Here are some strategies to overcome the most common obstacles and making your morning routine quit-proof!
Have you tried a morning routine but found yourself on the struggle-bus and wanting to give up in 3 days?
Have you tried a morning routine but found yourself on the struggle-bus and wanting to give up in 3 days?
I know how you feel.
By creating a self-care routine that includes activities that calm your mind, nurture your body and help you prepare for your day, you help set the tone for the rest of your day and can be more productive, more present and more aligned with your goals.
But I know that for many moms, a morning routine does not feel realistic or do-able. The thought of waking earlier when you’re already exhausted seems like a terrible idea.
In this post (and podcast episode), I share the hacks and strategies I have personally used to overcome the most common obstacles for starting a morning routine as a mom.
Let’s make your morning routine quit-proof!
PREFER TO LISTEN RATHER THAN READ? You can listen to this content in a podcast episode by clicking here.
This is Part 3 of my Morning Routines for Mompreneurs Series. You can read Part 1 here (Why You Need a Morning Routine as a Mompreneur) and Part 2 here (How to Start A Morning Routine and What to Include).
This post assumes that you understand WHY a morning routine is so important as a mompreneur and that you are motivated to do it, but are feeling some resistance or coming up against obstacles.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR MORNING ROUTINE QUIT-PROOF
MY BED IS SO COMFORTABLE AND WARM. I CAN’T GET OUT OF IT.
There have been MANY mornings that my alarm goes off and I groan loudly. Especially in the winter, when it’s very dark outside and cold in my bedroom. Some days, it seems like the literal worst idea in the entire world to get up and do my morning routine at 5:30AM.
If this is something you struggle with and keeps you from getting out of bed, here are a few tips:
Set your furnace schedule to turn on 30 minutes prior to your scheduled wake-up time.
If you have a furnace or heater that can be set to turn on automatically (ie. a programmable thermostat), set that baby to turn on about 30 minutes before you’re intending to get up. Then your room will be toasty warm for when you wake up.
Keep your slippers (and housecoat or clothes) at your bedside.
My floor is hella cold in the morning! The thought of putting my feet on it in the morning is almost enough to keep me in bed when my alarm goes off. I’ve overcome this by setting my housecoat and slippers right at my bedside, so that when I swing my feet over the side, I have somewhere cozy to stick them right away.
MY KIDS KEEP WAKING UP DURING MY MORNING ROUTINE.
My favourite way to approach this obstacle is to lovingly set boundaries around the time of the morning that you have designated “yours.”
As mothers, it is common that we feel that our time is not our own and as soon as our family is awake, they are entitled to be with us or take up our time.
In order to successfully create a morning routine that is effective, we need to shift our mindset to see that time as vital, protected and important to set boundaries around with your family.
This is your time and you should be protecting it. You are entitled to create expectations with your children regarding that time.
Your mindset and expectations are important when it comes to your morning routine.
Remember, just because your children are awake, doesn’t mean they need to come out of their room or be with you. This is a mindset shift, and obviously dependent on the age of your child.
I have worked hard to maintain this expectation and mindset for myself. From the time my children were 9 months old, my expectation was that there was a period of time in the morning (usually 5:30am after their early morning feed to 7am) that they were completely fine to remain in their beds happily babbling or playing until I was finished my morning routine.
When you can acknowledge and accept that your children won’t die or be neglected if they stay in their room for 30-60 minutes after they wake up, you can set expectations with your family around that and protect your morning routine.
Now that does not mean I would leave my children screaming their heads off for 30 minutes when they woke up because that definitely would not make for a calming and nurturing morning routine, nor is it the type of mother I am. It is important to be flexible and responsive, but also to understand that there is a balance between being available to their every whim, and protecting important time for yourself.
As my twins have gotten older (they are now 3), they are completely comfortable remaining in their room until 7am because this expectation was set so early on.
Get a timed clock or nightlight.
If your children are old enough (2.5 years and up), consider investing in a clock or nightlight that turns on at a certain time of the morning, to signal when it is the right time for them to get up for the day. We have this clock and it has worked great for us. You can also get creative and set any light on a timer that will turn on as well.
Slowly increase the time your child remains in their bed/room.
Now, I don’t recommend suddenly enforcing a strict rule with your children to stay in bed until 7am if they’re accustomed to waking at 5:30 or 6:00am. This will not work.
Rather, I recommend setting the clock for 10-15 minutes after their usual “wake-up time” and slowly getting them used to remaining in bed until the clock/light turns on.
When we began this process, our children would usually wake around 6:20am and we preferred they remain in their beds until 7:00am. For the first few weeks, we gradually increased the time from 6:30am to 6:40am and so forth.
Now, our children remain in their beds (usually awake, mind you) until 7:00am.
Provide them with something to do if they can’t stay in bed.
I understand that some children will just not stay in bed or in their rooms no matter what you do. In this case, if they have to be up while you’re doing your morning routine: give them something to do.
Perhaps your morning routine is their hour of screen-time. (A very worthwhile trade!)
Perhaps sitting quietly in meditation with you is a good introduction to mindfulness.
Perhaps they can start their own morning routine (if they’re old enough).
The key is to realize that simply because your children are awake does NOT mean you do not commit to your morning routine. The understanding should be that even if they wake up, Mom’s attention will not be on them but rather on her important morning routine.
By being consistent and firm with your expectations around your morning routine, your children will see your model and eventually become accustomed to it.
I KEEP SLEEPING PAST MY ALARM.
This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME.
There is an easy fix for this one: Set two alarms.
