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5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge (Day 2)


Welcome to Day 2 of the 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge! I’m so excited that so many of you committed to join me in this journey. If you missed my first post for Day 1 you can read it here.

Today, I want you to take your answers to the three questions I had you ask yourself yesterday and we’re going to use those as the basis for creating a Realistic Routine.

3 Steps to a Successful Routine

Step 1: Start Out Small

The biggest mistake people make when trying to create a routine is that they bite off more than they can chew. If you’ve never had a routine before, please don’t decide that you’re now going to have your whole family on an every-15-minutes regimented schedule. That’s setting yourself up for failure and frustration from the get-go.

Instead, start out small. Choose your start time, your out-the-door time, and your Big Rocks. Then, flesh this out into a simple routine.

Sample Routines

Example #1: Let’s say you’re a single woman who works full-time and your start time is 6:30 a.m., your out-the-door time is 7:45 a.m., and your Big Rocks are to eat a healthy breakfast and get in 15 minutes of exercise, your routine could look like this:

  • 6:30 a.m. — Get up and get on workout clothes
  • 6:40 a.m. — 15 minute workout
  • 7:00 a.m. — Make scrambled eggs and cut up fruit for breakfast
  • 7:10 a.m. — Eat breakfast
  • 7:20 a.m. — Shower/dress
  • 7:40 am. — Ready to go

If you’ll notice, I padded the routine with a little extra time. You probably don’t need 10 minutes to get your workout clothes on. But maybe you move slow in the morning, so this will give you a little extra time to slowly wake up and get on your workout clothes.

I also added in 5 extra minutes between when the workout ends and when you’d start making breakfast, just to give a little extra buffer. And then it probably won’t take you 20 minutes to make and eat breakfast, but this gives you a little extra time so you can check email or catch the news or listen to a podcast or read a little. I’m all about giving a little margin and breathing room!

My Morning Routine

Example #2: Let’s say you’re a working mom with two kids who are 5 and 8 and your start time is 6:00 a.m., your out-the-door time is 7:30 a.m., and your Big Rocks are to get 15 minutes of quiet time and to read to your kids at breakfast. Your routine could look something like this:

  • 6:00 a.m. — Get up, wash face, make coffee
  • 6:10 a.m. — 15 minutes of quiet time
  • 6:30 a.m. — Get kids up & started on their morning routine, shower/dress
  • 6:50 a.m. — Help the 5-year-old finish getting dressed/ready
  • 7:00 a.m. — Breakfast
  • 7:10 a.m. — Read to kids while they are finishing breakfast
  • 7:20 a.m. — Ready to head out the door.

If the thought of having specific times for each part of your routine freaks you out or you’re in a season of life where you’re just trying to survive and when you get up is constantly changing based upon how many times your baby or toddler wakes up at night, you might consider creating a routine that isn’t time-based… but is just a list of items you plan to do in the same order when you get up every morning. As always, do what works for you and your family!

Do you see how this works? It’s really quite simple. Even if you’ve never had a routine before, you can do this!

The trick is to not bite off more than you can chew. If you only have an hour and a half or two hours and you choose 3 30-minute Big Rocks to tackle, you’re likely going to have an issue. But if you choose two Big Rocks that take 10 to 15 minutes each, you can fit them in and still have time to get ready and out the door in time!

Note: Not a morning person? Here’s a post on How a Non-Morning Person Can Have an Effective Routine.

Step 2: Set Up Accountability

If you want to be successful at anything, you can’t go it alone. You need other people on the journey with you! That’s one reason why I love blogging about things I’m working through/challenging myself with — because I get the benefit of having the public accountability that you all provide for me! 🙂

{Yes, did you know you are my accountability partner? Yup. You may not have known it, but you totally are! 🙂 Thank you!}

Yesterday, I encouraged you to not only leave a comment on the post to say you were participating in this challenge, but I also asked you to tell someone offline.

Why did I ask you to do this? Because I knew that the very act of saying, “I’m doing this” and then telling someone else that you are would encourage you to not just think this is a good idea, but to actually be motivated to follow through with it.

Hello Mornings!

What kind of accountability would motivate you to actually follow through with your morning routine? I recommend that you choose at least two forms of accountability and that one is a person and one is a product.

Accountability Partners — It’s great to have online accountability, but real-life people are the best forms of accountability. They can even show up at your front door if you don’t answer the texts, emails, or phone calls. 😉

Not sure where to find an accountability partner? Check out this post for some ideas. The Hello Mornings site is a great way to plug into morning accountability groups if you can’t find anyone in your area.

Accountability Products — I also am a big fan of accountability products such as apps, printables, or other kinds of trackers. These are great for everyone, but are especially valuable for those of us who love to check things off a list!

