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Make the Most of Your Mornings: Get Dressed in Something That Makes You Feel Good (Day 10)

So yesterday, I sort of stepped on some of your toes, but today, I’m stepping on my own toes. Because I’ve really been struggling with getting dressed in the morning.

In fact, to be 100% honest, I’ve worn my workout clothes almost all day everyday this week and I only got a few showers in. Ick, I know, but I’m just being truthful here.

If you just were utterly horrified with me, you have every right to be. Because it’s not how I want to be living either. Nor is it the kind of example I want to be setting for my kids.

Yes, I could make the excuse that we started our new homeschooling schedule and P90X this week, but those are just that — excuses. The real reason I’ve been struggling with getting dressed in the morning lies in the fact that I’m not making it a priority.

My days are full, no doubt, but I find time to blog and I find time to read. So that means I could also find time to shower and get dressed in something other than workout clothes! Instead, it seems that this past week I’ve been having my morning quiet time, heading downstairs to exercise with my husband, and then I get busy with taking care of my children’s needs, homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, blogging and all the other things that fill up my day — and all of a sudden, it’s almost dinner time and I’m still in my workout clothes.

I know that when I take a shower and get dressed in something that makes me feel great, including hair and makeup, I feel so much better about myself, I’m able to head out the door at a moment’s notice, I don’t fear the doorbell ringing (!), and I seem to be more productive, too. But knowing these things is not enough, I need to crack down and actually do something about it.

So today, instead of sharing with you some tips and practical ideas like I’ve done every day in this series so far, I’m coming to you for help: What advice and tips do you have for someone like me who struggles to get a shower in and get dressed every morning if I’m not going anywhere that day?

{And I know that those of you who have to be up, dressed, out the door, and to work at 6 a.m. or earlier are probably cracking up at my dilemma since you can’t imagine how someone couldn’t just get up and get dressed. I know, I know, it sounds so simple in theory…!}

I’ll share my plan of action for how I’m going to seek to improve in this area on Monday.

My Day 9 Project Update

Bedtime: I made it to bed by 10 p.m. last night — 30 minutes after my bedtime. Hopefully, I’ll do better next week!

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done!

Wake Up Time: 5:20 a.m.

Day 10 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. Did you get in some exercise yesterday and eat a nutritious breakfast? If not, make a commitment today to a specific way you’re going to incorporate exercise and a nutritious breakfast into your day.

Make the Most of Your Mornings: Stop Saying “I’m Not a Morning Person!” (Day 9)

Sorry that I’m getting this up so late (and past my bedtime!). I had it ready earlier but then had computer issues. Hopefully, tomorrow’s post will be up much earlier again. Thanks for your patience as I adjusted to our new homeschooling schedule this week and tried to figure out where blogging was going to fit in! I’m hoping I’ve got it figured out now after four days into our new schedule… we’ll see! 🙂

Okay, I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but I want to stick my neck out anyway and say this: As long as you continue to say “I’m not a morning person” you never will be one.

We’re all wired differently. Some of us are better at getting up in the morning. For others, it’s a big struggle. But when you convince yourself that you’re just not a morning person, you’re basically committing yourself to failure before you even try.

Don’t be a defeatist!

You might not be able to get up really early. You might not jump out of bed ready to hit the ground running. You might require more hours of sleep than other people. But don’t let those things keep you from trying or seeking to improve.

If I were to declare “I’m not good with money,” that might be true. But that doesn’t mean the fact that I’ve handled money unwisely in the past needs to define me or be used as an excuse for blowing money on things I don’t need or racking up credit card debt.

Having low expectations of ourselves is one sure way to never rise above the status quo. It’s also sure way to live a mediocre, boring life.

So, no matter what you’ve done or been in the past, don’t let that define you. Instead, start taking steps toward where you hope to be. And keep at it, even when the going is rough.

I loved this comment from :

I didn’t consider myself a morning person for year and years. I’m still a bit of a morning person-in-training.

However, I just wanted to chime in and say that I didn’t know I had potential to be a morning person until I committed to trying it for three weeks. I hated it – truly hated it – for the first week.