If your preferred wake-up time is 5:30am, set one alarm for 5:20am and another for 5:30am.
If you need to, set a third one. Whatever it takes.
Set your alarm with an inspiring and motivating message so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up.
I use my alarm very intentionally to remind me of why I do my morning routine and to be like a little cheerleader for me first thing in the morning.
“Let’s rock the day!”
“You can do this!”
“Imagine how amazing you will feel the rest of the day if you get up right now.”
I FEEL SO TIRED DURING THE DAY.
It is common in the first few days of starting a morning routine to feel a bit more tired in the day. It is important to realize that this will improve as your body adapts to the new waking time.
The key here is to remain consistent and be aware of the role of your mindset if you come up against this obstacle.
If possible, maintain your wake up time 7 days a week (yes, even weekends) so your body can adapt.
Realize also that “being tired” is a mindset. Humans tend to fixate on sleep as if it is the most important thing in the world, and fear being tired at all costs. We often complain loudly about our level of fatigue and as a byproduct, we feel more tired.
Worrying about sleep and complaining about being tired all day only makes you feel more tired and reduces your chances of being successful with your morning routine.
Work to become aware of how often you complain about being tired or worrying about sleep during the day and intentionally replace the worried thoughts with something more reassuring.
Personally, I notice my energy levels are actually much higher and more consistent when I wake up early for my morning routine. Exercise plays a large role in this as well. If you’re finding you are feeling tired in the morning after your routine, consider adding in some exercise to give your energy a boost.
As I discussed in Part 2 of this series, start small. Wake up just 15 minutes earlier at first and give your body time to adjust to the changes.
If you can commit for 10 days, your body will adjust and you will no longer feel so tired.
MY KIDS ARE STILL UP IN THE NIGHT.
Depending on the age of your children, this may or may not be developmentally appropriate.
Depending on your opinions on sleep coaching or independent sleep, my advice here may not be appropriate for you.
If your child is younger than one year of age, you can read this post from a pediatric sleep consultant regarding what is appropriate for night wakings for your child. In those early months, a morning routine is likely NOT the best habit for you to start as sleep is vital during that period. In fact, I view sleep as self-care for moms of newborns.
If you have a newborn or young baby that is waking in the night, get your sleep, Mama. You’ll have time for a morning routine later.
My child is over 1 year of age.
My belief and practice as a medical doctor is that a child waking up in the night after one year of age is doing so out of habit.
As someone who has had solid-sleeping twins (by design and with a lot of hard work) since 9 months of age, I can vouch for the fact that helping your children sleep through the night is as much about what you do as it is about WHAT YOU THINK.
If this is your situation, I strongly encourage you to reflect on how you’re managing night wakings and set a new expectation for your child. I am a proponent of gentle sleep coaching and helping children fall asleep independently.
For many moms, the key to reclaiming solid nights of sleep for both their children and themselves is having the support of a pediatric sleep consultant or related health care professional to help lovingly create healthy boundaries around sleep.
Healthy sleep is VITAL for healthy growth and development, positive parent-child relationships and family harmony. You owe it to YOURSELF, YOUR CHILD and your family to ensure everyone is getting adequate, unbroken and healthy sleep. You have more control over this process than you think and I encourage you to reach out to me or a pediatric sleep expert for help if you want to make changes in this area.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO IN MY MORNING ROUTINE.
First of all, your morning routine is about YOU and therefore, only you know what will fill your cup each day.
Also, what you do during your morning routine does not need to be the same things every single day.
Allow yourself some flexibility to adapt to how you’re feeling from day to day. Some days, I call on meditation and silence as that is what I’m craving, while others I jump on the treadmill to get out pent up energy.
Allow yourself to be the curator of your own routine and use it as a responsible, beautiful ritual to support you in all of the ways you show up.
If you need some suggestions or ideas about what I recommend including (if it works for you), you can read this post right here.
I’M JUST NOT A MORNING PERSON
This is one of the biggest obstacles I have encountered when creating my own morning routine and also when I’ve helped others work to create their own.
NEWSFLASH: Getting up early in the morning is hard for almost everyone. You are not unique if you really love your sleep and feel you need to stay in bed.
Becoming a morning person is an intentional choice to change your own behaviour.
The reality of this obstacle is that “not being a morning person” is simply a belief that you have chosen to invest in. When you believe that you are “just not a morning person,” it will feel VERY HARD to behave in ways that are opposite to that belief.
If you can work to shift your belief away from this and to develop a healthier, more growth-oriented mindset about your ability to wake up early, you will set yourself up for success with your morning routine.
So how do you shift your belief?
Can you recall a time that you were joyful and happy to wake up early?
Has it ever happened that you surprised yourself about how early you were able to get up, and how pumped you felt about getting a crack at the day?
What evidence can you find to disprove the belief that you are “not a morning person”?
If you can find evidence for the fact that you can become a morning person and can work to foster a growth mindset around your tendency to “be a morning person,” you will be more likely to be successful in your morning routine.
MOST IMPORTANT: Are you willing to give up that belief in order to reap the benefits of a regular morning routine?
REMEMBER: You will get more out of that hour of self-care than you will out of that extra hour of sleep.
What obstacles are holding you back from success in your morning routine?
I’d love to hear from you! What do you think you can do to set yourself up for success with your morning routine?
PS. I would LOVE to be connected with you on Instagram! Did you know that I share the behind-the-scenes of my life, my travels and tons of biz and mindset tips over there? Let’s make it happen! Be sure to send me a DM to say HEY!