Your alarm buzzes, you hit snooze — it was another late night.
Fifteen minutes passes in what feels like 5, and your alarm buzzes again.
You hit snooze, roll over and fall back to sleep.
By the 3rd alarm you check the clock and you barely have enough time to shower. Scrambling out of the covers, you rush into the bathroom and turn the faucet.
Later, after getting to work late and barely ducking the boss, you get into your email and — surprise! — a full box of mostly useless chatter and emails starting with “sorry for my late reply.”
The day passes in a blur, you’re rushing, you feel frazzled and watch each priority on your list get bumped down as you go through the day putting out fires.
Eventually when you get home, exhausted and half-starved because you’ve been surviving off gluten-free muffins and cold brew, you flop onto the couch and hop into Instagram and Facebook.
Suddenly its midnight, your brain is fried from the constant stream of TV and Facebook stalking, and you crawl to bed. Once you finally fall asleep, you toss and turn until that damn alarm sounds.
Rinse and Repeat.
As Lemony Snicket says:
“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
If your morning starts in a reactive and frazzled state, where you’re rushing from one fire to the next, I can almost guarantee the rest of your day will be like that.
It’s almost like you have to start from scratch to recover from a bad morning.
Over the years, I’ve compiled a few tricks to make sure your day stays on track, and to get it back if you’ve lost it and are waving the white flag.
“Morning not only forgives, it forgets.” –Marty Rubin
1. DON’T SNOOZE.
For the love of peanuts, this is almost the most important piece to the puzzle. Not only does it piss off your partner (looking at you hubby), it starts creating a habit of failure.
By that, I mean, when we repeatedly do something, like say we’re going to wake up at a certain time, and then we break that goal every morning, you start creating a habit of failing, of being lax, of not following through.
This type of behavior oozes into the rest of your life, and you find yourself not following through on more important things.
2. Give Yourself an Hour of YOU Time
Set your alarm for at least an hour before you have to walk out the door, and don’t snooze. Use this time to:
Eat a real breakfast
Read an actual book
Do something creative (paint, draw, take photos)
Fix yourself lunch
Call your mom
Paint your nails
Pick out a great outfit that makes you feel like a damn Queen (or King)
When you give yourself time in the morning you are loving yourself. You are respecting yourself. If you don’t love and respect yourself regularly, you tend to allow other people to not love and respect you either.
These things go hand-in-hand.
3. DON’T Get on Social Media
When you immediately get on social media, or check your email and notifications, you put yourself at the mercy of other people and their agendas. You put yourself into an emotionally reactive state, scrolling through what other people are doing with their lives.
Your ego loves to compare yourself to other people.
When we do this first thing in the morning, it can hijack our whole day, putting us into a negative frame of mind.
And, when you’re not scrolling, you have more time to do things that actually make you happy and make your life better (like the things in #2).
During the Day
“It’s never too late to change your life for the better. You don’t have to take huge steps to change your life. Making even the smallest changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your life.” — Roy T. Bennett
1. Listen to Your Emotions
Practice observing your emotions and reactions throughout the day. Are there certain people or situations that always make you crazy/stressed/anxious/upset?
Are there certain things you wish you could spend all day doing? Are there certain people that give you energy, and make you excited to live your life?
Pay attention to these things so you can start minimizing the things that make you crazy, and start maximizing the things that bring you joy or bring you closer to your highest self.
2. Set Boundaries
Too often I see people rushing around putting out every fire, answering every call, and every email. Their day isn’t theirs, instead it’s a constant reaction to what other people need.
And let me tell you, if people know you’ll be there, they will need a lot.
Learn to start setting boundaries, and saying no to things you know you don’t have time for, or that you know will make your life feel miserable.
There are a million things in any given day just begging for your attention. If you try to pay attention and give your energy to all of it, you will NEVER live a life that you want or that you create.
You only have 24 hours in a day, make sure some of that time is blocked off for you, mmkay?
3. Enjoy Your Lunch
And stop eating at your desk if you can. If you can only eat at your desk, don’t work and stay off social media. Dedicate your time eating to actually eating and paying attention to the food that’s nourishing your body.
It’s not only healthier:
It helps you pay attention to how much you’re eating, and you’re less likely to overeat
It forces you to sit and eat, instead of starving all day and then binging on the first thing in sight (which is usually sugary and not healthy)
But it also helps you practice boundary setting with the person that needs it the most: you. When you make yourself sit down and enjoy a good lunch, without distraction, you respect yourself and your boundaries.
Where in your day did you kick ass? Where in your day did you let your boundaries slip?
When did you feel your absolute best? Who/What makes you feel like you want to smash your face on the wall?
Start there, then:
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” — Thomas Edison.
Write out specific goals you want to accomplish, and write them in real time, as if you’ve already accomplished them. For instance, during my 30 days of sobriety, and when I was trying to kick my bulimia I wrote:
I am sober
I do not binge and purge
I have no doubt this habit helped me stay sober whereas I failed in the past, and it’s training my subconscious that I am not bulimic, and I do not binge.
2. Don’t look at screens at least 1 hour before bed
Studies have shown that looking at the bright blue and white screens of TVs, smart phones and computers impacts your sleep by preventing your brain from releasing melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you fall asleep.
So if you’re staring at your screen right before bed, it’ll take you longer to fall asleep, and will impact the quality of sleep you have.
Instead, spend that time journaling, reading a real book, being around friends, or doing something creative. Bonus points if you fix yourself lunch for the next day.
3. Write out your priorities and morning routine
This is next level stuff, used by top performers. You see, when you wake up in the morning, the last thing you want to do is NOT have a plan. Otherwise, we end up hitting snooze, rushing out the door, scrolling through our phones or checking email.
Give yourself a list of what your morning routine will look like, and set 3 things you want to accomplish the next day.
My morning routine looks like this:
5am: Wake up
“If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” — Jim Collins
How you start your day dictates how the rest of your day will go.
Once you start off with a frazzled morning, it’s incredibly difficult to rescue the day.
But, if you start doing what’s recommended in this article, you’ll start running your day, instead of letting it run you.
And the side-effects of running your day like this is more freedom, more accomplishment, and more joy.
Can’t beat that.
Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇
Article originally published on Medium