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How the First Hour of the Day Can Transform Your Life

Success Habits for the First Hour of the Day

Ok, this post is a little bit different take on the “Change Your Life on Your Lunch Break” series, but this topic is super important.

What you do in that first hour upon waking will set the tone for the rest of the day.

Most of us wake up, snooze, wake up, snooze, finally get up, shower, coffee, off to work, meanwhile wondering exactly how you got to work because you can’t quite remember your drive in. Right?

That, my friends, is exactly what they mean by “life on autopilot.”

But you don’t actually want to live on autopilot, do you? You want to live with purpose!

What you could do instead is be more intentional about that first hour of your day to really transform then way you enter life day-by-day, over the course of a lifetime.

You can change your entire mood, your vibe, your drive, everything, if you do it correctly.

I did my first Facebook Livestream on this subject. Have a listen:

 

 

Success habits for the first hour of the day:

Light therapy or sun: I am drawn to the sun. I think we are wired to be drawn to light. There’s got to be a reason why light and mood are so interconnected. In the winter, I do at least 10 minutes of light therapy or sit in a sunny window to stay ahead of my anxiety and depression.

Daily devotions: God comes first, always. Instead of trying to fit God into my busy schedule, I need to build my schedule around God first. So, I try to make sure I get my nose in His Book every day with guidance from a daily devotion reading.

Workout: I work out 6 days a week religiously: 3 days of cardio, 3 days of strength training. Fridays are usually barre and Saturdays are a long run. Working out immediately in the morning wakes you up, pumps you full of endorphins, and makes you feel ready to take on the day. Working out improves everything about life.

Journaling: my “adult” type journaling consists of asking myself questions about what I need to work on, focusing on my goals, and really stretching myself. The repetitive nature of doing this every day is important so that goals don’t just get ignored like when they’re written on a note posted to my computer.

Water: We all wake up dehydrated, so getting water into your system first thing gets the motors all greased up and running.

Apple cider vinegar shots: I use Tone It Up’s Bombshell Spell from their nutrition plan. I’ve seen so much research about apple cider vinegar. And for some reason, even though acv is harsh, the way they make the spell is addicting.

Self Development: filling your mind with thoughts of potential and empowerment will make you a better person. This was a habit I picked up from my network marketing days. One of the three essential habits was personal development and I really felt like it was powerful. If you can make yourself just a tad bit better every day (read The Compound Effect), you will be amazed how far you can go after a year, or even a few months.

 

***Another thing I didn’t mention on the video is music. I have several playlists on Spotify that are meant to lift my spirits. They’re all songs that personally make me feel inspired and uplifted. My favorite thing to do right now is to listen to “Rebel Beat” by the Goo Goo Dolls while I journal. That song is like my theme song right now. I also like to listen to upbeat music while I’m working out. It changes everything! The difference between a silent workout and a music-ified one is drastic!

 

Most of these morning habits can be done simultaneously. For example, I’m usually listening to music and drinking water while I workout. Then, I use my light box while I’m getting ready or doing my devotions. Journaling takes about 10 minutes, while I’m listening to Rebel Beat. And then self development is typically ingrained in every part of my day. When I have my ear buds in at work, I’m typically listening to some type of personal development content.

If you layer your day this way, and remain intentional about what you’re doing with your body, what you’re feeding your mind, what you’re surrounding yourself with, how you’re feeling, you can see how this would elevate just about everything, right?

And I know when I’m starting to feel crummy about something, all I need to do is turn to this list to refocus and elevate my mood again.

Once all these things are out of the way in the morning, the feeling is euphoric! These habits put everything into perspective and give me a compass for the rest of my day that leads straight toward fulfillment.

Add value to your life by being intentional with the first hour of the day.

 

Let’s hear it…

Do you have specific morning habits that you do to start your day?

Does this inspire you to try being more intentional about your mornings?

How to Find Extra Hidden Time in Your Day

You have no time to …………[fill in the blank]

  • Work out
  • Start an online business
  • Take your kid to another extracurricular class
  • Take up knitting

It’s the biggest excuse of all time. But, if you look closer, it’s one that has all different layers of meaning.

