‘Win the morning, win the day’ was a phrase I had heard a few times, but didn’t put into action until recently. Why? I had convinced myself many years ago that I wasn’t a morning person; I also convinced myself that I was most productive in the afternoon, or ridiculous o’clock at night. Win the morning? Nope! I believed I could win the afternoon, evening, or ridiculous o’clock instead.
Dressing up excuses
The thing is, if we repeatedly tell ourselves something long enough, at some stage we start to believe it. Sometimes we dress up excuses as facts—or should I say, outright lie to ourselves to let ourselves off the hook instead of facing the truth.
Even though I wake up early each morning at the same time each day, and without an alarm clock (apart from when I’m in a new time zone), I was still telling myself I wasn’t a morning person. But why? I had to be honest with myself. It was to let myself off the hook for morning procrastination.
Time for change
One day during lockdown, I decided enough was enough. Like many, I was experiencing the rollercoaster called lockdown. I amended my to-do list which consisted of morning and afternoon tasks. However, in order to win the day, I had to ensure that all of my morning’s tasks were completed.
Today, my first tasks of the day now include practising gratitude, speaking affirmations, watching a five-to-ten minute motivational video, and exercise. Then I get on with the rest of the tasks on my morning to-do list.
I adjusted my schedule and reviewed my habits, such as reaching for my phone first thing in the morning to check emails, texts or social media. I soon realised consuming external messaging first thing in the morning, was an act of welcoming others, including complete strangers on the internet, to set the agenda for my day.
What’s more, it wasn’t the fault of others—it was my fault for allowing it to happen, and my fault for allowing my focus to wander. After all, technology is wonderful; social media is great. Perhaps the trick is to use them effectively instead of letting them use us.
If we want to win our mornings in order to win the day, perhaps it’s only fair that we give others the space to win their mornings, so they can win their days too. Give others time to themselves so that they can kickstart their day.
Check in on yourself first
I’ve learned that it’s okay to check in on yourself first to find out what you need from yourself. Eat, exercise, do whatever it is you have to do (that is not harmful to yourself or others) to fill your cup.
We don’t know whether the content of that text or web link has the potential to put you in a negative state of mind until you open it. By building ourselves up first thing in the morning, we reaffirm to ourselves that we can achieve what we set out to achieve, and put ourselves in a better frame of mind to handle the things that come our way during the day. Plus, smashing every item on that morning to-do list, gives us that extra energy boost to handle the afternoon tasks with zest.
Lastly, one thing I try not to do is add a million and one tasks to my morning to-do list. Ensure your goals are SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. If there are a few things you have to reschedule, then do it and give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve managed to get done. And most of all, be careful of what you consume in the mornings. Why? If you entertain foolishness first thing in the morning, then foolishness will be the order of the day.
Just one more thing…
Of course, it’s important to add that under the current climate of the pandemic, some days will be more of a challenge than others. Some of us are facing life-changing events such as traumatic bereavement, and disruption to jobs, businesses, finances and every day life.
When push comes to shove, we have to do what’s best for us as individuals. There may be days when you feel the best thing to do is to take each minute as it comes. If you write on your morning to-do list ‘take a break’, and you do exactly that, then guess what? You have won your morning, because you were successful in sticking to your plan.
So! Here’s to putting our best foot forward to win our mornings and days, in the year that is 2020.
Have a great week.
Aisha A. Phipps
Musings of Ms. Phipps
© Musings Of Ms Phipps and Aisha Phipps (www.msphipps.co.uk) 2018-2020. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
Aisha is an avid writer and writes on a range of subjects including her journey of self growth and self awareness. Her background lies in marketing communications, business management, education and journalism. As a former beauty and wellbeing editor, and a mindset and wellbeing enthusiast, her purpose of this blog is to inform, uplift and give food for thought.
Follow Aisha on Instagram at www.instagram.com/officialmsphipps. For information on Aisha’s writing and editorial services, visit www.aaphipps.com.