Stop right there! If you are new to my 30-day challenge monthly series, make sure you check out this impactful post on the philosophy behind turning actions into habits!
There’s a reason so many gurus, speakers and authors spout the importance of morning hours. There’s magic in those first few moments of the day. Admiral William McRaven, in his best-selling book Make Your Bed, gained national fame with this simple advice: if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. The wisdom behind this basic tenet is logical. Once you’ve made your bed, you’ve accomplished the first task of your day. This instills a sense of pride and encouragement to complete the rest of your daily goals. Also, little things matter. If you do the little things right, you’re more likely to do the big things right. Admiral McRaven goes on to make even more profound points, but I won’t spoil it for you. It’s worth reading the book as well as watching his speech to the 2014 graduation class of University of Texas.
There’s also another metaphor worth sharing. Eat your frog. There’s an old saying: if you eat a live frog first thing each morning, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. So whatever task on your daily to-do list that least excites you, do it first. By defeating procrastination head-on, you are better prepared to have a productive day.
So what do these anecdotes and metaphors have to do with my 30 day challenge? Simple. My challenge for January is to establish a morning routine. Starting the day off in a productive fashion sets you up for success. It improves your psyche, I promise. So I’m going to work on establishing a consistent, productive morning routine. And forcing myself to go through this motion every day for the next 30 days will hopefully turn this simple exercise a life-long habit.
Don’t believe me? Now’s a good time to refuel yourself with this impactful, little 3 minute TED Talk.
Psyched to join me now? Your challenge may be something different, but if you decide to jump on board with this same goal, keep in mind that my morning routine will – and should – look differently than yours. We should each have a ritual that is customized to our own specific needs. With children grown and no more lunches to pack, my routine is simple. I take my pug out for his walk, then COFFEE. LOTS OF IT. In bed… while checking my emails and listening to news. A little slice of the morning just for me. But I need a little more than caffeine to reach my big picture goals for 2018, so I’m adding a few more tasks to my mornings:
The metaphorical importance of this is huge, but literally it’s a pretty good thing to do, too. A neatly made bed helps set the tempo for the entire vibe of my home for the day.
This is a little system I read about years ago in the book Totally Organized by Bonnie McCullough. Go through your home each morning, and spend a maximum of 5 minutes straightening and cleaning each room. This is so easy to do with your smart phone, and you’ll find that you almost never take the full 5 minutes. The only exception to this is the kitchen, which I save for last. Often it takes a little more time to tidy the kitchen. Whenever I add this 5 minute MM (minimum maintenance) to my mornings, I find that the house stays fairly straight all week.
For some reason, I hate to unload the dishwasher. I guess this is my frog. So I’m including it in my morning goals.
I’m not a great cook, and the kitchen will never be my playground. However, if I take a few minutes to think about the dinner menu, it increases my chances of actually COOKING it by a huge amount. So take the meat out to thaw, start a stew in the slow cooker, or simply place ingredients from the pantry onto the countertop as a visual reminder of what you need to prepare at the bewitching hour. Plan dinner.
Laundry is another foe of mine. I usually wait until I have overflowing baskets of dirty clothes greeting me in every room before I actually spend some time in my laundry room. I’ve learned, though, that the best defense against this is simply tackling one load of laundry each day (if needed).
How about you? Have you thought about your 30 day challenge? I’ve love to hear your goals! Come on, ladies. We can do this thing.