Author: Beth Brown
In preparation for this blog post I (shock horror) actually did some research before blurting my nonsensical ramblings over the keyboard.
According to an article featured in Forbes, when you start your morning with intention, you can bring your morning ‘wins’ into the rest of the day. I guess it does make sense. By setting small, manageable goals that I can complete each morning, I feel like I’m taking responsibility for my own positivity. The day could throw whatever it wished at me but I would still have carved out a little time for myself and ticked off a few meagre tasks.
So without further ado (drumroll please), the goals I decided upon were:
- Try not to go on my phone straight away
- Do 10 minutes of morning mediation
- Make a to-do list/list of thankfulness
- Go for a walk/yoga/bike ride
- Have a healthy breakfast
- Try to go into the new day without any negativities from the previous one
- Drink a glass of water
- Wake up without coffee
- Skin care routine
Looking back on it, I realise that the list may seem extensive, especially as I am, self-confessedly, not an early bird (side note: I’m also not a night owl, it seems that there’s a window between 10am and 8pm where I am relatively useful and then I must be left alone for at least 12 hours.) But, seeing as I am currently off work, I thought I may as well indulge in a morning routine that feels luxurious and nourishing before it’s back to the 6am starts where a mad dash to my car with a slice of toast hanging out of my mouth and undone shoe laces pretty much constitutes my morning routine.
Trying not to go on my phone straight away worked well if I was with my boyfriend as I could chat to him to wake myself up; but, on the odd morning that I was alone, I found that not going on my phone only meant that I fell straight back to sleep. Because of this, I will admit that item no.1 didn’t work out very well (perhaps I should keep my kindle or a book by the bed in an attempt to rouse myself from the deep abyss of sunrise sleep).
Ok. I vowed not to change the list but I really wish I’d at least written it in a different order as, shock horror, item no.2 also didn’t really work out (oops). I do love to meditate but I find that it relaxes me and therefore, low and behold, morning meditation also made me fall back to sleep. I may settle for bed time meditation and keep the deep breathing far away from my coffee-starved 7am brain.
No.3: make a to-do list/ list of thankfulness. I found myself leaning towards the to-do list rather than a list of thankfulness in an attempt to boost my day’s productivity. I’ve always loved making lists that can be ticked off, as I find the notion of completion extremely satisfying. I wrote these out as ‘reminders’ on my phone (adding some points the night before that I thought I would forget) and set the time for 8am every morning so that they would remain on my home screen throughout the day. I always try to include small tasks as well as larger ones to heighten my sense of fulfilment at the end of the day.
Today’s to do list was:
- Chapter planning
- Use last 2 pictures on film roll
- Book a haircut
- 15 minutes of BSL (British sign language) practice
- Write a blogpost (tick!)
- Sort out diary for the week
- Order spot stickers
I would class no.4 as semi-achieved, although it didn’t always happen in the morning. I try to walk every day but it just so happens that it may be in the evening or afternoon when someone is free to walk with me (I love a good catch up on a walk). I may try harder to encourage myself to go on a morning walk when I go back to work and time is more limited, but, for now, I’m happy as long as I’ve moved my body each day.
- My new go to for a healthy breakfast is… pimped up porridge! It’s so simply and you can mix it up each day if, like me, you can get bored very easily. Oats, oat milk, and a little bit of honey are the every-day staples and, just this week, I’ve topped my bowl with banana, cashew butter, peanut butter, homemade blackberry chia seed jam, apples, flaked almonds, chopped pecans and blueberries (obviously not all in one sitting). The options are endless and it fills me up until lunchtime, plus I have so much more energy to crack on with my to-do list (long gone are the days of missing breakfast and slurping black coffee until I could move my limbs. Early mornings-0 Beth-1) .
No. 6: Try to go into the new day without any negativities from the previous one. I feel like I can achieve this one so long as I’ve managed to talk through my feelings about whatever is bothering me with someone the night before. My boyfriend is often kept up way later than he would like to be listening to me ramble on about something that’s riled me up that day whilst silently praying that I’ll just let him sleep. However, as annoying as it may be to others (and as long as I don’t get re-riled up the next day by a new development), talking things through really helps me to clear my head and hold it high at the start of a new day. Luckily, no.6 doesn’t need to be considered very often!
Drinking a glass of water as soon as I wake up is a simple task that makes such a difference to me in the morning. It sounds daft but I often cannot be bothered to bring the glass to my lips and gulp the water down in my exhausted state so I just lie and wallow in my dehydration. I’ve really made an effort since writing this list to force myself to push through the pain and reach the 30cm to pick up my glass of water. I do feel more alive for it I must admit.
No.8: Wake up without coffee. It’s hard, but it’s happening. As you may already know if you’ve read the latest instalment in my ‘Giving it up’ series, I recently made the terrifying leap to give up caffeine after a tumultuous love affair with the stuff. I relied heavily upon my morning coffee to get me out of bed and, without it, I must admit it takes a little longer to convince my inner self that we absolutely must not close our eyes and slip back into dreaming of far-away lands. Despite the grogginess, this is one of the parts of my morning routine that I have strictly stuck to as I know that once I have one morning mug, I’ll want one every morning (shameless plug but read the aforementioned blog post to understand why I wanted to make this change).
Ah, my favourite part of the morning: my skin care routine! I already completed my skin care every day without fail, but I added it to the list because: A) I wanted to have a sure fire tick off because who doesn’t love ticking things off lists and B) to make sure that I do it every morning without fail and not just leave it until lunchtime when I’m going out (sunshine gets through windows; SPF need to be worn indoors too), plus washing my face is the best way to wake myself up.
So there you have it. I know I didn’t manage every single point every single day but I am the first to admit when I’ve been over ambitious and I definitely imagined myself with far more motivation at 7am than is reality when I wrote the list. Nonetheless, I genuinely feel better having incorporated just a few of these activities into my mornings.
I know there’s plenty of research about the world’s most successful people and their morning routines and, although I know that my new habits won’t make me the next Bill Gates (who, by the way, starts his day with an hour on the treadmill whilst watching educational DVDs) I do feel like they could help with boosting my creativity, motivation and all-round productivity.
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. ‘It can mean the difference between a productive day or a sluggish one, having a powerful ripple effect on your mood, happiness and focus’ (according to the aforementioned Forbes article).
I may not be a billionaire any time soon, but hopefully my new morning habits will inspire and put me in the right mindset to be the best Beth that I can be.
I’d love to hear what counts as part of your morning routine and what habits you’re inspired to add into the start of your day?
Until next time.
You can find more from Girl on Pause at www.girlonpause.com or keep up to date with my attempts to romanticise every-day life on my Instagram: @girlonpause and my new Facebook page ‘Girl on Pause’.