I finally created some of those habits I’ve been working at for years and you can too.
I don’t know how long I tried to develop the habit of meditation and just couldn’t get it to stick; years of on and off attempts. I’m sure you know how frustrating this is, to want to create a new habit and to start off strong only to fizzle out over time.
I’m proud to say I now have a pretty consistent meditation practice and this is how I finally made it happen.
I created a morning routine. A morning routine can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like, simply choose things you want to do that support your life and goals, and do them in the morning before you start your normal day.
Doing these tasks in the morning prevents the inevitable “the day got away from me” scenario. This was my problem with meditation. It only required ten to fifteen minutes of my day and so I kept thinking, “I have time, I’ll do it later”. Later never came and the meditation never happened.
I’ve read lot’s of stuff about creating routines and the value of doing so in the morning, but wasn’t ready to commit to an earlier day until now, and I’m so glad I did.
Stop Telling Yourself You’re Not a Morning Person
I always declared myself “not a morning person” and did not attempt an early morning routine until this one. I’ve spent my life dragging myself out of bed at the last possible second, which I now know, is no way to start your day.
It’s amazing that getting up early is now something I look forward to. My morning routine starts out slow and builds gradually. I love to journal my thoughts so that’s what think about doing. I doubt I would be excited to jump out of bed thinking about a tough workout. Ironically, I am planning to add strength training into my routine soon.
However, what I’m saying here is make sure you have an activity set up first thing that is something you look forward to. Focus on that activity for the motivation you need to get up, don’t think about the element you may love doing like exercise.
Choose the Elements that are Important to You
I put my routine together based on the goals I was working on. I had a goal for a consistent meditation practice as well as to improve my posture and flexibility so I added Meditation and Yoga. I love journaling and I wanted to do that more regularly so that went on the list.
I’m still working to incorporate visualization. In the past I wrote it off as too, woo woo for me, until I read that Tom Brady and many other high achievers use visualization to improve their performance; good enough for Tom, then why not me?
In coaching we learn how important it is for us to adjust our self-talk which is basically what affirmations help us do so that too went on my list.
I also spend a few minutes reading a spiritual or philosophical text. I definitely want to improve my spiritual practice but that stuff never seems to happen if not before my day starts.
Here are some elements you may want to consider for your routine:
(Of course only do what resonates with you)
Playing a musical instrument
Planning your day
Figure Out the Timing
I created a morning routine that consisted of small daily habits that take as long as five to twenty minutes. I get up an hour earlier than I need to, in order complete my routine. I actually get up about one hour and forty minutes earlier because I have added elements to my routine that I want to make sure get accomplished, and I know this is a sure way they will get done.
Estimate how long you want to do your task, add up a total minutes, and get up that much earlier. It’s really nice if you get up before others, especially if you are doing things like meditating.
Put it into Practice
Now that you have a list of tasks and the amount of time you plan to spend on each, set your alarm to go off that much earlier in the morning. Remember to consciously focus on your favorite part of the routine before you go to bed and again in the morning when your alarm goes off.
I realized I actually do love mornings, my hot coffee, the quiet, the free time to ease into my day. I think the reason I didn’t love mornings before is because I instantly associated morning with going to work…so stop that. Think about the other things morning can represent.
Now that I’m getting these habits mastered I’m seeing the improvement in many areas of my life. My fitness is better, my flexibility, tone, and posture have improved. My clarity of thought, ability to focus on the things I want to get accomplished, and follow through are also much improved. I’m seeing my goals get closer and closer to being my current reality, one morning at a time.