When I was preparing to make this video I was reading an article on Forbes about the importance of morning routines and I about spit out my coffee when the author explained that each morning he woke up and journaled, reads for 45 minutes, does 100 pushups and then goes for a 30-minute walk. Well shit, if I did that every morning I’d probably be the freaking Dalhi Lama but what reasonable person has time for all that, or even 10% of that? No no no, friends, this isn’t going to be some bullshit morning routine video, ok this is going to be a real – you can do it – morning routine video.
4 Step Morning Routine
How many times have you been told that in order to be successful you need to wake up earlier? I bet you’ve heard it more times than you can count. Heck, I know I’ve said it before in past videos. And sure, I do think waking up earlier is great, I will never fully get off that soapbox and I’ll talk about that more a little later, But the truth is, it really isn’t about WHAT time you wake up, and more about HOW you wake up.
How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you wake up stressed, short on time, and rushing out the door, that will linger with you for the rest of the day. And doing that day after day, week after week sets the tone for your life. I mean saying it like that sounds black and white, but ultimately it is how it goes, right? How you spend your days is how you spend your life. If you keep repeating the same thing every day all your going to get are the same outcomes.
Now, what if I told you I had a simple, 4 step method you can adopt as a morning routine, that could help you break that cycle? And each step takes less than 10 minutes. Interested? OK, good. Let’s start.
Step One – Stop hitting the snooze button
Seriously, just stop. It should be dead to you. Let me ask you a real question, when have you ever hit the snooze, dozed off again for those 8 or 12 minutes, and then woken up feeling so refreshed and recharged? No, never. Not once. So why on earth are you putting yourself through that? Instead of being shuddered awake by an alarm once you’re forcing yourself to do it twice, three times, four times…are you hitting the snooze four times, good lord knock it off.
Ok, all joking aside. I’m very serious, the snooze alarm is your worst enemy. Let me just let you in on a little secret. It is normal to feel awful when you first wake up.
That’s right. People who preach morning routines don’t just wake up, throw the covers off, say good morning to the birds perched on their window, sing a little love ballad and run off to make their mushroom tea and meditate. When you wake up, particularly from an alarm, your sleep cycle is being interrupted, you’re gonna feel groggy. More about that grogginess and how to combat it a little later in this post but for now just know it’s normal to feel awful when your alarm first goes off.
Now, I’ve been an early riser since college, which was over a decade ago. And, I know I know I don’t look a day over 24, but it’s true, I’m 34.
In college, I had a job where I opened the doors at 4:45 am. Early in my career, I had a 5:45 alarm for years that I used to work on my side hustle (which ultimately turned into this youtube channel), and in motherhood, I have settled into a 5:15 wakeup call to have time for myself before my kids wake up.
Yet, even after a decade of waking early, I still somehow don’t jump out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to start my day. But, I do pull myself from my bed every morning when that alarm goes off instead of giving in to the warm, cozy, I just wanna go back to sleep for 5 more minutes of temptation. And do you want to know why? Well, one because I know that 5 more minutes of sleep isn’t going to make me feel more rested. And two, because while 10 years of waking early hasn’t made me someone who jumps for joy when my alarm goes off, it has made me someone who realizes it’s worth it.
Like I said earlier, it’s not really WHEN you get up but HOW you get up. You are NEVER going to feel like getting out of bed in the morning. There’s not some magical moment when all of a sudden your alarm wakes up and you’re like WOW I’d really rather stand up in my cold room than stay snuggled up in my warm cozy bed. When that alarm goes off you’re essentially just choosing the lesser of two evils, ok?
Either you wake up, feel tired, hit the snooze, get 5 more minutes of sleep, the alarm goes off again, you feel awful again, snooze it again, lay in bed, scroll your phone, and never actually feel more awake. Then, finally, 30 minutes later you drag yourself from bed having wasted the first half-hour of your day. OR, you open your eyes, feel tired, force yourself out of that bed and start your day.
The thing you really need to remember here is YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO FEEL LIKE GETTING OUT OF BED. 10 more minutes of sleep or 10 minutes of scrolling social media IS NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE GETTING UP. When that alarm goes off, pull it off like a bandaid, and force yourself up and out of bed. The best part of step one is it literally takes less than 60 seconds.
A Trick To Help You Get Out Of Bed Fast
A little trick that works for me is I make the first few things I do in the morning all for me, it makes it a lot easier to get out of bed to have some time for me as opposed to just getting up and immediately jumping into the day of working or taking care of kids or whatever. I come downstairs and I start my morning coffee. Then, I usually sit down with my planner or journal, which we’re going to talk about in a few minutes. I also get a glass of water to rehydrate my brain -which is – water btw, and I take my morning multivitamin, it’s just a little something to start the day off for me.
Step Two: Visualize
OK, I know what a lot of you are thinking cause it’s what I use to think when people said to spend time “visualizing” or “manifesting” and that is that it was some woo woo spiritual stuff. I’m someone who loves to know the science behind things. My husband keeps telling me if youtube doesn’t pan out I should go into psychology because I can’t get enough about how the brain works and why we do the things we do.
Well, in all the books I’ve read, from the one written by staunch businessmen to the ones written by the spiritual flower-child, there is one underlying fact that seems to emerge. And that is that we are the outcome of our thoughts. No one has ever become successful by sitting around saying they’ll never succeed. No one has ever achieved a goal by thinking about how they’ll never achieve it. It’s a simple concept that’s been wildly researched, accepted, and preached by thought leaders in every walk of life.