By the 2nd week, I didn’t mind getting up quite so much. By the 3rd week, I found that I really looked forward to my quiet time to myself!

Now I’d like to try adding exercise to my morning routine. I expect to hate that for the first week, too. 🙂 -Kelli

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if you start getting up early every morning you’re going to magically turn into someone who loves getting up at the crack of dawn. Nor am I saying that everyone should get up really early.

What I am asking is that you stop and consider whether your preconceived notions about being a certain kind of person are holding you back from success.

My Day 8 Project Update

Bedtime: Um, so much for getting to bed by 9:30 p.m. But hey, after my shopping fiasco, I did at least make it to bed by 10:30.

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done!

Wake Up Time: 6:30 a.m.: It felt so late, after four much earlier mornings. And I felt behind all day. At least I know that the early morning wake up times are making a big difference. Now if I can just stick with them…!

Day 9 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. Did you get in some exercise yesterday and eat a nutritious breakfast? If not, make a commitment today to a specific way you’re going to incorporate exercise and a nutritious breakfast into your day.

4. Consider whether you have preconceived notions about yourself that might be holding you back from success.

Make the Most of Your Mornings: Eat Something Nutritious (Day 8)

If you have a lot you’re juggling right now, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have time to eat nutritiously in the morning. But, as I’ve written about recently, you can’t expect your body to run efficiently and productively if you’re not fueling it well.

Instead of grabbing a doughnut and latte at the drive-thru or just altogether skipping breakfast, here are some suggestions to help you make eating a healthful breakfast a priority:

1. Have a Plan

If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to eat for breakfast, it’s much easier to just grab a pop-tart or something else that isn’t too nutritious.

Take 15 minutes on the weekends to plan out your breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners for the following week, and it will help your mornings run much more smoothly, not to mention saving you unnecessary trips for takeout!

2. Keep It Simple

It’s better to eat the same nutritious breakfast every morning, than to eat junk or nothing at all. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple! Find something — or a few things — that work for you to pull off for a quick breakfast and then stick with them.

3. Prep Food the Night Before

If you struggle to eat a nutritious breakfast, consider making breakfast prep part of your Top 5 Must-Do’s plan for before bed. (By the way, if you followed point number one and actually have a plan, it shouldn’t take too long to prep something the night before!)

When breakfast is already prepped in the morning, not only does it help you to wake up and feel like you’re already ahead, but it also will help guarantee that you eat something healthful before jumping into your day.

A few make-ahead breakfast ideas: Fruit Salad (or chopped up fruit), Hard-Boiled Eggs, Baked Oatmeal, or .

4. Make Food for the Freezer on the Weekends

If your weekdays and nights are packed, you might not have time to prep much food, but see if you can carve out an hour or two on the evenings to make some food for your freezer. As I’ve said often here, freezer cooking can make your life so much easier — and save your sanity, too!

A few freezer-friendly breakfast ideas: Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Waffles, Breakfast Burritos, Easy Morning Glory Muffins, Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets, and

5. Find Some Quick-Fix Favorites

If you don’t have time to prep food ahead of time and your freezer is bare, find a few breakfast ideas you can fall back on that are nutritious and can be made in a short amount of time.

A few quick-fix breakfast ideas: Peanut butter on Whole-Wheat Toast, Pick-Me-Up Smoothies, or Scrambled Eggs.

What are your favorite quick and easy go-to breakfast recipes?

My Day 7 Project Update

Bedtime: Made it to bed at 10 p.m. last night. I won’t give you my laundry list of reasons why I stayed up 30 minutes past my bedtime, but I will say that I’m going to make a point to be in bed before 9:30 p.m. tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done!

Wake Up Time: Got up at 4:35 a.m. this morning! I’ve been amazed at how going to bed at a decent hour is allowing me to get such great rest that I really haven’t been dragging much in the mornings — well, at least not after I actually get out of bed and take 10-15 minutes to really wake up! 🙂

Day 8 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. Did you get in some exercise yesterday? If not, make a commitment today to a specific way you’re going to incorporate exercise into your week on a regular basis.

