Routines are the most powerful and the simplest tool we have to create new habits in our lives.
Routines can be both very dull and reinsuring. They seem dull to some because they are always the same in essence, and that’s why people in need for anchors are found of routines as they are the times of the day they can rely on. They are always there for them.
Dull or reinsuring, routines are also powerful! They are here whatever we think of them, and they are powerful tools to bring up a new habit in our lives. Let’s see why and how to use them.
1- Minimum time maximum effect, the power of the Routines
Routines are the time you take to wake up properly; they are the actions you take to prepare breakfast or dinner every day. They are your expected coffee break, your work out session or the time you spend with your kids after school. Routines are your commute. They are here, and they are very limited in time. Therefore, something new you would include in your routine will be short on time.
However, they have this advantage of being executed on a very regular basis. So, if you want to ingrain a new idea in your subconscious mind, the best thing to do is to include that new thing in the middle of a set of unconscious actions. Your new goal will be achieved as often as you execute your routine with no additional effort.
Minimum time for Maximum efficiency!
2- The power of your morning routine
As routines are a very efficient tool, you can now understand why I’m going straight to the morning routine. If the Miracle Morning states it quite thoroughly, the idea is very simple indeed. In the morning your mind is fresh, and your willpower is full. If you are aware of making the best of this early hour of half hour, then you are starting your day in the best mood possible.
What’s important? First, stretch your body, I way it enough, whether you have time later to exercise or not, there are no excuses possible to not stretch in the morning as soon as you wake up. Your body and mind need a fresh splash of energy and stretching bring you just that!
Then your mood is the top priority. Do whatever suits you best. I like to go to the bathroom and get ready, so I feel fresh. It is my favourite boost for a happy morning. Getting ready early makes me feel much better, even if I didn’t sleep well nor enough.
If you want something more creative, journaling is an excellent way to focus on your goals. However, I would recommend something more radically optimistic: work on your gratitude. Thinking of the good things that happened to us and focusing only on that positivity from the very beginning of the day is the perfect way to bring some motivation in our lives.
Meditation is my favourite introspection activity at this time of the day. We try to meditate every morning for a short time. We started with 5 min sessions and increased to 10 min sessions when we felt we were ready for it. Now we are meditating almost 15 min every morning. We are using guided meditations. The length of this exercise is not what matters most. What is really bringing some benefits is trying your best to focus on the present moment and do it on a regular (daily) basis.
3- What you can improve or enjoy
The first hours of the day are the ones during which you have a maximum availability. Make the best of it. In our family, everything is organized by the time my children live home to commute to school.
Therefore, since they started school many years ago, I schedule my wake-up time so I enjoy all the minutes I need to start my day smoothly but doing everything I need to be done before our work day. I’m living in a tiny apartment, so I can’t have dirty dishes staying in the sink all day long. I also make a point in doing my chores before or after my working day, because there’s no better distraction as I’m working from home.
If you need to prep you diner to feel more relaxed when you come back home, then do it. Some have to walk their dog; some want to exercise. Whatever your morning is now, you have to realize it’s yours.
Enjoy quiet time at the breakfast table with your family, reflect on what you want to do, must do. Plan your day to be more efficient and confident. Have some time to read a book or a magazine.
4- The one thing I don’t do
I’m certainly excluding every negativity that would disturb this precious time of the day. I’m not reading the news, and I avoid any social media that could bring some negative thoughts. I certainly don’t want that time of the day to be filled with sadness or worries. There is already plenty of time and opportunities for these later so that you can avoid them in the early hours.
Read some positive thoughts or quotes. I recently discovered “Brain Quotes”, an app that gives you every morning a new quote. Starting fresh doesn’t include starting to feel your brain with the worries of the world.
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5- If you are not a morning person
I definitely am a morning person. I’m waking up at 5:45 every morning and tend to be awake at 6:30 during the weekends. I’ve always been a morning person from my early days, and I love these fresh hours, so I happily kept that habit of mine.
Keep in mind that you are feeling much more energized when you just had you 6 to 8 hours sleep than at night after a long day. It’s been proven countless times that anybody will beneficiate from going to bed before midnight, and from sleeping an average of 6 to 8 hours a day every day. So at least give it a try, the increased morning light you enjoy in the summer will make the experience more comfortable.
Exceptions happen, and if you can’t avoid being a night owl, there no way you can’t beneficiate from your routines too! You can have a later morning routine as soon as you wake up. You can also make the best of your evening routine before going to bed. If starting fresh from the very first hour of the day is the top choice, going to bed with a relaxed mind is also crucial. If you need it to have a better sleep, then practice your meditation, self-care and gratitude in the evening.
Try the night routine instead
Everything can be transferred. I’m preparing a big part of the breakfast in the evening; I also make sure that my children have everything they need for their lunch-box the next morning. I don’t want any useless or avoidable last-minute stress before living for school.
Night time is also when you should make sure that you have all the stuff you need for the next day: outfits, bags, schoolbags for your kids. Teach them this habit. You will spare them many discomforts from not finding what they need for school. They will learn how beneficial it is to start the day ready and relaxed.
The small big thing
Your routines are an efficient tool, use it as much as you can. Make them be your good starting day and your relaxed ending day. Use them to add something new to your life. Use them not to forget what matters most to you. Eventually, use them enjoy the ones you love, it’s no use regretting not having time to enjoy your children when they are home in the name of hurrying for a stressful day of work.
Your routines, whatever they are dull or comforting, should be in control and should yours. Make the best of them!
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