I’ve always loved the idea of a morning routine. Starting the day off bright and early, with a healthy dose of prayer and Bible study, exercise, and personal growth, just sounds like perfection. Superwoman’s launching pad.
Morning routines of the rich and famous
And we’ve all heard the stories of all the famous people that have morning routines starting as early as 430am, and how their routines have been instrumental in catapulting them to success.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, starts his day with an hour on the treadmill while watching courses from the Teaching Company.
Howard Scultz, of Starbucks fame, starts his days at 430am, walking his dogs and working out. He then makes coffee for himself and his wife using a French Press.
Winston Churchill was famous for waking up at 730am but staying in bed until 11am, eating breakfast and dictating to his secretaries.
Arianna Huffington starts her day with an important “don’t”–she doesn’t look at her smartphone. Instead, she does some deep breathing, takes a few moments to be grateful, and sets her intention for the day.
The late Steve Jobs would wake up, make his bed, shower, and look himself in the mirror and ask, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I am about to do today?” If the answer was “no” too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something.
Oprah Winfrey starts her mornings with 20 minutes of meditation, followed by at least 25 minutes on the treadmill and then a walk listening to music, and then she prepares a healthy breakfast.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, plays tennis for an hour every morning at 545am.
Benjamin Franklin’s famous morning routine spanned three hours and included very specific tasks, including asking himself, “what good shall I do today?”
Some other early risers you might recognize include:
- Richard Branson – founder of Virgin (5;45am)
- Jeff Besos- Amazon founder (between 7-8am)
- Warren Buffet -CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (6:45am)
- Bob Iger- Disney CEO (4:15am)
- Jack Dorsey- Twitter founder (5:30am)
Clearly, there must be something too this whole morning routine concept.
The struggle is real
But, it seems that so many people wake up each morning, get ready for work, get the kids ready for school, and head out the door. Routines are in place, for sure, but they don’t lead to anywhere better or new. Mornings are often rushed, stressful, and chaotic.
I have this deep, abiding desire to grow and become all that God wants me to be, and I believe that a solid morning routine is a KEY to success.
But oh, how I’ve struggled to be consistent!
Which is kind of weird for me, as I have always been more of a morning person. I’m a nurse, so getting up early was a way of life when I worked in the hospital. Same with being a mom–the years of existing on very little sleep became “normal.”
But as life has begun to afford a little more flexibility, and with a hubby who is a bona fide night owl, it has been easy to stay up late with him and then sleep just late enough to throw me off my morning game.
And every day that I didn’t get up as early as I wanted–my goal is always between 500-530am–I would feel “behind.” I would still get a lot accomplished, or get a full day of nursing work in, but I always want to do better, get up earlier, accomplish more.
Because I am alll about productivity and checking off that list.
Yes, I am an Enneagram 3 and a type A. More about that in future posts!
Anyway, the point is that I have struggled being consistent and meeting my daily goals, which, in turn, leads to feeling like I’m always falling short and that I could have gotten more done, if only.,..
Even though the struggle has been real, thankfully my mornings haven’t been total disasters or failures, and out of that imperfect and somewhat inconsistent place, something wonderful is being born and I want to share it with you!
The power of words–God’s idea
First a quick little bit of background. As part of my morning time (and sometimes bed time), I’ve read multiple books on personal growth. I LOVE this topic, and it has opened up a whole new world to me! I will be reviewing and recommending several of my favorites soon, so stay tuned!
A common theme when it comes to personal growth is the power of daily affirmations or confessions. And, as it turns out, it was actually God’s idea.
It’s all through the Bible. Take, for example, Mark 11:22-24:
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
And Proverbs 18:21:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
In other words, what you say, you will have.
Again, this is a well-known truth throughout the self-help and personal growth world. Positivity and affirmations are frequently recommended tools with which to change your life.
And there’s a good reason for that–they work!
What you say is what you will see
For many years I have been speaking God’s word concerning healing over my body and my family. I have personally seen many victories, as has my family! I’ve shared some of that in my posts about my story https://www.wellforheavensake.com/how-i-found-freedom-part-1/. And if you stick around these parts, I promise to share a lot more!
And part of my (almost) daily routine is to speak the things over my life that I want to see come into my reality. (I usually do this while I am on the treadmill.)
I began speaking about the kind of person I want to be, about how I want to look and feel, and about how I want to spend my time.
Here are a few examples of what I speak over myself each morning:
- I am disciplined, spirit, soul, and body
- I am strong and healthy
- I am faithful, consistent, and diligent
- I am in the best shape of my life (physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, relationally, and spiritually)
- I am committed to my fitness goals and I look forward to working out every day
- I am productive and efficient with my time
The wonderful thing about affirmations is that there is no right or wrong–you can make them whatever you want them to be! (as long as they are positive). They can cover any topic. They can be as short or long as you want them to be. You can even use scriptures to speak over yourself.
The important thing is that you say them regularly–daily is best–because that is where the power is. You will believe your own voice more than any other voice, and the more you say them, the more believable they become, and the more you start seeing them bring change.
So where has this gotten me so far?
My first experience with all-in commitment
As I mentioned earlier, my morning routine has existed, just not in the perfect form that I imagined it to be. But I managed to fit in my affirmations most days, trusting and believing that they would bring positive change to my life.
I always had the goal in sight, but I wasn’t ever totally “all-in.”
So here’s what has happened…
One day a few weeks ago during my morning prayer time, I heard the Lord quietly speak to me. Not audibly, but in my heart.
He spoke to me about exercise, and gave me an assignment: Burn 200 calories on the treadmill, every day for 30 days. Do that, and then He will tell me what is next.
