daily habits

How To Create A Life-Changing Morning Routine

For years, my morning routine consisted of being jolted awake by a set of tiny toddler eyeballs inches from my face.  I got up when the kids got up because I was not a morning person and resigned myself to the fact that I never would be.  However, I coveted a few quiet moments alone guilt-free.  I knew the answer was to get up before my family and create a morning routine but could I do it?

The answer is yes and you can too!  I have realized what people have been saying for years, the early bird indeed gets the worm.  Creating an early morning routine has set the tone of my day and changed my life.

So, what does my morning routine look like?

Get Up an Hour Before My Family

I get up at least an hour before my family.  When I started this routine, I decided what I wanted the time to be used and planned accordingly.

Brew Some Coffee

The first thing I do after rolling out of bed and slipping on my favorite slippers is to brew myself some french press coffee.  There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of the first cup of coffee in the morning in a still and quiet home.

cozy chair with fur blanket

Enjoy Some Quiet Time

After my coffee is brewed, I head to the family room.  I grab my favorite fuzzy blanket and curl up in my chair for some quiet time.  I keep all of my materials right next to it so I can plop down and get started with my quiet time routine.  (You can read more about that here)

Mentally Prepare for the Day

Before I leave my chair, I mentally run down our day.  Sometimes, while I am in my quiet time, something comes to mind so I will write it on my hand (bad habits die hard).  It’s nice to think through everything while my mind is still fresh.

Create a To-Do List

Many times I have already written a few to do list items the day.  However, while I am mentally processing my day, I think of a few things to add to the list.  I write everything down, even the seemingly simple things so I don’t forget (mom brain ;).

Mark off a Few Low-Hanging Fruit Items

If there is time left, I will take care of a few quick to do list items that don’t take much time.  It’s such a nice feeling to cross a few things off the list before my kids even get up.

Wake Up My Kids & Get Them Started on Their Morning Routine

It’s time to wake up my kids and get them started on their morning routine.  While they are getting dressed, I go and make my bed (since everyone has vacated it at this point) and get started making their breakfast, helping make lunch, brushing teeth, and ushering them out the door for the day.

Some Helpful Tips…

Give Yourself Grace & Don’t Give Up

I am pretty sure I share this in every post but it’s key to give yourself grace.  We so often chuck something before we even have a chance to see the benefits.

 Know Your Why & What You Want to Accomplish

Why do you want to create a morning routine?  What do you hope to accomplish?  For me, I wanted a few moments guilt-free to start my day off right.  Every other hour of the day someone was around.  Knowing your why will help you stay the course when it gets hard.

Set an Alarm and Don’t Press Snooze

Studies show that your body will get used to waking up at a set time if you consistently do it for a period of time.  So, set an alarm and get up when it goes off.  I use the bedtime function in the apple clock app.  It reminds me to go to bed at a decent time so I am ready to get up in the morning.  My biggest demise as a recovering night owl is staying up too late.

Leave Your Phone Behind

I have a no phone rule meaning I do not look at my phone until my morning routine is done.  It’s a distraction for me and those moments are really precious, I want to use them wisely.

Just remember…

So, maybe you are like me and you think I could never be a morning person.  I just want to encourage you that anything is possible if you set your mind to make a change and you dig in and do the hard work to establish a routine.  Don’t forget why you want to do it, that will help you keep on going even if you miss a day.

Do you have a morning routine?  What does your morning routine look like?  Why do you do it?

You Might Also Like –

How To Develop a Quiet Time Routine

Create An After-School Routine

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with Becky

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10 Simple Ways To Drink More Water Every Day

We all know its important to drink water.  The benefits include better skin, detoxified the body and improved digestion.  Not to mention staying hydrated helps us to feel more alert, feel full and curb those cravings.  However, with so many other delicious beverage options,  I am looking at you fountain soda, coffee, and hot tea, it’s hard to make yourself drink water, let alone want to.  Tell me I am not alone?

So, how much water should I drink in a day?

