On August 17th I finally began the New Year's resolution I had planned almost nine months prior. On that day, I woke up early, went for a morning jog, did my hair and make up and had conquered my day with most of my work completed by 11:30 am.
But it wasn't always this way, in fact over the years I had become a master of procrastination.
Then in December of 2014 I had made this wonderful vow that I would be more disciplined. More disciplined with my morning routine, my exercise program (or lack there of really), my time, my focus, and my work.
Up until that point I have not been a morning person so I decided the first thing I needed to do is become one. I set my alarm for 5 am and vowed to exercise first thing in the morning. But when that alarm began beeping I swiftly hit the off button went back to sleep. I promised myself I would do it tomorrow.
This had gone on for months, and if I'm being honest, years. So what did I do different on August17, 2015 that I have never done before?
1. It starts the night before.
Going to bed at 2 am will absolutely ensure not waking up in the morning. I always justified staying up late because I am a mom and that night time quiet time is absolutely priceless. But I was fooling myself.
Staying up late felt good because it was quiet but in reality I was exhausted during those hours. I got very little accomplished other than scrolling the Facebook feed, maybe a movie, or the next level in Candy Crush. I didn't have the energy to catch up on house work or spend any real time on my hubby or me.
My phone goes on airplane mode at 8pm. This means zero distractions. No influence from Facebook, no messages or emails. If the thought of airplane mode gives you anxiety (what if there's a dire emergency!?) then start out with 'do not disturb' mode. Put your phone face down so you don't see any notifications, and don't worry if someone calls twice in a row (emergency!) your phone will ring. If 8pm seems too tough, start out at 9:30pm and work your way down with time.
During this time I feed my brain with positivity and focus on reconnecting with my husband, and restoring myself. How do I feed my brain with positivity? Hint: It's not on the nightly news.
I read at least a couple of pages of a personal development book. I chat with my husband about the things we are grateful for that day. The last thing I do before lights out is read my intentions for the following day. I want to make sure that my intentions are the last thing I think about before going to sleep, this puts me in line for the next day.
10 pm means light out. You might not feel tired yet, and that's okay, lights out anyway. Remember the goal is to wake up early tomorrow and fell good about it.
2. Set your alarm early but allow your body what it needs.
I didn't set an alarm clock, my kids were my alarm clock. I considered this a perk of the job! I'm a stay at home mom and I deserve to sleep in if my kids let me, right?
In reality I was guaranteeing my day to start and finish with frustration.
One child would come in my bed each morning with me still half asleep. I was still tired and would be in and out of sleep until the second child came in. At this point the boys would begin arguing about their spot on the bed and who gets which part of mom to lay on. At anywhere between 7:30 am to 8:30 am I would jump out of bed angry (why can't they just get along?) when in reality they were bored and looking for my attention. I would then proceed to drag my feet downstairs in a bathrobe, because by this time my kids were hungry so no time for a shower or make up. Coffee was my savior and gave me a little glimmer of hope to this dreary, typical start.
Alarm goes off at 6:15am. I allow myself 15 minutes of wake up time. I am not the type of person to jump out of bed at the alarm sound and thinking that I will become one overnight is unrealistic and the cause of my many failed attempts to wake up early in the past. So the alarm goes off at 6:15 am and I know I have the cushion to lay in bed a little longer. However, I don't hit the snooze because I don't want to give myself permission to fall back asleep, just permission to mentally get myself together.
The first day I did this I kept repeating over and over in my head, 'If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.' It worked, I got up at 6:30am. I got dressed in my work out clothes, brushed my teeth and went downstairs to get some nutrients in my body. Mainly a nice nutritious shake and a shot of NinXgia Red with a good dose of vitamin B for energy with my NingXia Nitro. At 7am I'm out the door for a half hour walk/jog.
3. Have a clear vision of your day.
I was unorganized and unfocused I felt as though I was playing catch up all day long. Many days I felt I didn't even have time to shower. I felt as though I was always behind and unaccomplished. I had a hard time enjoying the present moment because I was thinking about all the thing I need to get done.
If you work from home or are a stay at home parent, sometimes it's the freedom of your time that hurts you the most. But there is a way to have real time freedom, and it comes in the form of a schedule.
I decided I needed a clear, detailed vision for how I wanted each day to look. When I sat down to write my schedule my husband thought it was hilarious. "You're really going to account for every minute of your day?" he asked. The answer was yes.
I knew I needed to write down every minute of the day and literally follow that schedule with a clock in my hand. I realized that if I don't take control of my day, my day controls me, and there is no freedom in that.
4. Decide to take control over your distractions.
My phone beeps, rings, and whistles... a lot. With all the social media stuff, texts, calls, emails, and invitations, I would glance at my phone all day long. I never thought this is a big deal. After all it only takes a second to look at my phone and then I'm back on track. But those distractions were actually killing me slowly.
It happens in a way that is so subtle. I don't even know when I became the person that doesn't respond when someone calls my name because I am so consumed in my world, which mainly revolves around my phone.
Airplane mode. Airplane mode is my best friend. It allows me to laser beam my focus where I need it the most. I wrote 'airplane mode' into my schedule so that I know exactly when that time is and I can adjust accordingly if need be.
My phone goes on airplane mode at 8pm and does not come off until 8:30am the next day. I don't want any news or influences until I have set myself up for my day. By the time airplane mode comes off I have already exercised, showered, eaten breakfast, and had a conversation with my children. Now I am ready to take on the elements of the day.
The other great thing about airplane mode is that it forces me to move my morning faster. Of course I want to turn that puppy on and see what's going on in my world as soon as possible. Therefore I tend to be much quicker and more productive during my morning routine.
There are four areas of my day that I block off for airplane mode. Again, if this scares you, remember take baby steps, these can be small, half hour increments at first:
1. morning routine, exercise
2. work time
3. family time
4. hubby time, nightly wind down
5. Get an accountability partner.
Yes you need one, probably two. It is the only way you will make sure that you stay on track, and it's more fun! Message one another in the morning. Send pictures of yourselves doing the things you said you would do.
Some days you won't feel like doing it and your buddy will be there to remind you why you started.
If you don't have a like minded buddy, let me be your accountability partner! Shoot me a message and let's make today the first day of a better, more free, more in control you!