tracking my morning routine for a week: what I learned


Waking up is the most important time of day, I think. I believe that when we first open our eyes, stretch, take a deeper breath, and begin a new day, we reach a very pivotal moment; we are starting our day. 

Wow. How often have we taken that for granted? each day, each and every one is a gift. the fact that we get to live and enjoy and move and shape and change - wow. How can we help but be filled with gratitude when we actually slow down and realize this?

How we start our day is often how we're going to live our day. Each day is significant. Each day is important, and should be treated accordingly. 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about this: how I start my day. I've begun to draw back to see the larger image and to ask myself if I'm honestly doing it right: am I launching into each new day with the respect and reverence it deserves, treating it like the exciting new opportunity that it is, or am I just letting today happen to me - merely reacting to whatever happens to come my way?

Morning routines are important, but I don't even like to use the word "routine" because it's so overused and attached to all sorts of other imagery like videos about how to do makeup and what kind of coffee to make. 

Shall we call it mindful, or purposeful actions instead?

It can be a wonderful thing to establish a few things that you can go-to first thing in the morning without having to think about it. Quite a bit of research shows that it takes around thirty days to establish a habit, and whether we realize it or not, we all have morning routines already, be it reaching for your phone to check messages, or turning on the tv without thinking.

But because this is the most pivotal part of our day - the moments that will actually help shape the rest of it - bringing mindfulness into what our immediate actions are after opening our eyes is a lot more critical than we may realize. 

In his commencement speech, Denzel Washington expounds on the importance of starting your day with gratitude, Former Navy SEAL and author Jocko Willink speaks heavily on why he starts his day early in the morning and implements a routine, and just a quick youtube search will yield oversaturated pages of morning routines and ideas.

This is obviously something that a lot of us are drawn to, and I think that's for a purpose. I believe that how we start our day is so important, and as I've began to pull back and analyze this a little more, I've seen quite a few benefits from this in my own life.

In July, I spent a week keeping track of my morning routine - anything and everything I did before I started my workday. By late morning or afternoon, I took stock, made some notes, and looked back on what I did. What I found? One thing was consistent, and we'll unpack that in a minute. First, here's a look at my notes from that week:


Day 1:
- cold shower
- applied essential oils
- meditated
- prepped lemon water and coffee

Day 2:
- cold shower
- applied essential oils
- had coffee and meaningful conversation

Day 3:
- cold shower
- essential oils
- coffee
- meditation

Day 4:
- coffee and quality time

Day 5:
- coffee and quality time
- reading time
- meditation

Day 6:
- cold shower
- essential oils
- coffee
- walk in nature
- meditation

Day 7:
- cold shower
- essential oils
- coffee
- reading time


Looking back on my week, I began to notice that one thing was consistent about my "routine" and that was how much it changed and fluctuated. I expressed my leeriness for the word "routine" earlier, and that's because, as a creative, I personally shy away from routine; for me, doing the same thing every single day, over and over again can often feel boring and even stifling. In the past that dislike played a large part in my failure to stick to any particular routine. I like the unknown - it gets me out of bed in the morning. I like to wake up each morning to a new adventure, not necessarily a planned out schedule.


Whether you are a planner or a "pantser" in life (and both are great!) I think it can be really healthy to establish structure, but also be open for the unknown, the gentle sway of each new day. 

(I wrote an entire post a little while back about rigidity vs structure, and distinguishing the two, and I also made a video about scheduling in time to be, well, unscheduled - and how important that can be for us as creative beings.)

So if you're a creative who finds sticking to a specific routine as tough as I did (I'm right there with ya) this is for you:

it's not so much about doing the same exact things every day as it is identifying the general things that help you to begin your morning the happiest and healthiest.

My point? instead of vowing that you will make and drink a super healthy green smoothy each day, why not simplify that to eating a healthy meal of your choice, and having some fun with what that could be, depending on your mood, and how much time you have?

Or maybe you want to start your day with a workout routine, and you've selected a list of exercises to do each day; perhaps change it up with yoga, or going for a run or walk, and maybe substitute that with stretching and listening to an audiobook on the weekends.

Or maybe you just want to have some peaceful time to yourself: change that up too. Focus on the fact that this is time for YOU instead of the thing itself. Whether you want to read quietly, meditate, or have a long, fulfilling conversation with someone you love over coffee, it's not so much about doing that same thing every day as much as it is respecting this daily practice of carving out time for yourself. I like to call this sacred time. 

So if you've been as intimidated by the word "routine" as I have, or have struggled to stick with doing a particular regime each and every day, try flipping the problem on its head. Remember the purpose of the morning routine in the first place: to help you have a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling day.

Whether it's the need to get active or get quiet, or the desire to set aside time for reading or spending time with family, identify a few things that add fulfillment, value, and clarity to your life, and establish a few things that address those needs, rather than tailoring your day to a specific bullet-point list. And if you're a super scheduled person, changing up your morning like this may be a nice refresher that will help you plan with a greater sense of clarity.

a few things to avoid:
- screens: phones, televisions, computers, etc.
- work. (remember, this is setting the tone for your day: take some time to fill the cup before you dive in)
- any avoidable stress 


And, as always, this all roots back to self respect, self love, and being kind to yourself. How we treat ourselves is important, and I think that first thing in the morning is a very good time to show our minds, bodies, and spirits some love. Not only is it healthy, but it will actually fuel everything you do. Creativity stems from happiness, not the other way around. So go ahead - make a list of things that make your heart absolutely hum! And then build your morning around those things. Let purpose fuel your morning, not bullet points on a list.

Alright, that's enough from me - what about you? Whether you feel like you have a morning routine or not, what are the first three immediate actions you take each morning? Stretching? Picking up your phone? Do you have a routine? I would really enjoy hearing about it + chatting in the comments below! 


stay stoked!
kate




25 comments

  1. Kate, your blogposts recently have been SO inspirational, and a perfect start to my week (During the summer I count my weeks starting from Sunday, so it works out. ��)

    This summer I finally started implementing a morning routine, and while I haven't necessarily followed it to a tee, it's been super helpful in kickstarting my day. Today I accidentally slept in, and the rest of my morning was just kind of a mess. I personally really like a scheduled routine so that I know what comes next. The first thing I do every morning is pick up my phone �� I'm trying to stop, but it's difficult. ��

    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheering you on as you continue to conquer your mornings/days, Hanne!! I am so glad this post could help you start your week in a positive way!

      Delete
  2. I know I'm always dazzled by your posts and the messages you share, but I really LOVE this sentence: "it's not so much about doing the same exact things every day as it is identifying the general things that help you to begin your morning the happiest and healthiest." That is just such a beautiful way to look at routines!!

    To be honest, every morning when I get up I have the urge to look at my phone and check my email...but I'm going to try to change that! Thanks for the wonderful reminder, Kate! ♥

    p.s. Can I just have your entire wardrobe? XD <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Ash! I love your thoughts on this, and I'm thrilled that you got something valuable out of this post!! <3

      Delete
  3. I know I need to carve out a consistent time to refuel (as my creative self mostly runs on fumes). And I definitely struggle with keeping the same routine every day. I just can’t get myself to stick to anything. However this >> “it's not so much about doing the same exact things every day as it is identifying the general things that help you to begin your morning the happiest and healthiest.” << seems like a faaarrr better way to schedule time.

    much love.
    k.

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