First of all, you’ve probably heard it before, but typically the “I don’t have time excuse” really just means “it’s not a priority.” You just don’t want to come out and say that, because it’s much less confronting to say “I don’t have time to come to your home jewelry party” than “I think that party is a waste of my time.”

If exercise was actually a priority, you would find the time, just like you find the time to meet with your boss because she’s a priority. There are a million things I could get done in the mornings instead of working out, but it’s important to me to get my exercise in then, so I do it.

 

K, so now that we’ve got that out of the way, what if you feel like you really don’t have time? Let’s dig around a little and find some for you.

  1. Lunch breaks: you can change your life on your lunch break. 30 minute increments are enough time to make headway toward any goal in your life. Learn a language, do a workout, build your website, write a blog post (ahem!), take a course…I could go on. And in fact, changing your life on your lunch break will probably become a new feature on this blog, I love it so much. Don’t just sit at your desk scrolling through Facebook or daydreaming. Get up and hustle for your goals for those precious 30 minutes. Over time, these repeated activities are going to compound into major traction.
  2. After kids are in bed: I would never want you to sacrifice your sacred time with your family for anything. They are likely the reason you do everything you do. But there is a sweet spot right after the kids go to bed and before you go to bed that you can use to manufacture your dreams. If you sit down and do a Power Hour every night, you will be leagues ahead of everyone in a month or two.
  3. Involve the kids: some of the things you’re working on might make your time with your kids even richer. If your goal is to exercise 5 days per week, take a family bike ride or jump rope together. If you want to make more biz videos for your Youtube Channel, turn the whole thing into a learning experience by turning your kids into little producers and film crews. If they’re interested, you may even have them create their own channels and do films for them too. The entire process from getting the right lighting to editing is educational and will likely give them a huge educational advantage.
  4. TV Time: I have always said and will always say, if you have time to watch TV, you have time to change your life. Period.
  5. Waiting in the car or in lines: there are quite a few things you can do while you’re waiting in your car for school to get our or standing in line at the store. Post something inspirational to your Facebook biz group. Record an audio for your online course. Catch up on some self development reading. Get out of your car and do a HIIT interval. Do deep breathing meditation. Use those few minutes to really LIVE those moments instead of passively letting them slip away.
  6. Commute: I would never recommend anything dangerous, but you can certainly get things done while driving, like listening to self-development podcasts or sermons. If you’re not the one driving, you can certainly do all kinds of things like knitting projects, sketching designs, reading, learning a new skill, etc.
  7. Find 10 minutes here and there: Even if you can’t string an entire half hour together to squeeze in a workout, you should certainly be able to find three 10-minute segments to give you just as good of results. You can easily do all kinds of social media work in 10 minutes or comment on 3-4 blogs to build relationships. You could write an introduction to the book you’re going to write and then write a paragraph here and there. If you want something bad enough, you will use these little time segments to your full advantage!!!

So, come on, be honest, there are times throughout your day when you are truly just sort of puttering about, aren’t there? If you are really serious about your goals, you will reclaim that time for your own self-advancement.

But hey, if your kid really doesn’t want to go to annnnnnother club meeting, no one’s going to stop you if you say “We don’t have time for that.” But if you tell me, “I don’t have time to work out,” I will likely raise my brow, signaling that I’m reading right through that.

 

Where do you think you could harvest some time for your goals?

On Finding Time to Work Out

When people say that they don’t have time to work out, they’re most likely wrong. I’ve been one of those people. Unless you’re an on-call ER doctor with a family at home and heavily-involved research in progress, it’s probably safe to say you do have pockets of time in your day in which you can fill with movement.

I know from experience that finding time to work out is possible. I’ve been a full-time college student with a full-time job and a social life before who found time to work out. I’ve been a newlywed with a new house to fix up, a new full-time job and a new marriage to tend to who found time to work out. I am now a full-time worker with many hobbies and goals (and at one time a side freelance job) and a son in the same fixer-upper who still finds time to work out. I do have days where I’m finally on the treadmill at 10:00 at night. I do have a million and one projects going on at one time that I have to set aside in order to get a sweat session in. But most days, I do have workouts scheduled into my daily planner–and I do them!

