I have become pretty obsessed with the world of habit and routine, and how to harness the power of those forces to maximise chances for a happy and healthy life. But much like setting a budget without knowing what your typical expenditures are, I found I was trying to introduce new habits and routines without taking a good look at what my current mornings typically involve. My goal was to examine what I currently do, highlight any red flags and come up with a strategy for how to address those red flags. This approach feels much more beneficial than just diving head first into a fully-formed brand new morning routine, since most of what I’d be doing is familiar; I’d just addressing some of the kinks.
My workday mornings are almost identical. My alarm is set the night before for 5.30am. I wake up between 5.20 and 5.30, and mess around on my phone, typically scrolling through a bunch of social media feeds that I don’t care about (hello red flag) for 5 – 10 minutes. I force myself out of bed, throw on exercise clothes which have been laid out nicely / chucked on the floor the night before. I stumble to the bathroom, weigh myself (is this a red flag?), put in my contacts, put up my hair (occasionally fruitlessly searching for a hair lackey), look around uselessly for a water bottle, look around uselessly for a towel (that was a tonne of red flags), grab the car keys and head downstairs to the garage. It’s usually around 5.52am at this stage.
I put on Pandora (my car radio is broken), and drive 7.5 – 8 minutes to my group fitness class, typically arriving 1 – 2 minutes late (red flag). I work out for 45 minutes, spend 5 minutes chatting, and drive back home, typically arriving between 7.00am and 7.02am. Instead of being nice and jumping in the shower, I instead go and wake up the boyf using a variety of techniques such as singing Let It Go from Frozen or ripping the sheets off or unceremoniously yanking the blinds open or crawling into bed next to him, sweaty and cold from the outdoor air and insisting he pay me some attention. I know. I’m a catch. I fill him in on what we did in class that morning, then jump in the shower while he puts on a pot of coffee, or vice versa.
We eat different things for breakfast, so I tend to cook first, while multi-tasking on my phone. At 7.26am my unroll.d summary email comes through, so I like to eat my morning omelette while perusing the latest blog updates and clothing sales. I lounge about until 7.40am, which involves some combination of playing on my phone (red flag), updating my food journal or scribbling in my normal journal, then do my dishes, blow dry my hair and do my face, while having overly loud and miscellaneous conversations with the boyf. I wonder how much less we’d talk if we lived in something bigger than a one-bedroom shoebox. I’m typically standing at the door, ready to go at 8.02am while impatiently tapping my foot as the boyf runs around doing all of his things at the last minute (perhaps a red flag in relation to my patience levels), pick up the rubbish, drop it off at the complex bins, then walk 10 minutes to work.
This runs on repeat most mornings. Overall, it’s pretty mundane, but there are some things I think are good, and some things that need work.
Things that are good:
- Regular exercise. This is an entire post in itself, but building the morning exercise habit has done amazing things for me, physically and mentally.
- The wake up the boyf routine. While I accept that I do go about this in the most obnoxious way possible, this little morning tradition is a surprisingly big part of our relationship. On the days I don’t do it, for whatever reason, we both miss it.
Things that are bad:
- A significant amount of time is spent on my phone at various intervals throughout the morning.
- Wasted time looking for hair lackey / water bottle / towel (stuff I need and use every single morning).
- Always at least 1 – 2 minutes late to workout class.
Things that are missing:
My plan is to address the hair lackey issue. It’s probably the red flag that causes my blood to boil more than any other, and it is actually impossible to work out with your hair flying all around like a crazy person. And I want to apply the well-accepted principle of changing only one very small thing at a time. So my baby step for sorting out my morning red flags is to have a hair lackey ready for the morning.
That was a whole lot of navel gazing, and I’m so sorry for that boring pile of drivel. But I really have found taking a microscope to my habits and activities has been important to improving my spending, my eating, and importantly on dealing with the brutality of being honest with yourself.
Forget the last post that was self importantly declaring that I would take some time to just be in the morning. The real issue is I can’t do that because I can’t find my hair lackies. And that is going to change.