Revamping My Morning Routine: An Ongoing Experiment in Personal Improvement

Mornings and I have been mortal enemies my whole life. We detest each other. But our long-standing war needs to end. It's time for us to be friends so I can finally end my daily battle. 

In an effort to strengthen my relationship with mornings, I'll be conducting monthly morning routine experiments. Ridiculously Efficient's CEO and my good friend Marissa will be coaching me through the process, giving me a new habit to experiment with each month. The ideal end result is a seamless, happy and positive morning that fosters a productive and energetic day. 

The Back Story

For as long as I can remember, mornings have always been a huge struggle. As a kid, my mom would fight to get me out of bed and out the door in time to catch my bus to school. In high school and university, I was late for almost every single morning class. I never got into too much trouble for it -- the behaviour became expected after awhile. 

I've always been a natural night owl. No matter how tired I am during the day, I find a surge of energy and creativity at night. I've always done my best work and been most productive when the rest of the world is sleeping. There's something about the stillness of that time of night that makes it easier for me to focus. 

I'm also kind of an insomniac. Sleep is often hard to come by, which doesn't help my relationship with mornings. Plus I'm a light sleeper -- the smallest sound or flicker of light will wake me up and it will take quite long before I get back to sleep again... If I do manage to fall back asleep. 

Now that I'm in my 30s, I'm starting to feel the effects of bad morning habits. As someone who works from home, I don't have much of a solid routine. The creative side of me rejects routine -- I love the idea of each day being different from the last. But I am starting to crave routine as a means of having some sort of structure and control in my day. 

With a good morning routine, I'll be able to implement healthy habits that have been lost on me thus far. It will allow me to start my day in a positive way, while ensuring I do simple things like eat breakfast or take my vitamins. 

This Month's Rules 

For this first round of experiments, Marissa has given me two specific tasks: 

  1. Reframe my experience with mornings by making the first part of my day a happy and positive experience. Knowing my love for all things music, Marissa suggests I create a 30-minute playlist of songs that always make me super happy and make me want to dance. These should be songs that have the ability to always put me in a good mood when I hear them. In addition to Marissa's suggestion, I thought using this playlist as an alarm clock would be a nice way to wake up in the mornings. I require a pretty peaceful wake up, and I can't think of anything more peaceful than a list of my favourite songs. 

    For context, music is my happy place. I go to a ton of live shows and this is where I experience pure bliss and joy. Marissa wanted me to implement these extremely positive feelings into something that has always felt negative in the hopes of retraining my brain to look forward to mornings, rather than avoid them altogether. 
     
  2. Use this first 30 minutes doing something that makes me "immensely" happy. This can be journaling, having a PJ dance party, stretching or meditating. Something that will put me in a good mood, and an activity I do while I listen to my happy morning playlist. This is meant to reinforce the positive anticipation created by the playlist.  

I'll be reporting back in a month's time to share my progress and start a new round of routine experiments. 

Do you struggle with mornings? Try these routine experiments with me! Tell me how you've done in the comments below or on Twitter (@efficient & @RoseminaN).