Good Morning! Did you know that I'm a night owl?! I feel so productive at night and I often find projects to begin and work on at night while I'm trying to get ready for bed! It has always been a struggle for me to get up on time and start the day early in the morning.
Over the last few years as I have tried to transition into being a consistent "morning person," having a nighttime routine has been helpful in forcing myself to get ready for bed on time and go to sleep on time, but the one thing that has made all the difference is having a routine to look forward to in the morning!
On most weekdays, I schedule a morning workout for first-thing so I can't talk myself into staying up late. When I get home, I immediately make my coffee and breakfast. Most mornings, that's 2 scrambled eggs with spinach, turkey bacon, and avocado. When I finish eating, I take my coffee into the living room to enjoy as I start my morning quiet time and reading.
I have a favorite spot in my house where I start each morning- I sit in the same chair next to the window in my living room every morning. Anytime I share photos or videos from this spot or the books I'm reading I always get questions about what I'm reading or how I spend my quiet time, so this post is to answer those questions.
There are a few books and tools I use in my morning quiet time each day:
- Devotional Book
- Journal + pen
- one self-growth or study book
- one fiction book
Bible + Devotional
It's tough and usually not super helpful to read the Bible aimlessly...I've found it more helpful to read in conjunction with a study or work through specific books of the bible at a time. That's where a devotional book comes in! I read New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp and it's a one page daily devotion that helps me focus on one topic, then it shows me scriptures in the bible where I can read and study for additional information. I'm currently working through "In His Image" by Jen Wilkin; it's a study about the 10 ways God calls us to reflect his character. There are study questions at the end of each chapter and I'm enjoying it so far! Last year, I read "None Like Him" also by Jen Wilkin, and enjoy how she breaks down themes in a way that is relatable and easy to understand.
Another great way to start reading the Bible so you don't get overwhelmed is by starting with one chapter in Proverbs each day. There are 31 chapters, so that works out nicely for one every day of the month, and even if you read the same chapters each month, you'll learn something new each time! I like using this beautiful illustrated Bible that pulls out key verses and creates word art with them, and it doubles as a pretty coffee table book!
I love learning and growing and I think reading is a great way to do that. I have to make sure my book list stays stocked or else I'll get into a slump of not reading if I don't have any new books to order that I'm excited about. I'm always asking friends what they're reading, and love following other entrepreneurs, coaches, and business people who also prioritize self-growth. This year, I had a big financial goal and wanted to get more serious about investing and retirement (eeek!) so my reading reflected that. I read How to Get Away, The Total Money Makeover, The Automatic Millionaire, and Retire Inspired! THEN the pandemic hit, and I decided that I needed to save all of my money and not spend anything anyway, so all of that retirement and investing business got put on hold! Then I started researching more about social justice and wanted to learn more in that area, so I'm currently reading Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison; it is excellent and is about pursuing racial reconciliation from a Christian viewpoint.
I like to have a "fun" or fiction book on-hand for when I want to relax but don't want to watch TV. I love reading and it's hard for me to keep a fiction book available at all times because I usually get hooked and read them in a couple days! I will usually save my fiction book for evening or bedtime reading, but reading "one more chapter" has been known to contribute to me staying up late, so I have to watch out for that! I personally think that even though fiction books aren't necessarily teaching you anything like a self-growth book is, they are still valuable in exercising creative brain muscles, expanding vocabulary, and introducing you to new ideas that are outside of your current world view. This year, I've read: Educated, One True Loves, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, and a few others that (TBH) aren't worth mentioning to you! Sometimes I get in my head and start believing that I don't have time to read. I'm "too busy" or have too much to do that day so I don't have time to read. FALSE. That's simply not true. To combat that lie, I tell myself that I have five minutes. I set my timer for 5 minutes, and when the timer goes off, I can be done. Usually what happens is that I get into the book and end up at least finishing the chapter. Sometimes we have to find creative ways to work around the excuses we come up with for ourselves!
I also journal! Usually when I tell people that, they're response is "uhhh...what do you journal about?" They have no clue what I'm talking about. I journal a few different things... gratitude, prayers, goals, and affirmations, but all of it boils down to PRAYER. It's basically a prayer journal. Whether I'm processing events from the day before or thinking about how I want to live my life that day, I'm talking to the Lord about it.
I'm big on goal setting and affirmations, and I think it's important to keep your goals before your eyes every day. For me, that means I write them down every day.
For someone who is new to gratitude journaling or journaling in general, a great place to start is with bullet journaling, where you don't have to write in complete sentences- you just jot down thoughts! So I would write: "today I'm thankful for:...1...2...3.." and list 3 things. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to do things "right" that we don't ever do them for fear of doing them wrong! In reality, there's no wrong way to journal! Journaling is just a helpful tool to slow down, become aware of our own thoughts, and document some of our feelings to help us process them.
I prefer to use lined journals, with blank pages...no dates or quotes or anything but I do need lines. Does anyone else struggle to write in a straight line? I usually opt for journals that are hardback, but depending how sturdy others feel, I will get a flexible one. I like to invest in my journals and buy ones that I think are *so* cute because it makes me want to pick it up each day and use it! If all you have right now is a spiral notebook, I say go for it, but here are a few of the ones I'm eyeing for my next journal purchase (I'm almost out of blank pages!): striped journal, this specific gratitude journal, and this floral journal. Usually Anthropologie has a solid selection of paper goods!
If you're trying to start becoming a morning person, or just put a positive routine into action in your life, I encourage you to make time to read each day and journal each day. Start with 5 minutes, do it consistently, then increase to 10 and so on!