I am not a morning person. Honestly, my ideal day is laying in bed until after morning passes, but ya girl is busy with work + school so unfortunately that’s not an option.
When I was in the military, my mornings were hectic and included me waking up after my alarm went off 8 times and I had 5 min before I needed to be out the door. Starting my mornings like this was miserable, but the habit was so engrained I honestly questioned if change was possible.
When I got out of the military in 2018, I decided I wanted to create a morning routine. One problem – I had no idea where to begin. I had read a lot of articles and books about building routines and habits, but for some reason, nothing stuck. I would go to the gym a few days, then burn out. I would read for a couple of days, then would fall off that wagon too. I just assumed because I wasn’t a morning person, being productive in the morning wasn’t in the cards for me. Luckily, I was wrong.
Last year one of my grad school classes required me to document a habit that I wanted to cultivate. In order to create the habit, we were instructed to use the tiny habit method. In summary, you create a small habit and once that is a habit, you use habit stacking to create the next habit.
A few months later, I found myself with a morning routine that I was excited to do every morning. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t jump for joy at 6am, but I also don’t dread it.
First, I wrote down everything that I eventually wanted to do in the morning. I shifted my mindset from doing things I thought I should do in the morning (like going to the gym) to things that I wanted to do in the morning (like making breakfast). I already hated waking up early so forcing myself to workout was not going to get me out of bed any quicker. In fact, it did the opposite. Once I made that shift, I jotted down some things I wanted to do in the mornings:
- Get out of bed when my alarm goes off (stop snoozing!)
- Skincare routine
- Make morning tea/matcha
- Make breakfast
- Take supplements
The first task I had to tackle was not snoozing! Again, I am not a morning person so tackling the first habit was going to be hard. According to Tiny Habits, you should start small, so instead of telling myself I was going to get up an hour and a half early, I was simply going to get up 15 min earlier – which for me meant that I just needed to get up when my alarm went off the first time. Slowly, I increased the 15 min to 30 min, the 30 to 45, etc.
After I was used to getting up when my alarm went off (snoozing is a habit, y’all!) – I decided to use habit stacking in order to build my next habit. My next habit had to be something easy because it takes me a little while to wake up, so I chose my skincare routine.
Once my skincare routine was a habit, I added on my matcha. Once the matcha was down, I added on breakfast, then taking my supplements after breakfast, then journaling, each time moving back the clock a little more. Eventually, I had created a morning routine that was second nature.
Another thing that helped me create this routine is giving myself grace. Sometimes I still hit snooze and wake up 15 min later and have to skimp on the matcha or journaling, but I pick back up where I left off the next day. It’s true that too many days can result in the habit falling off, but one day is not going to throw off all of your hard work. If you give yourself grace on those days and simply pick back up, it slowly starts changing your mindset from well I skipped one day, might as well not do it anymore to it’s one day and that’s not going to overhaul what I have been cultivating. Giving yourself grace in this process is so, so important. Building habits is hard, don’t make it harder with negative self talk.
Since 2020 has started, I’ve moved, started a new job and gone through various other big changes and my morning routine has kept me grounded and been such an enjoyable way to begin my morning. Don’t get me wrong, I would still 100% rather stay up late and sleep in, but creating a morning routine has helped me go from dreading the morning to slightly looking forward to it. 🙂