Before we begin drinking more water, it’s important to know how much we need.  A popular theory suggests you should drink 8 – 8 oz glasses of water a day.  Who actually owns an 8 oz glass?  Another popular theory is to take your body weight and times it by 2/3.  Then drink that amount in ounces.  So, for me, I should drink 100 oz of water a day (you can do the math to see how much I weigh ;).  More water is not bad for you so anywhere between 64-100 oz of water, a day would be a good goal.  What’s your goal?

Now that I know how much I need to drink in a day, I have a couple of simple ways I have been purposeful about upping my daily water intake.  With any new habit, it can feel cumbersome at first so don’t give up and give yourself grace when you forget.  Grace is always essential in forming any new habit.

10 simple ways to drink more water

10 Simple Ways to Drink More Water Every Day

1.  Drink a glass of water right away in the morning and right before bed.

Studies show that drinking a lukewarm glass of water right away in the morning helps to “prime your engines” and get your body ready to perform it’s best for the day.  So, even before my morning cup of decaf (because you know I was a glutton for punishment and gave up caffeinated coffee too), I drink a cup of water.

If your bladder can sustain it (and kids do a number to us, so I understand if it can’t), drink another glass of water before bed.  There are also many, many studies on the health benefits of doing this.

2.  Drink out of a straw.

I tend to drink way more water when I drink out of a straw, maybe it’s years of drinking my beloved fountain soda.  Find yourself a good glass (this is mine) with a straw and fill it up. Also, measure how many ounces it holds, so you know how much you are drinking.

3.  Drink Hot Water.

Last year, I stopped putting my tea bag in my hot water.  Now, I prefer drinking hot water at night and all day long in the winter to warm me up.  If I want a little flavor, I keep a bottle of 100% lemon juice in the fridge and add a few drops.  Lemon water is so good for you!  Here is a great article on the health benefits of drinking hot water.  Drinking hot water might make me an old lady but I am a healthy old lady.

4.  Add some flavor.

My favorite way to drink cold water is with some lime juice.  I keep a bottle of 100% lime juice in my fridge and add a few drops to iced water.  You can also find infusion water bottles that allow you to add cucumbers, berries and citrus fruits to add a little flavor.  (Did you know you can find lime juice on Amazon)

5.  Always Order Water.

It’s always my inclination to treat myself to a soda when we go out to eat but not only will you save money but you will increase your water intake by switching your usual beverage of choice with water.  You can always ask for a lime or lemon to add!


6.  Keep Water with You.

It never fails, you get thirsty when you are out running errands or when you are working at your desk.  Get in the habit of taking your favorite straw water bottle or sports bottle with you wherever you go.  The more opportunity you have to drink it, the more you will.

7.  Switch out the soda for sparkling water.

I used to think sparkling water was disgusting but I cut soda for 30 days and replaced it with sparkling water.  When I didn’t have a soda to compare it too, I grew to like it.  Sparkling water now gives me the carbonation and little afternoon treat I liked about soda.

8. Remember the 1 to 1 Rule.

Any time you drink another beverage, try to drink a glass of water with it.  If you are out at a restaurant and order another beverage, order water as well.  I try to drink a glass of water while my coffee is brewing.

9.  Drink a glass of water before every meal.

Often times, we think we are hungry and we are actually dehydrated.  Getting in the habit of starting a meal drinking a glass of water will not only curb over-eating it will also aid in digestion.

10. Get a large jug and fill it in the morning.

Get a gallon size jug and mark it with how many ounces you want to drink.  Then fill it up every morning and work on drinking from it all day.

Keep on Keeping on drinking more water.

In the beginning, sometimes it’s hard to remember to actually follow through with a new habit.  Create a little worksheet or make a tally on a sticky note on your fridge every time you drink a glass of water.   Remember, if you forget to drink water not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Every day is a new opportunity to make a small change and those little steps over time really do add up!  How do you get more water into your diet?


Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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How to Develop a Purposeful Quiet Time Routine

Most mornings my alarm goes off at 5:45 am, I can’t believe I just typed that.  I am not a natural born morning person and for years I had no desire to get up long before my kids.

