It has now been 21 days since I started my new morning and evening routines. I wrote about it here. The goal was for me to be able to have most of the things I wanted done during the week while still working my 9 to 5 job. So that I could be more flexible during the weekend.
That is why I needed to plan in advance the time I had available in the morning and in the evening after work.
A productive morning routine
So first I had envision the morning routine below:
- Waking up at 6.30 a.m.
- Do my bed
- Drink a glass of water
- Meditate for 2 to 5 min
- Read positive affirmations for 2 to 5 min
- Look at my vision board or visualize my goals for 1 min
- Read or listen to a podcast for 10 min
- Training/learning a new skill for 1 hour
- Write my top 3 MVPs (Most Valuable Priorities) of the day
- Wash up
- Go to work
I am glad to say that I stick to the above 95% of the time. For me the first week wasn’t that difficult. Indeed I already experimented the elements of this routine separately the year before. I would challenge myself to meditate every day for 10 days. Then I would do the same for the positive affirmations and my vision board and so on. On week 2, came the doubts and fatigue, I was less consistent and gave myself a break some days and started over the day after.
About me waking up at 7.00, this is something that I decided to change along the way because I wasn’t totally satisfied with the time I had in the morning. Indeed I wanted to have 20 to 30 minutes dedicated to my mindset (steps 2 to 6). And then I still needed 1 and half to work on a new skill. Therefore, I progressively decided to wake up earlier until I manage to wake up at 6.30.
My goal for next month is to wake up at 6.00 and I am going to try my best! I felt so energized waking up that early, being so productive and working on my goals. It really made January passed by very past and I was all the time excited to start my day.
What was new in my morning routine
One new thing for me in this morning routine was to actually learn a new skill. The past year when I would wake up earlier it was to get a head start on my job for the day (very bad idea by the way). Now, this extra 1 hour that I have in the morning is dedicated to my personal development. I use this time to learn more about writing for my blog, research some online trainings or read a book about personal finance for instance.
Then, the most important is to start implementing what I’ve just learned right away. I will try, adjust it and then decide if it is something for me or not. I love to proceed that way because it avoids losing time and allows me to build on the momentum. I am using the excitement of having just learned something new to change my habits one after the other.
Read: Building on the momentum
The second new component of my morning routine was the 3 MVPs. I have learned about it in the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy which I highly recommend. When you have a big dream or goal that seems almost impossible to you, setting smaller goals is very useful. That is the purpose of the 3 MVPs for me. They are the three tasks I’ve decided to focus on during my day. Write and achieve your 3 MVPs from Monday to Friday and you will already have accomplished 15 tasks of your biggest goal!
A stress-free evening routine
My plan for my evening routine was as follows:
- Commuting from work 20 min
- Sport/fitness at home for 1 hour
- Cooking for 30 min to 1 hour
- Dining for 30 min to 1 hour
- Blogging/writing/editing for 1,5 hours
- Reading for 30 to 45 min before bed
Since I’ve always been more of a morning person, having a scheduled evening routine was very new to me. Usually, as soon as the sun comes down, my brain does the same. And it is even worse in winter. In general, I can’t focus as long as I can in the morning and I reserve the evening to tasks and activities that don’t require as much brain juice. That is the reason why I prefer doing my fitness just after work.
How I tricked myself into it
The trick is to go to your gym or to your house just after work without any detour. Besides, all your equipment should already be ready. In the morning I fill in my bottle of water and I lay my mattress and small equipments in my living room so that it is the first thing I see when I get home. Again, I don’t wander in the kitchen or bathroom, I play my fitness playlist (also prepared in advance) and start working out.
Of course, working out after a couple of…months of not being very consistent is not very pleasant. But if you take it step by step and schedule it in advance it will make your life easier. Also do not hesitate to switch up your morning and evening routines once in a while. For example, I did a 15-minute work out during the morning when I felt like it.
How I got myself to have a relaxing evening
If you don’t already know it I love food. Cooking as always been an important part of my life just because I love good food and knowing what is on my plate. Nonetheless, I don’t like spending hours and hours in the kitchen. That is why I plan 30 minutes to 1 hour of cooking every day depending on if I already meal-preped it. I would already have my groceries for the week and at least an idea of what I want to eat. There are lots of pros in this method such as: avoiding snacking, buying ingredients you don’t need and waste food.
Then comes the part I probably enjoy the most lately which is to create content. I would do it while eating, sitting on my sofa with my laptop. I would write my ideas and edit my posts, respond to comments etc. So time flies and it is already time for me to assess the day, get ready to go to bed and read the book on my nightstand.
This evening routine was of course an ideal one which means that if I wanted to go out for an afterwork I would do it and postpone fitness or writing to the next day. It is okay if you do so. You are not a robot and even when you do the best to plan ahead, there are still events you can’t control. So remember to still be gentle with yourself and applaud yourself for trying.
There is honestly no secret to achieve your goals in 2020. You have to change if you want different results. It requires discipline and hard work. I find that having effective morning and evening routines is the best way to go about it, especially when you have a job. The question you have to ask yourself is do you really want a happy and fulfilled life? If your answer is yes you can be part of my next 21 day challenge to (re)set your morning and evening routines. You can register here.