I have a confession: I have been seriously avoiding taking the next step in my success. Great opportunities have become available to me since my article was published, and I have some important deadlines coming up in the next couple of weeks. At first, I procrastinated because I was still on vacation from work, then because it was my first week back in the office, then because the spring semester hadn’t officially started and winter term wasn’t a big deal. I was finding every excuse to push back being productive. Then today I couldn’t ignore how guilty I felt for not being on top of the work I needed to get done. I’ve been in and out of a morning routine for a long time now and realized this morning that if I want my year to go as planned, I am really going to have to commit to being consistently great. Fast forward to a few hours later and I’m tuned into a live stream church service, and the sermon is about creating successful habits. Ha! Two of my favorite points made during the sermon were:
- You can’t fail overnight because failure is not an isolated event; it is an accumulation of poor choices. Success is born out of routine; it lies in our habits.
- You will always return to the level of your mindset. (You can win the lottery but if you have the money mindset of a poor person, you’ll blow all of your lottery winnings until you find yourself poor again. To change your future, you have to change the way you think.)
Why having a routine is important:
Change is uncomfortable and newness is a hassle. But if you incorporate the changes you need to make into your everyday routine, they feel less imposing. If something is not a habit, it will be easy to just abandon it. Also, creating a routine will decrease stress because you’re not waiting around to tackle something. I find that if I give myself too much time to lay around in the morning I start to think about all of the things I have to accomplish that day, then I get stressed and dread even getting out of bed to get started. A routine, especially a morning routine, puts you on autopilot so that you’re up and moving before you get a chance to think negatively about your day. Anticipating something for too long causes anxiety, and then you procrastinate out of fear.
And if that isn’t enough, studies show that waking up early is a habit of many leaders and influential people. This means that what you do (or don’t do) in the morning can profoundly impact your day, thus impacting your life. So this morning, I decided that I was going to dive right into doing all the things that I had just been planning to do. Here’s a peak at what I’ll be doing before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m.:
My Morning Routine
- Prayer & Gratitud3 – think of 3 things that I’m thankful for
- Sun salutations – exercise and movement is always beneficial, and doing this helps me increase flexibility and blood flow
- Shot of ACV or a glass of warm lemon water, eat breakfast, then take vitamins.
- Create my day’s to-do list and tackle the least desirable thing first. By getting the dreadful tasks out of the way as soon as possible, I can look forward to my day getting easier, rather than it getting harder.
- Check my favorit3s (favorites) – My smartphone and social networks can become a serious distraction, but I try to map out my cybersurfing so that I don’t lose track of time; this is indulging in moderation. I could easily spend an hour or more, generally more, checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, my blog stats, and favorite websites. So, I check only my favorite 3 websites/timelines early in the day and save the rest of my online lurking for later. The sites I check are usually from people that inspire me to work hard, so I get my motivation and social media fix at the same time!
To make sure that I wake up with enough energy to even have a good morning routine, I have to make sure that I get enough sleep. That’s where my nighttime routine comes in.
My Nighttime Routine
- No scr33ns (screens) – no cell phone, laptop, or tv for at least 33 minutes before I try to fall asleep. The light from these screens keeps you too stimulated and make it hard for you to relax enough to fall asleep. This usually leads me to…
- Reading – either a bible passages or a book.
- I also use a bedtime calculator to help me get the best rest possible before my alarm goes off.
Like I said, I’ve been in and out of this routine for a while but I’m hoping that by making a public declaration, I can hold myself accountable for it. Comment below and tell me about some of your morning or nighttime rituals!