How? I make them a priority. After family and work, my workouts are of the utmost importance. Not because I’m vain or obsessive, but because I understand the necessity of exercise for a healthy body. I like the extra energy I get from it, the strength, the endurance and the bodily benefits I get from it. I never sacrifice meaningful time with my family for workouts, but I do sometimes set aside other less meaningful projects to sneak in some treadmill time. I walk on my lunch breaks at work, I walk or bike to and from work, and I also sweat it out after work at least three times per week. This is about growing stronger physically and mentally, breeding good health and carving out a healthy future. Those things are so so important! I would like to share a few personal tips that I’ve used to “make more time” in my day, so I can work out and accomplish other goals.

Really, you can use these tips to find the time to do almost anything that your heart truly desires. If you want to find time to start your own business, learn a new language, go back to school, or some other life-changing event, you can use these same time-savers to tackle your dreams.

1. Cut out TV. If there is one life lesson I’ve learned, it is this: if you have enough time to watch TV, you have enough time to take over the world. I’m not exaggerating. I would like this quote to go down in the quote history books with my name attached. The things you can accomplish in the time it takes to watch two full-length episodes of Grey’s Anatomy would probably astonish you. Honey Boo Boo is not going to get you any closer to your dream body or fulfilling life, believe me! If you do feel the need to watch TV (ahem!), you should pull up a mat or a treadmill and multitask. That’s even a rule that I’ve set for myself. If I’m going to watch some frothy reality show (Big IF), I make sure my butt is being productive while I’m at it. It’s perfectly OK to be a little indulgent if it’s your reward for breaking a sweat.

This is our new giant of a TV that I try not to spend time in front of, unless it’s a workout DVD.

2. Be intentional with your time. Take a good hard look at what you’re really spending your time on. Maybe record every activity you do for a week, or even one day. Then, see where you can prune your free time. Cruising Pinterest, reading gossip mags, and lying on the couch present prime opportunities to get moving. My guess is you’ll find many 1/2-hour or even 15-minute pockets of time when you could take a walk or even dance to the radio. Make a separate list of all those important tasks that would fulfill you, make your dreams into reality, or make your biceps pop. Work on weeding out the time suckers and substituting them for pieces of your wish list. Make a promise to yourself to be more intentional with your time rather than letting circumstances control it. Many of the things we spend our free time on are highly unnecessary.

3. Multi-task: If you really do love those gossip mags, give yourself permission to read them only on the treadmill. Or listen to some podcasts or book recordings while you’re pedalling away. Steal away for a few squats in the bathroom. Do your workout on your work lunch break. Jump rope while your dinner is simmering. Do three laps around the mall before you start your Christmas shopping. Do whatever it takes to blend your workouts into your daily life.

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4. Schedule it in: Schedule workouts into your day as you would a work meeting. Then, schedule your other things around it. I usually work out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So, I normally schedule doctor and dentist visits, play dates, dinner dates and other things on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or I just switch workouts around a bit. They don’t get removed from the schedule, just moved. The point is that workouts should become a non-negotiable item in your planner. Once those habits are formed, they will be difficult to break.

5. Tunnel vision: At-home workouts are a danger zone for some people, including me sometimes. You start tidying up a corner of the house, folding laundry and suddenly you don’t have time to work out anymore. If working out at home is your only option, I suggest acquiring tunnel vision. You need to walk into your bedroom with purpose, change into your workout clothes, and plant yourself in your workout space while ignoring your peripheral vision. Just do it, as Nike would say. Don’t let all those familiar distractions deter you from obtaining a healthier body.

6. Go to bed a tad bit earlier: and then work out first thing in the morning. Check exercise off your list before too many other items overtake said to-do list. We all could stand to go to bed 15 minutes earlier.

