There is much to be said of a good morning routine. And it seems, lately that there is, in fact, a lot being said. As a flurry of books on Habits seem to have been released in the last year and likely twice as many on the power of routines and time management, I’ve certainly given developing my own solid morning and daily routines a LOT of thought. Back in August I wrote a little bit about the morning routine I had developed throughout the summer. I loved that routine.
Then guess what happened?!?!?!
MmmHmm. Yup. You guess it. WINTER happened! And, as we’re all acutely aware, it was a particularly brutal one at that. Winter swooped in, dimmed all the sunshine, fortified my home in snow, and caused me to go into a major hibernation mode. Waking up early with the sunshine? What sunshine?! Kicking the blankets off, feeling the morning breeze through the window and smelling the summer scents it carries in with it? Not so much. More like, black out curtains closed, wrapped like a cocoon within an inch of my life in down comforters and afgans made with love in front of fireplaces by grandmothers now passed.
In the winter…I want to stay in that place. I have no sense of what delights I may miss if I waste another moment away in bed….no. Give me my book. Perhaps a warm cup of coffee, those are the only delights of my day. Or so it feels like at 7:30am in the thick of Winter.
As quickly as the good habits slip away in Winter (for me), it’s rather surprising and impressive (if I may say so) how eager I am to resume the summer routines upon the first promise of Spring.
It was warm today. It was sunny today. This is unusual. There was a blizzard only 3 days ago. But, as it’s the first day of April and it was warm and sunny, I started to believe it, trust it.
I woke up early. I meditated for 12 minutes with Ariana Huffington (not exactly with her per se, but check it out here!) I took Bucci for a 2 mile walk. I drank the juice of carrots, apples, ginger and spinach (and I finished my annual March juice cleanse a week ago! This juice wasn’t even mandated!!!). I juiced, and I walked simply because they seemed the right things to do on a nice day.
In anticipation of Spring officially being here and the hope that it’s arrival will become more obvious soon, I’ve put together a checklist to help ensure that I don’t forget any of the daily rituals and habits that I have hoped to add back into my life after this long cold Winter.
A note on creating habits:
When I read this book, one of the things that stuck with me the most was the idea that we only have a finite amount of discipline we can practice in any given day. But, if you create a HABIT out of something that would otherwise require discipline then you’ve freed up that much discipline to apply elsewhere.
I don’t know about you….but turning as much as I can into a habit seems like the way to go to me! I feel my discipline dissipate at some point throughout the day. However, what I need to practice discipline with unfortunately exceeds my daily amount of given discipline. So, I will try to turn as many of these items as I can in to habits instead.
While there are more than a couple dozen items I want to incorporate into my daily life, I felt like I needed to start more reasonably. So, I created my own checklist of items that I think are reasonable to integrate into my life now and turn into habits. The idea is that once these items have in fact turned into habits I can then, layer in some new checklist items.
I tried the iPhone app LIFT, last summer which is pretty much all about creating new habits and I have to admit that it was pretty helpful. However, I am not using it this time around because I feel it conflicts with some recently instituted personal phone policies I’ve instituted (which generally keep a safe space and distance between my hand and my phone).The other reason I am not using a digital approach this time is because I am the type of person who feels very gratified by the act of checking the box. Do you know what I mean? I love paper, I love design, I love stationery, I love the act of writing (even though I have horrific handwriting) and simply, I love to make a slash mark through a list or to check a box. I find it all incredibly satisfying and makes me feel activated, signed-up, present, alive, involved…you name it!
Feel free to download a copy for yourself. I’ve left a some blank space for you to fill in your own habits or go ahead and even white out mine and fill in your own. It’s just meant to get us started.
I plan to use it for the entire month of April (sorry I’m getting it to you a day late!) and just see how it goes. The idea is that this month I will honestly give every item on that list a serious effort and at the end of 30 days if looking back over my sheets I see that one of the items has only been crossed off 4-5 times or something, then I will ask myself what about that item wasn’t working for me. What about my lifestyle as it was made that task so difficult? Could I edit it a little? Or, do I need to simply get rid of it altogether? The beauty in this month long experiment is that is about the amount of time it takes for an activity to turn into a habit.
My birthday is MAY 1st. So, I am really hoping that this year, my birthday present to myself will be that I have created a lot of great daily habits in my life and that I have freed up a whole lot of discipline to use elsewhere as I venture into my 37th year.
What do you want to habitualize (is this not a word?)? what are your thoughts on daily routines and the power of Spring to implement them? I’d love to hear from you.