3. Mornings

One thing that almost all successful people have in common is a regular morning routine, usually starting from the wee hours of the morning. And that makes complete sense to me, because it implies two things: 1) productivity, and 2) discipline. Obviously, if you wake up earlier in the morning, you’ll be able to accomplish more than the others who are using the same time to snooze. And a regular, daily, consistent routine requires discipline. With discipline comes consistency, which results in productivity.

My last post indicated that I’ve had a lot of trouble waking up in the mornings, despite all my years of dreaming of becoming that perfect morning person who wakes up before anyone else and has hours to exercise, eat healthy, get revived spiritually, and actually have time to do my hair and makeup, and perhaps do other things like learn a new language or read 10 pages of a book.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? This kind of life has always been exceedingly appealing to a perfectionist like me, but if it’s so appealing, why haven’t I been able to live this way after all these years? Shouldn’t the appeal be enough motivation for me to actually DO it?

Eh, maybe not. But recently since I started working full-time for the first time in my life, I realized this snooze-button-pressing habit will not get me very far in life if I continue in these old ways. But sometimes, I’m just SO. TIRED. And since we are human, we can’t operate properly or efficiently without allowing our physical bodies to have adequate rest to recover from each day of work. Because I realize the importance of sleep, there have been times when I would just make it my top priority to SLEEP and SLEEP and SLEEP, or just to take it easy and relax, and essentially do nothing for a whole weekend, or whenever I had a day off. My reasoning behind this behavior was that in this way, I’d be preparing myself for the times when I have no choice but to work and press on. This was a way of both making up for lost sleep and also for storing up a reservoir of sleep to prepare me for the days to come.

I must say there is some validity to that kind of mindset, and I really do need the sleep for the sake of my health. But then there came a point where I was wondering why all the sleep in the world did not seem to do the trick, and there always seemed to be a tired feeling somewhere deep down. For a while, I just brushed it off and blamed it on my depression. And after I started taking a higher antidepressant dose, waking up automatically felt easier after just one day of the new prescription. However, the immediate effects didn’t last too long and I was back to snoozing my way to tardiness once again, because in the end, I was still tired.

Recently, I don’t know what got into me (maybe the fact that my boyfriend won’t propose until he knows he’s dating a woman and not a girl..), but anyway recently I’ve been determined and more motivated than ever to do something that will have a lasting effect on my whole lifestyle. And when it comes to my lifestyle, that means every single day of my life, and every single day of my life begins with a morning. I’m so thankful for the plethora of resources we have online. After doing some research, reading up on what others do as a morning routine, and even tips on how to figure out what is the best morning routine for YOU (each person needs one that is tailor-made for him/her), I started experimenting with what would work for me. I’m still not there yet, but my mornings are gradually starting to look like my long sought after “dream morning.” Key word “starting.” It’s just the beginning.

I won’t go into detail about my in-progress routine, but one small thing that I’ve incorporated as the first step of my routine is very simple, and very normal: opening the curtains of my bedroom (I only have one bedroom, since I rent a room in a family’s house). At first I tried drinking a glass of water as the first thing to do each morning, but eventually I found myself automatically going to the windows to open the curtains, because I really like natural lighting. So, since opening the curtains seemed to already be something I naturally do without much effort, I decided after about a week of figuring out a morning routine that the first thing I do every morning will be that productive thing that comes most naturally – opening the curtains to let the light in. And just in that one step, a lot is accomplished: 1) I’m out of bed. 2) I’m walking around and getting some blood flowing in my arms (there are three windows with huge curtains that I have to reach for). 3) I get exposure to natural light, which helps me wake up. 4) I feel happier because that’s what getting extra natural light does to you (unless you love hiding in a dark cave).

What I realized is that each step of your morning routine, no matter how small it may seem, must have a special positive significance. For me, it should make me feel refreshed, happy, productive yet relaxed, and not stressed out.

I’m not saying that opening my curtains is the only thing I do in the mornings and that it is some magical experience – because it’s not. But each little thing I do surely adds up, and can either make or break my mornings. And the way I begin my day really does set the tone for the rest of the day, although it IS possible to have a new start at any time of the day, rather than letting your life be governed solely by how your mornings are spent.

Nevertheless, your mornings are very important. I was not born a morning person but I believe anyone can become one. So here I am, not yet a success story, but in the process of proving that it is still possible to change your habits in your adult years.

I will continue to figure out what works and doesn’t work for me in the mornings, and hope to share positive lasting results in the near future..

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