Failure in January

I have learned a lot about myself this month. We had a few crazy weeks this month that put us in survival mode. My wife, Sarah, and I were both stressed with work and school, we had enough car problems to last a year or two and finances were tight. But we made it through. We survived. And although it was tough and at times we just wanted to call it quits, we got everything worked out and we came out of this month with a stronger relationship and having learned some valuable lessons about ourselves; more on that in another post.

As far as my original plan for a morning routine, this month’s experiment was an absolute failure. I was unsuccessful at building a good routine in the morning. However, I discovered some valuable things along the way.

  1. I’m not really motivated by having a set routine. I don’t really think having a rigorous routine is for every person or every situation. For me, having a mostly unstructured morning seems to be key. I have a window of time where I need to wake up, a few personal care items to do and then I want to focus on doing what I love before jumping into the day’s work. I do want to experiment with this in the future and I’m sure my opinion will change, but for now I’m leaving most of my morning unstructured.
  2. Although I won’t be building a rigid minute-by-minute morning routine, I want to have some structure during the first hour I’m awake. I want to wake up between 6:25 and 6:35, dedicate some time to moving my body, to reading and/or writing and avoid using my phone or the Internet during this time.
  3. I want to make my mornings about joy. I will focus on taking care of myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. My first hour each morning will be dedicated to things that help me improve my life in one or more of these areas. By focusing on this I hope to start my day off with more joy.
  4. I started the month by focusing on a huge routine which I simplified later on. Both of these, however, proved to be too much for me right now. Throughout the year I’m going to focus on one tiny habit for a few weeks at a time. The first of these will be making sure that I’m in bed before 10:30pm and awake by 6:35am. When I am consistent at this, I’m going to avoid electronics for the hour before bed and the hour after waking up so I can focus on important things. Then I’ll slowly implement the things I talked about above throughout the rest of the year.
  5. If I learned anything from this month, it’s that life throws you curveballs all the time. I need to be patient with myself as I’m trying to make these changes. Life gets crazy sometimes, we lose motivation, we get depressed or have tons of stress. I need to stay patient and persistent throughout all of it, no matter what life throws at you. If you’re trying to make a change, just be patient with the bumps in the road that will inevitably come. Don’t give up because you failed once or twice or a hundred times. Readjust and keep going.

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