I don’t know about you but a lot of the goals I set for myself this year revolved around forming and keeping habits, especially ones that would improve my productivity. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a total night owl who feels most creative and inspired right before bed, but I wanted to try and see if I could turn myself into one of these mythical morning people.
That’s where The Morning Sidekick Journal came in. I’ve read lots of articles about the psychology behind forming habits and I’m totally aware of the get up 10 mins earlier everyday method to add some extra hours to your day, but try as I might I just couldn’t resist the allure of the snooze button. Thankfully Ariel, Amir and Mikey the guys behind the journal totally understand how hard it can be to drag yourself out of bed so they created this journal as a way to encourage, motivate and monitor your progress towards building a morning routine.
They contacted me with a PDF of the journal which I downloaded and have been using for the last couple of months.
The journal is split into 3 phases and in the intro it talks about the science behind habit building as well as the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of building a morning routine. As the guys explain the journal is all about giving “actionable tips and motivating content”. It then has 66 days worth of fillable tracking pages, tips and hacks for creating a habit that sticks, daily challenges, success stories, affirmations and clips and podcast recommendations to keep you motivated. Why 66 days? Because that’s how long on average it takes to form a habit.
I wanted to try developing a morning routine to get more out of my days, so often I get home from work too tired to do anything productive or I have fun plans that take up my time. I knew that by making the most of my before work time I’d feel like I had extra hours in the day and would be able to get certain tasks accomplished without eating into my after work ‘fun’ time. I also really wanted to develop a routine that centred around mindfulness and preparing for the day ahead so that I can go to work feeling prepared and relaxed rather than running out of the door late while still brushing my hair – a depressingly true story ha!
I varied the habits I wanted to focus on every so often but most days it was a combination of wanting to do a workout or stretches, a meditation session, various household tasks and check emails/social media/news to help me ‘get my head in the game’.
Above you can see what one of the daily pages looks like, I kept mine by my bed and each night I would fill out the first half of the page ready for the next day, and complete the second half of the page based on the current day. Having to write out the habits I had and hadn’t achieved really made me accountable and circling benefits was a great way to keep track of how building a routine was improving my weeks. As a bullet journal addict I found this way of tracking my progress worked really well and fit with my routine.
So how did I find it? Well, the first week was hard (they warn you of this in the journal) as in sleepy, grumpy, hungry all the time hard. Because I love my sleep I knew that to get up early I’d need to go to bed earlier and as a night owl this was hard, turns out my brain does not switch off an hour earlier than it’s used to – who knew?! After getting past that though I began to really feel the benefits, my days felt longer and more productive and I was able to enjoy my evenings guilt-free because I had already accomplished things in the morning. Also, I started using this journal back in February when it was still dark outside so I really felt good for squeezing an extra hour or two of daylight out of the short days.
Once you get past the first few weeks it really does get easier as the habit begins to stick. I like that Morning Sidekick Journal isn’t totally focused on just getting up early. Instead, it’s about building a routine for your morning that works for you. This could involve getting up at 5am and doing hours of yoga or it could just involve getting up half an hour earlier to work on your home or write a blog post or just generally prepare for the day ahead. The point is the journal helps you build a routine that works for you and your goals.
I didn’t stick to it completely at all times, I still often had weekend lie-ins and would sometimes have an off day where I just couldn’t get up so I’d make that one up the next day. But this journal doesn’t shame you if you miss a day or two. The tips, success stories and podcasts all motivate you to just try again the day after. I found myself sharing a lot of the hints and tips with friends so I’d follow the journal to the end just to get the benefit of all of those.
Now my two months is complete and I can’t say I’m a total morning person and I don’t stick to my routine everyday, but in general I do get up earlier and find it easier to get up in general. I know a lot more about how to form a habit and I know that I am capable of getting up and achieving more in a given day – which in itself is enough to motivate me to get out of bed. If you are the type of person who runs out of hours in the day or just wants to try starting their day in a positive, intentional way then this is definitely a tool for you. I found the specific, measurable actions in the journal really helped keep me on track and I’ve learned to maximise and enjoy my mornings just that little bit more.
If you want to find out a bit more or even get your own Morning Sidekick Journal then you can check out their website here. I was given a PDF version for free in exchange for sharing my views about the journal but this has in no way influenced this post. I really did use and benefit from the journal and it’s something I have already recommended to lots of friends.
So what kind of habits do you want to adopt?
Love, Sarah x