Hit more of your goals this year with a morning routine you can actually stick to
Hit more of your goals this year with a morning routine you can actually stick to
“I don’t have time for a morning routine.”
“I’m too busy for a morning routine.”
“My life just isn’t predictable enough for a morning routine.”
Those are just a handful of the most common objections I hear when it comes to setting a morning routine that fuels your life and business.
Morning routines can be hard to stick to, there’s no denying that. But what if that’s because most people are going about them entirely wrong?
You see, the goal of a morning routine (contrary to popular belief) isn’t to be perfect.
Will there be days when things come up and your morning goes off the rails? Absolutely.
I’ve had days when my puppy dug himself out of the yard and I’m outside in my yoga pants, braless, with a messy bun (thank goodness our neighbors don’t live close!), trying to find him → when I really needed to be at my computer planning content for an upcoming speaking gig.
I’ve had mornings when the power goes out and I’m chopping logs and making a fire in the woodstove → instead of sitting down with my bullet journal and planning the week ahead.
I’ve had mornings when we forgot it’s trash day and we’re frantically trying to collect our recyclables and get it to the curb in time → when I would have much rather been blissed out on my pilates mat.
The point is, there will days when things that come up and you have to adapt. That’s just a part of life. But do I believe in cultivating a mindset that allows you to have a morning routine in spite of that? 100%.
So why is it that most people abandon a morning routine altogether and can’t make it work for them in the long-term? Well, here’s what I see happening:
You read a book or hear from a mentor that they’ve been hugely successful with their morning routine... All you need to do is wake up at 5 am, workout, drink green juice, meditate, journal… the list goes on.
So you give it a try. You wake up at 5 am, you follow those specific instructions, and by day five you’re exhausted by waking up at that hour, overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks, and you feel terrible. You give up on morning routines altogether. Then, you start telling yourself the story that you'll never be one of those high achievers and that this kind of transformation simply isn’t possible for you.
Well, your routine didn’t leave you feeling the way you wanted to FEEL (unless your goal was to feel crappy, which I’m guessing it wasn’t!).
Read on to discover what the gurus got wrong about morning routines (and what to do instead for long-lasting results) so you can achieve more of your goals this year and feel good doing it.
Ditch the prescriptive method and start with how you want to feel
Instead of following some prescriptive method for a morning routine. I recommend starting with the way you want to feel each day.
Looking for more SPACE in the morning? Maybe that 5 am wake-up call IS for you so you can answer email before the kiddos wake up.
Want to feel ENERGIZED each day? Start with a refreshing morning swim before diving into work-mode.
Wish you had more time to be CREATIVE in your work? Take some time to sketch in the morning or hop on Pinterest for some inspiration gathering each day.
When you START with the feeling you’re looking to create each day you create a sort of “rule-of-thumb” to use as a guide. Because if your actions aren’t leaving you the way you want to feel, there’s no way that you’re going to want to stick to them.
So while we can all agree that a morning routine is essential to success (and most of the gurus do!) I like to take it back one step further. A daily practice will transform the way you FEEL each morning, making you more likely to take actions that are in line with your goals, and in turn bring your MORE success, more quickly.
Personally, I love starting my day with a workout. It sets the tone for the day, giving me the mental clarity I need to feel focused and motivated throughout the remainder of my day. But as the weather shifted last winter, it became clear that the ice and snow was becoming a little too dangerous to continue with my morning run. But rather than giving up on my workout altogether, I sought out a different kind of exercise that would leave me with similar results. Enter pilates, and I’m now able to keep up with my morning routine, even on those icy cold days.
Use your morning routine as a way to build confidence
So often when I ask my Future You clients what they REALLY, truly, want in life...well, the answers aren’t that out there.
In fact, they’re actually a lot closer than they think.
...more time to spend with their kids
...more time for hobbies they enjoy
...more time for midday outings
...all while keeping their business growing and successful
And my reaction is almost always to remind them that those desires are available to them now. But here’s what’s standing in their way:
So many of these women doubt their ability to create meaningful change in their life (there’s that mindset piece kicking in again!).
You see, part of sticking with your morning routine is learning how to adapt it to fit your own goals, needs, and desires. Cultivating a mindset that allows you to roll with the punches in life and stick with your goals regardless will only benefit your business too. That’s why it’s almost always one of the first things I tackle with clients in my signature one-on-one coaching program, Future You. Because the next time your website goes down on a launch day, your babysitter cancels on a day filled with client calls, or your Facebook ad gets zero traction, you will have already developed a mindset that allows you to confront those challenges, adapt to what life hands you and keep working toward your goals anyway (and consequently hit more of them too!).