4. What’s your plan for making sure you’re eating a nutritious breakfast every morning? Leave a comment and tell us about what’s working for you or what you’re going to experiment with.

Make the Most of Your Mornings: Get Your Heart Pumping (Day 7)

Exercise is often one of the thing that tends to get pushed to the back burner when schedules are busy, but starting the day with a little exercise is one of the best ways to wake you up and make you feel energized for the rest of the day. If you’re dragging along and feeling like you’re lacking energy and enthusiasm for life, exercise just might be the best antidote.

I know it’s not the most exciting things to get up and do in the morning, but exercise is one of those things that you never regret doing. Instead of making excuses as to why you can’t find time to exercise, start thinking of ways to you can fit some exercise into your morning.

Your health is worth the sacrifice of a little time, sweat, and effort. And I promise you’ll feel better the rest of the day!

If you struggle to regularly exercise, here are some suggestions to consider:

1. Check Out a DVD From the Library

If you can’t afford to pay for a gym membership or a trainer, check out the workout DVDs at your local library. Typically, they have quite a large selection to choose from. Some of my favorites are by Jillian Michaels (more intense workouts) and Leslie Sansone (these are great for beginners or those looking for low impact exercise).

I’ve found exercise DVDs are a great way to mix things up — especially if my current routine seems like it’s becoming a bit mundane. And it’s a lot less inhibiting to work out in your basement or living room, rather than in a group of people at a class at the gym!

2. Watch Exercise Videos Online

Can’t make it to the library? The internet is goldmine of exercising videos and resources. YouTube is a great place to start if you’re looking workout videos. Also, some of my readers left other online resources on .

3. Experiment With New Things

If you don’t enjoy exercising, it’s probably just because you’ve not yet tried enough different kinds of exercise options. There’s pretty much something out there for everyone, so keep trying things until you land upon something you love.

4. Find a Workout Partner

Teaming up with someone else can be a great way to be more successful when it comes to fitness. Either find someone to meet you for a morning jog, to come over and do that exercise DVD with you multiple times per week, or find someone who will text or email you and see if you followed through with the goals you set for exercise each day. There are also many different online accountability forums and Facebook groups (or you could start your own!).

Jesse and I have been doing P90X together and we’re finding that it makes it much more fun than doing on your own. Plus, we’re both helping to inspire each other through the difficult parts — we have fun teasing each other when we mess up or have trouble pulling off some of the workout sequences! 🙂

5. Set Small Goals

A lot of people want to lose weight or run a marathon, but wanting to do something won’t get you anywhere. You have to actually set a goal and break it down into bite-sized, realistic pieces if you want to be successful.

So set some fitness goals and then figure out what tiny steps you can take this week to help you get where you want to be in six months from now. It’s amazing how motivating the act of putting your goals on paper and breaking them down into small pieces can be. You can do this — one step at a time!

6. Multi-Task

If you’re not Type A like me this probably seems crazy, but I find that if I’m doubling up my exercise with something else (listening to an audiobook, praying, working on my Scripture memory, mapping out articles in my head, during my warm-up walk on the treadmill, etc.), I enjoy it a lot more and it feels like I’m killing two birds with one stone.

7. Be Realistic

If you’ve never exercised before, don’t expect that you’ll be running five miles in a few weeks. Start slowly, set small goals, and focus on the progress you’re making (even if it seems tiny) instead of being discouraged by the fact that you’re not where you want to be.

You’d rather slowly build up your endurance and stamina then to try to do much more than you’re capable of and end up burning yourself out before the first week of exercise is over with.

8. Track Your Progress

Each week, keeping a log of the workouts you do, how much time you worked out for, or how many miles you ran. This will inspire you to keep going, will encourage you as you see yourself growing stronger and building endurance.

Try using online trackers such as , , or . All of these have cool features that make logging your exercise time more rewarding.

9. Reward Your Success

What motivates you? Set some goals and plan some rewards along the way. Maybe you decide to put a quarter in a jar every time you exercise for 25 minutes and then you can use this money on a little special treat (coffee at the coffee shop, a used book from Amazon, etc.) every few weeks.