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7. Incorporate the Kiddos: Mommas, I hear ya. It’s difficult to work out while the kids are around. Well, there’s no reason why working out and spending time with the kids need to be mutually exclusive. Hook up the bike trailer and go for a family bike ride. Have your Peanut throw punches too while you’re doing your TurboFire, like mine does. Sneak in a playground workout while your little one is running around. Find a reformer workout you can do on the trampoline. Or just workout next to your children as they’re playing. You’ll really be doing your kids a favor by showing them that working out is something normal, that we should be doing. My Peanut is learning this well. Fitness is just something that we do at our house. And hopefully one day he’ll never have to “find the time” to do it, he’ll just do it without thinking.

Our bikes, Daddy bike, mommy bike, baby bike

I hope this post has enlightened you to work out with what little time you think you have. This is especially helpful if your New Year’s resolutions are fitness-involved. Do you have any other secrets for sneaking in fitness?

Changing Life in Increments

I spoke in my resolution post about avoiding time-waste by filling all those random 10-minute increments in a day with meaningful activities. I’ve got to say, I’m off to a strong start:

1. This morning, while watching the news (still productive in itself), I pulled out this gentle workout from my magazine for my new “morning warming” idea. It’s bitter cold here where I live right now. Mornings are tough when you have to force yourself out of bed into the brisk winter air. To wake up, warm up and start my day off right, I decided to implement a “morning warming” ritual. Could be tea, could be yoga, could be Dr. Oz’s 7-minute Morning Workout. But it eases me nicely into a productive winter day.

2. Each day, I try to peek at a success story or two. Right now, I’m drawn to weight loss success stories, but creative entrepreneurial business successes have been known capture me whole-heartedly. I seek them out and use them as fuel. Success stories are my favorite part of my magazines and the very reason I started working out from the very beginning. Thank you Self Magazine! I’ve even written about a few success stories here on my blog. I just read that, according to science, reading/watching about success stories can do wonders for your health. What a great way to spend 10 minutes!

3. Quality family time can be built in 10-minute increments. A jump-fest on the trampoline? Sure! You should see the smile on that boy’s face. That trampoline is keeping us all young–and releasing all this pent-up, cabin-fever rambunctiousness. Seriously, who could resist?

I’m loving this new experiment. What else could I fill those precious 10-minute spaces with?

Flushing Away Free Time

I always wonder what the Kool Kats do when they go home from work. I like to imagine that everyone is immersed in a challenging home improvement task, slaving away at complicated recipes, penning the next Harry Potter, attending humanitarian club meetings or catching up with a handful of close companions. But I am willing to guess there’s a lot more couch glorifying and TV trance-partaking than any world-changing events happening behind those double French doors.

There’s also the choice between keeping yourself up-to-date on the best seasonal television shows and other buzz-worthy programs or crafting purses out of vintage fabric for a few extra dimes. It’s “lazy versus productive” pitched against “current versus out-of-the-loop”. Where’s the balance?

Being a mom brings with it a vault-full of extra guilt. If I’m not spending my free time building block towers for my 1-1/2-year-old to destroy, I always feel a little remorse (except during naptime). If I thought I never had any time B.C. (Before Child), I was out of my mind! Now, I really don’t have any time. Or do I?

I struggle with getting any writing, crafting, or other projects to show for my time accomplished without curious digits yanking pens out of my hand or demanding my full attention. Cleaning is feasible with Peanut around, but only to a point. Don’t get me wrong, I love engaging Peanut in wrestling, building and hiding games. But I also spend a lot of time thinking about what I could be doing with my free time. Even during Peanut’s naptime, I struggle with the what to do, what to do… When noontime on a Saturday rolls around, I often just want to crash and then I suffer the guilt afterwards of all the life-changing challenges I could’ve taken on during those blessed three hours.

The trouble is, I lose interest in projects. I start writing projects and abandon them. I print off art projects and never so much as buy the supplies. I dream about decadent gourmet dinners but lose interest in bringing them to fruition. But I feel like I need these projects to unleash my creative energy upon.

It makes me wonder if anyone else with these strong impulses to be productive actually do produce anything or if they succumb to numbness once in awhile. It’s much easier to relax into a simple lifestyle and suppress those urges than to twist wire into museum-worthy sculpture. Will the Kool Kats emerge from their basements with an amazing invention one day or do they just shop and get their hair done to rectify their status?