A couple months ago I talked about 8 habits you can do before bed to organize a healthier lifestyle. If you miss that post read it here. Now I want to talk about habits you can do when you wake up to achieve the same thing.
If you can master your morning then, I truly believe, you can master your day. What do I mean by mastering your day? I mean controlling your day instead of letting it control you. Making intentional choices instead survival decisions in the hot zone. You know, the hot zone? I’ve talked about the hot zone before but let me say again the hot zone is when you feel overwhelmed, completely disorganized, and in survival mode. Your decisions become more about short-term fixes instead of long term goals. Living in the hot zone day after day will keep you stuck and far away from your goals. It’s impossible to make positive healthy changes if every day is filled with chaotic hot zone moments. With that said, our goal is to stay out of the hot zone the majority of the time. Of course, we are humans and life happens but if you find yourself in the hot zone more often than not it’s time to reevaluate and make changes.
Taking control back over your mornings is a great place to start. In my experience, the first couple hours of waking up will set the tone for the rest of day. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have lazy mornings or days we sleep in. Trust me, I can be lazy with the best of them. What I’m saying is if your days are out of control and you struggle to achieve goals then taking stock of your mornings is a good place to start. Remember change does not happen without change.
I know many people don’t have a traditional schedule. That’s okay. Adapt these tips to your schedule. The end result is still to create better organization and peace so you can move throughout your day intentionally and live a healthier lifestyle.
Also, my goal is not for you to feel overwhelmed by these habits. It might not be possible to implement every single one for whatever reason. Maybe take 1-2 and try it out, see if it works, and then add a couple more. At the end of the day it’s important to create healthier habits that are sustainable for your lifestyle.
Here are 9 habits that I try to do every morning to keep out of the hot zone so I can make healthier choices throughout the day. If you want to learn more about staying out of the hot zone, and changing your life to a much healthier one, then I strongly encourage you to check out the Organize Yourself Skinny Ecourse!
#1. Wake up early
I’m a morning person. I love to wake up around 5:00am and get my day started. Yes I know that’s early but it works for me. I go to sleep no later than 10:00pm and most days I try to get to bed by 9:00pm. I wake up refreshed and ready for coffee. By waking up early I add hours to my day and create a block of time to get things done that I wouldn’t be able to do during the day.
Again, I know 5:00am is early and might not be the time that works for you. My suggestion is to start waking up ½ hour earlier than you normally would. Use that time to do something that would make the rest of your day better. After you get used to that time then wake up a little earlier. It’s hard to wake up early at first but after a couple days your internal clock will start to set and it will become easier.
#2. Make bed
I talked about this habit before but I definitely think it’s worth mentioning again. I think making your bed every day is very important. It provides an immediate sense of peace. When my bed is made my room looks clean, put together, and I love knowing after a hard days work I’ll slide into a freshly made bed. Heaven!
Making your bed also send signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up and get moving. There’s no crawling back into bed after it’s made. Making my bed is the first thing I do when I wake up and it only takes about 5 minutes. I feel it’s a simple habit that serves me well and one I think is worth trying if you’re trying to take control back over your mornings.
#3. Get into exercise clothes and sneakers
After I make my bed I get into my exercise clothes and then go downstairs and put my sneakers on. Again this sends signals to my brain that exercise is in my future and not a bravo marathon on Hulu. Like I said earlier I can be lazy with the best of them so I need to do things like this to keep my mind focused on exercise. We all know losing weight is more of a mind game than anything else so little habits, like putting on your exercise gear, can help wrap your brain around the bigger weight loss goals you are reaching for.
#4. Drink a HUGE glass of water
Water consumption is a huge part of weight loss. I try to start every day drinking a huge glass of water. This is an intentional choice for a couple reasons. One I’m not good at drinking all the water I need to everyday so starting my day with a big glass of water keeps me on track. Again, the habits you do in the morning program your brain for the rest of the day. If you start your day drinking a smoothie or water then you are more likely to keep those healthy choices going throughout the day. At least that’s been my experience. Second, I’m heading to the gym and I plan to get sweaty and gross and to have a great workout I need to be hydrated.
