If you’ve been following me for a while now, you know that I am without a doubt a morning person….and a night owl, lol!
Yes, guilty as charged, mornings are my favorite time of the day, for a variety of reasons such as getting up early & getting in my ‘me-time’ movement, followed by my hands down favorite smoothie and then a hot Earl Grey in my massive “Tea Please” mug [all in that order] before starting the work day. Yup, that's the one below, "Tea Please" not featured🥲
For totally different reasons, I enjoy staying up late and putting my brain to work on the creative side of my life. I notice later in the day is when I can enter a zone where my thoughts and ideas just fly! This is when I like to write my blog posts (like this one), weekly newsletters, ideate on new ways to support my clients & community, discover new branding and partnership opportunities, and work on some of the other business and passion projects I have! On the [total] flip side, some mornings I love to sleep in or lay in bed and snooze the alarm 6x before my eyes actually open, which leads me to ‘the night owl’. Often times I’m up burning the midnight oil and then the clock strikes 10pm and Nick and I look at each other and say, “hey, we’re shutting off in 15 minutes,” which is our signal to not start up anything new that’s going to last more than 15 minutes– it’s waiting for another day. Though the “shut off warning” ends up being treated like that morning alarm, “5 more minutes, 5 more minutes, I’m almost done with this” and then before you know it we didn’t get our time to unwind together talking, stretching or watching Ted Lasso....aaaand this cycle continues. Though I enjoyed this evening time to grind away in thought without any distractions, I knew that sleep and starting my morning earlier, were a higher priority to me and time in my day that I valued and wanted to make sure I had. This didn’t mean that the late night deep work sessions & cuddle time couldn’t take place, I just needed to lean into adjusting up my schedule so I could make them all happen in a way that was realistic & left me feeling fulfilled by the end of the day. So like you, in order to develop more consistency within my morning routine, I knew I needed to be able to implement & maintain some new habits that supported this routine.
In this article, I am going to walk you through my step-by-step process to building new habits & routines that can turn into a lifestyle. Here’s how I get started with building my [now] morning routine:
1. Get clear on your current & future self, routine
I knew that by waking up earlier, 6:30/45am, I would be able to get in my morning workout and get in some focus work before signing on for the day.
Currently, I would wake up about 7:30, get in my workout, shower, smoothie & Earl Grey tea in hand and log on for work by 9:30(ish). This schedule still got myself recharged for taking on my work duties the rest of the day, though, not being on for work till nearly 10am started to eat at me in the evenings.
Especially in the evenings when I would get into those creative zones and get lost in preparing for the next day. By the time I am home from Jiu Jitsu & finished with dinner it's about 8:30pm, so hopping into work after that, just seems to fly by.
In an ideal, yet realistic world, my future self would “shut off” from work, have some relaxing wind-down time in the evening & be in bed by 10:45 every night, so I could wake up well rested & ready to tackle an early morning.
2. Outline traits & habits your future self already has
Next, you will want to walk through the habits that your future self, as you see them, already has in their routine.
My future self wakes up by 6:45am, does her morning workout, has smoothie + Earl Grey in hand and is logged on for work by 8:30am Monday - Friday.
In the evening, she’s winding down by 10(ish), giving her some time to relax, spend quality time with her husband, stretch, watch a show or have some dessert. She’d be in bed, lights out by 10:45 pm.
3. Build ‘mini habits’ you can start implementing right away
Since I’ve established this routine before, so I knew it was doable with the right strategy. Next, you’ll want to break down these habits into mini habits you can start implementing right away. Before we do that, we need to get the bigger picture and funnel down.
Here’s how I broke down my future self routine, even further:
The root of the situation for me was going to bed too late. I know myself now that my body really needs & thrives when I get a solid 7 hours of sleep.
So I worked backwards.
To wake up by 6:30am, I will need to be asleep by 11:30pm to get in my full 7 hours. Factoring in my bedtime routine and time to actually fall asleep, that was about 45 mins (now at 10:45 pm).
This gives me more to work with on what the earlier part of my evening needs to look like to get here. Since I want to have some wind-down time after wrapping up evening work, I would need to shut off by 10 pm at the latest to have at least 45 mins of relaxing time before getting ready for bed.
Knowing that by the time I’m back from Jiu-Jitsu and done with dinner, it’s about 8:30pm, I need to plan ahead for the projects I want to tackle in the evening. This will keep me focused and have the most productive use of my time, so I don’t dip into my relaxing time.
