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imag5923One of the best things I can give my husband and children is a relaxed, vibrant, healthy, centered, energetic wife and mother. The time and energy spent on taking care of me is an investment into my family and not a selfish pursuit.

Starting my day as early as possible is one of my greatest assets as manager of my home, wife, and mother. There are 4 things that are essential for me to do during the day so that I wake up with energy and enthusiasm:

Water

Before transforming my morning ritual I acted as if drinking sufficient water throughout the day was an option and even a luxury. One manifestation of dehydration is fatigue. I not only want to start my day early but I also want to have the drive to conquer the tasks and priorities of my day. Being intentional on helping my body perform at its peak is paramount. This moves drinking water up the list of priorities.

Doctors say we should drink half of our body weight in ounces of water per day. To help me do this several things have helped:

  • One of the first things scheduled in my morning routine is to drink one full glass (10oz) of water, with lemon. This is also when I take my vitamins.
  • Throughout my routine I work on drinking a total of 20oz, so that before noon I have consumed half of the days required amount.
  • The quality of water we drink makes a difference. Recently I am getting natural spring water from an artesian well. Water at its most natural! I used this site to find a natural spring water well near me.  IMAG5908

Whole Foods

Every time I feed myself is my opportunity to nourish my body. I am trying to be more mindful of this as I CHOOSE the foods that I purchase and bring into my home (still working on it). My goal is to consume foods that are as close to its natural source as possible. I love purchasing my fresh eggs at a local farm. The kids love seeing the chickens that we get our eggs from. I also love making yogurt as a “comfort food”. I’ve shared the recipe on how to make yogurt here. I make it from scratch using organic milk. Homemade yogurt has so many health benefits. Making it at home also helps me control the ingredients (i.e. sugar). There are many other ways to improve my diet. My goal is to transform my diet one change at a time.

Exercise

Working out is a scheduled time in my morning ritual, BEFORE the kids wake up. One of the benefits of exercise is that it boosts your energy. I LOVE using Fitness Blender for my workouts. Their workouts are FREE on their site or on YouTube. I purchased the workout plans ($5-$10). This helps me know what the routine of the day is. Every day is something different and the cover everything from yoga, pilates, HIITS, and weight training.

I love working out at home because I don’t have to deal with childcare, getting all the kids out of the house, weather, etc. 30 min, and workout is DONE! Regardless what you use to exercise the goal it to move every day. Raise your heart rate! On days when I don’t have time for my workouts I jog with my kids while they bike ride.

Naps

I’ve always been adamant on my kids taking their scheduled nap time. Recently I have learned that they are not the only ones that can benefit from it! Michael Hyatt has a great post on “5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Nap Everyday”

Most days, around 2pm, I take a power nap (20-30min). I am amazed at how a short nap can power the rest of my days! Yes, I have 6 kids, so I know you are wondering what I do with the kids to make this nap possible LOL My 2 year old always takes a 2 hour nap at 2p. The older ones are required to have at least 1 hour of quiet time. They can use it to play a quiet game (alone) or read a book. Quiet time is something we all need!

Finally, a powerful, vibrant morning starts with a good night time routine. I will be sharing shortly what my night time routine looks like…so far!

What’s your favorite energy boosting activity?

Thinking on Paper

In my efforts of increasing my efficiency and improving my performance I have been journaling and keeping my calendar on paper instead of online. What a difference!

How I “think on paper”

  • EVERYTHING goes in my calendar and my journal. My schedule, thoughts, brainstorming feel much more contained. Life as a mother can already be chaotic more times than not. It is nice to have a feeling of screenshot_20160524-104822_11stability and control when it comes to my thoughts and planning method. To have everything in one place, vs different apps helps me keep more order. Writing on paper is also much less distracting than sitting at the computer or the phone. Less temptation to be pulled into the less productive activities like FB and texting:)
  • I use my journal for everything! In my morning routine I use it to write my prayers. I also spend 7-10 minutes in the morning and at night writing down things I’m thankful for. Writing these help me be more present and really dwell on them and reduce distraction.  I also love using my different colored pens, and color-code my prayers and thoughts LOL.  Using my paper journal at night also makes it easier to develop the routine I am working toward, which includes shutting down screens 2 hours before bed (still working on it).
  • I use my journal to “think on paper” throughout the day. When I need to process a problem/concern or record an idea, I write it in the book. I want to try “mind mapping” as another way to help declutter my brain. I need lots of that! LOL
  • I do keeping an online version of my more personal journal writing which provide more privacy. I like Penzu (app & website), but know there are other online journals out there that work great. 

I have heard of the benefits of writing things down. I’ve been doing it for a more than a month and am sold on the idea!

Have you noticed a difference when you write things down on paper?

 

There are very few things that have made me feel more empowered as a mother and a wife than my new morning ritual. I have never been a morning person. Now that I get up with a very specific routine, with the intention of “sharpening my ax”, I wake up more energetic and excited. I now wake up with purpose! My morning plan also gives me a great reason to go to bed early, and the TIME to accomplish the most important things: taking care of my spirit, mind, and body, EVERYDAY!

My new morning routine is mostly inspired by Hal Elrod’s book Miracle Morning. The Screenshot_20160522-190321_1concepts in the book have TRANSFORMED my life more than any other book (besides the Bible). Implementing the ideas in this book have released additional hours in my day. I have also so much more energy and drive during the day to do the things I’ve always wanted to. The excuses have been removed!

