I'm NOT a morning person BUT...
by Sarah Light
THE most influential habit that I formed this year was implementing an effective morning routine. It was something I knew I probably should have been doing already but had many MANY reasons why I hadn’t yet. So January 1st last year I started the new year with a newborn who was 5 weeks old, a toddler about to turn 2, and a 4 year old who went to pre-school part time.
Morning routine what?! How about just some solid sleep. That would be nice.
However, as my maternity leave was coming to an end, I knew that if I was going to have a shot at running a business AND being a wife AND being a mom to 3… well I wasn’t sure what I was going to do exactly to have a shot at that, but I knew I was going to have to get my mental game on lockdown. There was no room for negative thoughts to take over. There was no room for pity parties. There was no room for excuses.
Enter: The Miracle Morning. I have never been an early, slay your day, tackle-as-much-as-you-can-before-daylight kind of gal. I am most definitely a night owl. I come alive after 8pm. That’s when my mind is sharp, I have my best ideas, and I work most efficiently. Mornings on the other hand, I am in a deep fog. I used to hide under my covers until my children found me and started jumping on me. So it took some convincing for me to figure out how to even wake up before the nursing baby started stirring. Let alone do anything coherent. But I did. I figured it out [*disclaimer below*]. It’s the Miracle Morning.
I’m not going to try to convince you to get up early. You can google The Miracle Morning and read all about the S.A.V.E.R.S routine or even better you can read the book. However I do want you to think about how an intentional start to your day can change your whole day. In the words of author Hal Elrod,
“Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life — in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life.”
Once I began the intentional efforts of waking up with a focus, I learned it was less about how early I got up or what routine I was following, and it was way more about realizing that each morning, this moment, matters more than I wanted it to. Who I am becoming is tied to how I am living this moment out. I don’t like that thought at 6am. I don’t want 5:30-6:30am to count.
The mornings have become so precious to me now. Sometimes I’ll have as much as an hour to myself, most days it’s 30 minutes. Just enough to get my mind in a good place. To think about my day with intention and picture how I want to interact with my kids and with the people I work with. To drink delicious coffee. To read my Bible. To go through my prayer cards. To go for a walk. I don’t get to do all those things every single day, but I try to and I look forward to them as I set my alarm. You think I’m lying. My husband is a morning person and almost every day I am now awake before him.
I really believe some of the heart changes I had this year and the personal growth I experienced had space to happen because of how I started my day. It created resiliency. It gave me a daily chance to picture a good outcome to a challenging situation. What does this year hold for you? What could an intentional morning routine do for you?
[disclaimer]: If you happen to be responsible for really little people at this stage in your life, you just have to give yourself some grace. Day to day life is so unpredictable, you do not have a say in how all things go and not every day is going to go according to plan. However on the other hand, if you’re responsible for really little people all day, you also need some alone time. You need some sane, quiet moments. So at least try for it and hold tight to grace with all you’ve got [end disclaimer].
4 Thoughts to keep in mind when implementing the Miracle Morning:
[The SAVERS routine: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Read, Scribe]
Just keep at it. Don’t “reward” yourself with a break once you’ve stuck with it for a week. Keep going. You are changing a pattern. The author of The Coaching Habit says, “This stuff is simple, but it’s not easy. It’s hard to change your behavior, and it takes courage to have a go at doing something differently, and resilience to keep at it when it doesn’t work perfectly the first time (which it won’t).”
Silence and Visualization, don’t knock it. It sounds a little new-agey, but I actually think it’s really grounded. In the “Silence” time of your morning, you aren’t letting any other messages or labels or pressures influence you. It’s just you and God. It’s you being vulnerable and bare and raw. How freeing it is to be whom you really are. “Too much of your day is spent doing things you think people want you to do.” (Michael Bungay Stanier). Visualization can be a whole new level of taking your thoughts captive. Especially if you pay attention to how your physical body feels when you’re seeing a picture in your mind. It is NOT picturing yourself rich and then you will become rich. I’ll share an example. When my husband travels and I’m home solo with my kids all day and all night, I will picture myself as a joyful mom who values the opportunity to create new memories with her kids. I picture myself calm and not overwhelmed by my tasks. I picture my toddler having a meltdown and how I want to handle it. I even picture myself recovering from a moment of frustration and how I want to recover quickly from those moments. I find that I end up looking forward to the week and although it most definitely does not go as pictured, it’s like my mind knows subconsciously how to move all of us a little closer to it.
If you are in a season of pain or struggle, I urge you to implement the ideas behind the miracle morning to bolster your hope. “Nothing is more important than to learn how to maintain a life of purpose in the midst of painful adversity.” (Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering).
We need your best self and for you to be aware of who that is. Be willing to try an effective, intentional morning routine for this reason. In the words of Jen Hatmaker, “This really is your one wild and precious life. You matter so much. You are writing a good story for your children. Your community and church need you, your neighbors and family need you, God adores you and Jesus is obsessed with you. Here we are, your community of women running this race together, proud of you, moved by you. We’ll stumble; that’s part of the course, but we’ll leave no woman behind. Our generation will cross the finish line having loved God and people with all our might.”
Click here to download the Morning Routine worksheet.