Can you imagine waking up on Monday, or any other work day morning, and not have to rush out the door? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a morning ritual that allowed you to do something you totally enjoyed before heading out the door?
Last October we brought a new dog to our home. He was a morning dog from an earlier time zone-ugh. (Just ask my kids-they will tell you to not wake up mom unless there is blood.) Every morning, before my alarm goes off, he will gently touch me with a front paw. If I roll over and ignore him he will make a little rolling sound, not quite a growl and not quite a bark, just a, “Come on already. Invite me up to scratch my ears,” noise. Sometimes I will keep my eyes closed and he will lay back down. At that point I start to worry that he needs to go out and there is absolutely no going back to sleep. After months of gritting my teeth, being sleep deprived and incredibly grumpy I decided to embrace the early morning wake ups. This is how I created a joyful morning ritual. If this former night owl can do it, you can do it too by following these steps.
Step 1. Imagine two or three things that would bring you joy in the morning and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. I decided I would walk the dogs then drink my Trimmy Lite coffee and invest in myself by reading or watching something that improves my life. Eventually I would also like to add time to write and post on social media but I need to work up to that. It is taking a while to adjust my natural circadian rhythm.
Step 2. Figure out how much time it takes to accomplish each joyful morning ritual. Remember to add in preparation time and clean up time. I knew it took me approximately 40 minutes to put harnesses on the dogs, walk them and return home. I planned on another 20 minutes to make my coffee and invest in myself. Ultimately I would also like to spend at least 30 minutes writing and posting on social media.
Step 3. Add the times together. My joyful morning ritual would take an hour. Adjust your morning alarm to allow for your new morning rituals.
Step 4. This is one of the most important steps. Adjust the time you go to bed. Ask yourself how much sleep you need to wake up feeling rested. Using reverse engineering to determine your new bed time by counting backwards the amount of sleep needed from your wake up time. As an added bonus set an evening alarm to remind you to head to bed. I have two evening alarms set on my phone: one to let me know when to start winding down and the second to remind me to brush my teeth and wash my face. I have also added a few extra minutes where I can read a book. I have found reading a book allows for better rest than if I read on an electronic device.
Step 5. Consistently use self-discipline and you will have an outstanding morning ritual that will start your day off on a positive note.
Step 6. Adjust your routine as needed. I thought I could easily get up one and a half hours earlier than normal but it just wasn’t working for me. I reviewed my morning routine and determined what I could comfortably handle each morning. I eliminated one activity and will add it back to my morning ritual at a later point in time.
Instead of being grumpy and exhausted I am finding I have a lot more enthusiasm and energy every day by incorporating this new joyful morning ritual. What things would you include in your morning ritual?