I was a personal trainer for three years after I graduated from college. My clientele were diverse in many ways – age, gender, religion, culture, and socioeconomic status. My days whizzed by as I conversed with and worked alongside so many amazing and unique individuals.
Nonetheless, most of my clients struggled with the same exact issues. The most common was developing the motivation and self-discipline to develop long-term, healthy habits. I found myself saying, “small, measurable, and attainable goals” over and over and over again. I also had to repeatedly reiterate that health is not just about the body, but also the mind and the heart.
Success happens when everything aligns.
These conversations forced me to reflect upon my own habits, particularly how I begin my day, with a critical eye. It was in this season of life that I began a three-part morning routine, in addition to regularly eating well and staying active, that has revolutionized my days…and my health.
It is simple and rewarding, and should not take more than 20 minutes combined:
1) Gratitude – Every morning when I open my eyes, I aim to look out the bedroom window before I look at my phone. Before my feet hit the floor, I thank God for another day. Another day with a beautiful sunrise. Another day of health. Another day with my husband and son. Another day of shelter, clothing, healthy food, and clean water. I take my worries and to-do’s and consciously lay them down as my offering. I find laying it all down gets harder as the day goes on, so starting my morning with this attitude makes a remarkable difference. (~5 minutes)
2) Hydration – The first thing I consume in the morning is a big glass of water. After that, before I have anything to eat, I have 4 ounces of warm water with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. This sounds gross, and maybe it is, but it’s like a gentle daily cleanse. It’s great for digestion and immune health and the benefits can be felt all day – particularly when done regularly. (~3 minutes)
3) Movement – Our bodies are made to move. There are at least 650 muscles in our bodies, and each of them should be engaged daily for optimal overall health. Let’s be honest, not all of us have the time or resources for daily yoga or crossfit classes. Particularly in this season of life, I have made my physical exercise goals more attainable. Most mornings I do 100/100/100’s. That’s 100 leg reps, 100 arm reps, 100 core reps. (To be more specific, I do 50 squats, 50 lunges, 30 push-ups, 35 bicep curls, 35 lateral raises, a variation of 50 leg raises, and 50 supermans, plus a light stretch afterward.) (~12 minutes)
My hope is that this outline acts as a catalyst for you to assess your own morning routine. What habits could act as your springboard into a better day? Even if you’re not a “morning person,” what we do with the first minutes of our day tends to set the tone for the rest of it.
Take small and steady steps. For example, if you find yourself not eating well, try replacing one meal a day with a healthier option before jumping on the Whole 30 bandwagon. Otherwise you may find yourself feeling like a failure by day two. And nobody wants that!