These days, I know I will regret pushing snooze so I flip off the covers, slip on my slippers and head downstairs to the quiet and still peaceful kitchen.  I warm some hot water in my tea kettle and prepare myself some french press coffee before settling into my chair and beginning quiet time with God.

Before I created a quiet time routine, my bible reading and prayer were haphazardly placed in my day.  I didn’t have a plan and quite honestly more days than not that meant it just didn’t happen.  Like any relationship, our relationship with God is at its best when we spend time with him, praying and reading His word.  So, how do you cultivate a simple and purposeful quiet time?

How to develop a quiet time with God

Know Why You Want to Cultivate this Habit

Before you set-up your spot or set the alarm, you first need to make sure you know your why.  This step is often skipped but asking why when establishing any routine is essential.

When you know your why, you will keep on keeping on even on the hard days, the days you don’t want to get out of bed.

So, why do you want to create a quiet time routine?  My why was simple.  It wasn’t because I was supposed to, although I had heard for years it was an essential part of a Christian’s walk.  That “why” was not going to sustain me for long.  Instead, I wanted to make God a priority in my life and grow a deeper relationship with Him.  Spending time with Him made life better.

Find a Time

Once you know why you want to do it and make establishing this routine a priority, you need to find a time.  Most people like early mornings because there are fewer distractions and it’s a great way to start the day.  I would agree but when I had little kids underfoot, just the thought of getting up early made me tired.  So, choose a time that works best for you.

Gather Your Materials

In order to make the best use of your time, gather all of your materials into a basket and choose a spot to do your quiet time.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be functional.  Gather a pen, highlighter, devotional, journal and study bible near where you will have your quiet time.

Set an Alarm & Practice

Even if you don’t get up early, set an alarm or make it an appointment in your planner.  Cultivating a new routine feels clunky at first.  Remember, when you first learned to ride a bike.  It felt wobbly and you didn’t exactly know what to do but with practice and time, you figured it out.  Give yourself grace as you practice this new habit.  Experts say it takes at least 21 days to make a new routine, a habit.

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How to Structure Your Quiet Time

So, now that you are cultivating this new routine, how do you make it purposeful?  I structure my quiet time into 4 main categories.

Gratitude

I think of quiet time as a conversation with God.  I start out giving him thanks for all he has given me.  I use my journal and think of all the small ways I have to be grateful to start.

praying hands and bible

Prayer

Then, I transition to prayer by giving him thanks for all the things I am grateful for and the things that are weighing on my heart, prayers for others and myself.  I love writing down my prayers because my heart just flows right on to the paper.

Scripture

I finish my quiet time reading God’s word.  You could read a devotional or the Bible.  I love to read a book of the Bible in its entirety so I can understand the full story and context.  If you are new to reading the bible, you could start with Philippians or John.  You can read at your own pace.  God can use even one scripture to teach you something.

A study bible (like this one) is also really helpful in helping you understand what the author was trying to express.  There are also cross-references to other Bible passages with the same theme located usually in the margins of a bible.

As I am reading a passage, I ask myself two questions –

  1. What does this say about God
  2. What lesson or promise can I apply to my life

Just Remember to Give Yourself Grace

It might surprise you to know, I don’t have a quiet time every day.  I aim for 5 days a week.  We often beat ourselves up for the days we didn’t do instead of celebrating the habit we are creating.

I often fall into the trap of wanting it to be all or nothing but life doesn’t work like that, you will give up if you think you have to do it perfectly.  Keep going, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because you missed a day!

Quiet times also don’t have to be the same length every day.  God is always there ready to hang out with you.  No quiet time routine looks the same but that’s the beauty, you and God can make it be exactly what you need.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple, purposeful life!
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Tips to Create A Schedule Based on Your Priorities

“Life is chaotic.  I can’t do it all. How do I make time for the things that matter most?”  Life is too short not to do what matters most with those that matter most so today I am sharing tips to help you create a  schedule based on your priorities!