 

My Morning Routine

I now wake up at 5:30am. This gives me HOURS before the kids get up to take care of me

My routine includes:

Reading my Bible – My older boys (12 and 13), who do the routine with me, are studying the OT. We are using God’s Grand Story. (click here to hear their perspective on their morning ritual)

Meditation (about 10 minutes) – I especially love meditating. The moments that I spend in silence are some of the most powerful of my day. I am taking the time, everyday, to train my spirit to be still, and LISTEN to my Lord. It is a great time to take deep breaths, and be present. Once the kids get up, there’s not much time to do that:)

Prayer Journal – I love writing down my prayers, my confessions, my supplications. This is oquotescover-JPG-73ne of those things that I have always wanted to do but never had time to. Now that I am doing it during my morning routine, it gets done daily! I spend extra time while I journal GIVING THANKS! What a powerful way to start my day and direct my thoughts. Focusing on all the things the Lord has blessed me with and expressing my gratitude sets the mood for the day. 

Read/Write – Depending on my schedule for the day, this is time I spend reading an inspirational book, listening to a podcast, or writing for my blog. This is definitely time that I thought was a luxury I had no time for as a mom. With my new routine it is something that I get to do consistently!

Top 3 Things – This is where I plan my day. I consider the things that need to get done during the day, look over my calendar, and determine the 3 most important things to get done that day. These are the things that I tackle in the morning and try to get done by noon.

Exercise – Finally, I workout for 30 minutes. This is another thing that I struggled finding the time to do consistently. Doing it before the kids get up removes the excuse. Exercises also gives me the energy to tackle my day. 

My morning routine is the most powerful change I have made as a mom, EVER! As a person who has ALWAYS considered herself a night time person, there is ONE THING that made the difference. Waking up with a plan! 

I will be writing MUCH MORE about the different elements of my routine and sharing LOTS of resources for YOU to transform your days as a woman, wife, and mom!

Click here for more on morning rituals.

NEXT POST will be about my night routine, which makes the morning one possible:)

It’s been 30 days since my sons have started their new morning ritual. They’ve already seen amazing results and benefits to conquering their dragons early in the morning!
They are so excited to encourage and inspire other teens to learn to use the first hours of the day to prepare them for excellence!
Stay tuned for more from them soon!

Screenshot_20160517-183604_1The new morning and night routine has been a great addition to our home and home school already! There are definitely some adjustments that need to be made but the advantages I already see make the effort necessary worth it!

Habits are powerful because they reduce they make behavior automatic, reducing the need for decision-making. This frees up our brain and willpower, so we can use it for more important things. In her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin says:

When possible, the brain makes a behavior into a habit, which saves effort and therefore gives us more capacity to deal with complex, novel, or urgent matters. Habits mean we don’t strain ourselves to make decisions, weigh choices, dole out rewards, or prod ourselves to begin. Life becomes simpler, and many daily hassles vanish.

Another FAVORITE recommended book on this topic is The Power of Habit. This book is FASCINATING. It explains the science behind habit formation, giving you control over forming GOOD ones and helping you be more intention.

So far this week I can see how helping my children develop routines and habits helps them AND me!

The advantages I have notices so far:

Increased focus on the task at hand.

It has kept the kids more focused in the morning I’ve noticed they wander less. My nine year old got did get a bit distracted because of his brother.

Visually seeing progress was motivating.

This is not surprising. Even in my own tracking methods during the day, I LOVE checking off the items as I complete them! It is a great way to stimulate the brain as it is a form of rewarding the behavior we want to instill. The kids look forward to writing their checks and even have “special pencils” to do it with LOL. It also helped them to see the end point of their morning routine. We also have gave small reward once the list was complete. This week they look forward to some play time outside. Rewards are a powerful tool to use when forming habits!

There is less need to fuss and nag.

When they lose focus or get distracted, instead of my usual nagging and frustration, I can just direct them to their list when necessary. Much less stressful for both of us!

As I evaluate these routines to increase the chance of success I also notice some things we can do differently moving forward:

  • Tightening up the time frame. Giving them a specific time frame to complete the list, 45 minutes – 1 hour, would help them stay more focused.
  • Starting off a bit earlier. I currently wake up at 5:45a with the older boys to do our morning routine. I CAN’T WAIT to share with you how that one looks! AMAZING the results we have seen from our routines! Getting important things done early empowers us for the rest of the day. I definitely don’t want to start the younger kids off that early, but if I did it a bit earlier than I have so far it may work a bit better.

Lastly, I notice that efficiency and productivity is contagious! My 4 year old daughter does not have her “morning routine” yet, but when she saw her brothers working through it she decided to start her own! She even surprised me and wrote/spelled a word all by herself! She also started a reading program this week and is excited about learning! screenshot_20160518-083156_1.jpgWatching her brothers productivity is rubbing off LOL

I am so excited about this journey of “habit formation”! There is little more important and more empowering in the raising of future leaders!

When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then — and this is the best part — we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. We take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower, and rely on the cruise control of habits.

That’s the promise of habit.

Being intentional in WHAT habits we form is essential. As we move forward, we will discuss and explore what habits are MOST empowering for a life of purpose, for them and US!

 

 

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