Why I Need a Morning Routine
Routines make everything easier. Anything you can do the same way every day will be easier to maintain. The way I've been doing it, whether anything gets done (including the challenges!) is basically left up to chance, or how I feel during the day, or whether or not I feel motivated to follow through.
At this point, it's obvious to me that I need a new method. Because of this blog, I've taken on challenges that I want to continue, such as meditation, but it's also shown me that my current system is basically to accommodate one thing at a time. If I'm exercising, I do that. If I'm trying to eat differently, I do that. Meditating - that's it.
I should have seen this coming. I've known for a long time that if I need to get more than one thing done, and I can't do everything immediately, I'd better make a list. This is along the same lines.
Routines are Powerful!
My routine for showering has been the same for years, and when I try to change it up, I forget things. I recently decided to move face-washing to the end of my shower, because I read that the shower opens your pores so washing your face is more effective later, and as a result, I got out of the shower today without having washed my face at all. Oops. And I had to stop and think about what to do first, because I used to always wash my face as soon as I got in the shower. That shows the power of routine, even for relatively trivial processes.
Many years ago, I had a routine going for years of writing morning pages first thing, as soon as I got up. That fell apart when I moved in with Eric and I found it hard to focus for 30 minutes. We had a one-bedroom apartment, so there wasn't much space for doing things alone. And for whatever reason, I find it difficult to write like that with someone nearby, unless they're also writing morning pages. With fiction, it's the same thing - I can't write unless I'm alone, but for some reason, I have no problem writing this blog around others. Which is good, I guess.
My morning routine right now involves drinking tea, checking email, sometimes updating the blog, and updating our financial records. I track every cent that passes through, so daily updating feels essential, but maybe it's not. If I skip a day, I start to forget things (see?), and one of us (not me) isn't all that great about bringing receipts home. So that's why I don't want to give that up.
All in all, though, that's not a great routine. It leaves out a lot, such as exercise and meditation.
Morning is the only time I've ever had success with a routine. Besides morning pages, I used to have a successful fiction-writing routine that started in the morning, and morning is always where I tie my fitness activities when they're successful. I've never gotten in shape trying to exercise in the afternoon.
So here's what I've got in mind for my morning routine for this week.
- Get out of bed.
- Get dressed in workout clothes.
- Meditate for 20 minutes.
- Do a short workout (like this 7-minute workout, or this 11-minute workout).
- Take the dog for a walk (15-30 minutes, depending on time).
Can I do this every morning? We'll find out this week. I tried to set myself up as best I could. I put a pair of headphones in the room where I plan to meditate and workout, and I set out my workout clothes. I'll put tea on when I first get up, so it will be ready when I go for a walk. And when I get back, I'll see if I have time to update the finances.
Realistically, I think this whole routine will take me 45-60 minutes, depending on the length of the walk. Five to get up and get dressed, 20 to meditate, 15 for the workout (including transition time and starting an app or reviewing the exercises), plus the walk. Currently, when I have to go to work, I get up 90 minutes before I need to leave. I spend maybe 30 minutes getting ready and the rest waking up. I'll still need 30 minutes to get ready, so if I add that to my new 60-minute routine, I'm back up to 90 minutes. I'm going to try to get up 30 minutes earlier. Wish me luck!
Week 32: Exercise - Create a Morning Routine