So no weekends off? No. Every day, as in, every.day?? Yes. Every day.
Okay. I resolved in my mind: I’ll do it.
Well, I have just finished my 30 days. And full disclosure–I wasn’t perfect. I missed 2 days. One was due to unexpected plans that took me out and away from treadmill. And one day was due to travel fatigue. And then I missed a third, but I did a double work out the next day to make it up the best I could. Not making any excuses, just owning that I am not perfect.
A mindset shift
But let me tell you what is happening, and how I can see transformation happening in multiple areas of my life.
The first thing that started happening has been a shift in my mindset. I’ve been learning, on a whole new level, what consistency, commitment, and diligence look like.
That first week was HARD. The first couple of days went really well. But as the weekend drew near, I got tired. And my hip joints hurt. I didn’t feel like walking/running on the treadmill. And it started to feel a little boring.
How many times have we felt these same feelings when starting anything new??
We start out all excited about our new business, our new diet, our new job, etc., etc., and then, we’re not.
We get bored, and tired, and it starts to feel like…work.
But I had an assignment from God. Was I just supposed to tell him that I got bored and quit?
No. And I know Him well enough to know that when He instructs me to do something, it is for my good, not for self-serving reasons on His part.
So I hung in there. And I put on praise music and said my daily affirmations. Some days my body felt achy and protested this surprising daily uptick in activity. But I made my body keep going.
And I survived haha. And I started thinking in terms of being determined and committed, rather than how soon this would be done. I started thinking about how my body was starting to change–for the better!
Case in point: I recently had a birthday. In the past, I would always use this day, or any holiday, as a legit excuse not to exercise. But this time, to my own amazement, I found myself looking forward to a longer workout since I took the day off and a completely free morning.
Who am I and and what is my life??
A 30-day transformation
And here’s where the “magic” really started to happen. I began to think differently about other areas of my life. I’ve started to hate procrastination with a new passion. (something this recovering perfectionist has really struggled with!)
Maybe it’s partly the increased energy I have from exercising, but mostly a mindset shift that’s happening. I’m realizing and starting to believe that I CAN do things and stick with them. And, it’s SO fulfilling!
I started to believe that I can be consistent, productive, diligent, committed, and successful in multiple areas of my life. (One of my daily affirmations is that I am a proactive person of action!)
By doing something every single day, even for a short time, I can accomplish a lot. For example, did you know that if you read a book or pray just 20 minutes a day, that after a month you will have done it for 10 hours?? That’s 10 hours of learning about a new topic or fellowshipping with the creator of the universe!
Friends, this is SO BIG.
The secret to success
Here’s the secret I’m learning: CONSISTENCY is the secret to success.
As I came to the end of the month, I noticed I had gotten faster on the treadmill. I walk uphill a good part of the way. I don’t count distance or time, I go by calories as the Lord specifically instructed me.
Why calories? I think it was because it was something I had to strive for. If I say I am going to walk for 30 minutes, I can walk slowly without any incline and reach my goal. But if I have to burn a certain number of calories, there has to be a certain amount of exertion involved If I want to do it faster, I have to work harder.
And the hard work felt good! I like the feeling when I am done that I have accomplished something. Walking uphill for one to two miles feels kinda like work!
So it’s not that I have to spend a lot of time each day. It’s that I set my goal and meet it each day.
Life lessons from the treadmill
THIS is a lesson that can be applied to every area of life.
So my goals for each morning include:
- Bible reading
- Reading for personal growth
Over the past four weeks, I have somehow been so consistent in these areas. Take journaling, for example. It’s something I’ve wanted to do on pretty much a daily basis, but honestly, I haven’t enjoyed it. I find it tedious, and I’m a lefty and don’t really care for my handwriting.
But I wanted to chronicle my life. I wanted to record special memories, and what I feel the Lord is speaking to me during my prayer time. And special trips and funny situations I get myself into–the ordinary moments that make up a life well-lived.
And once I get going, I want to write SO much, and I usually don’t have time, so, in my perfectionist thinking, I would skip it. But I really do like having things documented, so once again, I would feel like I fell short.
But I’ve changed up my format a little and I now journal in more of a bullet form, which seems so much for doable, and I’m loving it! And this came about because I’m discovering the power of consistency and taking action in my mornings.
It’s a small goal, but it’s a significant one for me. And by experiencing success in this area, I build confidence that I can be successful in other areas.
Benefits of my morning routine so far
So in just 30 days, I feel like I have embarked on a transformation that is going to completely change my life. Goals that have alluded me for years are going to be achieved. Here’s what I’ve gained so far:
- In 30 days I lost 4.5 pounds with minimal changes in my diet
- I look different in my clothes, and they feel so much more comfortable
- My husband tells me almost every day that he loves the way I look (and I’m not made about it!)
- I have more energy and significantly less pain
- I feel stronger mentally, and experience less overwhelm
- I’m generally more productive on a daily basis
- I’m eating better because I don’t want to undo my hard work
- I have a consistent daily prayer and Bible study time
- I”m journaling consistently (a personal goal of mine)
- I have more confidence that I can power through my daily to-do list–so I do!
All of this in just.30.days. With one seemingly small assignment from God. But He knew. He knew what the ripple effects would be. And now, I”m not about to stop. There’s no way I’m letting go of the foundation He has helped me build, and the progress I have already made!
I’ll be writing a lot more about morning routines, as I strongly believe in their power to change lives. I’ll also update you on my progress, so please keep coming back and take this journey with me! Tell me about your routine! Do you have one? What is yours like?