My Morning Routine

I get a lot of questions about my morning routine, so like most things – this post is being brought to you by YOU – and I am more than happy to share the wealth.

The idea of a morning routine is a relatively new concept to me. Over the last year as I’ve started to venture in the personal development landscape and really make an effort to build a life I’ve envisioned for myself, I’ve started to put things in place to get me there. One of those things is the importance of a morning routine.

Now I should stress, there is no right or wrong way to start your days – but I am going to share what has worked for me. We all lead different lives with different circumstances, but I hope you’ll use this information as a means to find what works for you, or at least be curious enough to start working towards self-improvement every day. I also want to make sure I’m giving you tangible and logical steps that are easy to follow, because nothing bothers me more than to hear someone day “be better!” and not provide tips, tricks, and ideas on HOW. I’m also not here to give you ANY reason to say you don’t know where to start – so I’m stoked that you’re here.

So friend, without further ado... here is a very detailed and boring, but hopefully informative, breakdown of my daily morning routine:

Everyday my alarm goes off at 5am.

That’s right, 5am.

When the alarm goes off, not only do I have my phone out of arms reach so I’m forced to get up to turn it off, but I also have the snooze button feature turned off so I’m not tempted to snooze. Yes, friends, apple does have a functionality that allows you to turn that feature off. Can you believe it?! I feel like I’ve figured out the key to punctuality and there’s days I hate myself for it – but the way I see it, if I’m going to ignore my wakeup call and keep sleeping, I need to be OK with dealing with the consequences later. Snoozing also sends the message to my brain right off the bat that my morning routine is not important enough, so this is something I try to avoid at all costs.

To do this: Just edit an alarm in the iOS Clock app. Open the app, tap the Alarm tab, tap the Edit button, then pick an alarm. Finally, switch off the Snooze setting.

Recently, I started setting the alarm on my pseudo fit bit so it vibrates on my wrist and doesn’t wake my husband…. but here’s the thing. Because it’s so easy to just turn it off and go back to sleep, I highly recommend the loud phone alarm placed out of arms reach when you begin a morning routine, especially if you know getting up earlier is going to be hell for you at first.

When I wake up, I immediately stumble to the kitchen before anything else and boil some water. I use ½ a lemon and squeeze the juice into a mug, scoop out any seeds that may have fallen in, and pour in the boiling water. Hot lemon water is a recent practice for me, but I tell everyone and their mother about it because it has revolutionized my mornings. If you’ve never heard of the benefits of drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, you can read about it here.

Personally, it helps my digestion (which can be an area of opportunity for wls patients), kickstarts my metabolism, helps me with cravings later in the day, wakes me up considering the acidity, and has really helped my skin too. Plus, if you struggle with getting enough water in throughout the day – this is a great way to begin your day. There’s a bunch of other scientific evidence about it being like life’s elixir and stuff, but I can only speak to the results with my experience.

I always prep the lemon water first because I want it to be warm and not still piping hot by the time I’m back in the kitchen. I let this sit and then go to the bathroom to get washed up and change into my workout clothes. At this point my dogs have caught on that I’m up and about, so they’re waiting by the bedroom door for me.

I head back to the kitchen and drink my warm lemon water. While I’m sipping away, I’m opening the blinds around the house, turning off the alarm, taking the dogs outside, feeding our new pup, and prepping my equipment for workout. It will usually take me about 10-15 minutes to drink the mug of lemon juice. Towards the end of the drink I’ll start putting on my workout music and moving around to get my blood pumping since…I don’t know, it’s 5am?!

By the time I’m done with the lemon water it’s about 5:20am, and I’m ready to take on my workout. Usually around this time I also take a fresh cup of coffee to my husband who is just starting to wake up. Not only does it bring me joy to serve him, but it also means he’s not interrupting my workout to make a cup of coffee and he keeps the dogs in the bedroom with him, so I’m free to move about in the living room. He also likes it because he’s able to use his hour to enjoy coffee and read a book before starting his day, which is what he uses his morning routine for. By 530, everyone in the house is awake and all the lights are on. We are in full morning routine mode.

