How to Totally Dominate Your Morning

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Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.

If you’re as keen on Instagram as I am, there’s a high chance you’ve come across this in a meme or two.
It’s one of my favorite, simple mantras because it embodies the idea of waking up with a strong sense of purpose.
Or something that Cheryl Strayed calls, “Motherfuckitude”.
Motherfuckitude is about finding the perfect balance between humility and fierceness to crush every single one of your goals.
It’s about being humble enough to know and accept that you might fail, but still go after what you want with everything you have; it’s about knowing that you’re only human and just as likely to make mistakes as anyone else, but still harness an unstoppable strength and resilience; and it’s about following your passion and doing the work, not for fortune or fame, but because you believe in it and want to share something meaningful with the world.
That’s a post for another time, but I bring this up because establishing your motherfuckitude first thing in the morning, will set your tone for the rest of the day.

The Miracle Morning

After writing my 4 month update on the No Alcohol Challenge last week, I was feeling a little disappointed with my physical results thus far.
I also noticed a trend popping up repeatedly in my podcasts, books, and blogs I follow about the power of having a solid morning routine.
One such person I follow is Hal Elrod, who literally wrote the book on it, titled “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)”.
I’m a bit ADD when it comes to reading, so I use “Blinkist” – an app that breaks down all the key concepts of a book into a 15-20 minute read. Since we only retain a small portion of what we read anyway, these “Blinks” ensure that we’re taking in the most important information of a book. Which I find much more productive and efficient, plus easier to reflect on and apply to my own life without all the extra fluff that a full-length book entails.
That’s not to say I don’t ever read full-length books. There are plenty of books that I think Blinks just don’t cut it for, like “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, and “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown…to name a few of my favorites.
Anyway, I decided to read the Blink version of Hal Elrod’s “The Miracle Morning” to cut straight to the chase of the 6 steps he takes to master the morning and set himself up for success.

The 6 steps of the Miracle Morning are:

  1. Practice purposeful silence to clear and calm your headspace (2-10 minutes)
  2. Use affirmations -to change your perspective (less than 5 minutes)
  3. Visualize achieving your goals for motivation (less than 5 minutes)
  4. Exercise to start the day with a healthy body (20-60 minutes)
  5. Read for personal growth and learning (10-20 minutes)
  6. Write for reflection and clarity (5-10 minutes)
As I read this I realized I was actually already doing a handful of these things, but my morning routine is far from perfect, and in definite need of some fine-tuning.
For starters, I was spending way too much time on social media in the morning, and way too much time letting my thoughts run wild without putting any of it into action.

So here are a couple of strategies I started implementing this week to tackle those little pitfalls that were holding me back from totally dominating my morning:

    • Schedule my morning Instagram posts the night before so that I can quickly publish it and then hide social media until I finish the rest of my morning routine.
Sticking with a consistent posting schedule is an important part of my marketing strategy for growing my business, which is why I won’t cut it out completely. If you don’t use social media for business I suggest avoiding the scroller’s temptation altogether by not checking your notifications until after you finish your morning routine.
    • Stick to doing my morning routine in a specific order so that it becomes an unbreakable habit.
Since it’s still fairly new to me and a work in progress, I have it written down on a sticky note next to where I drink my morning coffee and glance over it frequently just to keep it at the top of my mind.
    • Give myself a time limit for how long I can spend on each morning activity.
I spend about 20 minutes reading in the morning while I drink my coffee, as soon as my coffee is gone, my reading time is up.
I spend 10 minutes or less writing down whatever’s on my mind after that. Sometimes it’s a full journal entry, sometimes it’s just a sticky note. I don’t put much expectation on this part because I spend majority of my day writing, and am already an avid journaler.
I spend 10-15 minutes stretching, then an hour working out.
On the way back from my workout I stop at the farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce for my meals for the day (the farmer’s market part is a Split-exclusive part of my routine because it’s right by my apartment and open every day, when I move on to somewhere new I’ll have to revise this part of my routine).
When I get back to my apartment I spend 10 minutes on my affirmations and visualization, which I have written down in my journal and pre-recorded on my iPhone.
Then I make my breakfast, and meditate while eating.

