Jumping on the bandwagon!

8 Things I’m learning to do each morning before 8am.

This morning, I wakened at 5.15am; 15 minutes before my beloved alarm blared in my ear and I got up. Firstly, because I have decided it would be beneficial to be an early riser. Secondly, because everyone who’s anyone is saying that productive, successful people get up early and have a fabulous morning routine. Thirdly, because a friend was dropping her two kids off at my house at 7am. This may or may not have been my greatest incentive. However, I’m also experimenting with this new me. Therefore, time to myself, yoga, intentional gratitude and goal setting are getting me excited. I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

So, before 8 am, this morning; I have got out of bed, I have tidied a little, made some coffee, thought a little, put on some music, spent time in prayer, been thankful, completed day three of my 30 day yoga challenge, had a lukewarm, almost cold shower, ironed clothes, got dressed, drank some coffee, carried my 3 year old into our bed beside his daddy, set out cereal and bowls, answered the door to receive my early guests, made pancakes, packed kids snacks, got kids clothes ready and served everyone breakfast. Phew, I’m out of breath just typing that. I am pleased to say that I, therefore, have completed more than 8 things before 8am this morning. My husband has gone to work, my kiddies have gone to school, my extra house guests have been fed and watered. So, next on the list, my breakfast, and a sit-down with the lovely laptop. My breakfast does contain protein, hooray. Another, pat on the back in checking off those things successful people do before 8am.

I sit and slow down again, because its been a busy morning.

I heartily eat my homemade pancakes and as I apply a topping of butter, I think about my heart. Not literally, although now I come to think of it, a layer of butter is probably not the best thing for my heart. No, I mean my heart, my self, my centre, me. In my yoga session this morning, the encouraging voice from youtube kept highlighting and repeating ‘lift up your heart’. It made me think about about my spirit, my inner self, how important it is to encourage ourselves to lift our own hearts. Could taking the time to lift my heart give me the capacity to share my heart better today?

I realise my heart feels at peace. I feel thankful and joyful, my sleep pattern was erratic as usual but this getting up early thing right now feels good. So, I want to stick with it. Stepping out of bed into a quiet house is good for my heart, maybe even my mind.

The self help books, life coaches, the ‘successful’ , all advocate a good morning routine but I have to confess that the word routine, still scares me just a little. You see, I’ve never been that good at adhering to routine. I can appreciate the values, but my enthusiasm for doing the same thing at the same time everyday wavers quickly. I have to hold the idea of a formula, routine, regime, lightly. Ultimately, I like change, I value flexibility.

Actually, the ability to be flexible and adapt under new and difficult circumstances has been a life saver.

I have had to learn that sometimes plans don’t work out. Sometimes, dreams have to be put on hold, schedules changed, new plans formulated.

I would say, I definitely achieve so much more when I’m aware of time. When I set out some goals for the day. I even love the satisfaction that can come by checking things off a list. But, I need to begin with slowing down. Creating space to prepare my heart and mind for the day. So, I will commit to getting up early, exercising, practicing gratitude, reading, praying, and helping others.

Because, I do value my days, I’m incredibly thankful to be alive today, to be cancer free, to have energy, to have hope. To enjoy the taste of a pancake, and the appeal of hot black coffee. Because, I have had days where food had little appeal, little taste.

But, I won’t strictly formulate my day, because I want to be open to God, to others. To the appeal that a little change can bring to a day. Is it a weakness? Would I be more successful, have achieved more with my life at this point, had a stuck to a plan? Maybe, but as I alluded to earlier, learning to have peace with the unexpected and adapt to the uncontrollable has value. We all know that we can’t control everything that happens to us in this world; don’t we?

I am willing to give a try those “ 8 things I should do before 8am in the morning”, and they may mean I’m a happier, more successful, productive person.

However, my life vision is to live a life of love and love ultimately and essentially involves sacrifice and service. Which so often means a willingness to lay aside carefully crafted schedules, to be available.

Keep at the forefront of any plan the unforgettable, the unbreakable rule to love and be loved.

So, I will be thoughtful with my time. I will squander my time for the sake of sanity and for the care of others. I will hit pause on that yoga session to comfort my little people, I will adjust that planned bedtime to be with the one I love, I will toss my planner out the window every now and again to go on that adventure. I will share, give and care about more than me.

I think most of us do that, and see the value in that don’t we? Goals and plans are great, but don’t forget there is no set formula for your life. There is however, love and grace. Make a plan to learn more about those. Sound naive? I think not, I think foundational and life changing.

So, here’s 8 things I’m learning to do daily. (I say daily, because really and truly it may not always be before 8am and some days I might change the rules a little).

  1. Lift my heart. Connect with how I’m feeling and practice gratitude.
  2. Get out of bed.
  3. Think, pray, converse with God.
  4. Be flexible, body and mind.
  5. Have a shower, temperature will vary depending on mood.
  6. Eat and drink (sensibly).
  7. Be available to others.
  8. Be open to change and adventure.
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