Y’all know that I’ve long been a fan of a strong morning routine, but let’s be honest: most weekday mornings in our house go something like this:

6:15am: Alarm goes off. I’m already awake since Henry has come into our room 3 times since 5:30am to ask for Cheerios, Hot Chocolate, and a new Lego speed train. I drag myself into the kitchen to make coffee.

6:30am: Settle into my favorite chair with my journal and coffee for the deep breaths that are intended to focus my mind. Somewhere around breath #3, Henry starts tickling me, then asks if he can watch YouTube.

6:45am: Phoebe comes downstairs and remembers we forgot to complete last night’s reading folder assignment. I tell her she can read it to me in the car on the way to school, until she reminds me that makes her feel like she’s going to throw up. I make her toast while she reads her assignment to me and I half listen while I go over my to-do list for the day.

7:00am: Back to my journal where I go over my intentions until I get a text from my sister asking if I watched Dirty John last night, so I open up my calendar to add a reminder… and then notice that I have an 8am conference call. “Adam, I have to call in to a meeting this morning – can you take Phoebe to school???” Silence. He’s back asleep. Next up on my morning routine is to say a daily prayer, so I send up a quick cry for help before continuing our race to the finish line – braiding hair, packing bags, doing the quickest hair and makeup on myself in history.

Before I know it the day has started and my good ideas for my morning routine never made the leap from “idea” to “action.” Clearly, something’s gotta give, so in an effort to kickoff my 2019 strong:

I’m simplifying my morning routine so that I can stick to what matters even when life happens. ‘Cause mornings aren’t perfect.


I shared on Instagram this past week that my “word” to represent my goals for the new year is INTENTION. I want to show up and bring more intentionality to my relationships, my career goals, my health, and the time I spend with my family. The way I start and end my day, invite people into my home, and engage with social media. Our brand tagline is “Live Life Like You Mean It,” and that’s what my 2019 is gonna be all about.

Inspired by a book I’ve been reading, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, I’m trying out a simpler morning habit that I can easily fit into any morning no matter what curve balls come my way. Here’s how it works:

1. In my journal, I’ve listed the areas of my life that I want to prioritize every single day: family, work, spirituality, friends, health. 

2. Next to each of those, I’ve listed my purpose for each one. For example, my “work purpose” is to help our readers live more intentional lives, through taking care of themselves and finding joy in connecting with others.

3. Under my purpose for each category, I’ve listed the ONE thing I can do in my life that will have the most impact. For example, right now my “one thing” for work is to focus on creating stories that will resonate with our readers and help them live their most meaningful life.

4. Every morning, I open my journal and read my list, then look at my calendar for the day to see if the way I’m spending my time is in line with my purpose. Am I carving out space to do my “one thing?” This morning, I added an hourlong calendar appointment to spend focused time researching and writing a story idea that I’m working on.

 

That’s it! No matter how busy the morning gets, there’s almost always time to read my bulleted list and spend a few minutes looking at my calendar and switching it up as needed. Of course, this habit requires some time and soul searching on the front end as you identify your priorities and purposes, but I promise it’s one of the most valuable ways you could spend a couple hours. And there’s no better time to do it than January, when you’ve got a whole year ahead of you to live life like you mean it!

Here’s what happens in my life when I commit to this practice in the morning: reviewing my top priorities allows me to focus my thoughts and be intentional with how I’m spending my time. It reminds me of my goals and puts them front and center, so that less important things don’t get in the way. Beginning my day in this way sets the tone for everything that follows, and I’m already finding that I’m able to start gaining real traction with my goals.

I’d love to hear what morning habits bring the most joy and purpose to your lives – leave a comment and let me know how you spend that first hour of the day, even when things don’t go quite as planned. 😉

Images: Nicole Ramsay from this story, all others by Kristen Kilpatrick

5 comments
  1. 1
    Kelly | January 5, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I’ve used Husband, Kids, Work, Self, and Home as my guiding principles for years…kinda like your Spirituality priority. Think I’ll add that to my list. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. 2
    Lucie | January 6, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Wow, I really like this idea! It seems like the perfect way to have the most effective day possible! Thanks for sharing this tip
    Lucie,

    http://thefrenchpier.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  3. 3
    Carol Sisco | January 22, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Looking back at my working years I recognize the struggles with priorities. Now that I am retired, I find myself still chasing priorities, just at a slower pace.
    One simple idea to help streamline mornings is to set up the coffee machine the night before (hubby?)so that all it takes is a tap on the ‘go’ button. And not sure about ages, but start young…have the children set up their breakfast plates/glasses etc, cereal and layout their school bags/clothes ready to go…is their homework ready for the next day? And, what is your schedule for the next day?
    Love the intentional living ideas…easy to just let the day roll by when you retire from your paying job! Keep up the good work…relevant to so many.

    Reply
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