#5. Take a moment to yourself
It’s really important for me to take about 10 or 15 minutes in the morning and just enjoy a cup of coffee (after I drink my water), listen to music, and cruise Pinterest and Facebook. I actually think it’s better to leave social media alone during this time but I haven’t broken that habit yet. These few minutes allow me to wake up fully and just relax without any responsibility. My life is busy and I’m always running around and though I work for myself I rarely take time during the day to just sit and relax. My days are filled with cooking, writing, and kids, which is why I cherish my 15 minutes of peace in the morning.
My only word of caution is don’t get too comfy on the couch or you might not get up. If this happens then try taking that time after exercising and before your shower.
One more thing. Some of you might be wondering when I eat breakfast. I don’t eat before going to the gym. Sometimes I’ll drink a small smoothie but mostly I’ll eat when I’m done exercising.
#6. Review calendar
In the morning I review my calendar for the day. Actually, I try to do this the night before but will look at it again in the morning. I put everything from silly hat day to doctor’s appointments in my calendar so I like to check the schedule first thing in the morning so there are no surprises. Surprises equal hot zone.
I also check my meal plan at this time to see if I need to take anything out of the freezer or place in the crockpot. I use Plan to Eat to organize my meal plan. This works great because I can pull it up on my phone, sync it to my calendar, and I don’t have to worry about losing it.
Often, I will check my calendar while having “me time” with coffee since it only takes a few moments.
#7 Review TO DO List
My goal is to create a to-do list the night before but that doesn’t always happen. However, my day does not function without one. I can be very unfocused and if I don’t have a list guiding my day I’m like a chicken with her head cut off. So basically, if I want to be productive and accomplish anything I need to have a to-do list.
My to-do list is broken into work, chores, and personal. I start my day with work-related things because I’m most productive with writing in the morning. By 2:00pm my brain is fried so I move on to chores or any errands I need to run. I know the amount of time I need for certain tasks so I can plan out my day somewhat accurately.
Again, this is another way to program your brain to think ahead of time and stay out of the hot zone. It helps you to stay intentional with choices and to prioritize the things that are important in your day. If you feel like nothing gets done at the end of the day then I recommend trying a to-do list. This way you can see what’s been done and what needs to be moved to tomorrow.
My go to way to create a to-do list is simply using pen and paper or the notes section on my phone. I tried using all the fancy to-do list apps but at the end of the day I prefer old school methods.
#8. Empty dishwasher
I know it might seem weird to see this on the list but I find cleanup after dinner to be a million times easier when the dishwasher is empty. After dinner, I have other things to do so taking the time to empty the dishwasher in the morning is one less thing I have to do at night. At night I’m preparing lunches and possibly prepping ingredients for dinner the next day. An empty dishwasher simply makes this easier. Is this going to make or break your weight loss? No. But it will help move the night move smooth and stress-free. Any little bit helps, right?
I exercise first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. Afterwards, I come home, get ready, and then can go about my day without exercise hanging over my head. Keep in mind that I work from home so I do have a flexible schedule. However, even when I was working a 9-5 job outside the house I tried to get 45 minutes of exercise in 4 times a week. I also made my weekends counts. Today, I try to exercise 4 to 5 times during the week and then rest on the weekends.
If you have kids then getting to the gym before 9:00am is tough. Yes most gyms open at 5:00am but that might not be possible with little kids. If this is the case then I recommend investing in a treadmill or other cardio equipment, a yoga ball, and/or some exercise bands. You can get just as good of a workout at home as you can in the gym. There are tons of exercise apps and you can even find awesome exercise videos on YouTube. There are plenty of home exercise options. The goal is to find a way to exercise 4-5 times a week in the morning.
I find it easier to make exercise a habit if you workout in the morning. There are so many distractions during the day and it’s easy to put your run or exercise class on the back burner because you have an emergency meeting, doctor’s appointment, or whatever else. If this is the case, then I highly recommend carving out time in the morning to exercise. It might be just the thing you need to make and keep exercise a habit.
To complete everything on this list I need about 2 hours and that time includes getting showered and ready for the day. Obviously, everyone is different and has their own schedules but I think if you adopt some or all of these morning habits you will soon see healthy changes starting to unfold.
What’s your morning schedule like? Do you think any of these habits would make a difference? What’s holding you back from doing any of these habits?