In terms of exercise, I do a daily 20-30 minute HIIT workout at home, focusing on a different area of the body every day. I used to drive to the gym with my husband and spend 1-1.5 hrs at the gym, which I absolutely hated. I am not a gym rat, so not only does my current routine help me in terms of time, but it’s also a much more bearable and sustainable lifestyle for me.

At home all I have is a set of 10lb dumbbells and 3 varying kettlebells, nothing crazy. Regardless of what you choose to do: at least 30 minutes every day, doesn’t matter where or how– get your heart rate up. Forget about weight loss, this is about FEELING good.

I put together my HIIT workouts based on exercises I know I enjoy doing and that are challenging but I can do at this point in my fitness journey. I still find my workouts pretty challenging, but you won’t catch me doing a burpee when I know I’m crunched on time and I actually want to enjoy this workout. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. Don’t force yourself through a workout that you know you are going to hate every minute of, it’s just not sustainable.

Typically, I’ll write down the workout either the night before or while I’m drinking my lemon water.

Here’s a sample one for lower body -

1st set, repeat 3 times with no rest:

- 30 seconds jumping jacks

- 15 goblet squats

- 15 curtsy lunges

- 15 donkey kicks

1 minute rest

2nd set, repeat 3 times with no rest between:

- 30 seconds jogging in place

- 15 sumo squats

- 15 glute bridges

- 15 lunge kicks

Over time, you'll find what works for you but if you're looking to try out HIIT workouts and don't know where to start, here is a cool graphic for a pretty standard full body HIIT:

Since I work out Monday-Friday, I usually follow a model like so:

Monday: Lower body Tuesday: Upper Body Wednesday: Yoga (Because usually I’m so sore I can’t fathom a workout) Thursday: Core Friday: Some kind of cardio workout like zumba, hip hop Tabata, a jog at the park, etc.

Saturday I’ll occasionally go to the gym with Adam and knock out a glutes/leg workout (he bribes me by promising me dunkin donuts afterwards lol), or I try to do something more laid back but still active like a bike ride or a long walk. Sundays are my rest days.

During my workouts I have a 20-ounce cup of water that I commit to drinking by the end of it. Once I’m done with the intervals, I do some house walking to cool off and finish my water. I have a really hard time getting all my water in throughout the day, so this helps set me up to start the day strong.

Once I’ve completed my workout and cool down, I start up a pot of coffee and put my already packed lunchbox from the night before into my book bag so I can literally grab my coffee and go once I’m ready.** If you’d like some tips on meal prepping or nighttime rituals I abide by that help me stay on track, I’ll gladly share that as well.

After leaving the coffee running and my bag packed, I head to take a shower and get dressed. Usually there’s some cuddles with my hubby and dogs and a quick kiss goodbye before I dart out the door at 6am latest, sometimes earlier.

Between my commute and walking to my office building, I do a few things to prep and also get in the right headspace before arriving at work such as listening to a quick 10-minute devotional podcast in the car, praying, and occasionally drinking a quick protein shake if I had a pretty rigorous workout. Right now, I’m really digging the Big Life devotional by Pamela Crimm, because homegirl keeps it real and delivers the word in a simple way. I don’t need rigorous and elaborate Sunday school bible studies at 6am, so this works just fine for me and gets me in the right headspace to start my day strong on the mental and spiritual level. You can find this podcast and a bunch of other ones on the apple Podcast app. I'm an avid podcaster and I love it.

When I get to work, usually around 6-615am, I put my things down and take the first 30 minutes to get settled and start my day. This includes putting my face on, heating up my coffee or prepping my breakfast, and taking some time while the office is still dark and quiet to spend some time in gratitude.

I do what I have dubbed the GAPP process (because I love a good acronym): Gratitude, Affirmations, Proclamation, and Prayer – the 4 steps in my gratitude practice.