It’s a simple shift but the results can completely transform the way you show up in your life—building confidence, helping you focus on your priorities, and showing you that small, consistent actions can lead to RESULTS.
Find what fits you and your business
What if you didn’t put so much pressure on yourself to get it right the first time? What if you viewed your personal development as an experiment? What if you cultivated a mindset that allowed you to keep trying until you found something that works for you?
Well, you’d probably feel a whole lot lighter. You’d be able to make decisions more easily. You wouldn’t be quite so attached to the outcome.
You’d totally change the way you show up in your life and business each day.
That’s why I have Future You clients “try on” different actions in their day-to-day, the same way you would try on clothing at a store. You’re looking for something that FITS, that leaves you feeling AMAZING, the same way that little black dress does.
For the longest time, I put immense pressure on myself that I needed to “get good at video.” The gurus say, “Video converts best! People feel like they know you!” But here the thing: I tried it and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t feel like it fit with my lifestyle, considering we almost always have construction going on at home or I’m hanging out in my yoga pants and workout clothes. As a result of that, I never made the effort to hit record, and consequently, my business’s visibility as a whole suffered because of it.
But when I stopped putting that pressure on myself to “get good at video” and opened my mind to the ways that getting visible felt good to me, it was like a door opened I didn’t even know was there. That very mindset shift is the reason I explored the idea of podcasting as another avenue to share my work with the world. Had I never looked for another option, another way of doing things that felt aligned to me, I never would be 18 episodes deep on a show I LOVE hosting and working with amazing clients because of it!
Because let’s be honest, if it doesn’t fit, you’re not going to wear it. The same way that waking up at 5 am or working out first thing, may not fit you, your lifestyle, or your business. But you have to try it out to find what works for YOU!
Great morning routines actually begin the night before
It can be even more difficult to stick to a morning routine if you aren’t setting yourself up for success the night before—making it THAT much harder to roll out of bed feeling positive and productive and taking THAT much longer to start seeing results in your life and business.
I like to remind my Future You clients to take the bigger picture into consideration. We can’t take a deeper look at the growth of our BUSINESS without taking our personal development in our LIFE into consideration because as entrepreneurs one almost always benefits the other. In the same way, we can’t look at our morning routine without also looking at our habits in the evening.
I like to set myself up for success the following day with a daily practice the night BEFORE. For me that looks like:
→ Reviewing my scheduling app and bullet journal the night before to see what’s on my plate tomorrow
→ Taking some time for self-care in the evening, whether that be a bubble bath, some reading, or just binging Netflix
→ Getting to bed at a reasonable hour so I feel refreshed and ready for a new day when the alarm clock goes off in the morning
By creating a practice the night before, you’ll be setting yourself up for success so you can create the beautiful, balanced life and thriving, successful business you’ve always wanted.
It doesn’t have to take a long time
Something about the word “routine” often makes clients think that this has to be a long drawn-out process (which is why I like to shift their mindset around that quickly!). Because it’s actually just a series of consistent, repeatable actions. Your morning routine could take 30 seconds or 30 minutes or more.
The point is, by focusing on the feeling you’re looking to create, you’ll take actions that are aligned with that feeling. If you’re looking to cultivate gratitude, it could be as simple as listing 3 things you’re thankful for before opening your eyes each morning. It doesn’t have to be hard, so don’t make it hard. Pick what feels doable for you in the time that you have and you’ll be more likely to stick to it in the long run because the real magic lies in a consistent practice.
One of my goals this year is to read one personal or professional development book each month. Now that may only be fifteen minutes of reading in the evening and that isn’t a HUGE time commitment (it’s actually quite small in the scheme of things). However, that’s nearly two hours of reading a week! Couple that will the overall effect those books will have on my life and business if I APPLY what I’ve learned and the results go far beyond that small time commitment each day. That’s why I like to remind my Future You clients that even a small time commitment daily can spark BIG goals.
The bottom line:
Most people don’t stick with a morning routine because it isn't leaving them feeling the way they want to each day or they’ve convinced themselves they don’t have time for a daily practice. By identifying the way you want to feel and experimenting with different actions and different timeframes for those actions, you can create a morning routine that works for YOU and your business. Also remember that setting yourself up for success actually starts the night BEFORE so that you can start your day positive, productive, and thriving and seeing RESULTS in your life and business because of it.
Tell me in the comments below:
What’s one action you can commit to each morning that will bring you closer to a goal you have in life or business?
Photography by Jennifer Morgan Photography