The Morning Workout

The NUMBER ONE change I’m currently making to my morning routine…and actually my daily routine…is when I work out.
I’ve always been an afternoon exerciser, usually getting my workout in just before lunch. The main reason I did this was so that I could get some sunshine on my skin while working out, and give my brain a break from work for a bit.
The PROBLEM with my afternoon workout strategy is that it felt like a burden. It was messing with my productivity. I didn’t want to get into too much of a work flow only to to interrupt it so I could get my workout in. Sometimes that made me resent my workouts for being such a burden and disruption.
The biggest flaw of all though with this system was that by the time the afternoon rolled around, it was far too easy to come up with excuses for reasons to skip the workout altogether. Because by then I’m smack dab in the middle of my “To Do” list and wondering how the hell I’m going to get it all done in time.

So this week, I decided to take a page from Hal Elrod’s book (haha get it?) and workout first thing in the morning.

I shit you not…I think my life is forever changed.
I’m well aware that working out in the morning is not a groundbreaking concept. Most people I know work out in the morning. But it was new to me.
And even if it’s not a new concept for you, your perception of the morning workout and approach might still need some fine-tuning.

Each day this week, I’ve been paying VERY close attention to how I feel before, during, and after my morning workout, as well as for the rest of the day.

Here’s what I’ve noticed.
By working out BEFORE I start my work day, not only do I feel WAY more energized and awake, but I enjoy my workout more because it’s the only thing I need to focus on at that particular time.
I go into my day already feeling super productive and accomplished, and it doesn’t give my mind enough time to come with any excuses.
Also, and this one is kind of weird…I swear my breakfast tastes better! The entire experience of eating my breakfast is just generally more satisfying because I know that I earned it and my body is craving to be re-fueled after it’s hard work.
I also noticed that my energy levels stay high throughout the WHOLE day rather than in spikes. And most importantly, it eliminates the time I was wasting in the morning with useless activities and my wandering mind.

If you’re new to the morning workout thing too, or just need some inspiration for following through more consistently…here’s my advice:

  1. Decide the night before that you will work out first thing in the morning. Give yourself a specific time frame.
  2. Set out your workout clothes the night before as well, so that it’s one less thing you have to think about in the morning.
  3. Immediately upon waking up, chug a glass of water. I keep a full glass of water next to my bed so that I don’t forget. You lose a lot of water in your body during the night, so it’s important to rehydrate. Plus, it helps wake your body up quickly and start gearing up for the workout.
  4. Don’t compromise. Never say to yourself, “I’ll see how I feel in the morning”. Or when the morning rolls around, never say, “I’ll work out tomorrow instead”. Commit to it being a non-negotiable part of your morning. Just like brushing your teeth or going to work.
I’m not suggesting you should work out EVERY morning, but figure out what’s a realistic schedule for you and commit to it.

I personally am committed to working out every week day morning. On Saturday and Sunday mornings I stay flexible. I tend to do a lot more exploring and trekking on the weekends so a workout isn’t necessary if I’m going to be on my feet all day. Plus, recovery days are important!

Also note, that working out doesn’t have to be the VERY first thing you do in the morning, but it should be done before you even start THINKING about work or your “To Do” list for the day.

 

For example, I can’t even function before I’ve had coffee. And honestly, that little cuppa magic is the first and only reason I jump out of bed so early in the morning. So first things first, I drink my coffee and read a Blink to start activating my brain. Then I eat a banana for a little pre-workout fuel, drink another glass of water, get my workout clothes on, do my stretches, and then head out the door to start my workout.
I’ll share more about the specifics of my workout routine and some different WOD (Work Out of the Day) options while traveling in my next post! So if you’re looking for some specific workout guides then check back next Friday.

In the meantime, I have an exciting announcement to make! A couple weeks ago I decided to throw myself into a new idea I’ve been toying with for over a year…

A Cookbook for Travelers!

I’m still in the writing process, but working hard and aiming to get it done in the next month or so. I’ll be self-publishing through Amazon, and it will be available on Kindle or as a 5×8 print book (perfect travel size!). Stay tuned for more updates!
This is the tentative book cover that I whipped up…would love your thoughts on it in the comments below! 🙂
Healthy Travel Bites Cookbook for Travelers
Bre Fowler

Hi, I'm Bre - the founder of The Positive Change Co! Originally from Seattle, Washington, I'm now a digital nomad, currently traveling around Europe. In late 2015, while working remotely and living in Australia, I found my passion for healthy living and plant-based nutrition. After noticing the generally crappy diets of other travelers and digital nomads, I got a nutrition certification and launched The Positive Change Co. to help and inspire other digital nomads to make healthier choices while traveling.

Discussion36 Comments

  1. Cookbook looks great! I understand your healthy travel food is not just made up from “cooking” tho, right? Maybe something like “Healthy Eating & Site Seeing” or “Eating rightwhile you see the sites” – something that isn’t so traditionally “recipes”.

