Last week Lisa was on speaking of the importance of taking small consistent steps to reach our bigger goals. This has been a cornerstone of my coaching and any results that I’ve seen in my life: setting goals or having a vision and taking small, actionable steps to get there. Today let’s look at what small steps we can take in the morning to reach our bigger goals.
Daily habits make a difference.
The small things we do consistently make up our days and shape our lives. If you consistently brush your teeth, you’ll have clean teeth. If you consistently overeat, you’ll be overweight. If you consistently clean your house, your house will be clean.
One of the best ways to make shifts is by starting new habits or patterns in the morning. Studies show that how we start our day shapes our day. Duh, right? Yet, how deliberate are you in how you start your days?
There are certain things I do that, when done, set me up for an awesome day. I know that when I wake up without a plan of action, those are the days I can find myself with my phone in my hand, scrolling through instagram. I reach the end of those days wondering where my day went?
5 Ways To Start Your Morning Intentionally
1) SMILE AT THE CEILING:
Huh? Yep. The minute your alarm goes off or your eyes open, put a smile on your face. Sound dumb? It’s far from it. The first thing our brain does in the morning is look for not only what is wrong in our life right now, but also what it can beat us up for the day before. It is masterful at searching for things that we can worry about. When wake up and smile first thing, we confuse our brain enough so that it doesn’t go into that automatic neurologic programming. Your brain actually doesn’t know the difference between a fake smile and a real smile. Try it tomorrow and see.
2) WAKE UP (bonus if it’s BEFORE YOUR KIDS):
Start your morning by getting up when you say you’ll get up. This means don’t hit snooze. Set your alarm for the time you want to get up, understanding that when it goes off, your brain will tell you to ignore it and to push snooze. Don’t listen. Pushing the snooze button is a confidence buster. Why? Because you’re letting yourself down in the very first act of your day. When you set your alarm at night, you have the intention to do something. You consciously choose to start your day in a certain way at a certain time. By pushing snooze, you break your word to yourself. You’re sending a message to yourself first thing in the day that says you don’t do what you say you’ll do. That you can’t depend on yourself. What happens later in the day when you tell yourself to exercise? Your brain reminds you that you don’t do what you say you’ll do so….Remember, our brain is an excuse generator. Don’t let it run the show. Wake up when you say you’ll wake up. Choose to do what you say you’re going to do. Keep your word to yourself. One tool that helps me and my clients is the “5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins. There is brain research as to why this works but basically, when you get the idea into your head to do anything (in this case, get out of bed), count backwards from 5 and then do it. (5,4,3,2,1, action). This simple, yet powerful, tool works to spur me into action.
The importance of waking up before your kids is that you get to have some control over how your morning goes. You are able to do the things you want to do before the rest of the house wakes up and you’re ‘on call’….I’ve been doing this for years and it allows me to start my day calmer.
3) MOVE YOUR BODY:
I wasn’t going to put this in here because I know we are all different but hell, it’s my blog so I’m going to tell you what works for me. [tweetshareinline tweet=”Getting up before my family so that I have time to exercise is one of the kindest things I can do for myself and for my family.” username=”SusieBarolo”] Why morning? 2 main reasons. 1) You get up and go before your brain can spend all day coming up with excuses as to why you shouldn’t exercise….Get up and go. 2) Exercise is my number one tool to combat anxiety and ruminating thoughts. When we move our body we release chemicals in our brain that help us feel calmer and more centered. Exercise is a huge mood regulator and what better way to set myself up for success than to get in control of my mood first thing? When I schedule exercise for later in the day, I literally have to work harder to manage my mind. Some days my life is such that I can’t exercise in the morning but those mornings are few and far between. Commit to yourself and your wellness. Make it happen.
4) GET DRESSED:
Seriously! I feel like the author of the popular book “Girl Wash Your Face“. I’m serious. Girl, go get dressed. Go into your closet and put on some of those clothes that you own. While you’re at it, brush your hair. There is such power in putting something on other than yoga pants and a messy bun. When you feel better, you act better.
5) REVIEW YOUR DAY
Before picking up your phone, look at your calendar (yes, I encourage you to use a paper one) and review how you want your day to go. Ask yourself these powerful questions:
What are the top 1-3 things that I want to get done today?
How do I want to feel today?
How do I want to act today?
Look at your calendar and see that what you have written there is in alignment with your above answers. Life will happen: kids can be sick or meetings come up at work, but when we start the day with intention and a plan we are calmer, get more done, and are closer to living in alignment with why we are here.
[tweetshare tweet=”Get a vision for your day before you pick up your phone. ” username=”SusieBarolo”]
Our phone makes us feel everything is urgent – that email from a friend or co-worker…does it really need to be responded to before your top three things you want to get done today? What usually happens is other people’s emergencies take over our life. If you habitually put your day on hold because of someone else’s need, you will end up feeling resentment and living in a state of what I call BS (bitter and sour). There is another way.
EXTRA CREDIT: CHOOSE HOW OFTEN YOU’LL LOOK AT YOUR PHONE
If you want to take extra special control of your mood, be deliberate about how often you’ll look at your phone (and why you’ll be looking). Ask yourself before looking at your phone: “What are you doing?”
[tweetshareinline tweet=”Studies have shown that people who look at their phone in the morning are 30% less efficient during the day. ” username=”SusieBarolo”] That doesn’t even address the emotional roller coaster our phone can have on us when we look at social media and see someone’s perfectly clean kitchen or put together outfit. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our days and our moods. How do you want to feel? How do you feel after looking at Facebook or Instagram? How do you feel after scanning your email? I write my phone time in my calendar. When will I be checking Instagram? When will I be checking business email (twice a day)? When will I be checking personal email (get ready for this….once a week!) When will I be checking the news? Weather? Any other apps (and why?) Bring intentionality back into your life and you will be rewarded by feeling more in control. Ever since I’ve written my phone time on to my calendar, I feel calmer and more in control of my days.
All right warriors, how are you going to start your days this year? January is a great time to step back, push pause, and look at how you’re living out this one precious life you have. This is what this “Mindful Living” thing is about. Pausing to check in with yourself and your values to see if you’re living the life you want to be living. If you’re not, it’s up to you to figure out why not. I believe in you. You’ve got this!
Please share this episode with one other person who may resonate with this message. If everyone who read this did that, we’d double the reach of this message!! The more people who start their days with intention, the calmer and happier a world we’ll live in.