How to Set Your Day Up for Success

If you don’t follow me on Instagram already, I recently announced the launch of my new project — the How She Does It Co podcast! I’m so excited to start connecting with all of you through my podcast and can’t wait to continue to create new content for you. One of the episodes you’ll find on my podcast is all about how to set yourself up for success by establishing a solid morning routine.

Back when I was teaching full time — completely burnt out and miserable working at a job I didn’t love anymore — I had the worst morning routine and often felt awful for the first few hours of my day. I would literally wake up 10 minutes before I had to leave, quickly brush my teeth, get dressed and do my makeup in the car or at work. I rushed around like a mad woman and wondered why it took me hours to just feel like a normal human being.

When I finally decided to leave my job and go full time in my business, I knew I needed to change things up in order to be more productive. There was no one around to tell me what to do and when do to do it, so I started doing some digging and experimenting until I finally found a rhythm.

Before I jump into the details, I want to preface this post by saying these tips don’t just apply to full time business owners or bloggers — they apply to anyone and everyone. Whether you’re working for yourself, a stay at home mom, a college student, or working a 9-5, you can easily integrate these tips into your morning. They don’t have to take a lot of extra time and there’s actually a couple steps you can do while you’re taking care of other things.

In addition to the usual routine of brewing my coffee and making my bed, here are the five things I do every morning to set my day up for success:

Gratitude Journaling

Once I’m done making my bed, I immediately dive into gratitude. I’ve talked about this before on my Instagram, but I always make it a point to write down a few things I’m grateful for every single morning. Doing so really helps to set the tone for everything else going on in my day, especially if i wake up in a funk, feeling a little groggy, or in a bad mood. Practicing gratitude really just puts everything into perspective. When it comes to gratitude it doesn’t have to be complicated — it can be as as simple as being grateful for coffee, waking up in a warm bed, having plenty of food to eat, having a car to get you wherever you need or want to go — you can be as general or as specific as you’d like. I always write down at least three things, but often end up with a list of five or more. If you’re new to adding gratitude journaling to your routine, start small and see where it takes you from there.

One thing I will strongly suggest is writing these things down. Not on computer but actually writing these out in your own handwriting. I keep a separate journal for gratitude and manifesting so I can look back and reflect on other things I’ve written. If I have some extra time in the morning, I’ll often look through past entries and remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for. It’s really the best way to put everything into perspective, especially if you’re feel shitty, uninspired, or overwhelmed.

You may have heard me talk about my obsession with Manifestation Babe Kathrin Zenkina before — she is a huge reason why I’ve been so into manifesting lately. She says gratitude is the highest vibration you can put out into the Universe — and what you put out there, what you think about, you attract more of. I know this might sound a little crazy to some people, but I find it to be so true. Practicing gratitude really helps me start my day on a positive note.

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Personal Development

After writing in my journal, I always dive into some personal development. Personal development — or PD — can come in many forms and it’s really all about your personal preferences. Sometimes PD can involve reading for 20 minutes, listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or watching videos on YouTube. Right now i’m going through a manifestation challenge with Kathrin Zenkina, which serves as my personal development in the morning. I have the challenge downloaded to my Kindle Cloud so I can literally take it anywhere, regardless of whether or not I’m at home to go through my routine. In addition to the book, I almost always have a podcast or audiobook on so I’m often squeezing in even more personal development throughout the day while I work on projects for clients, take care of household chores or run errands. I love podcasts and audiobooks because they make it super easy to fit in your personal development even if you’re super busy. My favorite audiobook I’m listening to right now is You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. I’ve read the book before, but now that my client work is picking up, it’s been super helpful to be able to listen to the book while I’m working.

If you don’t already have an account with Audible, you can sign up here for a 30 day free trial and grab your first book for free.

Meditation

Right after I finish my morning personal development, I typically settle in for a quick meditation. I used to be so resistant to meditating. I thought I would have such a hard time sitting still and quieting my mind long enough to meditate for 10-15 minutes — but when I decided to make a serious effort to work on my mindset, I figured I’d give meditation a try. I found an app called Insight Timer and fell in love. They have so many different meditations to choose from — ones for anxiety, sleep, creativity, stress — but I always choose one around manifesting. Lately I’ve been focusing on manifesting abundance so my practice usually involves a guided meditation centered around this topic. I like to choose a meditation that involves an instructor guiding me through the practice for at least 10 minutes. Insight Timer has meditations anywhere from four to 30 minutes, so if you’re new to meditating, start small and work your way up.

To settle into my practice, I usually lay down on my bed with a blanket, pop my headphones in and cover my eyes with a sleep mask. Doing these three things really helps to relax me and I always have my essential oils diffusing too. This is one of my favorite ways to start the morning because I feel like it helps me get in certain mindset that sets me up for a more productive, successful day.

If you’re skeptical or resistant to meditating but want to give it a try, definitely look into the Insight Timer app and choose a shorter, guided meditation that suits you!

Eating a Healthy Meal

To be honest, I’m not a big breakfast person — in fact, I used to skip breakfast entirely when I was teaching full time but realized it was crushing my productivity and taking a toll on my energy levels. Now, I make it a point to eat something towards the end of my morning routine once I’ve had some time to wake up and settle in. Even if you’re not a big breakfast person, or don’t have tons of time in the morning, you can still find ways to incorporate a nourishing, healthy meal to get your mind focused and ready for the day. I’ll sometimes prep my breakfast the night before by making my favorite chia seed pudding (almond milk, chia seeds and fresh or frozen fruit stored in a glass mason jar), so I can just grab it out of the fridge in the morning to save some time. If you can’t squeeze in a full meal, try finding a recipe you love that you can prep ahead of time so you can grab and go on your way out the door.

Tidying Up

The last step in my morning routine involves a quick clean up, mostly around my work space. I don’t know about you, but I have such a difficult time operating in a messy, chaotic space, so every morning I set aside about 5-10 minutes go through my work area and straighten up whatever needs put away or organized. I realize not everyone will have time to add this to their routine, but if means waking up just a few minutes earlier to give your space a quick clean up it is so worth doing. If you really can’t find the time, try at least putting things away as you finish using them, rather than leaving them scattered on the floor or on surfaces. Whether or not you work from home, having a clean space to work and live in makes it easier to function and helps to boost your mood and productivity.

I know it sounds like this may be a lot to add to your morning, especially if you don’t work from home, but try and find your own way to make these things a priority. The personal development aspect can be done while you’re driving to work, prepping lunch, or making your coffee. If you’re having trouble fitting in some meditation, choose a practice that is shorter in duration. As far as practicing gratitude, you can wait until you get to work to write in your journal; think of what you want to write down while you get ready or during your commute. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with incorporating at least one thing into your routine and add the rest when you’re ready.

Do you have a solid morning routine? What does your morning look like? Let me know!

xxElizabeth