We always used to go to Bishop’s Buffet with my Grandpa Jack.  The goal every time was to have enough room on your tray at the end of the long line of food so that you could get a piece of their famous french silk pie. Once, we sat down we would find out if our eyes were too big for our stomach.  Would we actually be hungry enough after eating all of our food to actually eat the pie? It was the question that drove my decision-making.

Sometimes, life feels like an all you can eat buffet.  Your tray is so full with all of your commitments that you feel like your eyes are bigger than your stomach, but life is too short to miss out on Bishop’s french silk pie and it’s too short to miss out on what matters most.  

So, how do create a schedule that matches your priorities?

The good news, unlike a buffet, you can always take things off.  There’s always an opportunity to make more breathing room and put on the things you really want and take off the things you don’t.  You are in control. The tray doesn’t control you, your commitments don’t drive you, you get a choice!  

1. Count the Cost

When we decide what goes on our tray, we have to count the cost.  If I put this plate full of mashed potatoes on my tray, what does that mean for the french silk pie?  If I say yes to this commitment, what does that mean for what matters most to me?

2. Know Your Priorities

What are the things and activities that matter most to you?  It’s important we know very specifically what those things are if we want our priorities to drive our decision making.  What are your specific priorities?  

 

Are your priorities currently represented in your schedule? 

Ask yourself these questions to make sure your schedule reflects your priorities

1. What needs to go?

Many people say yes to commitments out of guilt.  That’s not a good reason to say yes.  Unfortunately, because we don’t want to disappoint anyone, so we end up saying yes to the detriment of our family and our priorities.  Be ruthless, write down all your commitments and evaluate what can go.

2. What do you need to add to your plate?

Remember, you do not want to miss out on the pie!  You need to plan accordingly. Don’t leave it to chance.  Good intentions don’t make things happen!

If you are lonely or need to connect with your husband, make a plan for time away. We all have the same amount of time. Our time is finite.  If it is important to you, then plan for it. Make it happen. When you are out with your girlfriends, set the next date.  Have a standing date night each month with your husband.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun! 

Before you say yes or no, pause and think about it.  

For many years, I said yes without asking my husband.  Thankfully, he was gracious but I have learned telling someone I need to talk to my husband and look at my calendar is a good practice for two reasons.  I really do want to consult my husband and get his opinion.  He knows me better than anyone and can help me sift through why I want to do it.  It also gives me time to think and respond purposefully so I don’t have to back out or say no later.

Give yourself grace.  Accept Help.  

Nothing in life is absolute, there are times where you have to make the tough decision.  You may agree to something and change your mind. You will need to ask for help or delegate.  That doesn’t make you a failure, that makes you human.  There are also certain seasons in your life where your tray is full simply because you are a new mom, have lots of little kids under toe, starting a new business or launching a product.  

Whatever the case, carefully examining what’s on your tray and making sure what you want is included will ensure no matter how crazy life is you are doing what matters most with those that matter most!

 

Take a look at your tray of commitments today.  Does it represent your priorities?  What’s missing from your tray and what can you take off your tray?

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with Andrea and Becky – check out their blogs for more fun!

10 Daily Habits

I am back from vacation and am still in a little post-vacation hangover.  Can I get an amen?  I need a stay-cation to recover from vacation ;).  Today is a favorite day of mine – 10 on the 10th!  This month we are talking about daily habits.  

There are oodles of articles out there about how daily habits impact our life.  Google defines a habit as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.  A habit is definitely something that keeps us, keeping on #tribekoko!  Isn’t it true, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives?  Too serious for a Monday?

So here are 10 daily habits that I would say enhance my life and allow me to keep on, keeping on without going crazy! #mostofthetime  You know there are always exceptions to every rule and every habit is broken from time to time!  What daily habits do you have? How do they impact your life?


