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Find Your Morning Routine

habits routine Aug 24, 2022

Listen on The Extraordinary Life Podcast Instead

With our summer road trip over and my son back to school, I’m trying to get back into my morning routine. It fell apart over the summer and I’m noticing! Before, I’d been sleeping through the night and my hot flashes and headaches were practically non-existent. I’ve started waking up at 4am regularly, so you could say I’m pretty motivated to get back to what works. 

I Embraced 4am (Once)

Normally when I wake up too early, I’ll try my hardest to get back to sleep or get up for a bit before returning to bed. When the latter happens, I end up waking up later and my morning routine doesn’t happen because the rest of the house is up and about. So the last time I woke up at 4am, I decided to just get up and stay up. 

I used this time to take my morning routine to the limit, and while I won’t be doing this every morning, it was a great reminder of why I do it. It works, and makes me feel good! So what did I manage to do in those extra few hours? A lot! 

Mindset & Gratitude

Some of the mindset work that I do in my morning routine is some of the most important work I do. So I got up and unloaded the dishwasher while I made my coffee. While I drank my coffee, I wrote in my gratitude journal because it had been an entire month since I’d done that. 

I’d dropped off journaling when I cracked my tooth on vacation and I was in pain. It was hard to be grateful at that moment, but I can be grateful now because I didn't crack it. I saw my dentist and he couldn't see anything wrong, which means I probably sprained the tooth ligament when I bit down on that olive pit in my salad. So that really is a thing!  

I also went on to read a chapter in a book I'm reading called The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity, by Catherine Ponder.

Laundry & Tapping

Then I moved on to folding laundry while listening to the first module of a course on EFT tapping that I just started. After the module I did the tapping meditation that went along with it.

Meditation & Mopping

I followed the EFT meditation with my regular twenty-minute meditation that I do with my Deepok Chopra app. Since everyone was still sleeping, I mopped the kitchen floor and made breakfast for the family who was starting to stir. 

Yoga

After my son went to school, I logged into my online yoga class. Again, this used to be part of my morning routine on Tuesdays, but I hadn’t done it in awhile. Not only did my mind feel good afterward, but so did my body. 

How to Make Morning a Habit

This was a very exaggerated version of my morning routine, and isn’t something I’ll be doing very often. For one, I don’t want to get up at 4am every day! And that was a lot to fit into a few hours. Still, it made more of a positive impact on my day than fighting to get back to sleep would have; and since I was so tired by bedtime, I had a great night’s sleep! 

Best of all, I got the feeling of routine back so I was more motivated the next day to do my usual (shorter) routine. 

This comes back to the importance of habits. Sometimes, like me, you want to get back to old habits, or you may want to start a new one. How long does it take to create a habit? I've heard everything from three weeks to three months. Instead of asking how long it takes to make a habit, what if we asked how many repetitions it takes, instead? 

This is a more powerful question because it's more action-oriented. It takes you out of the passive mode of waiting for time to pass and puts you in charge of the process. And in the end, it's taking action that helps rewire your brain for success. 

Studies have shown that your brain can physically change in just a couple of weeks when you learn new things or create new habits. This is called neuroplasticity and it's a relatively new area of brain science. I grew up believing that the brain was static, and once you reached a certain age there was no way to change it. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” right? Wrong.

Use the REACH Method

It turns out that adults can physically change their brains based on taking action. In fact, there is a specific process called REACH to help rewire your brain and create new neural pathways. 

  • Repetition. The more repetitions of an activity you do, the more likely rewiring will occur.
  • Effort. Going through the motions doesn’t count; you need to put in effort and work to rewire your brain. 
  • Attention. Pay attention! You need to be in the moment as you're doing the activity. 
  • Complexity. The more challenging your habit or activity, the more your brain will need to rewire. For example, learning to speak a new language requires more rewiring than creating a habit of drinking water first thing in the morning. 
  • Health. The healthier your body and brain are, the more ready your brain will be for change. Lay the groundwork for by getting exercise and sleep and eating a healthy diet. 

There aren't any hard and fast rules about how many repetitions it takes to create a new habit, but it’s safe to say the easier the habit is, the fewer repetitions it will take. 

I find the idea of repetition more empowering than waiting around for a habit to stick; being intentional about getting those repetitions brings you closer to making the activity part of your lifestyle. 

Try This 7-Day Morning Challenge

Since I’m working on my own morning habits, I’ve decided to make my Seven Day Wellness Challenge available. It’s one easy habit each day for seven days, along with education on why you may want to do that habit in the first place. 

It will help you start (or restart) some simple habits; and because they're easy to do they'll also help you build your confidence and trust in yourself so you can tackle more difficult habits. Remember, the first step to creating change really is just one step. Let signing up for this challenge be your first one! 

Get the Women’s 7 Day Wellness Challenge

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