By now (January 2021) we have almost been in lockdown for an entire year and one would think that we would have gotten used to it, however for some reason this lockdown has impacted me the most. I guess we all had so much more hope coming into 2021.
I decided on the first week of January that 2021 was the year that I created a better version of myself. I wanted to be fitter, healthier, productive, academic and have a positive social media platform. After reading James Clear’s book ‘Atomic Habits’ which I would highly recommended I learnt that I needed to first off have a clear understanding of my identity and secondly I needed to create habits that reflect that identity. I soon realised that my biggest downfall was mornings (as I have never been a morning person) so I got to work on creating a morning routine that resembled my identity goals.
I first off made the decision to wake up an hour earlier in the mornings so that I could have an hour of mindfulness before starting my day. I get up and make sure to have a glass of water to rehydrate my body and then rush straight to the kettle and make my first cup of tea of the day (which always tastes the best in my opinion). I then come back into my bedroom and journal.
I always start my morning by journaling as it gives me the opportunity to be at one with my thoughts. There is something very powerful about waking up and writing down a few things that you are grateful for in your life. I have found that this step alone puts me in a great mood in the morning. I also write down any negative thoughts or fears that I may be having, tackling them head on. Finally I write down what I want to accomplish today, giving my day a sense of purpose.
The next step on my morning routine is reading. I may only read 5-10 pages but it again allows me some quiet and peaceful time before starting my day. I also usually read motivational/ uplifting books that again motivate me to tackle the day ahead. As I stated above I have been reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits throughout January and I personally think that if you are trying to do away with bad habits or build new healthy habits, everyone needs to read this book. I have always avoided reading because I often referred to myself as someone who is not a reader, however this year I am changing my identity to someone that does read (even if it is only a few pages a day).
Plan My Day
Next up I plan my day, hour by hour on my iPad using Google Calendar. I love this app because it is so clear and colourful and I can access it on any of my devices. I use it to plan in my lectures, study time, workout time, weekly 5km runs and meetings etc. I am a huge lover of planning on pen and paper, however this option is a lot more sustainable and practical as it also gives me push notifications to remind me of my planned events, including the dreaded zoom calls that everyone has experienced in 2020.
I get washed, dressed and and make my bed. Small tasks like making my bed ensure that I won’t get back into it again to watch Netflix and I have no doubt that everyone is guilty of this during lockdown. Around 10am I usually make porridge and then head out for a walk and that is my morning routine in a nut shell.
Although sticking to the same habits and morning routine everyday may sound extremely boring, it works for me. It gives my morning structure, prepares me for the day ahead and ensures that I know exactly what I have to and want to do that day, increasing productivity levels.
If you do one thing this week try building a morning routine that works for you. For more advice check out my Instagram page MindTalkBlog