If you’re like me, you’ve probably done all the “visualize your morning” exercises and thought long and hard about how you want your mornings to be. After all, we’ve been told so many times that mornings set the tone and rhythm of our day.
I’ve done this so many times that I know my “ideal day” and “ideal morning” by heart.
I want to wake up refreshed. I want to wake up with ease. I want to sit down to a quiet breakfast, spend time in prayer and meditation, and have a really relaxed, easy start to the day.
All of that sets the tone for my ideal day
Easily and effortlessly move through my to-do list, handling challenges with grace and strength. Being creative at the ready and energized by the projects I’m working on. Thoughtful and on top of things. Focused. Organized. At the end of the day, accomplished, ready to prepare for the following day. Onward to a tasty and healthy meal with my sweet husband and snuggling on the couch in front of the fire (in winter) or strolling around our neighborhood and the beach (in summer).
Even before I started the Morning Person Experiment, I was already beginning to challenge my assumptions about how my day should start. It was before Christmas and the weather had been warmer. Warm enough that my sweetheart and I took a walk around the neighborhood and it felt really great! While we walked, I talked about how I was wondering if everything I’d been told and done was wrong.
What if the idea of a relaxed, easy morning, was setting me up for failure?
What if my ideal morning was actually sabotaging my success?
What if I’d been going about this all wrong?
How did I even being to question all this? I took a hard, honest look at my routine and what the results were gaining me-and compared them to what I wanted them to be. The discrepancy was HUGE.
// REALITY //
Wake up – 9am, 10am, sometimes as late as 11am in hopes of feeling relaxed and refreshed. So even if I woke up earlier, if I felt “meh” in the least, I’d shut my eyes for another rem cycle.
Breakfast – at the computer because I’d slept my morning away
Lunch – at the computer because I’d filled my ‘morning’ with miscellaneous research and wanderings- following the “don’t open your email before noon” rule.
No snacks, no exercise, just me, feeling behind all day long.
Comparing that reality with what I wanted proves that my idea of having a quiet morning wasn’t really panning out and definitely wasn’t setting me up for success of any sort.
The biggest breakdown is in that I believed that I could wake up with ease, feeling refreshed. Clinging to that idea, I would ‘be gentle’ with myself and allow myself to sleep incredibly late in hopes of achieving that. I can tell you IT DOES NOT WORK. (At least not for me-maybe you’re lucky and really do wake up feeling refreshed but that has never been the case for me.)
>>> As a side note, I’ve tried to break this habit of getting up so late many, many times because I hate feeling behind all day. I’ve tried rewarding myself, planning something I LOVE to do first thing in the morning, bribing myself with all sorts of rewards and nothing had worked. Until the Morning Person Experiment. I’ve had way more success during and since than ever before. >>> Don’t know what I’m talking about? Get caught up here
Over the past month or so, I’ve come to realize that while the intentions of all those exercises are well meaning, they’re missing something crucial. They’re missing this core of what’s more important-what you do or how you feel? And more importantly, how do you get what you’re trying to achieve?
While those tools are useful at identifying your vision and how you’d like to feel, they fall short on delivering actionable steps to making it happen.
So much so that I can confidently say that yes, my morning routine was indeed sabotaging my success.
The start of this path was my curiosity-questioning whether the steps I was taking to create an ideal morning were achieving the end result I want- a stress free day, full of productivity, creativity, and accomplishment all with a feeling of grace and ease. I had to address the fact that having a quiet morning wasn’t delivering the kind of day I wanted.
The truth is, if I want a stress free day where I feel relaxed and get lots done, I have to do something completely different in the morning. I have to wake my body up, warm it up, fuel it up, and then, as if by some magic, the rest falls into place.
Doing my ideal morning and day exercises were never going to reveal that. It was my honest evaluation of what I was doing and what I wanted that clued me in that maybe it was time to try something radically different. I needed to turn everything on its head and see if anything changed. After all, I could always go back to the way things were. I wasn’t signing a contract, just opening myself to the possibility that maybe, making a radical change might finally give me the results I’ve been pursuing for years on end.
If you’re still searching for your ideal day, maybe it’s time to shake things up-try the thing you NEVER imagined would or could be you. For me, that’s waking up at 6:30am and loving it. Something about getting up early, pouring heat into my body through exercise, and the fueling it with healthy stuff, completely transforms my day.