So after dinner, I’ll plan to tackle 1-2 projects, max, depending on the length of each so I can still shut off by 10pm at the latest.
Tangible mini habits I can implement from this:
Before getting ready for Jiu-Jitsu, decide which 1-2 projects I will be working on that evening
After dinner, by 8:30pm, hop into those projects
Set timer for 9:45 pm reminder that relax time is coming up and to wrap up what I am working on
Turn phone on do not disturb for least distractions
After wind-down time, start bedtime routine by 10:45pm
4. Anticipate obstacles ahead of time
This may be my favorite step in the [mini] habit building process– anticipating the obstacles ahead of time. From my tenure in the hospitality world, the concept of anticipating the guest’s needs has always stuck with me and is a foundational way I conduct my client relationships. The process behind anticipating the guests’ needs is getting ahead of what you think or know the guest is going to ask for and already have it waiting for them as a pleasant surprise. This is the above and beyond level of hospitality I learned during my time at Marriott International. Naturally, I take this into my Airbnb hosting business, so we will pull an example from there. Picture this: you are on your way to your Airbnb in Reno/Tahoe for a summer weekend getaway with the family. You’ll be driving up from California and with traffic this is easily a 4+ hour drive if not more. When you arrive, you’re pleasantly surprised with a fridge full of complimentary beverages to quench your thirst with an easy, cold, quick grab-and-enjoy, drink of your choice. Anticipate the needs = surprise and delight = happy guest. I use this same premise as we do in hospitality of anticipating the guest’s needs for identifying your obstacles and potential roadblocks in following through on your [mini] habits. By pinpointing the potential challenges that may arise ahead of time, you are more likely to overcome them with ease simply because you “pre-expected” them to occur. This most often shows up in your life when you say, “gosh I knew this would happen” or “I called it” when you could have bet it would occur, but you didn’t prepare for it. Let’s zoom in:
I travel a lot, so I know that not every day or every weekend may look the same due to travel, so this is a potential disruptor in my flow.
I work with clients on a one-to-one basis and sometimes random things come up that require my attention to ensure I can serve them best.
Some days, I may simply need the extra sleep, so I may not be up and have my workout already done before 8:30 am.
I have different programs that I launch throughout the year and sometimes these launch periods take up a lot of my time and energy, which may require late night working sessions.
Now, the next step would be to identify solutions or overcomes to each of these obstacles that you actually agree with and are realistic. I won’t do those here for each of these, but I advise you do this with yours!
5. Create an accountability loop
Finally, create an accountability loop. Your accountability loop is what keeps you going, or what you may say, “gets you back on track” when you fall off the wagon with your consistency. In the accountability loop, I break down the components that you often encounter in your routine building process such as the blockades life throws your way & the people, places or things that help you power through them.
Having these anticipated as much as possible (of course you can’t anticipate everything) and have the people & systems in place for you to keep moving forward is integral to building & maintaining consistency around your new habits.
Part of this practice is also to realize and understand that you only have control over so much. Yes, there will be unforeseen, unpredictable events that happen in your life. There will be days where you want to hit snooze 6x and you’re glad you did. Nights where you stayed up late because you were in such a flow and had so much running through your mind until 2 o’clock in the morning.
This is life. This is part of the habit maintaining process. It would be considered “too easy” if life never threw you curveballs to deal with.
The ultimate goal is not to reach any certain goal. It’s to build a lifestyle that you love & you’re proud of.
I discuss more about this, the accountability loop & how to implement it in your life in the 2, short, videos below.
For more guidance and a step-by-step breakdown to building your habits as we did here, head to www.milsnerfitness.com/habits & download my Mindset & Habit Development Workbook so we can work through this same process for your goals.
Next, let's talk about some methods you can use to actual develop new and stack old habits with new ones to build a consistent routine. You may not have noticed this, but I used this exact method in #3 when we built out my "mini habits".
After watching the videos, feel free to comment on this post with any of the “yellow dots” and “red X’s” in your life!
For more guidance and a step-by-step breakdown to building your habits as we did here, head to www.milsnerfitness.com/habits & download my Mindset & Habit Development Guide so we can work through this same process for your goals.
P.S. I still building & understanding this new habit into my daily routine. Some days I miss the mark & others I don’t. I celebrate the small wins each and every time & that challenge to level up, always keeps me craving to do better the next week.
Building habits is like maintaining your health, it doesn't ever really end, you just keep getting stronger and wiser with more reps and consistency.
Always here to support you & look forward to seeing your comments below on this topic!
To life, Vanessa