At the bottom of today’s post and yesterday’s post, I’ve put together a list of resources that might be great starting points. You can also check out this post for some great ideas on other accountability sources.

Step 3: Stick With It

You’ve got your routine set up. You have your accountability in place. Now you just need to follow through and do it!

A plan only works if you actually follow it. So jump in with both feet and stick with this. You can do this! I’m cheering for you!

Need some encouragement to get your mornings in better shape?

Need some accountability and step-by-step help for transforming your mornings? I’d love to help you!

Day 2 Project

1. Create your routine based upon your start time, out-the-door time, and Big Rocks. Leave a comment letting us know what your routine is. We’d love to hear and be inspired!

2. Put at least two forms of accountability in place. I’d recommend that one is a person and one is a product (a printable, an app, etc.). You decide what would work best for you. Leave a comment and let us know that you put the accountability in place, as well.

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  • Kristy MeYeR says:

    Hi Crystal and other friends!
    Loving this already 🙂
    1. Sample schedule
    Wake time- 4:10 (No, I don’t want to talk about it, LOL)
    Out the door time- 7:30
    4:10 Up
    4:15 Start coffee and pack Handsome Hercules a lunch
    4:30 Hercules leaves. I tidy kitchen, start laundry, empty DW
    5:00 Quiet time
    5:30 Head out to PFit (Planet Fitness)
    6:30 Return from PFit/shower and dress for day
    6:45 Wake tween (if not already up and dressed) Have breakfast and play a game with him
    7:15 Gather water bottle, school books, purse and phone, and get something thawing for dinner
    7:30 Leave for work

    Sheesh, I think I know why I’m tired. Ha!
    As for accountability, I already have a workout accountabilty partner so we are adding this, and am using FB (otherwise known as fear of public failure) as my product.
    Thanks so muc for this, Crystal!
    Blessings, Kristy

    • WOW! No wonder you are tired! I was tired just reading that — but I was also inspired by it, too! Thank you for sharing!

      What time do you go to bed at?

      • Kristy MeYeR says:

        It isn’t feasible to get our tween to bed before 9 since he has activities 3 days a week until 8 so hubster and I head to bed around 10. I’ve given up staying up until the teenagers go to bed, that’s a lost cause. LOL!
        I know that’s not enough sleep so on the days that hubster isn’t working (F,Sat, Sun) I am a lazy bum and sleep until 6:30 and have a simpler schedule.
        Thanks for asking 🙂

  • K. Ann Guinn says:

    I’ve been working on a morning routine for some time now. I mostly just need to stick with it using discipline. I’ve tried to write out three different scenarios, since I have work days, home days, and days that I don’t go out to work, but need to get out the door for another reason. One thing I’m struggling with is the fact that I’ll probably be looking for work again in the fall, after my farming job ends, so it’s been hard to stick with a routine. I think to simplify for now, I’ll just write my activities in order:

    1. get up and drink warm lemon water or ACV water (and more water)
    2. dress in workout gear, make bed (if hubbie didn’t yet), wash face, brush teeth, comb hair
    3. make coffee; light breakfast; quiet time (try to write in gratitude journal)
    4. exercise (10-30 + min., depending on time)
    5. dress for day, finish getting ready
    6. finish breakfast and/or get ready to leave

    For accountability, I just told my husband, and I’m writing this here for all of you to read. 🙂 (I just had an idea to blog about this; I’ll consider that, although I don’t have a lot of people consistently reading my blog yet).

    Thanks, Crystal and friends!

  • Layne says:

    I am taking the Make Over your Mornings course right now. Loving it – on day 7. I WANT so badly to get up at 5:00 -5:30 to get some quiet time, workout for 20-30 minutes, and maybe do a lil bloody stuff before everyone gets up around 6:30-7. It is a a lot…. but I am having trouble getting up. Going to bed late is an issue. I try to make myself go by 10, but it ends up slipping into 11-12am. Crazy… I will get there… 🙂

  • Kristina says:

    The plan 8am get up and stay out of bed
    8:10 exercise
    8:30 shower
    8:40 get kids up
    9:00 kids need to be dressed, grab granola bars for the car (their stomachs don’t always wake up right away, smoothie for me
    9:10 grab swim gear and activity bag (do bible study at lessons) and off to class.
    Hubby is the accountability partner and I am posting this here for the online and I have a written copy on my desk

  • Renee says:

    5:00am – Wake up, turn coffee pot on, 30 minute devotions with Hubby, write in gratitude journal
    5:35am – Pack Hubby’s lunch, and see him off to work between 6 & 6:30
    6:30am – Throw a load of laundry in the washer, make the bed, head to the computer to check bank account (balance), check emails, read MSM blog, and a few other blogs
    7:00am – Exercise for 60-90 minutes while listening to the Dave Ramsey Show, and in between exercises, I switch a load of laundry to the dryer, and add another to the washer
    9:00am – Check on laundry, fold a load if dry, check emails again, and check MSM blog to see what’s been posted since the last time I looked (LOL), tidy up
    9:30am – Eat breakfast and wash any dishes that I used, and continue with laundry (I try to have all the laundry done by noon)
    10:00am(ish) – Shower

  • Amanda says:

    I realize your sample schedules are just that: samples. But I am curious if anyone out there really can shower/dress/be ready to go in 20 minutes, because if so, please tell me your secret!

    I am a die-hard morning shower person. It’s how I wake up, and I feel gross all day if I don’t. But, I spend about 10 minutes in the shower, 10 minutes drying off and putting various lotions all over (face is different than body obviously)… that’s 20 minutes right there, and I still need to get dressed, put on makeup (not a lot, but this still between 5-10 minutes), comb and dry my hair (it’s collarbone length and fine, so this takes maybe 10 minutes or so), and style it. Then I brush my teeth, take my morning pills, rub in cuticle oil, and spray on perfume. I think it takes me close to an hour each morning to do all of this.

    I would love to know if anyone has any time savers!

    • My secret: I only wash my hair every 4 days. So I can take a shower in 7 minutes (including shaving my legs) if I’m in a hurry on the other days. I don’t put lotion all over (I probably should, but I only moisturize my face), so that’s probably another way I save time. 7 minutes to shower. 3 minutes to towel off and get dressed. 5 minutes to pull my hair back in a ponytail or a messy burn (or 7 minutes if I do a quick blow-dry and straighten or curl). And then 3-5 minutes to wash and moisturize my face, brush my teeth, put on perfume, and throw on a little makeup. Recently, I’ve just been putting on foundation and lip gloss and then throw on a little more makeup later in the morning if I’m headed out or am getting ready to go on live video.

      I try to wash my hair on days when I have more time in the morning — because that does take me about 10-15 minutes extra. I’ve worked hard on getting my routine down to as quick as possible because I want to feel great, look presentable, and do it as quickly as possible! So yes, I’ve timed everything and am constantly looking for new ideas and shortcuts! 🙂

  • My “must have” morning routine:
    a big cup of warm water with a piece of lemon and honey
    stretching for 5-10 minutes
    plate of oatmeal (i just use hot water over uncooked oatmeal) with fruit
    after this I can do all other tasks.
    If I am lucky to have time I use a piece of aloe vera to rub over my face 🙂 and have a morning walk through my small garden

  • Kathy says:

    If it’s helpful to anyone, here’s a sample morning schedule that’s not time based!

    *Wake up with hubby 6:30-6:45
    *Read scripture and pray a few minutes
    *Exercise and get dressed
    If kids aren’t up yet, I take the extra time to do some extra pickup and cleaning in our bed and bathroom
    (Disclosure: if I need more sleep I get up with the kids, and just take 10 minutes to get dressed, grab a verse, and pray before I get them)
    *Leisurely get kids dressed and ready for the day–this is one of our special times so we take our time and play and cuddle up in their rooms before going down to breakfast
    *Breakfast: whIle kids eat, I do my “big 3”: start the diffuser, make a green smoothie, and a big pitcher of water. These are my self-care “rocks”
    *We try to read a chapter of scripture while everybody’s still at the table.
    *Baby goes to nap/kids play while I unload the dishwasher, get dinner thawing, and whatever else needs set in the kitchen

    With kids usually waking up around 7:30, we usually wrap this routine around 10 and then can play, run errands, meet friends, or whatever. If we need to get out earlier, we cut short the playtime or I do the kitchen at lunchtime.

  • Dionna says:

    I love this and thank you for including a working mom sample! I am excited to put this into practice of the summer then I will just need to move it back my 15 mins or so when my kids are back in school.

  • Ginger says:

    I make to do list every night for the next day. When I am working I get up 400. Not working like right now 800. There is my morning routine.

    I get up and take vitamins with water.
    Set the timer for 20 minutes.
    I ck my calendar
    Ck to do list
    Ck and clean out emails.
    When timer goes off, I drink my shake.
    Set timer 30 minutes
    Put on my patch
    Clean out email.
    Read a book
    Put up clothes
    Make bed
    Timer goes off I eat breakfast and my medicine
    then get dressed for the day.
    About 90. Minutes for everything.
    I try to the timed minutes wisely and get things off my to do list

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