Leo Babauta over at Fast Company describes how he changed his hectic, stressful mornings into Lovely Mornings. To make this significant change, he challenged himself to reframe the way he thinks about morning tasks. He then created a list of behavior changes that, when practiced on a consistent, regular basis, created his new Lovely Mornings. Here is Babauta’s new morning routine and his reasons for the changes.
WAKE A LITTLE EARLIER.
If your mornings are rushed, the simple solution is to get up a bit earlier. This means going to bed a bit earlier too. Do it gradually, just 10 minutes earlier a week, and you’ll barely notice the change.
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE.
One of my early mistakes was trying to fit too much into the mornings–I wanted to meditate and work out and read and write and journal, and it turns out I couldn’t do all those things. It felt too rigid, too packed. What’s helped me is having a couple things I do early on but not having a lot on my morning agenda, so that I can have space and flexibility. That makes the time much more peaceful and enjoyable. So the meditation and reading and writing are the only things that I do almost every morning, but I let myself be flexible with those too.
HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
Don’t pack your mornings full of things you need to do … but do have something you can’t wait to get up and do. For me, that’s reading and writing. For others, morning yoga or painting or reading the paper with coffee might be better. Don’t just have things you think you should do but don’t really want to do.
I like to start with meditation (though I do miss some days), because it sets the tone for my morning–one of mindfulness. I then drink my coffee and write and do everything else with a more mindful attitude, noticing when I start to rush and feel stressed, noticing small things that I might miss if I were distracted.
DON’T DIVE INTO EMAIL OR LITTLE THINGS.
Consider this early morning time your sacred space–don’t fill it with junk. Junk includes TV, news, email, social media, apps, etc. Instead, put meaningful things in this sacred space, things that you won’t have time for later. You can always dive into email after an hour (or more) of lovely morning peace.
ENJOY THE SPACES, AND PACE YOURSELF.
This time isn’t just something you fill with things to do … it’s open space. That means the space itself is something to be treasured, not just what you put in it. For example, if you do yoga and read, the morning isn’t just valuable because of the yoga and reading … the space around those two things is also wonderful. The time you’re putting your yoga mat away, getting a cup of coffee, walking to where your book is, sitting and staring at the morning light … these little spaces are just as amazing as anything else. Pace yourself so that you’re not rushing from one thing to the next, but enjoying the spaces.
If you want to change your morning mood from angry and anxious, you may want to try some of his techniques. The results will come gradually as you tailor these ideas to work best for you.