10. Remember That Something is Better Than Nothing

If you only have five minutes in the morning to exercise, then exercise for five minutes. Sure, you’re probably not going to get the benefits of a 45-minute workout in five minutes, but you can definitely work up a little sweat and get your heart pumping with a short and intense workout.

Do what you can do with the time you have. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to exercise.

My Day 5 Project Update

Bedtime: Made it to bed by 9:36 p.m. Woot — I’m slowly making progress in the right direction!

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done!

Wake Up Time: Got up at 4:55 a.m. this morning!

Day 6 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. If you already have an exercise plan that you follow each morning, leave a comment telling us about it. If you aren’t currently exercising in the morning, consider if you have a 5 to 15 minute slot you could devote to exercise. Leave a comment telling us if you’re committing to exercise every morning (or evening, if that works better for you).

Make the Most of Your Mornings: Create a Realistic To-Do List (Day 6)

Last week, we talked about the importance of creating a to-do list that was based upon your yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. If you’ve not read that post (or you’ve not set down and mapped out some specific goals), can I encourage you to do that today? It just might rock your world! Now, onto today’s post…

We all have a lot we need to do each day. And, if you’re anything like me, you probably have a whole lot more that you want to do in each day, too.

I was just telling my husband yesterday that I have so much that I want to do that it’s a problem. I have a laundry list of new skills I want to learn, things I want to teach my children, place I’d love to visit, subjects I want to research in-depth, projects I want to attempt, people I’d like to reach out to and befriend, ministries I want to support, books I hope to read, character I want to work on… there are so many, many good things in life to choose from that putting together a daily to-do list can seem daunting.

But here’s the truth we all have to accept: none of us can do it all. Collectively, we can do a lot with our lives and make a huge impact in this world. Personally, we can make a big difference over the course of our lifetime. But we all only have 24 hours in each day.

Our time is limited and our energy is finite. Thus, we have to pick and choose the best from among the good. And we have to realize that what might be the best for others will not necessarily be the best for us.

1) Decide Your Personal Priorities

Determining what to put on our daily to-do list begins with deciding upon our own personal priorities for the season of life we’re currently in. I recommend choosing no more than five to six priorities. These are the things you will wrap your life around and what will be the basis for the majority of everything on your to-do list and all of the yearly, monthly, and weekly goals you set for yourself.

2) Start With the Basics

Before you try to save the world, you need to focus on making sure you (and your family, if you have one) have clean clothes, food to eat, and proper hygiene and rest. You’ll be a lot more effective at your efforts in other spheres of life if you make sure that you take care of the basics first.

So, think through what must be done in the course of your day. This is not what would be nice to have done, but those things that are actually necessities. For the record, the list of necessary things that must be done in a day is usually fairly short for most of us.

If you’re caring for someone who has life-threatening illness, have a special needs child, or have a lot of little ones, then most of your day is likely going to be made up of basic things. While they might mostly seem menial and mundane, remember that taking care of the basic needs of others is a very important thing to be investing your life in — even though it’s exhausting work. Remind yourself of what would happen if you weren’t doing it and you’ll realize just how important your tasks are!

3) Pick a Few Bite-Sized Pieces to Tackle

Once you have the basics on your to-do list for the day, if you still have a little wiggle room in your schedule, pick a few bite-sized pieces of your goals to tackle. These will typically be things you can accomplish in 15 or 30 minute slots, so keep this in mind when breaking goals down into bite-sized pieces. If you can’t accomplish the bite-sized piece in 30 minutes or less, it probably needs to be broken down further.

4) Prioritize Your List

I’ve found it helpful to prioritize my to-do list by marking each item with numbers in the order of priority I need to accomplish each task. I don’t always follow it to a tee, since sometimes a block of time will open up during the day and it will be perfect for tackling a specific item on my list — even though it’s out of order. When that happens, I just go with the flow and am happy to have another item crossed off the list, regardless of the fact that it’s out of order.

That said, as much as possible, I encourage you to focus on getting the hard tasks done first. “Eat your frogs” early in the day and you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment to carry with you the rest of the day!

