a win. Some people like to start their day off with exercise (one of my career coaching clients walks before work at 4a each morning, come rain or shine). Personally, you couldn’t pay me to work out at 4a but I do make my bed first thing upon awakening so as to get that psychological win. The goal is to start off the day having accomplished something. (Note: small wins are still wins so make it easy on yourself and set yourself up to succeed).
2) Self-care. Whether you meditate, journal, go for a walk or sit outside with a hot cup of coffee, if you start out the day doing something for yourself, it makes it easier to stay grounded when the chaos of the day starts, the kids wake up, work notifications start flooding your phone, etc. You feel more centered and ready to handle your day when you put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
3) Set an intention for the day. This is an easy or quick way to set the tone for the day. It takes a minute and you can do it while you’re still sitting in bed if you want or you can wait until you’re sipping your favorite morning beverage. Simple take a few deep, cleansing breaths and think about your day and what you would like to intend before the sun goes down. You could set an intention that a work presentation goes smoothly, or simply that you will stay in the present moment and listen more than you talk that day.
4) Get quality work time in. There is magic in the time before the actual “workday” begins. Some of my career coaching clients tell me they have so many meetings and tasks throughout the day that they just don’t have time for bigger project planning or strategic thinking. Schedule a block of time before the first meeting of the day (give yourself 30-60 minutes of time) and devote it to the bigger picture things you haven’t had time for. (Note:don’t check work email until after you’ve accomplished your task or you will get sucked into the email rabbit hole and will waste that time).
5) Make art. Many of my life-coaching and career-coaching clients have a creative side and often find that they don’t have time to devote to their art. The early mornings are a great time to carve out dedicated time for painting, writing, etc. This is one of the big ways I use my mornings as I’ve written several novels this way and writing is so fun for me that it’s one of my main motivators for getting up early in the morning. And yes, your brain gets in the habit of being creative then—in fact, I’ve found that I’m able to write more freely when I’m a little tired because my internal editor is still napping so I get more done. (Note: if you have small children in the house, it’s probably not the time for practicing your latest tuba composition so musicians may need to take that into account)
Tips to ensure successful mornings:
1) Get adequate sleep. Go to bed at a reasonable time the night before to ensure adequate quality sleep. While some may thrive on 6 hours of sleep, others need between 7-8 hours per night to feel well-rested. Try using a meditation to help you fall asleep faster and go into deeper stages of sleep where the quality magic happens in your body.
2) Program your coffee or tea maker the night before. I don’t know about you but it’s way easier for me to wake up with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee in the air. A perk of my hubby being a morning person is he gets up and brews the coffee so that a hot cup of coffee is waiting next to my bedside when I wake up each morning (yes, I’m spoiled).
3) Have a goal for the morning. If you have a picture in mind beforehand of what you desire your morning to look like, it will be easier to get up with that goal in mind. For some of my clients, it’s exercise. For others, it’s having quiet reflection time to themselves with coffee and journaling before their household wakes up. For others, it’s working on a project or work task, or making art, or meditating. You may have different goals depending on the day. Whatever your thing is, declare it the night before and it makes it easier when that alarm goes off in the morning.
BONUS: Read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I love this book and recommend it to many of my clients. It’s a quick, easy read but also easy to implement. You can pick and choose what works for you and use that to help you design the morning of your dreams.
To Sum Up:
How you start your day impacts how the rest of your day goes. If you hit the snooze button multiple times and then frantically rush around trying to get to work or get the kids off to school on time, you are starting your day in chaos. You get to choose. Choose to take power back over your mornings and start the day feeling great. Once you experience the impact of designing your ideal mornings, you’ll never look back.
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