{One — Make My Bed}
I have been a bed maker since I was a little girl and I use to even sleep on top of my made bed as a little girl so I was ready to go the next morning.  My oldest daughter does this now and it cracks me up!  Starting the morning with a made bed always makes me feel like I am headed in the right direction and I love going to my room at the end of the day to a tidy space!
{Two — Get Ready for the Day}

I started that habit of showering at  night at the beginning of the year in an effort to streamline our mornings.  It has been a game-changer!  I also love the way I can take a moment for myself at the end of the day and go to bed a bit more relaxed.  So, now in the mornings after I make my bed, I take about 10 minutes and wash my face, do my hair, sometimes my makeup and get ready for the day!
{Six — Get Dressed}

Then I get dressed even if its just to change into my gym clothes.  I find that if I stay in my pajamas I just feel cruddy later in the day.  I don’t always change from my gym clothes but at least I am out of my PJs so I call that a win!
{Three — French Press Coffee}

Some place along the way we started drinking french press coffee and I have become a french press coffee snob!  I haven’t brought my french press along on trips yet but my mom (bless her heart) bought one for the lake house!  I make it every morning with a tea pot of boiling water and a dash of chocolate almond milk and of course with my yeti cup which I do take with me on trips (but so does Scott).   I love HOT coffee in the morning!  The smell, the taste and the feeling of caffeine!



{Four — Unload the Dishwasher}

After the breakfast and getting the kids out the door for school rush, I unload the dishwasher (the kids help when they are home).  Then I do a quick clean up the kitchen for the first time for the day.  There is something that eases my mind when I don’t see visual clutter across the counters.  So after every meal I do a quick tidy of the kitchen.




{Five — Read the Bible // Pray}
If the kids are home in the summer they tend to play together well in the morning, they might watch an episode of Daniel Tiger with Lucy while I sit down to do my “quiet time”.  It’s not always quiet, it’s often interrupted but I enjoy reading through a bible chapter or two(right now Joshua) and jotting notes and prayers in my journal.  Someday I will write more on this topic but for the most part I fit it in every weekday morning.

{Seven– Do Laundry}

Of all the chores, laundry might be my arch-nemesis!  It never ends and I can quickly get overwhelmed if I get behind.  So, I started doing a load of laundry every single day.  It’s amazing how much can pile up!  The kids started helping me by putting their own laundry away generally after school or before bed.  


{Eight — Pick Up The House}

At the end of every day I ask the kids to help me pick up our main floor and put away all the toys, put the pillows back on the couch and a couple nights a week, we vacuum.  I can enjoy the quiet of the evening with Scott so much more when I don’t see all the stuff that needs to be picked up!  I also love walking downstairs in the morning to a tidy space.  



{Nine — Read Books // Pray as a Family // Snuggle}

Every night, we go upstairs as a family for the world’s longest bedtime ritual. #anyoneelse  We brush teeth, get ready for bed, pray as a family (Scott or I start and then each kid prays too).  Then Scott and I take turns snuggling and reading with each of the kids.  If we skip snuggle time due to a late night or it gets cut short, the kids are sure to tell us ;).  
This is a sweet time to connect one on one with each of our kids.  Many times the kids have shared on surveys and school items that this is their favorite time of day.  I have to remember that when we are all ready for bed time ;).



{Ten —Create a To Do List for Tomorrow}
Before the day is over, I make sure to make a quick to do list.  I try to keep it under 10 items and preferably 5-7 things.  I also check the calendar so I can mentally prepare and know what’s for dinner,  when I will get stuff done and who needs to be where, when!  It helps to wake up the next morning with a purpose and a plan.  All that to say, some days don’t go as planned but at least we have a starting point!

My 10 daily habits help me to stay sane #mostofthetime from getting ready in the morning, to doing a few daily chores to keep our house tidy, with a good dose of caffeine to keep me moving!  


What do you do to keep your family and you organized?  


Are there any daily habits you hope to kick to the curb?  Mine would be pop drinking! #tastessogood.  
Don’t forget to link-up and share or sound off in the comments.  I love hearing from each of you!  Until next time, keep on keeping on #tribekoko! 


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