Do you ever crawl into bed at the end of the day and wonder where in the world the day went? As college students, we are known to intake excessive amounts of caffeine, take ridiculously long naps, and stay up super late trying to finish that homework assignment we have known about for weeks, but just started an hour ago. Whether you are a college student or an adult with student-like features, it is important to take control of our day. I believe that starts with your morning routine.
Over the years, I have learned that mastering a morning routine helps me master my day. Once upon a time, I was THAT college student who would wake up five minutes before class, sit through class thinking about food, my social life, and taking a nap. After class, I would go home eat, nap, watch Netflix, and repeat. I couldn’t get ahead of the exhaustion, weight gain or classwork. I soon realized I was lacking discipline and routine in my life.
After packing up my dorm room at the conclusion of my freshman year and hitting the road to spend the summer at home, I reflected on the last couple of months and I realized things needed to change, but it was summer so we all know the routine didn't stick for more than a couple of days. After returning to school in the fall, the motivation to start the semester off on the right foot struck yet again. My commitment to lifestyle change was much like my commitment to review sessions. I would put all the dates on my calendar, print off all the worksheets, and buy the book. Flash forward to later in the semester and those notes are wrinkled up in the bottom of my backpack, the book had yet to be opened, and that time that was reserved for review was spent on my friend's couch drinking boxed wine and watching The Bachelor.
One night after another trainwreck of a day, I realized I better get a grip on my life. I am 20 years old and most people look back and consider their 20’s to be their prime! I was not living my life to its fullest potential. After a life chat with a dear friend, I realized I could start tomorrow. I didn’t have to wait until Monday, next semester, or even the new year. I could start now. So I did.
At 4:15 AM my first alarm on my phone goes off with a message: If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. To be completely honest, I usually hit snooze. At 4:20 AM, my alarm sounds again this time encouraging once again with the message: 5-4-3-2-1. A simple trick to productivity - the five-second rule. From the minute an idea pops into your head, you only have five seconds to act on it. I count down from five, and by the time I hit one, I am sitting up with my feet on the floor, ready to start the day. From this point on I know that I have three tasks to complete before 4:35 AM when I would ideally like to walk out the front door.
Once I am out of bed, I start the day by making my bed. There are many reasons I do this. Reason Number 1) At this point it is 4:20 AM and I have already accomplished one task for the day. Reason Number 2) Since it is made, I lose the temptation of crawling back into bed! (Well, it works most days)
Next, I run to the bathroom to wash my face, throw my hair on top of my head and brush my teeth. Then I put on some yoga pants and a t-shirt and run out the door with pre-workout (caffeine) in my hand.
The gym is a short ten minutes from my house. I attend the 5:00 AM class at Max Oxygen Crossfit. I like to arrive at the gym before everyone else so I usually arrive at 4:45 AM. During this time, I like to talk to the coaches, stretch, and mentally prepare for the workout I am about to endure. The two coaches, Jill and Mitch are very encouraging and chipper at this time of day, and I can really appreciate that as I am still trying to wake up. If I don’t go to workout in the morning, I honestly won't work out - the excuses will roll out at a rapid pace.
Recently, I have convinced five of my closest friends to join CrossFit. Zoey really knows how to make your girl giggle, Lexie pushes me to work harder with her competitive spirit, Jay and Erica are quick to make me smile, and Kennedy is just really good company. We are honestly a dysfunctional group of gals, but they are the reason I get up in the morning. I love to start my day surrounded by a group of encouraging, hilarious, and inspirational people.
Once the class is over and I've had a great sweat and can barely move, I head home. In order to get to class or work around 9:00, I have a decent list of things to cover. While my Happy Hit or Worship music playlists are blaring on Spotify, I shower and get dressed. Seriously, the morning jams matter - They can make or break the day. As my straightener is heating up, I cook breakfast, pack my lunch, and make a to-do list for the day. I will be honest, I run around like a mad woman.
My meals are planned precisely, and I usually have two eggs and toast for breakfast. Honestly, I usually eat burnt eggs and cold toast - because I try to multitask and forget that my eggs are on the stove. While I eat my breakfast, I usually find myself making a list of things that need to be accomplished as my mind wanders about the activities that I will encounter throughout my day.
My lunch is super easy to pack since I meal plan on Sunday afternoons. Everything is already organized in the refrigerator for the week so I can easily grab it and go. After breakfast is consumed and my hair is done, I use any extra time I have to clean. I wipe down the counters in the bathroom and kitchen, pick up clothing off the floor in my bedroom, and put anything that is out of its designated place back where it belongs. According to the Gallup StrengthsFinder, my top strength is discipline. I find joy in routines, organization, and predictability if you cannot already tell.
Editors Note: Mom, please disregard the following paragraph.
You might be wondering, “When does she put on her makeup?” I don’t. I never really have. If I feel the need to spice it up a little bit I put on mascara and some foundation under my eyes. Rarely do I put on a full face.
Editors Note: Mom, you may continue reading.
I have a confession to make. I have recently rushed through my morning routine so I can swing by Vibe Nutrition to grab a tea bomb and a protein shake before I spend all day on campus. I have become such a regular that I am on a nickname basis with the owner. I also bought a Vibe Nutrition tumbler to keep my tea cold all day long, but I usually drink it so fast it doesn't make it past the six-minute drive to class!
I find joy in leaving a tidy house at 8:30 AM with a full belly, sore muscles, and a list of intentions for the day. You see, I never actually feel like waking up at 4:20 AM, but always feel better when I do. At this point, I have accomplished more in my morning routine that some people will accomplish in an entire day, and yet I have an entire day still ahead of me. My morning routine creates a positive momentum that carries me throughout the rest of my day.
What brings you joy in the morning? Contact Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your morning routine. She wants to hear from you and your journey on mastering your morning routine!
Author: Savannah Keitzer, Iowa
Ziglar Youth Certified Trainer