Uncategorized

Morning Routines and Priorities

When I started #90DivineDays nearly three weeks ago, I set my alarm for 5 am.

Unfortunately, I don’t always go to bed by 9 pm. I rarely go to bed that early. I was getting a lot done in the morning, but it came at a cost. I was not getting nearly enough sleep.

Now, I could argue that I got by just fine, not sleeping enough last year. After all, I didn’t even make an exception for a rest day on weekends. (Now, I’ll at least give myself an extra hour to sleep in on Sundays). However, that’s not entirely true. In fact, I think my refusal to rest more probably contributed to the fact that I got the flu twice during the last two months of 2019. 

I needed to make a change. I have some occasional evening commitments that prevent me from getting to bed before 9 pm. Therefore, I decided the first approach would be to wake up an hour later every morning. So, I set my alarm for 6 with plans to get in bed by 10 pm most nights. I also started making an effort to eat dinner closer to 6 pm instead of 7. (I’ve been getting to bed before 9 most nights this week). 

That meant switching things up with my morning routine. I loved how I structured my mornings with my workout sandwiched between my morning coffee/journaling time and time reading. I also really loved finishing my workout around 7 am.

Unfortunately, I can’t do it all. I can’t set a later alarm, follow the same routine I want to follow, and do my workout when I want. It’s just not possible.

On Sunday, I woke up and discovered that the single-serve coffee machine (a Clio) I had been using for the last two weeks decided to stop working. I decided to use this to my advantage and try something different. Last year, when I started working out, I did my workout immediately after waking up. So, I decided to give that a try. After all, as much as I loved the structure of my morning routine, I wanted to finish my workout earlier. 

My workouts this week have been pretty terrible. Last week, I killed it. For some devices, Fitbit now measures active time in terms of “Active Zone Minutes.” Activity that gets your heart rate into Fat Burn Zone gives you one Active Zone Minute per minute of activity. Cardio and Peak zone give you two Zone minutes per minute of activity. Last week, I had several workouts where my Active Zone Minutes met or exceeded the time spent working out.

This week? Not even close. Yesterday, I even picked a workout I know I love because the HIIT component drives up my heart rate. For some reason, that didn’t happen. I could not get my heart rate up. Despite my best efforts to focus on why I was working out, I was too unfocused. 

Something needed to change. Yesterday, I spent a good 40 minutes scrubbing an old Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. I purchased an inexpensive bag of whole bean coffee at Aldi. 

This morning, I woke up, got dressed, and started my morning with a cup of coffee. I did my journaling and devotionals while drinking my coffee. Then, I started my workout just before 7 am.

It was the best workout all week. I decided to skip my scheduled Tone Every Zone workout and do the sample workout from LIIFT4, followed by a two-mile Miracle Miles walk. I was focused and energized. For the first time all week, I finished my workout feeling good.

Now, the morning wasn’t without some setbacks. The coffeemaker I scrubbed yesterday decided it didn’t want to work this morning, so I had to spend time cleaning our second machine. I’m new to making coffee, so I took a few minutes to figure out how the coffee grinder works. Still, I’m convinced that my morning will go more smoothly in time. 

Most importantly, I had a good morning. 

Was it everything I wanted from my morning? No, of course not. However, I need to accept that I need to decide what’s most important to me. I thought it was finishing my workout early. While I still love the idea, I think I would rather exercise an hour later in the morning if it means I get that hour to wake up, caffeinate, and set myself up for a workout that feels good. 

This is what progress looks like at times. It’s always not about sticking to rigid goals. Right now, it’s about experimenting with routines until I find something that works for me. It’s about learning to prioritize- even if it means making some difficult decisions. 

Am I going to stick to this routine of having coffee before my workout? I can’t say for sure. I am going to do it for a few days before I make any final decisions. However, I’m pretty sure that I will continue for a while.