5) Keep it Short & Simple

As I’ve talked about before, if you want to set yourself up for success, you need to keep your to-do list short. If you put 56 items on your to-do list at the beginning of the day, you’ll probably give up before you even start because you’ll feel overwhelmed at defeated.

It’s better to plan to complete a few things and actually follow through with those things, then to set out to accomplish 102 things and just run around in circles all day trying to start a bunch of different things and finishing nothing at all.

Free Printable Daily Dockets and To-Do Lists

Looking for some helpful printable daily dockets or to-do lists? Here are a few free printables to check out:

We have a number of free household customizable management planners available to download, including a customizable daily docket.

Ann Voskamp has a available for download.

Download and print a from Only a Breath.

Download a .

Print from Amy Bayliss.

My Day 5 Project Update

Bedtime: Made it to bed by 9:38 p.m. Woot — I’m slowly making progress in the right direction!

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done!

Wake Up Time: Got up at 5:04 a.m. this morning!

Day 6 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. If you haven’t done so already, pick 1-5 goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next year and break them down into monthly and weekly pieces, if possible. Start looking for opportunities to add in bite-sized pieces to your daily to-do lists, as you’re able. Let us know what these goals are in the comments section.

Make the Most of Your Mornings: Have a Plan for the Day (Day 5)

Waking up with your alarm clock and having a cheerful attitude in the morning are both important things, but they are not enough to make your morning productive.

You need a plan.

Without charting a course of action for the day, you’ll likely waste time, wander aimlessly, and run around in circles. You may even get to the end of the day and wonder what on earth you did with your day.

A plan gives you purpose, motivation, and direction.

When you know where you want to go, it’s much easier to make traction in the right direction. When you know exactly what you’re aiming to accomplish in a day, it’s much easier to actually get things done. A plan also helps you track your progress and be encouraged that you’re getting somewhere!

Small steps in the right direction can result in big change over time.

When I make a plan for my day, I think about not only the things that must be done (laundry, dishes, homeschooling, appointments, phone calls, etc.), but I also think about the big picture. What small steps can I take today to help me move toward where I want to be in a year from now?

Change your life by setting big goals and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces.

In order to take small steps toward where you want to be in a year from now, you need to actually have a good idea of where you want to be in a year from now. This is why I recommend setting yearly goals and then breaking those goals down into monthly and weekly goals.

When you look at your yearly goals as a whole, they can seem daunting and overwhelming. When you break them down into monthly and then weekly goals, they are much more doable.

Transform your to-do list from the mundane to the meaningful through goal-setting.

If you take it one step farther and break those weekly goals down into tiny daily goals, your huge goals have become completely manageable. Plus, knowing that you’re doing a little bit each day to inch you closer to where you hope to be in a year from now gives you a lot more purpose and enthusiasm for tackling your to-do list.

No longer is your to-do list just a list of things that must be done in order to survive; it’s an action plan of tiny babysteps that are going to give you traction toward greater success in your life as a whole. Sure, there are still going to be a lot of things that aren’t too glamorous — like taking out the trash, washing the car, and giving the dog a bath — but I bet you’ll do those menial tasks with more purpose when you know that each day you’re making microscopic progress in the right direction with your big goals.

Come back on Monday when we’ll be talking more about how to plan your day and set yourself up for success

My Day 4 Project Update

Bedtime: Made it to bed by 9:45 p.m. just barely since Jesse and I went on a date and got back later than usual. It wasn’t my goal time of 9:30, but at least it was only 15 minutes late!

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done

Wake Up Time: My alarm went off at 6:20 a.m. this morning and I’m sorry to report that I got back into bed for 10 minutes. Yes, I know, I need to work on practicing what I preach. But hey, at least I didn’t hit the snooze button. 😉

Day 5 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. If you haven’t done so already, pick 1-5 goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Take some time this weekend to break those goals down into monthly and weekly goals. Then, come back on Monday where we’ll be talking more about making a daily to-do list, how to incorporate your bite-sized goals into it, and how to not overload your to-do list. I’ll also be sharing some helpful tips, printables, and resources to help you create and follow through with your daily to-do list.