Now, we could discuss this at length. Entire careers have been built on this idea. But, As I said, I love the science behind things, so let me let you in on a little secret about your brain. Your brain has something called the Reticular Activating System, we’ll call it RAS for short. It’s right at the base of your brain. It is a filter against all the data your brain receives every day. Every day we’re bombarded with more data than we can possibly take in, sounds, pictures, images, words, alerts, and so our RAS filters it and lets in just what it deems as important. How does it know what is important? Well, you tell it by what you focus on.
Have you ever noticed how when you are thinking about something you start to see it everywhere? I remember when we picked our daughter’s name, Finley, I felt like all of a sudden I saw the name Finley everywhere, even though it’s not a particularly common name. Your Reticular Activating System is kinda like that. If you spend a lot of time focusing on your negatives, why you can’t achieve a goal, the roadblocks in your way, your RAS will continue to show you things that prove this because focusing on those things tells your RAS this is IMPORTANT information. However, if you focus on your strengths, you focus on the goals you want to achieve, you focus on the attainable steps you can make to get to those goals, your RAS is going to hear that these are important things and be more likely to show you proof of that.
So, when I say visualize, I’m just saying spend 5 minutes setting your RAS for the day by telling it what to focus on. In my Productive Days Ebook, I have a place for you to do a one-minute journal which will help you do this and comes with some journal prompts. Essentially spend a minute or two just setting your tone. List the things you’re grateful for, reflect on the progress you’ve made, and write down BIG goals.
I’ll be honest, I always thought the whole morning journaling thing was kinda just a woo woo thing for people who meditated with crystals (not a dig at meditating with crystals, you do you I love it) or for people like the guy from that Forbes article who had 3 hours to start their day. But, I’ve actually found taking the 4-5 minutes to just jot down some intentions, some goals, and reflect on things I’ve accomplished, really helps me narrow my mindset and focus for the day. It helps me uncover the things that are most important and start my day with a greater feeling of intent. It doesn’t need to be some grand 45 minutes journal session, it can literally be 4 minutes at the coffee table with your kid’s colored pencils.
Step Three: Brain Dump and Plan Your Day
Taking a few minutes to sort of map out your day, list out all the tasks in your head, and spend time prioritizing and goal setting really sets the tone for your day. I feel like skipping this step, for me, can be the “make or break” factor in my day, the difference between a productive intentional day, and a day where I’m kinda just floating checking random stuff off a to-do list without a real set goal. We often don’t think of scheduling time to schedule, and it’s why a lot of us spend so much time running around with lots to do and no time to do it.
Make sure to read how I conquer my to-do list, but I’ll also give you my best down and dirty hack for getting it together in a pinch. For the days that you’ve got 10000 things you need to do, and no idea where to start.
Step one, brain dump it, get it all down out of your head and on a piece of paper. This frees it from your mind and puts it down in one place you can just focus on prioritizing it.
Step two, prioritize it. Essentially you’re going to schedule out what has GOTTA get done today, what days you’ll do the rest, and what can wait until another week. I like to clump similar tasks and block out times of my day to work on them.
Step Four: Do something that your future self will thank you for
One little mind hack I love to use to convince me to do something is I remind myself how much easier it’ll make it for “future Kallie.”
You’ve probably heard me talk about my kitchen sink rule, this is the rule I instated for myself to never go to bed with a dirty kitchen sink. As tired as I am, I force myself to get the sink clean before bed and I usually convince myself of that by reminding myself how happy I’ll be when I come downstairs to have a morning cup of coffee and my sink is clean. And, in the morning when I come downstairs to have my morning cup of coffee I make sure to acknowledge how pleased I am that it’s tidy.
At night when I set out my clothes for the day before, I use this same trick, reminding myself how glad I’ll be in the morning when I don’t have to think about what to wear. Before I pick up my kids from daycare I force myself to stop working so I can take 20 minutes to get the kitchen tidy, finish any dinner prep, and maybe put out an activity for them because I know historically the dinner time rush is the most hectic time of the day and doing these things now will make it easier for dinner time rush Kallie.
So, do something that later you will thank you for. I personally have a little routine that takes me about 15 minutes that I do RIGHT before I get my kids out of bed. Every morning I tend to my laundry. I also empty the dishwasher, this way it’s ready to be loaded I can easily add things to it throughout the day instead of letting them pile up in the sink. It makes the whole day better and saves me, again, from having to do it in the dinnertime rush. And, I get dressed/ready for the day because I know my days just go better and I’m more productive and in a better state of mind when I’m ready for the day.
Yours can be anything. Meditate. Do a quick workout. Prep a healthy lunch to take to work. Tidy up your workspace. Plan an activity to do with your kids to make the morning go smoother. Something that will make your life a little easier later.
You Are What You Repeatedly Do
Here’s the thing I’ve learned, and the thing I’ve preached to you guys for a while, and that is that if you wanna change your future you change your habits. We are what we repeatedly do. And if we choose every day to start our days off right, in a good mindset, with intention, it will flow into the rest of our day.
But, if you do commit to waking up and following the following four steps, I guarantee your mornings will improve and your days will improve.