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Have you tried over and over again to create a morning routine, but you just can’t stick with it? Me too! But I’ve figured out how to do it. And so can you!
The key is to make it flexible.
Now, you may think that sounds strange – it’s a routine, shouldn’t it be … not flexible?
Well, the answer to that is yes and no.
It’s also important to make the routine manageable. There’s no point trying to make working out in the morning a routine if you don’t have time for it.
Why flexibility is important
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You may think the point of a routine is to make different actions into habits. And that’s one way to look at it.
Another way to look at it is that a routine helps you have time for the things you want to do more of. It’s also self care in the sense that you take time out of your day to do something for yourself.
That may be reading, it may be to cook a healthy lunch, or working out. It all depends on what YOU want.
But a strict routine doesn’t take into account that not every day is the same. You may oversleep, or you may have slept bad and you don’t have the energy to go through a whole routine.
That’s why having a flexible routine is important.
Create your perfect morning routine
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So, imagine your perfect morning routine. You feel rested and energized and you have enough time.
It’s a good idea to write this down. Because now, we’re going to start messing with it.
The idea of a perfect morning routine is great, but, as I touched upon, not all mornings are perfect. That’s where having a flexible routine is useful – and when I figured this out, it was a revelation.
Some people talk about having a “habit menu”, and there is also a book by Stephen Guise called Elastic Habits.
So how do we take the perfect morning routine and make it flexible?
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The key to making a flexible routine is to make alternatives. I think it’s important that all alternatives involve some of the same elements, because it’s not really a routine if not, is it?
If you just do different things every morning, it’s not a routine. And instead of maybe give you a nice start to the day or help you reach your goals, you’re just doing random stuff.
Lateral and vertical flexibility
The variations of your morning routine should involve some of the same elements, but there needs to be both lateral and vertical flexibility.
What I mean by that, is that you need variations on how much you do, and how intense it is.
An example: If you want to work out in the morning, you can have a small, medium or large goal. But you can also vary the intensity.
So, say you’re pressed for time, but are really energetic, you can work out for 15 minutes with high intensity. If you have more time, but less energy, you may want to do a 30 minute yoga session.
Both of those activities belong in the category of “working out” as part of your routine (if that is something you’ve included).
Examples and inspiration to make your own perfect, but flexible, morning routine
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Earlier, I asked you to imagine your perfect morning routine. But maybe nothing came to mind, you just know that you want to make a routine to get a better start to your day. So, I would suggest taking a few minutes to think of what you want to achieve with your morning routine. Do you want to have a calm, relaxing start to the day, or do you want to feel like you’ve achieved something first thing in the morning, or maybe you just want to make your mornings run more smoothly?
Examples of some alternatives
There are a few things I want to incorporate more of in my life. Working out, reading and learning a new language are some of those goals.
But I also want to be kind to myself. Therefore, my routine(s) have elements of both working on my goals, and having a relaxed morning.
So a low energy morning routine may look like this:
A high energy morning routine may look like this:
And a low on time morning routine may look like this:
As you can see, you can vary the amount of time or energy you spend on an activity, depending on how you feel and what you have time for.
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Right now I don’t have that many items in my morning routine, but If I’m really short of time or am really low on energy, I may completely omit a habit that day.
That’s the great thing about a flexible routine – it allows for you to stick to the same elements, but vary them depending on time and energy.
And that’s how you stick to a morning routine, you have to make the routine work for you.
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See you soon!