This is what I write down in my journal:

- 10 things I’m grateful for that day: Usually these are things from the day prior or morning of. Sometimes they’re deep and meaningful gratitude statements about a family member or mental health, and other times I’m just really dang grateful for a good cup of coffee.

- 5 dream affirmations: I write these in past tense. For example: “I went on an Alaskan cruise”. These can be repeated and often are, but I try to think of big audacious things and write them as if they have already happened. This helps me remember that I am capable and worthy of big things and keeps the dreamer in the forefront, especially since I’m such a chronic planner and doubter.

- My proclamation of the day: Usually this my biggest takeaway from my devotional podcast on my commute, or just something that I’m currently proclaiming over my life and need reminding of. An example can be “I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough.”

- Prayer requests: I not only pray for MY pain points in my season, but I’m also taking time to think of my inner circle- Their struggles, their pain, their petitions. I visualize them, and I pray over them with intention. Taking time to pray for those around you is a powerful way to start your day and a constant reminder that we are here to be a light for others.

Once I’m done with my GAPP exercise, I start reviewing my calendar, putting together a list of my biggest priorities for the day (no more than 5), and officially begin my day at work.

If this entire blog post made you dizzy, it’s because I literally do a million things before the sun comes up. If you’re wondering why in God’s name I would voluntarily do all this, it’s because my dreams won’t work unless I do. Being productive in the morning allows me to create the energy and time I need to sustain my lifestyle of working full time and running a business.

When I started researching the power of a morning routine, I came across tons of successful entrepreneurs that keep up with their lifestyle because they get up early and use their time wisely. These people lead extremely busy, high stressed lives, many of them with multi-million dollar companies and small children at home. Their morning routine is the only way they not only keep their sanity, but they’re able to keep up with their demands and lead exceptional lives.

If it seems scary or overwhelming to you… start by thinking on a smaller scale. What small adjustments can you try out to ensure you show up? No one knows you better than yourself. For instance, I realized that if I didn’t get my workout in in the morning, I wouldn’t do it later on in the day. I realized that working a later work shift left me zero time to work on my business or invest in myself and my marriage, so I requested a schedule change. I realize this is not in everyone’s power, but you know what is? Taking just an hour a day for you. One hour, that’s all.

If you’re not an early riser, I encourage you to give it a try because there is something about being up before the world when things are quiet and still. But say this is not something you can do or desire- You don’t have to wake up at 5am but try waking up an hour earlier than you’re accustomed to and do something for yourself. Maybe it’s going for a run, reading a book, having your morning coffee before the world wakes up, spending time in prayer or meditation. The goal of my routine was to make small pockets of time available for 3 things: my physical health, my mental health, and my spiritual health. How you do this is entirely up to you, but making time for every part of your being before your day even starts will cause a ripple effect of growth in all areas.

Now, if you’re going to bed at midnight and getting 4 hours of sleep, then honey – you are treading water and you need to take a moment to pause, breathe, and come up with a game plan to get some control over your life. There are seasons where sleep is scarce, like when you have a newborn baby for example. Those are the times to give yourself grace.

More often than not, we have the time – we’re just not using it wisely. Can’t tell you the amount of people who have scoffed at my routine and said they had no time for “all that”, but they do have time to sit in front of a television or scroll through Instagram. Certainly, there are times for that, I like my Netflix as much as the next girl - but most of the time we are just surviving through life in the name of complacency. We can’t say there is no time and then wonder why we’re not inching forward in any area of our lives.

It’s time to start thriving, and one great way to begin is by implementing a morning routine that puts you at the forefront of each day.

Your morning routine may not look anything like mine. Heck, my husband’s morning routine does not look anything like mine. My biggest hope is not that you plug in my routine into your life, but that it encourages you to realize the power of prioritization and puts the desire in your heart to want to take hold of what happens next in your story.

Make time to be the person you have always wanted to be, you are your greatest investment.

Please share your best tips, tricks, and recommendations on what you do on your morning routine! I would love to hear from you. xo