    Rock on Bre!

    • Bre Fowler

      Thanks for the ideas, Jenny! This book in particular is primarily recipes, but the healthy travel guides I’ll be writing in the future won’t revolve around cooking so I’m definitely going to keep “Eating right while you see the sites” in mind for those ones…I really dig that!

  2. Great read, Bre! Thanks for sharing. I needed a morning workout nudge! I’ve slipped out of the habit (oh so easy to do), and I definitely feel the effects! Hey, I’ll be traveling thru Italy for 3 weeks this summer and wonder if you think a jaunt to Split or Hvar would be an important stop. We’d only have a day or two to spare, so I’m wondering if it’s do-able or better left for the next trip. Your pics of Split and Hvar are amazing! -Knowles

    • Bre Fowler

      Thanks Knowles! It is definitely way too easy to slip out of healthy habits, it’s a constant struggle of mine as well! As long as we always reel ourselves back into it we’ll be just fine 🙂 3 weeks in Italy, wow! What an awesome trip that will be! I’m already planning an extended trip to Italy in early 2018, so you’ll have to send me lots of recommendations! I say HELL YEAH to a quick trip over to Split! Or Hvar. You really can’t go wrong with either one. But you won’t regret it! Split is a really popular port for cruises, I watch a new one come and go every day from my window, so you can definitely get a good amount of exploring done in just a day or two.

  3. i love these tips, like you mentioned, i try to limit myself to blocks of time to for activities, sometimes i tend to forget and keep going but now i set an alarm lol. I love morning workouts, afternoon ones hardly ever happen for me. Once i start my day it becomes a pain to stop in the afternoon to workout.

  4. I find that the morning routine sets the day up for later; I find if I miss things or something disturbs my morning routine (of which I do some of the things you have started) I find it has a massive impact on how productive I am

    • Bre Fowler

      Definitely! It’s amazing how much more productive our day is when we start it off right! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is such great information! I have such a hard time staying off social media in the morning, but I have found that it quite often puts me into a slump that takes hours to overcome. I love the idea of preparing the night before to just hit send in the am. Plus, Motherfuckitude is the best word ever!

    • Bre Fowler

      Isn’t it?! Haha! I heard it and I was like YESSSS!!! New favorite word! As for social media, give it a try to create the draft the night before and then give yourself a specific time that you have to wait until you check your notifications 🙂

  6. Oh my god! I LOVE this.

    I also do the Miracle Morning and it’s the greatest thing ever. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve been working out every morning (and a few extras). I can’t even tell you how much it’s changed my life… I have more energy, I’m in a better mood and it’s just overall amazing.

    I love love love this. Definitely adding it to my MeetEdgar to share 😉

    • Bre Fowler

      Thanks so much, Alexa! That’s awesome that you’re already doing the Miracle Morning and kicking ass at your workouts! The benefits are truly amazing!

  7. Getting stuck in the endless scrolling through social media in the morning is one of the hardest habits to break! I try not to do it but some mornings it’s like I’m on autopilot.

    • Bre Fowler

      Me too! It happened to me this morning and I was like CRAP! I hurried up and hid my phone and went on a run 🙂

  8. Great article! Personally, I love to start the day off with positive affirmations and visualization. I prefer working out and meditating later in the day to reset, but I’m sure doing it in the morning is an excellent way to start your day.

  9. Omigosh….I sooooo needed to read this! The afternoon workout dilemma is totally me right now, and you described the exact issue I run into every. single. day. It’s a major interruption to my productivity. I’m definitely going to work on moving it to the morning, but it’s going to be difficult. Wish me luck!!;)

    • Bre Fowler

      I’m a firm believer that if I can do it, anyone can do it! 😉 It’s definitely not easy. But what I find helps is taking it ONE day at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking “Crap I need to workout every morning this week” just commit to working out TOMORROW morning. And then repeat 🙂

  10. Very good article! Helpful and inspirational. Sometimes we need to read something like this to remind ourselves that we are in control of making our day positive and productive by starting our morning right. 🙂

  11. Wow your productivity and excitement for life is contagious through this post! I need to get in a morning routine of working out! I always go in the afternoon and it takes up so much time. Great post!

  12. I have a terrible morning routine right now and I know that’s why I’m usually so tired halfway through the day. Great tips. I definitely need to do some sort of exercise or yoga to start the day!

    • Bre Fowler

      Yoga is definitely a good starting point to get your body moving in the morning without requiring too much motivation or energy!

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